Sunday, 12 October 2008
Sunny Sunday Afternoon
I decided to walk the two miles up to the village today, then realised how far uphill that was and took the bike instead. Dressed for October I discovered the sun thought it was August. Quite why it thought August was October it did not bother to explain, I find the weather is like that around here!
The 'Sunday drivers' were out today. I discovered how thick the paint on several cars happened to be as I zigzagged my way west. The jacket I wore was excellent at keeping the chill of the wind, noticeable when going down the hill at 12 miles an hour, and even better at keeping the heat in when struggling up the other side and just over snails pace per hour. All part of my weight loss programme I lied to myself. Naturally, the one set of traffic lights in the vicinity decide to change to red just when my old velocipede and I arrive there. It must be said I had by this time no reason to apply brakes! As my foot hit the ground, and I looked all around me to see no vehicles in sight, the lights change and off I start, bouncing over the holes that are never filled in and just avoiding a car that appeared from nowhere!
I noted the one Indian restaurant in the place and wondered if there was any part of the UK, or the British isles at that, which do not contain at least one of these places? The British these days live on Indian or Chinese takeaways. Curry, in it's many forms has become the number one dish among the populace. So much so that some restaurateurs make fools out of us. One enterprising chap, in Sheffield I believe, decided to start selling 'Balti Curry,' and it became a national dish. years later I discovered that 'Balti' simply means 'Bucket!' Most of the folks here remain in peaceful ignorance of this, not that they would care if told of course.
Further up I passed the typical English village pub, into which I have never ventured, and noticed folks sitting at the tables outside, something never done in Scotland. I found this strange when I ventured south in days of yore, as Scots pubs had frosted glass windows and severely closed doors. As kids we would attempt to peer through the cracks and work out what was happening until some gent informed us of our need for a belting! Down south people regularly stood around outside drinking, I was amazed! Of course, a form of Calvinism and the ten degrees of colder, much colder, weather were the reasons behind this. Keep the drinking hidden and keep the drinkers warm being the order of the day. The drunks seen on the streets in all towns and cities were of course seen there in the past. However it had not become a media story, and most of the media were in the middle of it then anyway. I suspect they still are. One pretty lady lounging at the table did glance in my direction. Failing to interpret my look as 'Give us a drink luv,' she instead gave me a look mixed with ridicule and contempt, mostly contempt. This, along with her large half filled cider glass, her blond hair and scowl, reminded me of two others of my acquaintance, both up north and probably indulging in similar activities as I went on my merry (?) way.
In the course of time I reached my objective and headed for the old railway line. I hesitated as I approached as I noticed it was very busy with cyclists pedalling past and Essex girls pushing prams. (Are you sure you are 16 dear?) However I joined them and began the lovely slow (If the brakes work) descent homewards. I say slow but was fascinated by the number of men, often in their forties, who were pedalling furiously downhill! These nutters have a need to wear shorts when on a bike, the English have this abnormal desire for wearing shorts, if the sun shines get out the shorts even if it is freezing, they reckon if the sun is out it is warm! Something not right with such folk I say. However, while they exercise at speed I meander along, enjoying the birdies singing, the sun dappling the trees, "Praise God for dappled things", the dogs ignoring everything bar the smells found around them, and the pretty girls doing their best to ignore me as I pass. Lovely all round I say as I talk to myself on the journey.
Naturally I now sit here with aching muscles slowly stiffening while I wonder how a short time ago I had little problem cycling up and down these slopes, especially the down ones. Soon I will have to choose between walking outside to ease the knees or stuffing my fat face with whatever I can find in my neighbours dustbins and call it 'curry.' I think I know what will win, and it will not have any cider to go with it.