No not the movie…..life! Do you ever feel you are on a treadmill going nowhere? Yes you do things, you have a routine, you change your routine as often as you feel but nothing really changes does it? Recently retired and when working having purpose really meant nothing either, it simply meant I had something to occupy my time. I still have things to occupy my time, it is simply a different routine. We set goals in life or just live for the moment or maybe we do both but in the end everything we do eventually leads us to the next for we are never satisfied. It is like food for our souls, it is our thoughts which spurs us on, they are what keep us moving forward and ever seeking something that in fact we seldom find if we are truthful. Life can be very satisfying and rewarding but none of it really lasts. We aim to satisfy our physical needs first and foremost and neglect our spiritual needs though the two are inseparable, at least whilst we live. We are driven by what we think but we can change what we think. If we are comfortable with the changes we continue in them or we can make an attempt to do so but in the end if we are not happy we revert. No matter what we do in life, what choices we make along the way can we really say that we’ve been happy one hundred percent of the time? Our thoughts might tell us otherwise and in reality we know we are never fully happy, never fully satisfied with our lot. So our lives are a never-ending struggle with ourselves and our situations. Some resign themselves to never achieving their hopes and dreams and others think they’ve hit the jackpot when they think they have. It is all an illusion, a passing fancy and we have to make the most of it until we die. How often have you heard the expression ‘Life is for living’? Did it have an effect on your choices thereafter? We can but do nothing else but live out our lives as best we can and be happy and contented. In this world there is nothing else.
Story of My Life (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Everything is meaningless
1 The words of the Teacher, son of David, king of Jerusalem:
2 ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.’
3 What do people gain from all their labours
at which they toil under the sun?
4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains for ever.
5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which one can say,
‘Look! This is something new’?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
11 No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.
It is a never-ending story……..until we die
Clean and Sober (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am as sober as a judge as the saying goes for I don’t drink alcohol anymore and haven’t done for three years. Neither am I feeling bloated and stuffed silly with rich food from over-indulgence for I have resisted that temptation for a number of years too. As I mentioned in a recent post I no longer partake of such things. Each to their own I have to say for there is no persuading people from giving up what they enjoy, even if sometimes it is self-destructive too (see tomorrow’s post). Yesterday was different for me, in fact no different from today or any other day in my life for that matter. Each day is the same for me. I can work if I want to or rest if I want to, it makes no difference. I am happy being the way I am. Maybe my readers feel the same about themselves. Maybe my readers don’t give a toss and simply wish to enjoy themselves in whichever way they feel is right for them. Today I woke up without a hangover, a mouth so dry it felt like unused blotting paper or bruises I knew not how I received. Today is like any other day in my life. My health and well-being have improved since the days I gave up on those things which were slowly destroying me. I discovered God, I found Jesus, my life changed for I saw the truth that is in him. My heart goes out to those who are now in the same position I was before The Lord changed me. Life took on a new meaning and I discovered it wasn’t all about self-indulgence and high living, these things destroy. Today I am as sober as a judge in both my flesh and my spirit. I wanted to get out in the garden yesterday and do some work, pruning trees and such but it rained down so hard it was impossible and today’s forecast isn’t promising either. I guess I will just have to find something to do indoors instead.
Something Is Expected (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I used to work for a company it was expected of me to be available for that is what I was getting paid for. Actually until I became self-employed eighteen years ago I was an employee of two different employers. When I became self-employed I did some work under contract for another company on a daily basis together with private work for anyone who wanted the use of my services. To be self-employed is to be in complete control of everything one does and the responsibility that comes with it but unless working under contract one isn’t obliged to undertake any offers of work if one chooses not to. In certain circumstances the hours worked can exceed those expected for a normal day’s work and it is sometimes necessary to be flexible. However it isn’t expected that being self-employed means being at the beck and call of all those who contact us. For certain things I will make myself readily available, emergencies and loss of power for instance. When the caller describes their problem I may offer to help them sort things out for themselves over the phone if it is feasible or at the very least as a temporary measure help them to get around a problem. If that can’t be done I will usually offer to call in person as long as I am not otherwise employed somewhere else. Some people are ready to take advantage of my readiness to help but I won’t be sucked into that. I think some people don’t realise that I have a life outside of work or like have free time for myself as they will expect me to drop everything to look after their needs. Most people are sensible and will call me at a respectable hour though some will call my home number during the working day expecting me to be at home! Occasionally I am, as I was on Monday at lunchtime when someone called regarding a total loss of power, which I attended upon. Just as I was about to leave the house someone else called regarding the total loss of power in their garage where they keep a food freezer. I went there too. Some people will call me on my mobile phone during the working day and expect me to spend ages on the phone discussing things with them regarding their needs instead of calling me at home when I will most likely be free to chat. One of the most infuriating things is when people call me very late in the evening. Fortunately those occurences are very few but on Sunday evening just before eleven o’clock and as I was about to get into bed I received such a call. The caller I could tell was obviously foreign because of his limited command of the English language. In essence he was asking me to check, repair or replace an outside floodlight which according to him had been broken. I think he meant vandalised. I had the feeling he was expecting me to do it then! I told him that I wouldn’t be climbing up ladders to repair lights in the foul weather we have been experiencing then or at any time. I asked him why he was calling at such a late hour and he told me that the light had just stopped working and he needed it fixing! What a cheek! I hung up the phone and got into bed. Did I do the job? What do you think?
No I am not about to talk about electricity generation and supply but for those who don’t know, electricity is generated not as a single live and a neutral but as three live conductors or three phases.
A neutral which though not specifically generated, is derived. It gets complicated from here so this is where I shall stop. In case you are wondering what I am jabbering about they call the live conductors ‘phases’. Lately I have been visiting my local pub fairly regularly and dining there on occasion. Basically I go there for the company and not the alcohol because Shirley Anne has been an alcohol-free zone now for nine months. I have always gone to the pub for company and as I am at present devoid of company at home my visits have been more frequent but nevertheless I have periods where I don’t wish to go to the pub, usually because I cannot be bothered. I might go there for weeks then cease going for weeks depending on how I feel. Each time I revisit after a spell of not going there I am quizzed as to the reasons why. I am obviously missed, actually I know I am for so many people tell me. I suppose with me it is a case of boredom for I tend to get bored with things after a while, I go through phases of not wanting to do anything at all! My workload goes through phases too, presently I am in the mountains so to speak after a spell of walking in the valleys. I never really get bored with work, any work, it has always been that way for me. I am at my best when going something so it is very hard for me if I have nothing to do. That does not mean that I want to work all the time, I like a rest from it like anyone else or at least a change by doing something else. I guess my life is full of phases that I go through, some good, some not so good but I have to endure them all. If I were asked what specific things in life make me happy I would probably say everything as long as I am not bored doing them! I am easily pleased though, so it doesn’t take much to please me.
Hyde Park in a heatwave The second week of August 2003 was the hottest ever recorded in London, with temperatures of up to 38 degrees Celsius. Not surprisingly many people flocked to the parks to cool off.
It is past the middle of May and still it is very cold. The warmer temperatures we have come to expect at this time of year have been somewhat lacking even though there have been warm sunny days. It appears that the ‘Jet Stream’, the high altitude wind pattern is favouring places like Moscow with the United Kingdom fairing less well as a result. Until the Jet Stream shifts in our favour I guess we can say goodbye to a warm Summer again this year. I watch the weather forecasts with interest but it is all bad news lately. I heard tell that the month of June won’t be much better either. Astronomically speaking Summer starts on or about the 21st day of June so there is still time left for an improvement I suppose. It may be that the later months of the season will prove me wrong. I do hope so. It can be rather depressing when all we get is poor weather when reasonably it should be better. We must however make the most of things for we have no control over matters. For many people summer is the two-week vacation they take each year in a foreign land though not everyone can afford such things. I have been fortunate in that respect having enjoyed many holidays in foreign places in the past. These days I am less bothered about travelling across the globe for the pleasure of enjoying the warm weather which is taken for granted in many countries. Quite often I have found that the living conditions in these beautiful places where the sun shines most of the year and the temperatures never fall below 20 degrees Celsius are very poor indeed. Having a warm or hot climate doesn’t guarantee perfect happiness unless you have plenty of money and money doesn’t even buy happiness! I am not giving up on Summer, things are not that bad really, it could be a lot worse, in fact it may well be a lot better! I am not sure just what I will be doing in the months ahead. Working? Most probably. Taking a vacation? Probably not but anything is possible. Enjoying myself? I will try my best. Summer will be great if I am still here to enjoy it won’t it?
An optical illusion. Square A is exactly the same shade of grey as square B. See demonstration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On my way back home with E after the long weekend break we had taken in Brighton on the south coast and to meet with friends I sat in the train carriage admiring the scenery. Many of my travelling companions were surfing the Internet on their mobile phones and tablet computers or playing games on them. Some were trying to catch a few minutes of sleep but very few seemed to be looking out of the window at the passing scenery. I could have followed suit but I would rather watch the scenery. I left my tablet computer in my suitcase and only touched my phone when I wanted to check the time. Everywhere we went in Brighton we saw people on their phones and I estimated at least 60% were doing so. It seems to be an absolute necessity, an obsession for many to spend hour after hour locked into this electronic technological phenomena. I get the feeling that those using the technology often do not realise just how much time they actually spend ‘twiddling’ their thumbs on such devices. Whatever happened to simply admiring life all around us, the scenery, the people and places we find ourselves in either accidentally or purposely? I digress. I was looking out of the window and every so often would see a canal, a river or a pond. Nothing remarkable in that you might say but what made it a little more fascinating for me was the fact that many of these stretches of water seemed to be sloping just like the land in which they were seen. I saw fields on hillsides sloping down to the train tracks and the water on these fields appeared to be doing exactly the same! An optical illusion of course unless somebody has invented a way for water to slope like the ground. Time passed by rather quickly as I watched the ever-changing scene through the carriage window. There is always something to see, always something to catch the imagination, old buildings, green fields and hills, animals, motorways and highways, rivers, streams, canals, bridges and tunnels and monuments of all kinds. I never get bored watching the life all around me. There is a slippery slope to oblivion for those who let life slip by because of some electronic gadgetry. Theirs is a life of virtual reality but I prefer mine real!
Boats resting on Bank Holiday Monday The fishing boats that supply all the fancy restaurants
The last weekend was one of the UK’s national holiday weekends incorporating what we call a ‘bank holiday Monday’. There are two such Mondays in the month of May, one at the beginning and one at the end. One is called the ‘Spring Bank Holiday Monday’. I get mixed up as to which is which but that makes no difference, it is a national holiday. Many people will have travelled, whether near or far, in this country or elsewhere to make the most of the long weekend, sometimes including the preceding Friday. That is something I’ve never done, gone anywhere on a bank holiday because I know most roads will be packed with traffic and many places will be packed with too many people doing the same thing. As it happened this time, the weekend passed unnoticed. That is due to my present status in being semi-retired. I forget sometimes which day it is, not because I am forgetful of such things, though I am forgetful at times, no, it is because all the days seem alike. I may have many days free from work each week and it feels as though Fridays are Saturdays or that Mondays without work are Sundays. Does that makes sense? Before I became self-employed 16 years ago I worked for other companies and the weekend breaks and holidays off work were something to look forward to but now that I am self-employed that is no longer true because I can take a break at any time I wish. So for me a special weekend such as a bank holiday passes without much notice. Indeed, I have often worked over a bank holiday, treating them as any other. This is true for the other ‘special’ days off we as a nation take. To me they are just another day. Quite often these bank holidays have poor weather which puts the dampener on enjoying them as many wish to do but this past weekend the weather has been reasonably good, much to the relief of those undertaking outdoor activities! This coming weekend though E and I will be transporting ourselves to the south-east coast to pay a visit to Brighton and to see a friend and anyone else who might like to meet with us. Without realising it we elected to go this weekend when the FA Cup Final is being held in London but hopefully we will not be affected by possible traffic chaos as fans travel to the big city as we are travelling on Friday and returning on Monday. We are not treating this as a holiday as such but only as a short break from routine. E finds it difficult to get about so we would need a much longer break to get anywhere and enjoy more of any place we visit. That means we may not be visiting most of the places no doubt Brighton has to offer on such a short stay as we are taking there. Much of the enjoyment will be in the travelling to and from Brighton itself but I am sure we will enjoy more than that. I hope the weather is fine!
40th Anniversary Steam Train Gala Weekend (Saturday) 28th June 2008
In a few weeks from today E and I shall be taking a couple of long journeys by train. Since my early childhood I have loved riding in a train even for relatively short journeys. In those long far off days many of the mainline routes used steam-driven engines to pull the carriages, now it is either diesel but more often electricity which is the prime mover. Whichever way is used the journey is the same though much of the romanticism will have been lost. The beauty of travelling by rail is the relief of stress it brings, not having to concentrate for hours sitting behind the wheel of a car in endless queues of traffic or being stopped at regular intervals by junctions and traffic controls. I can sit and read a book, play on a computer, use the phone without the need of a hands-free unit, eat a meal, chat with fellow travellers, admire the scenery, sit in comfort, have the convenience of toilet facilities and be seated in comfort whilst still being able to stand and walk about to stretch my legs. I cannot do most of those things whilst driving a car. I like driving, I always have but it can be tiring over long distances. I also like travelling by boat for all the same reasons and to a lesser extent I like air travel too but if I could choose rail travel for all my journeys on land I wouldn’t hesitate. The only down side to rail travel is it isn’t a door-to-door convenience but for long journeys that is a very small price to pay. The only snag E and I will have is that the journey will be broken several times as we board one train after another to reach our destination but I am still looking forward to the experience nonetheless especially as I haven’t been on a long train journey for so long.
A meal at the court of Emperor Ferdinand I
On Tuesday morning I had a ridiculously small job and then nothing for the remainder of the day so I suggested to E that we might dine out somewhere for lunch. I had returned home before 10 o’clock and spend some time on my computer and the Internet and watched a couple of programs on television. It was around 1.45 when I heard a tap, tap on the lounge door and jumped a little for I had dosed off in the chair, one of those ‘cat-naps’ I love to experience. I looked toward the door to see E smiling at me. ‘Well I’m ready’, she piped up. ‘I’ve just washed my hair’, she said. She has the kind of hair that gets greasy rather easily but greasy hair is probably healthier hair as it proves that natural oils are being produced from the scalp protecting and nourishing the hair. Of course too much oil can be a problem and then the hair needs washing more often. E tends to have this problem. My hair on the other hand tends to be dry and would benefit having more natural oil. I tend therefore not to wash my hair as often unless it gets dirty. So I dashed upstairs to change my clothes and fix my make-up and was ready ten minutes later. E drove as she normally does and I didn’t ask where we were going as we headed off down the main road. She turned toward the coastal road so I though she was going to drive north as we normally do when visiting one or two of our favourite places but a couple of hundred yards (metres) down the road she pulled into the car park of my local pub! There were quite a number of cars there and I thought it would consequently be full inside but we were surprised to see it almost empty. After a quick look at the menu I went to the bar opened a tab and ordered the meals and drinks. We received the best of service as usual and the meals followed soon after. E followed her meal with a dessert but I didn’t. We had a great time together and chatted with the staff as the opportunity arose. When we had finished eating a couple of people came in and sat a short distance from us and I turn to look. ‘Hello, Shirley Anne’, the woman said and I replied in kind though I couldn’t remember how they knew me or I them, although I did recognise their faces. It turns out that I had done some work for them back in November. Neither the man nor the woman knew E personally but the woman recognised her as having worked in her local Post Office some years ago. The man told E what a good electrician he had found in me not realising that E is already aware of my capabilities! I thought that was very nice of him to say such things. He went on to tell us that two weeks after I had worked in their house they were burgled! Immediately I asked if they had an alarm to which they said ‘We have now’! Talk about closing the barn door after the horse has bolted! Fortunately not much had been stolen. Soon afterwards E and I prepared to leave for home and they bid us farewell, the woman saying ‘I’ll telephone you’. Looks like they want more work doing……….Is there no rest for the wicked? LOL
I was at a bit of a loose end on Sunday with nothing to do in the afternoon. Earlier I had been on the treadmill and then had some lunch followed by a spell on the Internet. It was a gloriously sunny day, just right for a walk but I wasn’t in the mood for walking too far having spent time on the treadmill and on Saturday doing even more exercise. Well the pub is only about a half-mile from my house so I decided to go there. Sunday afternoons at the pub are usually cramped affairs and these days most of the seating is taken up by diners from all over the place and from places afar too. It has become quite an attraction as an eating establishment since it was taken over a couple of years ago by the new landlords Eddie and his wife Jill. I have to say they have made it a successful business when beforehand it struggled a bit. There is usually space at the bar though and when I arrived I soon found a seat there. I opened a tab as I wasn’t sure how long I would be there or if I might feel like eating later. As it happened I returned home early in the evening and dined there instead. The televisions were switched on and showing a Premiership football game between Liverpool and Swansea but the sound had been switched off for the benefit of those who were dining, not that they would be watching any of the screens anyway, who wants to be dining out with a football match noise going on in the background? Those of us in the bar area simply watched it in silence like everyone else. Not long after I had been there I saw a man in a wheelchair approaching the side door close to where I was sitting so I arose and held the door open for him as he came inside. There wasn’t much room for the wheelchair except close to where I was sitting so he stayed close by. I could see him struggling to get his out his wallet so I offered to help him. It was on a cord around his neck so it could be pulled out easily. I unzipped his coat and pulled out the wallet asking him what he would like to drink whilst taking out a five-pound note. I ordered his drink and placed it in his hand and put the change into his wallet and back inside his coat. Soon we were chatting away and he began to tell me about the events which put him in the wheelchair after I’d asked him about it. It turned out that he hadn’t been in an accident but he’d had an abscess on the back of his neck that he had been unaware of for years. The abscess had grown and it’s presence had become noticeable, so much so that he began to feel pain and limited arm movement. The abscess was on his spine and affecting the spinal nerve. It was successfully removed at the hospital once it had been diagnosed and discovered but unfortunately the damaged had already been done. However, he told me and showed me that he was still able to move some muscles in his legs, a good sign with the possibility that he may be able to walk again one day if all goes well. He is undergoing therapy toward that end. I hope he makes it. He had only popped into the pub on his way home from a shopping expedition, a nursing home close-by and soon after he had finished his drink (a bottle of beer, he couldn’t hold a normal glass) he left. I think he was glad for the company and I was happy to oblige. After that I chatted with other folk as they came and went and then I left for home myself. When I first arrived at the pub I got chatting to the manager and told him about one of his customers who had been dining with two elderly friends or family and who had just walked out of the door close to where I was sitting. The guy himself was in his sixties and looked a little ‘doddery’ as they say and he had given me a quick glance as he left. I never forget a face, I might forget a name and often do but never a face. I remembered this guy though, he had been a colleague of mine at a place I had worked for many years prior to my going self-employed over fifteen years ago. He didn’t recognise me! I wonder why? LOL
‘S Wonderful (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
As a believer in God I understand that certain things in life happen because God has ordained it. On Friday I asked E if she would like to dine out and of course she said yes, although I have known her to refuse the offer once or twice. As usual she asked where I might like to dine out and as usual I left the decision to her. We left home around one o’clock in the afternoon and drove some fifteen miles before arriving at our destination, one of several places where we like to dine. We choose to eat out after the rush is over, after the time when most folk eat out, that is after one-thirty to two o’clock so when we arrived there were not many people in the place, just what we like because we can pick and choose where we sit. We chose to sit next to another couple who were part through their meal although we could have selected anywhere as the place was quite empty. It wasn’t until we had eaten our dessert that we actually made contact with our fellow diners and then we discovered something in common between us. They were both retired people, she a retired clerk who had worked as a receptionist for a doctor’s surgery and he a retired policeman. Our eldest son is a policeman. We engaged in conversation for a short while and then they had to leave. We had been sitting in the lower level of the two-tier layout of the pub/restaurant and another couple, seemingly man and wife although we didn’t ask, sat down in the upper level just as we had finished our meal and were finishing our drinks. We hit it off together immediately, laughing and joking and generally having a good time together. They were like two soul mates and so easy to get along with and it was a shame that we had to leave to drive home. Whilst I was visiting the toilet before going home E had left the premises and was waiting outside in the car for me to emerge but I made a detour back into the dining room to bid farewell to our new-found friends. I learnt their names, funny how you can speak for ages without formal introductions, gave them a big hug and made arrangements to meet up again by leaving them with one of my business cards. I do hope they will contact us, it would be nice to see them again. Not often in life do we get the chance to meet genuine people so when that happens it is good to pursue it. I will keep you posted on what develops, if anything.
All You Can Eat sushi (Photo credit: Malingering)
Last week E and I dined out again for the first time in over six months. On Monday we dined out again. We hadn’t been exactly on speaking terms for a while and whilst there are still issues I couldn’t let those spoilt our otherwise good relationship any longer. I still hope they can be resolved. It can be expensive dining out or it can be quite inexpensive depending on where we eat. If we go to a carvery the meals themselves are reasonably inexpensive but if we go to a restaurant of course it can cost far more. Generally speaking we spend, or rather I spend, anything between £30 to almost £50 depending on whether I buy a bottle of wine or not. Even so the drinks can be expensive especially some of the soft drinks we sometimes buy. At these prices we can only dine out once a week but occasionally we do so twice, it all depends on how much work I get or if I decide not to save as much each month. Tomorrow will be E’s birthday and we may go out for an evening meal to mark the occasion as opposed to the many day excursions we normally take when dining out. It is nice to be able to afford eating out at least sometimes, eating at home is far cheaper but not as much fun. Well we’ve got to spend the money on something, it’s no use it lying around in a bank!
English: A remote control for an automatic garage door opener – showing the outer case and inner circuit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last week saw me gainfully employed doing something every day, work, rest and play! I was kept rather busy at work especially which has come at just the right time, not that I am desperate for money, I am not but rather than having to dip into my savings I found myself with the cash to fund the various projects I had planned at home. Those things are now catered for as well as getting E’s car back on the road. E and I actually dined out together for the first time in six months on Wednesday and had a thoroughly good time. We are now closer than we’ve been during the last six months. Some things need to change yet though before I can say we are back totally to where we were six months ago. It is good however that we are talking once again.
Two weeks ago tomorrow we had the roller door fitted to the new garage and E has enjoyed the fact that her car can rest securely overnight and out of the weather too. A thought came into her mind regarding the use of the garage when it is dark. There is a floodlight over the garage that is controlled by a motion detector but it doesn’t illuminate the inside of the garage which remains pitch-black unless the internal light is switched on and therein lies the problem. She can operate the roller door by remote control from her car but would have to get out of the car to switch on the light. I needed to come up with a system that switches on the internal light when the door is opened but only during the hours of darkness. I had the necessary components to construct a control box. I bought a proximity switch for the door and a photo cell detector to monitor the ambient light conditions and I constructed the control box on Friday morning. I plan to complete the installation today, Sunday. As the door reaches it’s fully open position it will operate a switch which in turn operates a relay. A switch on the relay is wired in series with the photo cell switch and on to the fluorescent light inside the garage. Both switches must be closed for the light to work so although the door may be fully open and operating the relay the light will remain off if it is still daylight. The light naturally has a manually operated wall switch too for use when the door is closed. This is a two-way switch that enables the supply to the light to come from a manual operation or the automatic operation but only one or the other. This is to prevent the light being accidentally left on manually. It all sounds complicated but in real terms it is quite simple. Well it will keep me out of mischief for a few hours whilst I am installing it all! Here endeth the electrical lesson for today… LOL.
I spent a few hours in the pub on Friday afternoon and evening and met up with quite a few people, some new to me and some well-known. I didn’t much feel like going to bed early and ended up staying up far too long consequently I didn’t get out of bed until a little later than I would normally do on a Saturday morning so I decided to forego my early morning session on the treadmill. I decided to take that exercise later in the evening last night instead. Now am I fit for work or fit to drop? Well after that exercise I had a good night’s sleep and am rearing to go as they say.
English: Bicycle sharrows (shared-lane markings) on Harbord Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Sharrows are placed in a travel lane to remind all road users that a bicyclist may use the full lane. They differ from bike lanes as there is no separate lane set aside for cyclists. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It had been quite a few years since I rode a bicycle when I bought myself a brand new one almost three weeks ago but as they say it’s one of those things you never forget how to do, like swimming for instance. The bike itself cost around £190 but I bought a few other things at the time which boosted it up to £220. I have enjoyed quite a few hours on it so far and have ridden some eighty or so miles in the various short outings I’ve been on. That brings the cost per mile to £2.75 but knowing me it will be 2.75 pence before too long. That’s the beauty of it. Hopefully I shall be able to ride it for a few years yet. One thing I noticed, or rather was reminded of, is just how dangerous riding on our roads has become for cyclists. As a road user and used to driving the many vehicles I’ve had, I was always careful when passing cyclists. I still am of course but it is good to be able to feel what it is like as a cyclist for a change. I have to say that some drivers are not careful enough when passing cyclists and often drive past far too quickly and far too close! I have experienced this on my recent trips out. When I first got back on the bike I was naturally a little unsteady so I stuck to riding in the side roads and on the pavements where I had to for safety’s sake! I am now at that stage, or near it, when I ceased riding a bike a few years ago. I still have my old bike and it is very good condition. The tyres need attention but only so far as they need pumping up with air. The bike looks as good as my new one. The reason I bought another is to do with gender. The old bike is designed for male riders. The weather at home has been quite wonderful lately, excellent for riding a bicycle and I have taken full advantage of it. It is especially nice riding along the sea wall and frontage and taking in the scenery and the fresh salt air. I am beginning to feel the benefit of having another avenue for exercising. The only problem with riding is its dependence on fair or reasonable weather, for the average cyclist that is, no-one but the ardent cyclist wants to go out in the pouring rain or when it is very windy and certainly not if it is icy too! I will probably revert to walking (which I still do of course) when the weather gets too bad, something I don’t mind doing as long as I am dressed for the part! Of course I can use the treadmill too or even go out running if I am that way inclined. No, I think the days of street running are long past but you never know, I do crazy things sometimes.