One hot, genuinely steamy June night, in 1976, the early hours of the morning found me outside a take-away ‘hole in the wall’ type place, in the middle of Boscombe, Bournemouth.
My motorcycle was parked (as ever) sideways-on, back wheel to the gutter, side-stand out – and as for all of us those days, your bike was so individual – it would serve as an early marker as to your presence anywhere, inside or out.
It must have been around 2.30am, I was the only customer – no other traffic.
A single vehicle approached along the otherwise deserted Christchurch Road and as it neared the takeaway it started to slow.
The windows of the car were all down (hot night) –and as the car drew level with the takeaway the driver leaned out.
A single word rang-out across the deserted scene, echoing back and forth between the shop fronts.
The vehicle never stopped, and soon was out of sight, and out of ear-shot.
Dave Shead was on his way home, and thought he’d hurl good-natured abuse at me.
In excess of 800km driven across four countries, three days.
European roads: clear, lane discipline – faultless, litter free verges, signs that inform, but only when necessary, clean loos, and services that serve (instead of just pummeling you senseless with junk, and then ripping you off for anything and everything).
My God! you had to adjust every inch of your thinking back in the UK! Almost immediately we had emergency braking for turn-offs (signed-up miles ago), swerving around, lane-hopping and hard braking for signs warning of speed restrictions obviously not turned-off as no hazard existed, lane jumpers, tail-gaters (a criminal offence in Germany) fast-lane hoggers, snappily front-LED’d fashion wagons pelting along beyond their or their driver’s capabilities (it’s shiney – the TV advert was cool – surely this was the life promised to me?)
I swear, in Germany – at 180kph you can calculate a driver’s need to change lane, 1/4 of a mile ahead, calculate what your action might do to the black dot in your mirror, a 1/4 of mile behind you – and smooth yours, and everyone else’s way ahead, without changing speed, or stressing at all, whilst everyone else on the same Autobahn does the identical thing for you, all without thinking. Back on a UK road you’re working 10 times as hard, just to keep from having some utter Gibbon cause mayhem for you and everyone else.
What a bunch of complete Tossers.
I moved a few weeks ago – I can see the sea now, if I stand on a stool, and the stool itself is balanced on a stack n’ store box – with the lid on – coz the lid adds that critical 2cm you understand.
Thing is . . . . I have no internet, which at first seemed horrible.
Disconnected, unable to converse, comment, catch-up.
After 10 days or so, I had lost that ‘must check the ‘phone ‘pull‘ that sits continuously in an already over-cluttered mind; then I noticed that the Nokia was starting to be left in my work coat pocket, along with the car keys, and anything else that wouldn’t be needed for evening life.
The next day I go to work – allegedly there is WiFi there – (actually the WiFi is stunningly speedy out on the pavement – and next-to-useless in the building, where I teach just about everything ‘tech’ – a surreal dichotomy.)
At some point in the day I’ll see if I’ve missed anything . . . . . . you know what? I haven’t – I really, seriously haven’t.
I might become connected at home in the next 2 weeks, so doubtless I’ll revert back to the drudgery – but feeling the move from ‘must‘ to ‘it doesn’t matter, really‘ was so, so interesting.
Here it is again.
Seems I made a missed-turn somewhere. Ever since I was in my teens I’ve struggled like hell to be content when indoors on really, really nice days.
You think it’s just ‘silliness’ or perhaps you might grow out of it.
I haven’t. I suppose it’s a bit of a joke amongst family, partners – “Steve won’t travel inland in the summer months” – and it’s true; I can never in my heart see the point of leaving the coast (especially as that would involve sitting in a metal can, possibly in a traffic-jam – being slowly cooked from above) during the warmer months.
Trouble is, it’s got a bit serious now .
You see I sought, fought, over-qualified and god-knows what else to gain a lectureship at a local F.E. College. Just when I arrived, so did the relentless erosion of F.E. lecturers’ conditions; our students might be complete, in fact gone – by the end middle of June, but we must continue on until a specified 3rd week of July, (FIVE WEEKS LATER). (You’ll be lucky to get three consecutive weeks in ‘summer’).
“Better than most!” you scream at the monitor, and you’d be right.
And if you could guarantee good weather for those precious three weeks, I’d be the happy bunny from bunnyland.
Not gonna happen is it though?
I guess I should have plumped for some outsidey thing, what – 30 years ago?
OK, the only Weather-related conspiracy theory being cited currently (google search) is . . . .
<< HERE >>
So, here’s mine.
I’ve noticed just how wrong a forecast can be for some months now. I mean, OK, we all have – but it’s the way they’re wrong.
You can accept half-a-day either way. We live on an island, and our weather is predominantly from the West, across the Atlantic. Stuff happens, things change, ‘it’s not a precise science’ etc etc – we know all this.
No, it’s much more subtle than that.
In a heat-wave that spans the working-week, we are NEVER told if it’s due to break-down by the weekend.
Twice now this year, forecasters have either:
- Completely failed to mention the weekend.
- Talked about Saturday ONLY,
and then fleetingly, and in fantastically general terms.
- Focussed on one or two areas of the country only.
- Made some loose non-statement that covers every eventuality.
- Had the radio’s previous content overrun slightly – so as to cause a rushed weather report before the news or time-signal (Radio 4)
So? The conspiracy then.
I think, the Met’ Office and/or the BBC are under instruction not to tell the public that the sweltering week they’ve just worked through is going to end in a dismal weekend.
I think it’s down to lost work-days, ‘sickies’, and public morale.
It has happened too many times for it to be a mistake.
Lovely start to the day, Hannah Cerro & Liam Terry (ex-students of mine) popped by to do a bit of paperwork. What a lovely pair they are. I took Mum to Sainsburys, and as I leaned against a pillar just outside it reminded me so much of taking Nanny Booth around exactly the same shop: What? 10, 15 years ago? Stormy as a bucket full of Vulture droppings, the wind and rain ceaseless today.
Tonight I’m driving up to ‘Limply Stoke’ (no, really) almost as good as ‘Loose Chippings’ so, we’ll see what we see won’t we?
Seems all week we’ve been buffeted by these things sweeping in from the West, a couple a day.
This morning, just after 6.30 it was dead still, big moon,stars, about 3.5degrees.
Later during the workaday haze the clear blue sky reminded me to take a Proper Look (not a glance, but keep looking out – let the receptors drink in the distance & colour), and let the change of focus ease the eye-strain from constant monitor scrutiny. “You’ve missed a bracket there” or “that style code is out” etc.
We didn’t do a lot. The last week before Christmas seems to infect pretty well all of them. And I’m the worst.
Tonight they’re back. Blacker clouds than the encroaching night, and the hammering of the rain on Mum’s conservatory roof.
I need a more ‘grown up’ platform for my various musings, and although I’ve hosted the Wonderful WordPress sites before myself, I thought this method might do better in terms of accessibility (for me, and you , dear reader . . . . )