|On the road...well, there was no traffic coming so why not? This shot|
looks toward Botley Hill, which is about half a mile away.
We met at 7am on the Green, half an hour earlier than usual, so I admitted defeat on the sleep front – I awoke early again – and rose at 0535hrs. Outside, of course, it was dark and the streetlights were still on at 0630hrs when I ventured out into the garage to get the bike.
Once again, no gloves. I thought they were upstairs in the draw, but no, they're not and, to be honest, not wearing gloves didn't really have an effect until I sped along the B269 on the way home. A cold wind blasted my hands and face and once again I was reminded that winter was truly on the way.
On the way to the bus stop Andy and I chatted about my recent trip to Dusseldorf and I remarked how I found Germany to be clean and efficient: the trams and trains all arrived and departed on time, the people were friendly and largely well turned-out and the general vibe was upbeat.
When I returned to the UK, however, it was a different story: there was a general tardiness about the place, the people were far from well turned out and the vibe was considerably downbeat.
In Germany I never saw any boarded up shop fronts; over here there are plenty. In Germany there was an air of friendliness. At the airport on the way home, a taxi driver gave way to me crossing the road with my bags (that rarely happens in the UK); the staff at Dusseldorf station were really helpful, everything seemed a million times better than 'over here'.
I definitely laboured the point, though, and decided to say no more about it when we reached the bus stop where the conversation changed to all manner of subjects. We sipped tea and munched our cereal bars, watched the Lycra monkeys and then headed for home again. The early start meant arriving home before 0930hrs, which was good.
I'm still without a car and now, of course, it's more difficult to find one as we don't have a car to get around in; we did look at an old Mercedes, but 'old' was the word and people are getting rid of gas-guzzling cars, so we've decided not to bother with it. My pal Alan says a Ford Focus is a good bet so we're looking at a few, but I won't be able to do anything now until next weekend – it's a slow, slow process.
Not much in the news. Cameron and Salmond will sign an agreement today that will give the go-ahead for Scottish independence; a 14-year-old girl shot in the head by the Taliban will be flown to the UK for treatment; and some Austrian bloke with a long name I can't remember has broken the sound barrier by skydiving from a ridiculously dangerous height of 128,000 feet. Mad or what? His visor froze over so he couldn't see his instruments.
|Looking east towards Westerham, which is around three miles away.|
This sort of weather, as epitomised by the photographs, is typical NoVisibleLycra weather and very reminiscent of those early days on the road some six years ago.
We'll be out again next weekend and I'd imagine the weather will be pretty much the same. It's great, really and we wouldn't give it up for nobody.