Friday, 20 January 2017

Pre-ride ramblings...

On day one of Donald Trump's presidency – inauguration day in other words – I found myself walking along dark streets marching purposefully on frosted pathways. Occasionally a gritter would drive past as I made my way home along Hayling Park Road. It was a cold and uneventful journey that lasted the best part of 30 minutes.

Now it's the morning of day two of Donald Trump's presidency – "it's going to be great, so great" – and I'm sitting downstairs at just gone 0600hrs (0630hrs to be precise, so not exactly 'just gone'). Outside there is frost on the ground, the car's windscreen is frozen and I've got the prospect of going out there, in the cold, jumping on a cold bicycle and heading for the green where, I'm hoping, an equally frost-bitten Andy will be waiting.

I'm assuming we'll ride to Tatsfield Village where we can be assured of somewhere decent to sit down, but who knows? There are so many places we could go to now that I have a bike with 27 gears (Godstone Green springs to mind) but in all honesty I couldn't face it. Sometimes it's bad enough, during the winter months, being wrenched out of bed in the dark while listening to Radio Four's Open Country.

Last week there was no cycling thanks to rain, and let's not forget that this time of year is characterised by poor weather, dark mornings and a likelihood of 'abort' texts. I checked my phone, which was lying on top of the ironing board, in a way hoping there might have been an 'abort', but no, so I immediately got dressed: tee-shirt, shirt, hoody, cycling trousers, socks and then slippers. Yes, slippers, not to go out with, but to protect against the possibility of walking into the kitchen and treading on cold water. There's nothing worse than cold water soaking into a sock, especially in this weather.

All is quiet and I'm tempted to switch on the radio or the television and see what else is happening on the Trump front, but there's nothing new. This morning's news bulletin simply reiterated his inauguration speech, which I have to say was pretty good, albeit a little dark. He spoke of rusting factories, of gangs and drug abuse and a failing education system and then launched into his bit about 'America first', which I can understand. He mentioned patriotism and was inclusive of all races – black, brown and white – and spoke of wiping out the scourge of Islamic terrorism. It'll be interesting to see how things pan out for Trump, the only president without experience of 'office' but with plenty of experience of offices.

America is divided and so is the UK. Some say that our exit from the EU spurred on Trump to victory, it probably did, and in a way we're both in the same boat and need to come back together. Unity. Now there's a word. Inwardly, I'm divided about Trump, mainly because there are so many people out there in the USA who know a darn sight more about their own political environment than I do. My vision of it comes largely from the media, but I know that a lot of people in America didn't like Hillary Clinton and wanted change in the same way that people over here were getting a bad deal in terms of jobs and general living standards; it was a similar situation in the USA.

As much as I liked Obama, it seems that he did kind of withdraw the USA from the world, he didn't go into Syria, but let the Russians in, for example, and while I don't think that Trump intends to start fighting other people's battles, I think, metaphorically speaking, he'll 'get out there' and do business.

But enough of Trump other than to wonder whether or not he'll serve a full term, or will a videotape surface from out of nowhere and prove his critics were right, not that it will have any effect. Despite numerous blunders – derogatory comments about women, disabled people and so on – he still got elected. It's going to be an interesting four years, that's for sure.

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