I did something this morning (Saturday) that I REALLY wish I hadn’t!
As I am working for the next three weeks bringing the delights of Windows 7 to the staff at the Head Office of British Sugar in Peterborough I thought I would see if it would be practical to cycle in to work.
I should explain that the system I am working under involves a daily “salary” plus a nightly expense allowance, normally more than sufficient to cover the cost of accommodation and meals – so usually you gain a little bit!
BUT….. (and it’s a big “but”)…….
That allowance is only paid if you are working more than 40 miles from home and British Sugar’s Head Office is only FOUR miles down the road from my house! So, in my miserly fashion it occurred to me that I could make a tiny, tiny profit by claiming the grand sum of £2 in mileage each day while cycling and expending nothing! Cunning or what?
Anyway, having nothing better to do this morning and with all the womenfolk off doing other things I got the trusty bike out, put on my Halfords cycle helmet and padded fingerless cycling gloves and set out. Now Peterborough, for all its other faults, does have an excellent network of dedicated cycle ways so after the first few hundred yards I did not have to even cross a road let alone pedal along one.
The other good thing that Peterborough has is the Nene Valley Railway (which film buffs among you may know stood in for East German and Russian railways in the James Bond films “Octopussy” and “Goldeneye” respectively) and my route took me alongside this and across it a couple of times. There seemed to be rather more people standing around the trackside with cameras than usual but I was cycling against the clock so I ignored them and pressed on.
To cut a long cycle short it took me 20 minutes without exerting myself over much but such is my current state of unfitness that I was sweating profusely and I know that unless the office has a shower for the use of cycling staff I will be extremely unpleasant to work with if I do it for real. So, having decided to say “sod the expense” and drive in on Monday I bought myself an energy drink from the nearby supermarket and set off for home again.
On the way back, not being interested in timing my trip I paid more attention to the Trainspotters leaning on the fences and asked one group whether something special was happening.
I was told “It’s a big Diesel Festival!”
Now as you may recall from an earlier post (https://littlealfie.wordpress.com/2011/04/17) I used to live alongside a mainline railway track and loved the huge, heavy, dirty but still utterly magnificent steam locomotives thundering past. When they went, in my opinion anyway, everything that replaced them was merely “transport” and of no interest whatsoever – certainly nothing to get nostalgic about.
As there were a number of “Diesel Geeks” assembled I did not risk offending them with my thoughts on the matter and continued on my way. A little further along, however, I heard a train approaching and pulled up to watch it alongside a solitary cameraman.
As it passed I waiting until he finished snapping away and observed, sadly “Oh! That’s disappointing! I was expecting a real train not one of those nasty Deltic things!” Then I hopped back on my bike and rode away before he could respond. I swear that I could feel little mental daggers in my back for some minutes!
And when I got home I was totally knackered – I had to throw my t-shirt in the wash bin and leap in the shower before I did anything else and can now type this feeling a bit less hot and smelly! Mind you, I think my saddle needs a small adjustment as I seem to have stunned those bits that most women think we blokes do our thinking with – so quite how I’m composing this article I’m not entirely sure!
Finally, and nothing whatsoever to do with anything referred to above, you may have noticed that with the exception of one dig at organised religions back in March 2009 I rarely if ever say anything even mildly controversial on this site. That may have to change!
Why? Well anything contentious or even downright political that I have felt obliged to set finger to keyboard about in the past has not been posted here but on the site belonging to an acquaintance of a friend. The site in question appears in the “Blogroll” list on the right of this page as “Sumpnado” but it isn’t there anymore. I don’t know the reasons behind his closing it down but assume that “Cy” (the owner) has found “Sumpnelse” to do instead!
Anyone who may in the distant future wish to gather up my complete works for a dissertation of some sort need not fear – my friend Vincent in Thailand fortunately backed up all the files and I’m going to ask if I can have access to my contributions for posterity. Failing that, I almost never type my posts directly into WordPress so I should have the original documents on one or other of six USB memory sticks or four Computers.
So, a bit of volatility MAY just start to creep in – you have been warned!