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July 1, 2008

I used to be the proud owner of a Series III Land Rover (1981 model). I had to take the VRT test last February. You’ll have to understand one thing before reading on … I’m not one who’s taken in by looks. So it follows that Benedicta (the landy) was not one to turn heads, but she could roar when she had to, if you get my drift … anyway …

I took her to the VRT station and the attendant gave her the once over.

“She’s not going to pass.”

“I think you’re not going to pass her.”

“I’m not allowed to pass cars with 4 colours.”

Blank stare.

It dawned on me that Benedicta was going to need some cosmetic surgery. I didn’t have the time for all that, so I gave her to a Land Rover enthusiast who promised me that she wasn’t going to need anything as long as she was in his care. (I’m sure I heard him mutter “She’s had a life worse than a stray dog.”)



“How are you going home now?”

“I’ll bus it, I guess.”

“There’s that bike by the door. Why don’t you take it? I was thinking of throwing it out soon. Saves me the trouble”

“Gee. Thanks.” (I think.)

If it were a dog you’d call it mangy. And it was love at first sight. Blue, gritty and it had that great worn look about it that tells you “This bike’s been to Timbuctoo and back.” (But the tyres spoiled it all because they were spanking brand new. They still had those sort of little hairs on them that new tyres have. Whatever …)

I am now cycling to work. It’s become the highlight of my day (except negotiating the roundabout at the top of the hill leading to the dockyard. I feel like a model for Brownian motion.) Going and coming. And do you know what’s really fun? Going down one way streets. The first time I did it it was more than I could take to stop myself from shouting “In your face!” to the No Entry sign.

Simple things please simple minds, you might say …

I don’t have to tell you that the bike-it-to-work scheme encountered some serious opposition from the wife. She even phoned the Police Station asking them whether it was obligatory for bicycle riders to wear a helmet. (I can remember how she said “bicycle”. It was like drawing your nails across a blackboard. And how she looked at me when she said it. It was a sort of serene look – like Tilda Swinton in Constantine – but you know, when you’re on the receiving end, that it spells trouble with a capital T.) To my relief the lovely constable on the other side told her “No. It’s not obligatory.” I think that had he been face to face he would have added “But there’s a White Paper about it.”

Her stance has changed since. She can appreciate that her husband now takes up less space in rooms. So she gave me a bicycle rack for father’s day 🙂 . I think what she meant to say was: “Take the car, drive it till the petrol runs out, then take the bike.”

That’s it for today then. Speak to you tomorrow. Same time, same place.


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One Comment
  1. I love picking those ‘little hairs’ off new tyres. It’s as satisfying as squeezing whitehead spots or picking scabs.

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