Friday, September 28, 2012

Everyone needs a break

It's true! Everyone needs a little break from time to time and, Zeus knows, I've needed one for years.

Well - here's the bit I particularly like - I've had one.

Last weekend I went out for a really pleasant day with Andrew. I'm not sure that he found the first part of the day particularly pleasant because I dragged him to a car boot sale. Fascinating things, car boot sales. It's astonishing what people find to sell and even more astonishing what people THINK they can sell. The world is full of optimists, that's for sure.

I dragged Andrew around every stall. I was looking for an old-fashioned safety razor, those things with the separate blades and the screw-on handle. Didn't find one, of course, but I did buy something which I have since found I neither need nor want. But this is the nature of car hoot sales - we discover things we just never knew we couldn't live without. It's not all bad news - Andrew did okay too. He found half a dozen old Beano or Dandy annuals, I'm not sure which - a bit of light reading for his boy there then.

By the time I had perused and searched every stall on the site, I could see that Andrew was both bored and a little bit chilly so off we went into town where we wandered around a couple of shops as I continued my quest (pointlessly, I might add). Finally we got bored and retired to our favourite eatery where we had our Sunday din-dins.

It was after that that the torture began.

Andrew drove us out of town to a car park where he got the bikes off the back and I had to get changed for that popular pastime of crushing your bollocks on a bike seat designed by a devotee of the works and doings of the Marquis De Sade. Actually, apart from the crushing of the personal testacularities (copyright word, but you can borrow it), I enjoyed the bike ride enormously and this time didn't crash once - that's progress. We went several kilometres up the side of the river toward the city and sat on the grass for a while watching a marathon row - thirty-one miles, and anyone who thinks that's a stroll in the park has got to be joking.

We saw a lot of rowers - single sculls, doubles, right up to full coxed eights. There were a few older rowers. One pair of brothers had rowed many marathons together and we worked it out that they had rowed in total over a thousand miles - that's a long way to walk, never mind row. However, most of the rowers seemed to be mere youngsters - striplings, callow youths, both boys and girls.

One pair were about fourteen years old and they rowed the whole way, thirty-one miles - and didn't finish last. Anyone who despairs of today's youth, go and watch the kids rowing marathons. THAT, my friends, requires guts, determination and strength of character, and those kids had it in abundance - they'll do well in life.

We rode back to town to watch the end of the race and it was quite heartwarming to see the way the watchers on the banks were encouraging the rowers. It taught me that, however hard something may seem to most of us, there are always some who will accept the challenge AND complete it. I take off my homburg to them.

That was the weekend. The following week, I caught an early train to the city and booked myself into the hostel there and then went down to the railway station to meet John, my editor, as he got off the train. We spent a very pleasant day together and chatted of cabbages and kings until I saw him off again at about half four in the afternoon. Back to the hostel, where I got changed and, wearing a nice suit plus black homburg - I must have looked like someone out of "The Godfather" - I went into town for a very pleasant meal and then back to the hostel for a kip, with another day ahead of me.

The next morning I was waiting for Herman the Big Plum to arrive and collect me by vehicular transport when my phone rang, and it was The Wallace checking up to see if I was okay. I assured her I was and, as we were chatting, Herman El Plum arrived, so I left The Wallace to chat to the hostel boss and went off with Herman.

We drove into the town, where I introduced him to my favourite place to refuel the human body, wandered around the shops and Herman decided to take me to a nearby seaside resort. I've never been there before and, to be quite honest, I'm not keen to go there again. It's like every other seaside resort really - twenty-seven thousand ways to get dosh out of the punters. In fact that's government policy as far as I can see.

Herman got me back to the hostel at about six and off he went on the long drive home while I showered, changed and went out to have a bit of din-dins, then retired for the night.

The following day I packed my suitcase, said "Bye bye" to the people at the hostel and caught the train back to the town, where I managed to persuade Jenny (shop manageress) to let me put my suitcase in her place while I went for lunch and did a bit of shopping. Then I caught the half-four bus back to durance vile.

And that, my  friends, is the tale of my little break that lasted four days - and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Quite looking forward to the next one too. It's true, everyone needs a break - to climb a mountain or jump in a lake. I went for a bike ride and bought myself a homburg. I'm not sure which I enjoyed most - the bike ride had more pluses than minuses, and the homburg causes glances to be cast in my direction (and only a few actually snigger).

Come to think about it, people have been sniggering at me for years.

As I was coming back to town on the train, it occurred to me that a year ago I wouldn't have believed that I would he sitting on a train, feeling quite rested - and not a pair of handcuffs in sight. I must be getting old - but I DO like bike riding now.

What made the most lasting impression on me after those four days? Seeing all of those kids rowing such a long way out of sheer desire to just do it - and as long as we have kids like that we won't go far wrong.

The Voice In The Wilderness

No comments: