“When will it be summer mum?”

Although the wind was light it was bitter cold coming as it did from the north and running down the east coast, I wanted to do much more today, but a wee circuit out to Pitscottie and home, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak.

Back home I started pottering in the garden, you will always find something to do there. The rain has certainly helped there too, and at last, the Gladioli are starting to show above ground, I was beginning to worry that they would ever come up, and other plants and seed as well, all good.

Indoors and with the sun now well over the yardarm it was on with the tatties for dinner, I put on the television with the sound down to watch the results as they came in, no big surprises there, same old same old. The SNP verses the Unionist parties for another five years. People still do not get it, if you vote overwhelmingly for the SNP on the constituency vote, there is little point in voting SNP on the list, for the system is “Giveth with one hand – taketh away with the other” – one million votes will be cast for the SNP on the list that will gain no SNP MSP they will only help elect Unionist parties (mainly the Tories) into office, how stupid are they to do this time after time?

Nicola Sturgeon does not mind of course so long as she is the biggest party, keeping her pension pot growing. We need some diversification and a proper opposition for the parliament to work, not this constant 50/50 split. Like Boris she has benefited from the vaccine rollout. However if she continues with this “We have to make the case for independence” kicking the can down the road, and not deliver on her promise to hold another referendum, she will quickly know the wrath of the Scottish people, she is now on a very short leach. As I looked over the headlines on this morning papers in Scotland, most have a jubilant picture of the yellow coated Nicola Sturgeon, On the front page, I did notice however the headline on one that read

“Wow for independence” – the newspapers get it, why can the people of Scotland not get it, how they are being led by the nose – then again they are the Nicola Sturgeon fan club after all, why they even have their own fan club newsletter “The National”.

As the afternoon progressed and the results come in, I rode with Mark Beaumont across Australia, New Zealand, south of North America, and then back to Europe, riding up from Lisbon (in Portugal) into Spain then France to finish in Paris, 194 days 17 hours and covering 18,296 miles. Quite a feat, but you have to ask Why? I don’t mean riding around the world, people are doing that all the time. I mean punishing the way he did. If you really wished to circumnavigate the world on a bike in the fastest time to win some trophy, (which makes no sense to me) you would have a very light racing bike, carry no gear, and be followed by a camper van that supplied all your needs, food, bed, medical aid and bike maintenance.

He said he was riding for charity, but I could not help but notice there was no appendix to tell you what was collected from sponsors and what was the expenditure on the trip, the only mention of money was when he was crossing Australia, at one point he said he has to spend £1,000 on food during that short spell out of Perth. If this was the kind of expenditure involved I suspect it cost more to do the trip than anything the charities received. Then again if you fancy becoming another Michael Palin, you have to do something like this to get your name in the right places.

“What’s with all the negative waves?”

I have love-hate relationship with charities, every Wednesday, my day off work, I would captain a tandem for a blind lad. It had all started when I answered an advert in the Telegraph and Argos, place thereby a blind lad, who wanted someone to steer his tandem on a charity ride (for a blind charity) – a very hilly five miles loop called the ‘Bike Hike’. I thought it would only be a one-off, two years later I was still riding as captain on the tandem. We rode all over the Yorkshire Dales and once a year over to the York Rally. It was during this acquaintance that I become aware of the difficulties faced by blind people.

I started making a monthly direct debit payment to ‘Guide Dogs for the Blind’. I am still happy to carry on doing this, but the hate part is that they send out begging letter and books of raffle tickets for me to sell on their behalf. I have often wonder how much money goes on this form of money raising. Collecting money for charities in this way has become a growth industry, begging the question, what percentage of the money raised really benefits the charity whose coattails they ride on.

You will meet lots of people when riding long-distance – one of the first questions none cyclists will ask, after you explain what you are about.

“Are you riding for charity?” They never seem to understand that your ride your bicycle simply as fun and adventure.

Oh help, I’m morphing into a grumpy old man.

Boo-hoo. 

Stay safe.

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