Who’s, a Sill Boy Then?

 It had rained throughout the night and as I waited for clearing skies, I watched (well, listened to) La Boheme on the Sydney Harbour, from Sky Art. I have too much to do when I rise off a morning to be sitting around watching television, so I buzz around with my earphones firmly in place, “Music While You Work”. This opera was a very modern production, with young artists performing, they even had a hooker shooting off a gun, and there was me thinking that Paris would be nice at this time of year. Then again, like policemen getting younger as we grow older, I suspect the same goes for performers.

Out on the road by 9 am up over knock Hill, down and over the Eden and onto the main road into Cupar. That is when it all went pear-shaped.

I had just navigated the big roundabout at the industrial estate, and of course looking everywhere but where I was going. As I turned my attention back to the road I was just about to go crashing onto the high kerb and cried out.

“Oh, Sugar!”

Or something to that effect, and in panic, yanked on the right handlebar with the inevitable result. The little 20-inch wheel skidded under the frame of the bike, leaving me lying on my side in the road, bike, pannier bag, hat, cast to the four winds.

You do not think in this sort of situation you just react. I gathered the bike and put it safely on the pavement, collected up hat and bag. Already folks were stopping to ask if I were all right.

“Yes, Thanks anyway” the only thing that seemed to be bruised was my ego.

Suddenly I felt dizzy and sick to my stomach so lay down by my bike and closed my eyes, hoping it would all be over soon.

An old age pensioner, lying on the pavement, help ma boab, heart attack, stroke, he may even dead, I may as well have hung a sign around my neck ‘STOP-HELP”.

Most just drew up and asked from the safety of their car, “are you OK.”

However Florence Nightingale, wanted me checked out by a paramedic, and was reluctant to accept that, yes, I really was fine, and, no, you do not need my telephone number to call me and see that I made it home in one piece, I am just a bit shaken up, that’s all.

“Where are you from?” asked her husband, “We could drive you home”.

“St Andrews, but honestly, there is no need, I’m fine now” – in disbelieve,

“He has come all the way from St Andrews” he told his wife. Well, possibly the last the time he was on a bike, it had stabilizers.

By this time I was up on my feet and guzzling, greedily at my water bottle, and with my thanks ringing in their ears, I pedalled off before I was forcefully restrained and carried off to see a doctor.

(I know I have made light of it but they were genuinely worried for my safety. Thank you, whoever you were).

Today’s bike ride – 18 miles

At an average of – 10.63 mph

Time taken – 1: 41: 25 (minus injury time.)

Max speed – 26.80 mph

Ascent 784

Calorie burned – 708

Home now and under the shower, ‘nothing to write home to mummy about’, all the sticky out bits down my left side, thumb, elbow, knee, ankle, had all lost a bit of skin.

“That will learn you ma lad”

Almost there – that’s the White Cliffs of Dover over the bow lads, I just love your safety equipment.

Refugees have never been out of the news for decades, and once more they take centre stage in the media. The Tory lead government have totally lost all control over immigration. They are now calling for boats, to be forcefully returned to whence they came. Rubber craft loaded to the waterline, with desperate people, try to escape, war and poverty, inflicted upon them as a consequence of UK foreign policy’s. Risking all to cross the English Channel, (Manche) in the hope of a better life, if not for themselves, certainly their children. This smacks of, not only desperation, by Johnston’s government, but Trump calling out

“Build The Wall”

Polices, to appeal to bigoted, stupid people, and keep the Tory government in power. Like Trump’s wall, this too is doomed to failure. All it will take is a British patrol vessel forcing, what is bacillary a rubber blow-up boat, already unstable and overloaded, to do a 180-degree change, of course, to be caught by a wave, or strong tides, and capsize. God forbid, with loss of life. Should such a scenario play out at sea, within minutes it will go viral around the world, you can see the banner headlines now,

“The Uk’s Immigration Policy” …………… played over and over, on social media.

Do not look for an immigration policy in the Channel, but at the beginning of the journey that these desperate people have made. The refugee camps, where they have first sought sanctuary from a war-torn country. (Wars feed by the weapons supplied by the UK and American arms companies.) Here they find themselves in a living hell, facing a lifelong future of grinding poverty, famine and disease. Why would they not wish to escape, to hopefully, a better future?

Boris, get your Foreign Minister’s, shiny arse off that chair in Whitehall, get her on a plane, to meet up with, and around the table with her other G8 pals, and the leaders of the countries that this problem emanates from. Time to roll up your sleeves girl, and earn some of that extravagant, salary and perks on the Westminster gravy train, and go to work on a workable solution. A solution that will give such desperate people’s of this world, the life chances, that like all of the children of the world, deserve, living in their own homes, in their own countries. A life, at least as fulfilling, as they would hope to find here in ours.

It is said of one experience that it is one of the most agonising possible . . . that of leaving the soil of your native country forever, of turning your back on your heritage, being torn away by the roots from your familiar land. I have not suffered that experience. But I know of an experience equally agonising, and more irreversible (for you could return to your home) and that is the experience of knowing, not that you are leaving your country, but that your country is leaving you, is ceasing to exist under your very feet, being sucked away from you as it were by a consuming, swallowing wind, into the hands and the possession of another country and civilisation.’

(Welsh philosopher J.R. Jones, as quoted in Billy Kay’s The Mither Tongue)

There are no problems in this world, only solutions” John Lennon.

Pontorson to Fougeres – 23 miles.

Mary Queen of Scots – Slept Here.

Light again Hamilton, but Fougeres is where I would have stopped. This is a beautiful part of France, little country roads and rural villages, and the natives are very friendly. Market Day was Saturday, when I visited, but may have changed and there is a large supermarket that will supply all your need before turning into camp for the night. If you have not travelled in France before you may like to check out the fish stall, with live lobsters and crab, (however, difficult to cook on a picnic stove.)

Fougeres has a great history for cyclists. In 2013 it was the ville de depart for Stage 12 of the 100th Tour de France, and you may remember this is the year that Chris Froome wore his Yellow Jersey, on this Stage from Fougeres to Tours. This is a particularly flat stage, which suited the sprinters. It was also the stage where, like me today, many came a cropper in one of the many crashes. Mark Cavendish was pipped on the line in Tour by the German rider Marcel Kittel, in a nail-biting finish.

Anyone into Audax riding will know of the Paris-Brest-Paris ride. This is a ride of 600Km from Paris to Brest and 600 Km back into Paris, and the ultimate test of mental and physical endurance. Why do I mention this, well if you do take it on, you will pass through Fougeres, twice, but will have no time for sightseeing.

Footnote, my cycling shorts/trousers, since they have a zip on leg extensions, got rather dirty today so I popped them in the laundry basket when I showered. I pulled from the airing cupboard an old pair of trousers that only six months ago were straining to go around my waist. Today I could gather up around four inches, or pull them over my hips fastened. I have to admit I was surprised at the loss of inches around my middle. But that is what lockdown does to you, sitting at home for a year with only light exercise, and a cupboard full of goodies at the disposal and an eye that is bigger than your belly.

Stay safe.

2 thoughts on “Who’s, a Sill Boy Then?

  1. Fifers are like that, and I do not say that just because I am a Fifer, its something that was born in the Fife coalfields and their villages. A community spirit, hammered out on the anvil of hard times and community welfare. something you found across the working classes after the war, and in Fife especially unique in mining communities.


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