Journey’s Start

<a href=””>Journey</a&gt;

A frantic rush to get away from it all,
snap shut the suitcase lid,
close it down on the daily frustrations,
thinking to escape by keeping on,
moving on, searching for a new place,
new sights, new sounds, new feelings,
till the travel becomes an end in itself.
The journey becomes its own justification.
Its own metaphor for the journey through life.

The mad dash down the motorway,
tantalising wait in traffic jam,
the struggle to escape from thinking
by moving on
never realising – or never admitting –
that it can’t be done.







Mountain Bike

<a href=””>Mountain</a&gt;

I am a brand new mountain bike
My owner’s pride and joy.
I’ve chunky tyres and umpteen gears,
I am his favourite toy.

I’m bright and clean and shiny,
My owner’s joy and pride,
And every weekend without fail
He takes me for a ride.

He loads me on his Volvo,
Drives forty miles and then
He lifts me down and rides two miles
Then drives back home again.

There’s one thing kinda puzzles me,
The trails we ride are flat
I’ve never even seen a hill.
A mountain? What is that?









Way to Go!

<a href=””>Trains, Planes, and Automobiles</a>

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)
Respond in a New Post

Choice of transport mode? No contest, Airplanes mean crowds, waiting in line, luggage getting lost, feeling shoved around discomfort, boredom.

Trains – well in the old days trains were fun. In the days of steam, Thomas the tank engine and the Fat Controller…yes, trains in stories were great. The Railway Children, Hogwarts Express…The reality was much less fun, Overcrowding seems to be the norm and even if you have a seat booked you have a struggle to find it and then have to get the person sitting in it to move. Can be tricky.

Bus? If you live in a rural area of Britain just finding a bus can be a challenge. A lot of the rural bus services have been shut down as “uneconomical”.

A car does give you the chance to set your own pace – or at least choose your own traffic jam. But at least one of the party has the job of driving and can’t enjoy the trip and the scenery,  It costs too, fuel, servicing, maintenance, MOT, vehicle excise duty, driving licence, insurance. Cars are an expensive luxury that would not be used to the same degree if we had a really good public transport system.

The best way to go is under your own power on two – or three wheels.

“In a car you’re bound and fettered
But a bike can not be bettered
As a way to get yourself from A to B
So I beg you, do not drive,
Breathe fresh air and come alive
Get  a bike and come and ride along with me!”


Or just possibly this way…..


Like School Dinners, only more so


I’ve been looking at the British Airways web site with a view to a long-haul flight next year. I was astounded at the information available and more so at what was left out.


Perhaps someone who qualifies as a “frequent flier” can contradict me, on reading the details of in-flight meals; i was tempted to bring my own butties! A pity that isn’t allowed. There were splendid pictures of the meals – who needs a picture to show then what a steak or a scone and jam look like? What they didn’t say – and i’m always suspicious of the things left out of an advert – was the timing of the meals and the choice of what you have and when you have it.


In a café I can decide what i eat and when. If I want my breakfast at 4pm or my lunch a 9am I can generally get it – apart from some cafés who stop serving breakfast after mid-morning. I also have a choice of what I eat. From the descriptions on BA’s website it seems the meals are trundled out when the airline stewards decide to serve them. If you don’t want then at these fixed times – tough. Many people nowadays don’t want a big meal in the middle of the day but prefer it in the evening. I don’t think you can get this on BA. I may be wrong. I hope I am.

Some passengers will have travelled on a connecting flight where they may or may not have been fed and may be suffering from jet lag, but there seems no provision for customers to eat when it suits them rather than when it suits the airline. There seems to be no choice on the menu unless you have a “special dietary requirement “ or want Halal or Kosher food. Surely choice is of the essence when you are going on holiday and there should be several different menus available. Given the number of passengers on a long-haul jet and fact that most of the stuff is probably just taken out of its package and shoved in a microwave and the air stewards will have many hours to fill during a long trip adding a bit of variety to the food shouldn’t be too difficult.


As far as I can see, though, the food is served at the time the authority decides, the menu is fixed and the only choice would seem to be between eating or going hungry. Reminds me of school dinners before Jamie Oliver reformed them.



Travels with a Tandem

The Happy Wanderer What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

It all depends on when and where and how you are travelling. When we went on tandem holidays  we never booked accommodation ahead because we didn’t know how far we would get in a day. It would have been frustrating to have to stop early in the afternoon simply because we had a b&B booked.

So much depends on the weather, the traffic, the state of the roads, how tired you are, even how good your navigation is.

On one occasion we got a lot further than we’d planned simply because the roads were dead quiet and there was no traffic. It happened to be the day of Princess Diana’s funeral and the streets of Lancashire were deserted. Everyone was indoors watching the event on TV. We broke our previous record for distance travelled with a loaded tandem and ended up at Shrewsbury, much further on than we expected to get.

Of course there are times when not booking ahead can mean you are still searching for somewhere to stay quite late in the evening, All I can say is that we’ve never had to sleep under a hedge …yet. There’s a first time for everything. But on a cycling tour, not knowing where you will be sleeping the following night is all part of the fun!

We found a B&B in Ardrossan when we had more of less resigned ourselves to riding as far as the ferry terminal and dossing down in the waiting room. We found a room in a Travel Lodge on the motorway – we went in via the service entrance, bicycles aren’t allowed on motorways. We found the staff very helpful.they even let us store our tandem in the linen room!

Not having a fixed route and a rigid itinerary is definitely preferable if you are on a bike.



You’re Never alone with a Trike

One of the main things about riding a recumbent trike is that you are noticed, Trikes aren’t for the shy retiring type. If you want to fade into the background and hide from people don’t get anything as unusual as a trike.

Park a trike outside a cafe or supermarket and nine times out of ten, when you come back there will be at least one person looking it over. The usual questions are ” is it comfortable?” , “how fast can you go?”  “do you feel safe?” and often from younger people “how much did it cost?”

It seems nowadays people measure the worth of an object  by its monetary cost. When I was growing up it was considered impolite to ask what something had cost,  a bit like asking how much someone earned. It just wasn’t done. I might say to a friend “that’s a nice handbag. Where did you get it?”  but I’d feel I had to offer a reason if I wanted to know what it cost, eg “I’d like to get a similar one for my daughter – is it very expensive?”

Back to bikes or trikes: some of the odder questions I’ve been asked:

  • How do you pronounce the name of the maker? ( It’s Hase – hass- e the German for hare, I understand.)
  • Where did you get the flag? – ans. it came with the bike. The questioner wanted to get a similar flat for her mother’s mobility scooter.

I’ve learnt to allow extra time for shopping at our local supermarket to allow for the time explaining the delights of a trike and how  I came to ride one. There have been some expressions of interest and even people saying “I’m getting less steady perhaps it’s time I went for a trike”  But so far I’ve not managed to persuade anyone to change their mode of transport. But I live in hope!










HOLIDAY ESSENTIALS I’ve just read this advice in a magazine. Are they serious?

“It goes without saying, but get yourself booked in at a hair and beauty salon in time for your holiday away to make sure you’re looking your best before you go. Semi-permanent eyelashes , acrylic nails, bikini wax and an eyebrow pluck are essentials not to miss out on and a fresh cut and colour will make you feel freshly pampered for the flight out.”

Does anyone take this sort of advice seriously? Some of the suggested treatments sound more like torture.  I mean why have your bikini line waxed  if you don’t intend to wear a bikini? My own preparations for a flight would be a good thick book, a set of earplugs and a strong anaesthetic. But then, I’ve never been over enthusiastic about holidays. Here’s something I wrote a few years ago:

I hate holidays
From the frantic preparation
The lists and arguments
Where shall we go?
What shall we do?
What must we take?
To the final exhausted return
And the short-lived glad-to-get-home Feeling.
The sudden seeing your own things through different eyes.
And appreciating the little luxuries of home
Like running water, indoor sanitation
And knowing you can swear if you want to.
But holidays are hell.
Travelling hopelessly and never arriving
The pointless trekking from place to place
And never finding rest.
A holiday may be exciting
May even be in some perverse way enjoyable
You tell people afterwards how much you enjoyed it
But that’s only a keeping up with the Joneses
It’s what everyone does
It’s what’s expected of you,
But restful – it certainly isn’t.
You get back from a holiday ready for a rest.