Monday, November 2, 2009

Old style cycling

Old style cycling

While cycling to work this morning (well in fact I originally wrote this on 10th August on another forum) with my briefcase hanging on the handlebars of my old fashioned ungeared sit-up-and-beg bicycle, parallel to the frame, I realised of course that a gentleman cycling to work in the first half of the 20th century didn't have a rucksack on his back to crease his jacket and make him sweaty, or panniers on a carrier on the back of his bicycle, he simply hung his briefcase on the handlebars.

This is perfectly safe on old fashioned bicycles because the handlebars being correctly up quite high and the bicycle frame itself prevent any risk of the briefcase going into the wheel. I changed over to such a bicycle about 8 years ago, due to pains in my lower back from hybrid, mountain and racer style bicycles.Since then I have had no pains, as I sit up straight & my backside resides on a very comfortable sprung Brooks leather saddle - Made in England of course.

I have no gears, so I have to use more leg power, good for the old heart! So no unsightly cables.I have a dynamo light on a bracket in front of the headset - so no batteries. Also I only have a coaster brake, so again no ugly cables.I also have no need for a carrier,as I have handlebar and saddle bags, in keeping with the vintage look. Which on an old bike is easy because of the metal loops on the saddle and the space on the handlebars that aren't cluttered up by lights, cables, gear changers etc. And an old-fashioed bell out by one of the handgrips.

Of course vintage cycling isn't just about old fashioned practicality,ease of use and comfort; it is naturally also about the dignified look! And the positive looks and remarks one garners from passers-by.
For example, last Thursday, as I came out of a shop ,there were two old men admiring some of the bicycles outside , and as I cycled off one said, "that's a nice bike you've got there".Now I don't think they'd have said that if I was on my Claud Butler hybrid.

Old style cycling - comfortable, clean, easy, healthy...but most importanlty perhaps, elegant and refined.

Since August however, in fact in late September I converted my "new" sit up and beg into a 1930s style "path racer"

More about such oddities later.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Life takes on peculiar turns and changes.
Death does the same with each act.
Still surprised by each new twist
By each new interpretation, but
Shouldn't be,as there's very little
New from age to age in the game of
Life and death.

Always shocked when someone dies
Always outraged when someone's killed
Life is full of death, and
Death is a part of life.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009



Nothing's happened
No it didn't happen
The TV is wrong OKAY,
That's just a film!

Yes mummy's fine darling
She'll be home later
No she wasn't there today
She's out of town.

It's just some sick joke
That the networks are playing
You'll see
Mummy'll be home
In time for tea.

This is a piece I wrote in about 97 or 98.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

In the summer we're just animals

Have you noticed that come the warm weather, the retreat of Jack Frost, a.k.a. Kung Bore, the
light days, the healing rays, and the calming breezes that we -mankind - especially in the northern hemisphere revert to some kind of Neanderthal pre-civilised, pre-industrialised, pre-urban catalogue of behavioural traits.

During the winter, the cold, the damp, the wet, the dark, the heavy snow, we carry on with our lives in deepest, darkest, wintry January in exactly the same way as we did in October.
That is to say we carry on driving our cars, going to work and doing everything we usually do, making no concessions, for the fact that it is winter, in the way that the animal kingdom does by going into hibernation, reducing activity, storing food, warmth and energy.

Yet come the warmth & the sun, we get randy, we start peeling off for the heat, we have more sex or at least want to have more sex, and when on holiday we rest in the sunny afternoons after big meals, just like lions. In short, we revert to a more natural animal like behaviour.

That said, I hate the sun.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Five hours


Tiredness hit me not
Suddenly, but slowly &
Persistently like the
Wearing down of wood by Water.

My eyes first closed at 4pm but
I didn't fall asleep until 9.

Five hours waiting in an airport
Trying to stay awake,
Fighting the clutches of Morpheus.

Dreams came fast
And frequently
Distorted by the twisted
Events of the day, and
The 5 hours of struggling
To stay awake.

Turning & sweating in
An unfriendly bed in a
Hotel in a foreign metropolis.

I awoke at 4am
Scared & exhausted
By the nightmares
That reflected the truth
In their terrifying way.

And found myself
In my own bed at home
The day before I left.

These premonitions of
A terrible trip & that five
Hour wait made me
Cancel my flight & my

The News at 10 on the
Day of my cancelled trip
Reported the crash of my
Flight at 9pm, the
9pm when I fell asleep.

Only now I wouldn't
Fall asleep at 9pm
For ever, as my
Dreams had saved me
From that flight.

Now it is 9pm on the
Day after my flight & I'm
Afraid to go to sleep.
But a voice tells me it's safe.

Then I awake with a start
Dripping in sweat &
It's only 6pm.
I have some tea & a
Sandwich then
Retire at 9pm
Feeling safe.

And had a fantastic
Night's sleep.

Did this really happen
Or did I dream it?

Found texts from the past

Today I found an old notebook of mine from 2001, full of poems, notes, queries, worries and disjointed scribblings.


A leaf falls as a
Person cries,

For the dying season
For the closing year.

The tears fall on the
Fallen leaves,

That shudder for an instant
With the promise of lie,

Then wilt & die when
The tears have dried,

Tears for the dying season
Tears for the closing year.

The passing and ageing
Of another twelve-month,

And like the fallen
Dying leaf,

The person falls & dies
In his ageing grief.

Doesn't time fly?

Doesn't time fly? I can't believe that it's been four months now since I last wrote here, and my life anyway is much the same.

The huge change of course in the last few months for many people has been the phenomenal explosion in the use of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Youtube, Bebo and dozens of other social cyber-networks.
One of the knock-on negative effects, in my opinion, has been a decline, rather than an increase, in the writing of daily blogs, at least on the blogs I read anyway.

Some learned type somewhere on the other side of The Pond recently presented the theory, a theory that I agree with, that social cyber-networks ultimately make people lonlier, despite the huge number of cyber friends that people seem to have. And presumably also because the people who were lonely in the first place got into social networking in what we now know was a false hope of making friends in cyberspace that would hopefully become friends in real ife.

But instead of finding real friends they find themselves sitting in front of a computer screen on their own at home every evening waiting for people to respond to their input on any number of social networks and discussion forums, rather than going out and meeting real people.

To me that's a sad, tragic development in the use of the internet.

Now, I'm not sad and lonely but I do know that I spend far too much time on Facebook, both at home and at work, both during the week and at weekends; and my very limited blogging since November has been due to my increased use of Facebook.

During tea-breaks and lunch-breaks at work the topic of discussion is invariably about the actual phenomenon of social cyber-networking, of what's happening to Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Youtube etc. The general usual daily chat of a staff room of years, decades and centuries past now seems to be redundant, because so much of people's everyday lives is now listed, written about and discussed on Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, Myspace etc.

In one small rebellious way of my own I'm in the process of removing all the "friends" from my Facebook list of "friends" that are colleagues I actually work with or see on a daily basis.

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? I wonder if it flies just as fast when you're sad and lonely at home on your own in front of a computer screen and trying to make friends on the internet.

Probably not.