March 19, 2017
So the week started with attending a Speed Awareness course. This £85 bargain was because I went through a sleepy village at 36mph instead of 30mph and apparently put other lives in mortal danger. It had few redeeming features apart from my avoiding future higher insurance premiums, but it was Blog Gold.
Gavin, our workshop leader did enquire of the 22 other criminals as to whether “has anyone here been on a Speed Awareness course before?” and saw three quarters of the attendees put their hands up. At this show of hands he grinned from to ear to ear and said “welcome back!”
From here the course’s star turn, Elaine, proverbially ‘took the floor’. Gavin was going through administrative chores and he touched on the freedom to go to the toilet as and when required:
Gavin: “If you go to the toilet then what do you all have to do?”
Elaine: “Wash your hands?”
Gavin: “No, come back”
Gavin did however bite his tongue when required…
Gavin: “What are the implications of driving too fast in terms of safety in residential areas?”
Elaine: “You might hit a cat?”
Gavin: (long silence as he composed himself)…”no I was thinking about not hitting children or the elderly”
Gavin: “Why are there less safety issues as regards accidents on motorways?”
Elaine: “Less pedestrians”
Gavin: “Err… hopefully no pedestrians”
Gavin “So we’ll all agree that alcohol is not to be taken if you are driving. What else goes with alcohol?”
Gavin: “Err… no, I was more thinking of drugs”
He wasn’t awfully lucky because as he went on to explain stopping speeds and the laws of physics (that explained that the greater the speed the longer the stopping length). He confidently asked “if anyone knew any physics?” hoping this selection of nurses, retirees, farmers and van drivers would know nothing only to find a physics graduate in his midst. This thankfully shut him up!
Oh by the way, Elaine, a nurse, was caught speeding when she was visiting a friend with a dog wheel chair (the contraption animals with non functioning rear legs use). As she ruefully commented that it was a cruel blow when she was on a mercy mission. This is true because even I couldn’t make this up. I am not keen to re attend anytime soon unless they can confirm that Elaine will also be in attendance.
So this week I finished reading Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall.A very interesting analysis of geopolitics, which also made it into the top sellers listings. I need now to find a book to enable me to sleep with one eye open, my wife is studying a number of dark subjects. On Anna’s beside table I list for you 10 of her current, past or future reads – Bone Field, The Impossible Dead, Standing In Another Man’s Grave, The Drowning Man, Dead Lane, Orphan X, Unguarded, The Hunt, The Woman In Cabin 10 & Her Every Fear.
Lastly, the Grim Reaper took Chuck Berry and James Cotton. Chuck, as they say needs no introduction, but apart from a worrying interest in under age girls he did bring a more articulate form of rock n’ roll to the world. Not only great tunes well constructed but great lyrics that painted a picture of teenage America in the late 1950’ and 60’s. They told of young love, cars, dancing, travel and who can forget C’est La Vie from Pulp Fiction as John Travolta and the dangerous boss’ squeeze, Uma Thurman, dance to it.
James Cotton was the Blues harmonica player with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and many others including solo work. Given that these originals just about drank themselves to early graves then James clocked up 81 years, which is still soon I know. I love his sound but in 2015 when I cycled down America I eventually turned east when I hit New Orleans and cycled along a very empty and quite dull parched coastline. I had seen only one other cycle tourer in 2,000 miles when a cyclist came into view barrelling along toward me. Immediately recognising each other as fellow tourers we stopped and chatted. Andrew Alli was heading to New Orleans to meet friends and play blues harp. He had a Blues band. As I’d been to the home of the Blues in the Mississippi Delta I told him about my trip and favourite artists. Given he played harmonica I raised my love of James Cotton to which he told me that he’d met him. Before I shook Andrew’s hand I asked if his hand had also shaken James’? He had and so in one way or another I have touched Blues royalty.