Wheel Nuts, Walking Dead & Grey Nomads – Week 17 : 2019

April 24, 2019

It was clear that Sri Lanka had its tensions despite their suppression of the Tamil uprising in the 90s. On our February holiday we learned much of this history. The bloodshed was horrific and deeply divisive. The Tamils are Hindus and the majority, the Singalese, are Buddhists. In the religious mix of the island are also Christians and Muslims. If the Sri Lankan government are to be believed then the latest appalling atrocity is by a Muslim terrorist group. However our trip to the island was delightful. We visited Hindu and Buddhist temples and safely traversed the southern half of the island in a bus. The island didn’t look prosperous and with so many mouths to feed and so few resources this is probably the reality of the whole of South Asia. You can imagine that this ferments deep unhappiness.

The scale of this atrocity is devastating and not least for the Sri Lankan economy. Tourism brings in the most foreign revenue. I cannot imagine that this will do anything other than destroy hotel bookings, guided tours, bus company revenues and the income of thousands upon thousands of Sri Lankan workers for many many months/years to come. 

Near tragedy might have been closer to home but by a thread. Sophie (Favourite Youngest Daughter) took her car into Kwik Fit in Fallowfield, Manchester for two new tyres. They were fitted and she drove away. The next day, coming across to Leeds, she heard a “rattle” but drove on despite a car full of colleagues, including one who was pregnant. She eventually left them in Leeds and drove over to York thinking the rattle was getting worse. Here she went out shopping with her mother who thought it best that they divert via a Kwik Fit in the town.

There the fitter discovered that out of the necessary five nuts holding on the wheel there was only one. The other four hadn’t been tightened up, had come loose and flown off the wheel. Needless to say she and her mother were badly shaken and angry at what could have been a catastrophe. From here we’ve invloved many parties to establish what happened and for her employers and lease company to know of this incompetence.

My in-laws’ care home is a fine place with a lot of expertise and pleasant surroundings. When you first visit you delude yourself that it is probably not a bad place to spend your last days. The problem, of course, is that if you end up here you yourself are not in sparkling condition. Your enjoyment of the service, food, facilities is limited dependent on your faculties – physical and mental.

My mother-in-law, a lady with no diminution of any intellectual faculties, reported that the better weather had lured some of the ‘inmates’ from the first floor downstairs and outside onto the patio. She hadn’t seen some of them for a while and engaged one lady who she’d talked to a few months ago. Rather worryingly she enquired at what time “the ferry came”. Margaret brushed this off with some comment. The same lady in a conversation with another resident confidently advised her companion that “she was dead”. Reassurance that she’d be unable to converse if this actually was the case cut no ice: she was convinced that she was dead. Only later I concluded that this probably wasn’t as daft (as it obviously was). I think we all know people that to all intents and purposes are dead albeit with a heartbeat and movement.

Anna, who likes the odd TV ‘who dunnit’ is having a splendid time on ancestry.com putting together family trees on her and my side of the family. I knew about quite a lot of this lineage, vaguely. I had a maternal great grandfather depart Poland in the 19th Century when Poland was part of the then Russian Empire. He was Jewish. He was proud of his new home and became a naturalised Brit. Meanwhile his wife came from Ireland. She wasn’t fleeing the Russians with her family but no doubt her father was escaping poverty and potato blight in rural County Roscommon. Anyway she is digging deep into a lot of documentation that resides on the site and I await with interrest further discoveries.

I wrote about Leeds United last week . Since then a fatal defeat against a lowly team with only 10 men at home beggared belief. With it came our capitualtion of an automatic promotion spot. From here came another defeat and all of a sudden it was over. There are the play offs ahead but we look like an exhausted and defeated crew. The disappointment in and around the city is like a bereavement.

I also mentioned researching a tour in Australia. I’ve been reading several blogs of many different age groups, men and women and those who do high or low mileages etc etc. An interesting description of elderly male cycle tourers has emerged: ‘grey nomads’. I think I may have a new name!

Lastly my cycling mentor, Tim, continues to add to my knowledge of his life and relatives. We recently cycled past his sister’s house (and small holding) and more excitingly passed the very grass tennis court where he has made his one and only appearance on the green stuff (Sutton On Derwent – look for the blue plaque). Adding to my entertainment was his near death when turning onto the very busy A1079 to Hull. He managed to aggravate a swerving massive articulated lorry that sat on his horn to express his displeasure. If he keeps up those high jinx up then he may not be available to cycle with me for much longer.

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