• neil

Day 22 (8 April): Public Enemy n° 1

Not Mexican migrants, the Chinese or the World Health Organisation.

Road bikers.

Those intense, striving, humourless roboknobs in lycra and wrap around sun glasses

What is it about these people?

Please understand me. My gripe is not with all cyclists. Far from it. Many is the cheery ‘Hallooo!’ bestowed by self on mums with kids, families out together and the chubby puce-faced bloke with the baggy shorts and the sweaty sweaty sweat shirt. No. It’s the solo guy in black lycra and the $6000 dollar 3 ounce bike who gets up my nostrils. Hurtling pell mell down hill he runs you down and shouts abuse at the dog (on a leash) while you extricate yourself from a ditch. Between you and me he wasted his time insulting Alfie. She only speaks three words of Flemish.

But this guy is a believer, a true convert to the Opus Biker cause.

He can’t exchange a greeting and makes no attempt to respect a decent distance.

He is utterly humourless. And he looks ....ridiculous. But we mortal walkers clearly have no grasp of what is at stake here.

His performance is being relayed from heart monitor to iPhone and Apple Watch. The subsequent in depth Strava analysis, when compared on a graph with previous performances in similar climatic conditions, will have a profound impact on his training programme.

Training for what you poor sad man?

Just wait until I’m back in my three tonne Volvo.

(One of my daughters ,reading over my shoulder, has proffered the charitable explanation that he didn’t hear my greeting as he was probably listening to music. I choose not to be charitable).

I mean to say, I live in a pretty part of Flanders. I step out of my house and I’m quickly among woods and fields. The trees are in blossom, the skies are blue, the birds are singing and the beer is free.

Yet these people deny themselves the half of it as those tender racing bikes would buckle a wheel if their riders were to leave smooth macadam. And do they ever stop to smell a rose, admire a vista or listen to the frogs? They most certainly do not.

I wonder when the transformation from civilised being to Mr. Toad takes place? Is it when they buy the kit or when they don it?

Please join with me in spreading the rumour that 5G reacts with Lycra and leads to deformation of the gonads.

Three months ago who would have thought that?

  • giving the clap to health workers would be your patriotic duty

  • The USA would designate gun shops an essential service

  • Brexit would be completely forgotten

  • you would wear latex in public

  • air quality would massively improve within weeks

  • you would have forgotten Greta’s family name

  • the stock market would succumb to panic and nose dive

But we will not panic. We will not sell the family pangolin.

Warren Buffet never said “Pangolins are like stocks. “ But he did say in the Berkshire Hathaway Chairman's Letter 1997

(source provided so you may see I never kid you )

“If you plan to eat hamburgers throughout your life and are not a cattle producer should you wish for higher or lower prices for beef? You don’t sell your stock when the market catches a chill.”

So now is clearly the time to buy pangolins. Just don't make them into burgers.

More coping strategies

And while (again) on the subject of animals - perhaps during this time of our own confinement we might develop a touch more sympathy for all captive animals, including zoo animals. They are not doing this for a few weeks. It’s their full-time job.

They don’t get to go out in family groups to visit the pharmacy or to buy the odd assault rifle.

But they cope. Here is a rather amusing report on how they do that. We can learn.

And finally, for today, I realise that by now you will have completed all the available online yoga and gym classes.

So ....perhaps you might like to try a touch of home ballet. The people here are not as advanced as you, dear readers, but it will suffice to give you the general idea. Apologies for not giving the attribution but I can't read the script....

Stay safe and stay in touch!



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