I had two simple tasks to do today. I can now safely say that I am about to go to bed having precisely two tasks left to do tomorrow.
I was going to row this morning. This isn’t abnormal for a Saturday although today I was going to be in a single. The bowman was off training in a masters’ quad that he had been grafted into for the fours head. I was too young to join such frivolities. About ten minutes before I was due to leave, I was forewarned that rain had stopped play.
Rowing in the rain isn’t an issue. You just get wet, The problem in this instance was that it rained heavily yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. This leads to our small, gentle trickle of a river morphing into a torrent that throws trees into bridges and generally wreaks havoc with the peaceful idyll of a rowing training session. With that in mind joining the knowledge that I’d not been in a single for a long time and that last time we took the double out in rough water it was ‘interesting’, I decided to err on the side of common sense (and even more common laziness) and give it a miss in the hope that it would have receded slightly by tomorrow.
I then found I had time. I was almost shocked by how much of it I had. It was an unusual experience where until very recently it was to be expected. I chose to embark on the second of my day’s quests.
I recently bought my first car. A landmark occasion for anyone and I was no exception. If anything it was magnified by the fact that, although I’d had a car licence for a year, I hadn’t got around to it until now. I’d gone down the motorbike route at 17 preferring the cheaper, if less practical, option. Since the regulations for learner riders is much more stringent than those for drivers, I had a 17-year-old 125cc Honda. It was (and still is I’m sure) a wonderful machine in its own way. It just didn’t offer ease of use or outstanding performance. Sure, it does 100mpg and costs £15/year to tax but you have to accept that you’re not going anywhere fast (0-60 would best be described as ‘sometimes’ rather than a figure). Or carrying anything bigger than a small backpack. Or wearing whatever you want to be in when you arrive at the place you are heading for.
Over the course of the last five years, I got used to travelling everywhere at 52mph with a frustrated looking person in a car (generally a BMW for some reason) behind me and a resigned demeanour knowing that at the next inkling of hill on the road I would slow down to a sedate 43mph and wonder if it would actually make it to the top. I got used to carrying a helmet around with me wherever I went and wearing the same kevlar-denim mix jeans far more often than one would normally consider appropriate. It was a fact of life that if it rained I could be seen in a giant plastic baby-grow like overall that would leave me almost completely dry except for select patches of damp that would appear in various awkward places.
But anyway, I digress. These days, I drive around in luxury. I have air conditioning and an accelerator that seems to have a connection to the speed. I can hardly believe it. It wasn’t long though until I started taking these things for granted and began noticing that I couldn’t see. Deciding I’d like such extravagances as see-through windows, I set about replacing the only broken part I could find. The windscreen wiper.
My search took me to a scrap yard. What wonderful places they are. Where else can you wonder through stacked car carcasses with a spanner and the knowledge that you can remove whichever parts you can reach? It’s like a giant adult playground. Only with the added sense that you’re benefiting from the demise of other people and/or their cars.
Having rummaged for a while and discovered that each and every 306 had had its rear wiper removed or broken, I think I may have found the single flaw in the car. I finally found one on a 406. They’ll be the same I thought. Oh how wrong I was.
So now I have two non-working wipers and still can’t see where I’ve been. This mission may not have gone quite how I’d planned.