As part of the “generally busy” of the last few weeks, I was asked to attend a funeral/cremation for the father of a friend of mine. As the dresscode was described as “formal” I opted for my much-loved three-piece suit that I got made in Cambridge. Turns out, that suit is exactly 12 years old (I took delivery of it at the start of April 2007)
Anyway, when I tried it on, I was really pleased to find that it still fits just fine – the most I had to do was brush the dust off it, as I haven’t worn it that much in the last few years.
So basically, I’m taking it as a small win that actually I haven’t changed size/weight/dimensions over that 12 year period. I know I’m still overweight and blah blah blah, but it’s been utterly consistent for over a decade, which I’m pretty happy with. I know there have been fluctuations over that time, but this current state certainly appears to be my default.
And I’m OK with that.
All the real Christmas trees are down, and waiting by the bins for collection, all the lights and decorations are down, and even the radio is back to playing normal music instead of being bloody carols all the time.
I know I’m a grumpy bastard, but getting rid of all the tat for another nine months is A Very Good Thing.
A few weeks back, he added a link to this story of endurance (and absolute lunacy) which I found fascinating.
Gary Cantrell clanged a bell at 6:40 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, signaling 70 runners to jog off into the woods on his farm in Tennessee. They had an hour to complete a 4.1667-mile loop trail. Easy. Most of the group finished with 15 minutes to spare. The bell clanged again at 7:40 a.m., and they ran it again. And at 8:40 a.m., and 9:40 a.m., and every hour after that until, one by one, they quit. There was no known finish line. The race went on, day and night, until the bell clanged and only one runner answered.
I find myself hugely in awe of people like these – the determination to keep going, at the cost of just about everything, until they simply can’t do any more. I know my own endurance isn’t bad (well, at least in the context of general humanity) and that I can keep on going for a decent amount of time. While I’d never do a challenge like the Backyard Ultra, it’s not the walking/running that would destroy me, it’d be the time spent stopped each hour. If I’m walking (or working, driving, whatever) I can keep on going for as long as necessary. But when I stop, I stop. Restarting is (for me) far, far harder.
Regardless though, the entire concept of running four miles each hour, every hour, without a break – that’s awesome.
Usually by now I’m totally done with it, had enough, and generally pretty fucked off with the entire thing.
This year, though, I’m just ambivalent about it. And I don’t actually know why.
We’re still being faced with the same inanity and vapid bullshit on TV adverts and the like. We’ve had Christmas Shit™ (cards, confectionary, blah blah) in the shops since September. Now we’re in December they’re playing sodding christmas carols and tunes in the shops and on the radio, and various fuckwits are already blithering about “It’s christmas”. (No it’s fucking not, it’s just December)
And on the face of that paragraph, you’d think I am hating it. But I’m not. I still feel the same, that it is all crap and bollocks, but it’s not enraging me this year the same way it has in the past.
It annoys me that I don’t know why it’s not annoying me as much as usual. But I’m also not going to complain – in some ways it’s quite nice to be a wee bit more tolerant of the whole farce than usual.
I don’t like (let alone love) the season and what it does to people – and I honestly doubt I ever will. But at least this year I also don’t hate it the same way I usually do.
At the moment, my daily drive is on the M1, which has roadworks on it through ’til mid-2022. (Yes, it’s a joy) Throughout those roadworks there’s a speed limit of 50mph, which is monitored by average-speed cameras. And as I’ve been going through them, I come more and more to the conclusion that the average speed stuff isn’t actually all that safe.
More accurately, I don’t think they’re that safe when it comes to British drivers, and the habits that a lot of them have – which don’t appear to be the same as those of drivers in other countries.
The main problem with averaged 50mph limits is that it means everyone is driving at the same speed – cars, vans, HGVs, all at 50mph (or close to it) That means that the British-normal of last-minute lane changes for junctions are nigh-on impossible (although that doesn’t actually stop people from trying it) Instead, you need to be aware of the other lanes, and plan to be ready for the junction far further in advance.
Additionally, British drivers being what they are, turn off their brains completely when in average-speed areas, and will just stick to a particular lane with no regard or understanding of anyone around them, or of moving over into empty space to allow others past. On any given day, it’s terrifying to see just how many drivers are there, zoned out, sat in the outside lane and overtaking two lanes of fuck-all.
All told, it adds up to a whole bundle of unsafe situations at any given time of day. I can see (and have seen) people doing this shit at 6am, at 4pm, at 10pm, and at 2am. It just seems to be the way things are in these situations.
Fun and games, fun and games.
I regularly drive through Woburn, and at least a couple of times a week I’m amazed at how lazy people are, even when it comes to their own safety.
In the case of Woburn, there are two zebra crossings within a very short stretch of road. There are good reasons for this – the road is usually busy, and fairly fast. But people still cross away from the crossings, where it’s apparently “more convenient” rather than walking a tiny way to the crossing where cars *have* to stop for pedestrians…
The first one looks like this…
This is where most people cross – and you can see the markings for the zebra crossing at the top of the photo (the zig-zags, for non-UK readers) Note also that this is just after a busy crossroads, so has any number of vehicles coming round corners and paying far more attention to other vehicles than to pedestrians. I measured it on Google Maps – it’s 30 metres from here to the crossing. Not even a minute’s walk. (I’ll also note that all the people avoiding the crossing are able-bodied, so it’s not like they can’t walk that distance.)
The second one (slightly further up the road from here, after a tight choke-point and just round the corner so out of view from this one) looks like this
This one is a bit harder to see – it’s a bit further, at 45m from where people actually cross – but it’s still there, with markings visible across the road. Here, people cross from the pub to the hotel and back – and again, with parked cars on the right, an extremely tight road with drivers focusing on squeezing through rather than on pedestrians, people trying to park (or turn into the various lanes and archways along this bit) rather than walking that 45m to be able to do so safely.
I know people in general are lazy bastards and so on, but really, it utterly amazes me just how many (and even more so at school times, as there’s a school just back from where this shot is taken) are prepared to ‘save’ time waiting for a space in traffic and then risk their all to cross the road, rather than walking that tiny distance to do so safely (and actually usually more quickly than waiting for that gap!)
I don’t know if they don’t see the crossing, that they’re blinkered to just going straight across the road instead, or if they’re all just fuckwit examples of Darwinism waiting to happen. Either way, it is (to me) a gobsmacking way to live.