I need to get back into the habit of blogging while on the move. Apart from this summer’s epic cycle (is it really ‘epic’ or is it just me trying to spin?), I’m off to France in just under three weeks with a small group of 15 year olds on the French exchange and then, only a few days after my return from the Normandy town of Falaise (worryingly the Apple spell checker wants to correct the spelling to ‘malaise’ – Falaise incidentally means ‘cliff’ in French which only makes me wonder if there is a ‘Bob’, ‘Eric’, ‘Colin’ & ‘Norman’ dotted around France; there must be a ‘Norman’ somewhere in Normandy, no? But I digress…). So, after the trip to France, I’m off to the High Tatras in Slovakia with a couple of friends for a walking holiday. Then on the 1st July it’s the, err… epic cycle from Greece to Portugal. All that to make the point that I need to get blogging again!
So, here I am, sitting outside the Caffè Nero by the canal in Reading after a couple of hours trawling the shops for some of the things I need for the aforementioned trips. Phone mount for Reggie, cycling clothing, walking clothing, guide books for the cycling & Normandy are the items that come to mind on my mental shopping list. But in two hours of wandering I have bought only two things; a Mother’s Day card & a large bag of value tea lights. Hardly the stuff of adventure travelling and as far as the tea lights go I’m sure it would be cheaper just to turn on more lights. I’m a bit of a ditherer when it comes to making purchases. It’s not that I am reluctant to spend money, it just terrifies me that I am not buying what I consider to be the best things at the best prices. Take guide books for example. In W.H.Smith they have an offer of ‘buy one guide book & get a second at half price’ which is not a bad deal when you consider that your average Rough Guide is priced at the wrong side of £15. Unfortunately (well actually it is fortunately if you think about it), the publishers are in the process of creating a ‘new edition’ of the range (and making a big thing of doing so by stating that the new versions are just that it big letters on the spine) and so far I have the new edition Rough Guides to Greece & Spain at home. I still need the Croatia, Italy & French new editions. Anyway at Smith’s they have the new France guide but only the old Italy one. In Waterstone’s they have both new versions but since the Russian guy took over, they have ditched the ‘buy two get one free offer’. Result: I buy nothing… Similar situation in Blacks where I went to buy a new fleece for the mountains (and the chilly evenings along the Med – I know what you are thinking but don’t say it; I will be making a couple of forays into the mountains). Different brands, different prices, different deals, different meanings of ‘medium’. I end up buying nothing as the devil on my shoulder keeps reminding me maliciously that there will be a better deal next week or down the road at Cotswold Leisure. And then there is of course the Internet where there must be better deals but where you can’t discover whether ‘small’ means ‘small’ or ‘large’. In Evans I took a cursory glance at the cycling accessories, clothes (& briefly the bikes themselves) but not with any expectation of buying anything. I did wonder why I had made the effort to walk just outside the town centre to pay them a visit; I was just a cycling pilgrim paying my respects but with no intention of putting any of my money in the collection box.
So here I am with my card and my tea lights, listening to Don McLean who is reminiscing about driving his Chevy to the levee. Perhaps it’s time to buy a car and join him. But is March the best time to buy vintage American cars? And they are probably cheaper on the Internet…