A different kind of travelogue. As an avid young traveller I often wondered what would it would be like when I got older, gathered commitments, created children and accrued debt. This is what it's like.
We got a dog. It’ a big terrier and generally he is a winner. He was supposed to be a dog for my daughter. You may have heard stories about this sort of thing before. Anyway he is more my dog than anyone else’s and I don’t mind. I walk him. I pick up his poo. I feed him meat and bones even though I am a vegetarian. I love my dog. He seems popular with the ladies too.
Best of all though has been teaching him to run alongside a bicycle and the rebirth of my old trusty street bike.
I love my bike. It is the way it should be. You should love your bike too. I don’t love my bike in the careful washing, appropriate maintenance and nice little component upgrades kind of way. I love it because we share a history. We’ve done a lot together. We’re still at it.
I have a 20 year old Trek “Mountain Track 850”. This goes back to before Lance Armstrong was stripped of his Tour De France victories, it goes back to before he had any Tour De France victories! It was never near the top of the Trek range. It’s too small for me because that’s what I wanted then. I used it to commute every day in Melbourne and then London. It was for slaloming between traffic and hopping on and off pavements. It was tough and it needed to be. Some f***er has tried to steal it many times. Once in Trafalgar Square, London, I found the bike with the entire lock sawn through and only a piece of the plastic coating remaining. I’m guessing I got pretty close to The Bicycle Thief. (Maybe they had a good reason, maybe not.)
I was riding this bike to work as the doctor in charge of a busy urban emergency department one night, going in for the dreaded night shift, when I was attacked by 4 men who beat me unconscious and stole everything. They stole the bike. When I regained consciousness I saw my red flashing rear light in the distance. One attacker had chosen that as his prize was following his accomplices across a school field (they didn’t have a push bike to consider) and clearly couldn’t figure out how to turn off the red strobe. Even he could figure out that a bright flashing red light was not helpful in his current situation. He dropped the bike. I stared at it flashing red in a dark football field. I never liked that light much before that moment.
I straightened my broken nose which was more painful than I had imagined it would be. After another 10 minutes I was brave enough to go and pick the bike up from the sports fields. I had my transport back. That was a start. That was a good start. I could get to work where I had to call in another senior doctor and then I had a way home.
I ended up getting most of my stuff back but thats another story.
I still have the same bike and it has me. And now it has a dog.
Sure it has a slightly shinier younger stable mate but the old Trek has had a new lease of life. It may be a punishing new lease but I suspect it doesn’t care.
It is now the beach bike. Every day I try to get up before dawn and go for a decent ride on the beach. I have to jump a few rocks and bash over piles of seaweed but then I reach a long stretch of sand that is usually hard enough and I can get going. Sometimes the only hard sand is the wet sand at the waters edge and the bike and I get sprayed. Watching the sun come up on the bay where we live is just too good to miss.
I get up around 6, I put the kettle on, I feed the cat, clean his poo, let him out, make the coffee, put some beside the sleeping head of MrsLessBaggage, grab the dog stuff, let him out, clean his poo and get on the bike. There’s a lot of poo.
Once on the beach it all makes so much sense. I ride one or two hours. All stopping used to be about the dog but now he just tears along beside me. If he goes to check out another dog it is only for a moment and he races back to the bike when i call. At first I was building him up slowly but there’s no stopping him. Yesterday I did a barely interrupted 20 klms and he didn’t blink. Its not a road bike type ride. I have to stop quite a bit. Stop and sip coffee out of my wee flask. Stop and take a few photos. Stop and talk to someone on the beach. (Dogs are like babies; they are catalysts for conversations with real people that you would not have spoken to otherwise) Stop and pick up the dog poo.
Dont get me started on picking up the dog poo. And definitely don’t get me started on people that do not pick up their dog poo.
I’m starting a one man campaign to stop people letting their dogs crap everywhere. I hate dog poo. And I hate standing in it. And I hate the possibility that people might think I would leave my dogs poo in their way.
I’ve started an Instagram person called “Poop_in_Paradise” where I shall be taking beautiful photographs of poo. I’m sure it will be huge!
Shit Poo Faeces Dung, ‘bad’ words make me laugh, the f word, the s word, what a lot of nonsense.
I am very fond of animals, i have good canine freinds and i sometimes think that with some kind of sci-fi device we (my dog freinds and i) could have some interesting sharing of veiws.
I will never own a dog because i do not like shit poo faeces dung and my squirmishness will not allow me to become a dog janitor. I do not even like pictures of shit poo faeces dung. So doctor, i do hope you are not going to make a habit of posting shots of shit? It would definitely strain my already strained tolerance of all this legoland crap.
Hmm! That might be interesting, any shots of legoshit? With or without the vegetables.
Hello again Sheamus. How do we feel about onions?
Well im not sure what your culinary habits are or what other odd things you do with onions but i like mine with a nice sirloin steak and new irish spuds with butter.
Im writing to you from Cuan Muire, the junk tank. Your life being so wholesome and all would not share much understanding of people and places like Cuan Muire i suppose.
He had a turn back in Jan (remember? we were in Lindisfarne) then he got another, the heart, he was very fond of a good feed and he enjoyed his whiskey. He would laugh at anyone who suggested that he should think about his diet.
I went on the drink and one day i woke up here and its not the first time. You meet some very interesting people in places like this. In my ward we have a preist, a politician and a judge. Theres not much left in the preist but the politician and i became freinds. He is a DUP man from Co. Antrim. An orangeman. Its hard to imagine what a Co. Clare farmers son and an orangeman from Co Antrim might have in common but there you are. We laugh a lot at our own entrenched veiws of history. We are like the chuckle brothers, do you remember them? (Ian Paisley and Martin Maginness). Its at times like this that all the death, destruction and disability seems pointless. The judge is a bit of a phylosopher and every so often he would say “your deluded”, the orangeman took offence until the judge explained that he ment that we were all deluded including him. He practices some kind of yoga, Nisagro or something like that. He says that all history, personal, national and international exsists like an illusionary tapestry which imprisions us and only exsists because we allow it to by agreement, that reality which is beyond description only exsists in the absolute present, the creative now, where the begining and the end come together. You know, while he was explaining this i thought for a moment i understood what it was he was trying to describe. What do you think Doctor?
Well i cant believe whats happened to me, i have met the most wonderful girl, she is the nearest thing to ‘butterflies and zeros’ i can imagine (Jimi Hendrix).
Her partener died in a freak accident two years ago and her life slowly unraveled so she came in here to clean up her act. She is out of here today and i expect to be out of here next Monday.
The old man left me €50,000, he said in his will “there is no point giveing you any land, you would only drink it” and i suppose he is right.
Judy, (thats her name) and i are going traveling, we figured we would head for Scotland and visit that place you were talking about and then we are crossing to Bergen Norway any heading north to Lapland to see the Northern Lights, she said the people up there are very freindly. We are going to stop social media, we are going to dump our smart phones and stay out of touch as much as possible as an experiment.
Its been fun chating with you over the year and good luck with the cabbage patch, the insideout umbrella and the Onions against Poo campaign and all the other stuff your into in your busy life. Its a new page for me.
So Doctor its goodbye from me and goodbye from her.
Illegitimi non carborundum.