Wednesday, 27 July 2016

On how "it all makes work for the working men to do"

I am assuming most of my readers will get the reference to Flanders and Swann in the title of this post. For those of you who don't, click on the link.  This entry is about preparations afoot for the trip to Scotland. One of those preparations was to make sure I could listen to "Slow Train" written and performed by the afore-mentionned duo. My original plan had been to upload my Mother's copy of the Complete Flanders and Swann onto iTunes but this proved impractical. I ended up taking the high road and bought it through iTunes. "Slow train" is a lament for the small British railway stations closed in the 1960's. I find the rhythm of it resonates with that of British railway trains, particularly the slower services. I suspect it is hardly an accident but then I am no musicologist and Donald Swann was.

My plan was to prep Leonardo and box him on Sunday. I started by spraying off the crud from the Défi Métropolitain and letting him dry. Once dry, I started to clean the chain via the oil and rag technique. Unfortunately, I soon realised there was more crud in the chain than was likely to be removed via the afore-mentioned technique. I therefore moved on to the MEC chain cleaner gadget and degreasing liquid technique which involves spraying the bike again to remove any degreasing liquid. I then oiled and wipe down the chain.

Prior to Sunday, I had acquired not one but two bike boxes from a nearby bike shop. Unfortunately, neither one was really large enough for Leonardo who, as an XL sized touring bike, is at the top end of the bike size range. Okay, plan B.: go to Via Rail to see if they will sell me one.  The answer was no as they no longer have bike boxes as their baggage cars now have bike hooks.  Good for Via Rail, bad for my needs.  Plan C.: go to the bus station.  The bus company was happy to sell me one. As I was walking back to the Metro with it, I saw someone had dumped one on the sidewalk! I am not sure if it was there when I was going in! I was sufficiently short of time (and energy in the current heat *) to either go return the one I had bought or bring the other one home as well as the one I had paid for.

Between my tendency towards sloth and the Fantasia Festival, I have not had the time to finish packing Leonardo.  As my flight is late on Sunday, I think I have more than enough time.

I will be flying on British Airways. They sent me an e-mail earlier this week asking me to pre-check a few things. One of them was my menu preferences on the flight back from the UK. The meal choices offered were very British in two different ways.  The first option was for "Fillet of British beef".  How appropriate, given that one of the many French nicknames (and/or insults) for the Brits is "Les Rosbifs" (i.e. "The Roast Beefs")  The other was "Chicken Tikka Massala" which was possibly invented in Glasgow by derivation from more authentic Indian cuisine.  I view Indian cuisine (or at least a good section thereof) as part of the repertoire of British cuisine to the point that several years ago I gave my sister a copy of " 50 Great Curries of India" by Camellia Panjabi with the dedication "If you are going to marry a Brit, you should know how to cook the national dish."  This was a mild distortion of the truth as Mark is from Jersey and not from Great Britain, but one which I think both Alice and Mark accepted in good humour. ;-)

And to think, in a week, I will be on a train heading for Scotland.

* For the last week or so, it has been fairly hot and humid here in Montreal. In fact, I am almost looking forwards to the cool of the Highlands. Note to self: check the projected weather forecasts for Scotland.

1 comment:

Margo and Chris said...

In the pouring rain, Via accepted our bikes "as is" from Terrace to Prince Rupert, despite the baggage car not having hooks. If they'd insisted on boxing, we couldn't have gone, since the station in Terrace was tiny and had no boxes. Perhaps fitting these hooks in baggage cars on some routes, mainly eastern, is encouraging a more "can do" attitude across the Via system. Good news! Note: We hope to test out Amtrak fo bike friendliness in the fall.