The cycling is already making a huge difference to my well-being and I’ve even lost a couple of pounds, so that’s all good. But there was no bike ride yesterday as we went to visit my granddaughter. It was great to see her; she’s doing very well and constructing fairly complex sentences. We took her a couple of books and she let me read them to her, which is an advance – not having seen us much in the last year she’s been a bit wary. On the way back we counted the number of abandoned tyres on the motorway – between here and Doncaster, a distance of about 64 miles, there were 54! 54 abandoned tyres! How does this happen? And why are they left there? When all other debris is gathered up from an accident, why are there so many abandoned tyres propped up or lying against the central reservation? I think we should be told. When we got to Junction 23 we found it was closed due to road works so we discovered a delightful diversion via J 22 by way of the B591, a lovely twisty road that takes you through Charnwood and right into Loughborough.
I’m very keen on B roads; they’re a much-neglected feature of our infrastructure and often way more interesting than A roads. They’re definitely nicer than motorways, and the time you ‘save’ going by motorway (although that ‘saving’ is a dubious benefit) is amply compensated by the interest of the journey. B roads have a history which motorways lack; they’re often built on Roman roads (we used to live on the old Fosse Way) and you can observe the houses, the farms and the countryside. This is nothing, of course, to what cycling shows you; going to Quorn the other day, even though I was mostly riding alongside the A6, I could observe the hedgerows as I went past and enjoy the blossom. I have a feeling that someone’s written a book about the joys of B roads, but I could be wrong: unfortunately all Google shows me are the Norfolk Broads.
What does it mean, anyway, to save time? I guess it means spending less time doing the things you don’t enjoy in order to spend more time doing the things you like. But do we? Have you ever added up the time you’ve saved and asked yourself what you’ve done with it? Albert Camus had this idea that the best way to appreciate time was to stand in a queue and leave when you get to the end of it. That doesn’t sound particularly positive to me, but I do try when standing in a queue to appreciate the time and notice what’s around me or observe my thoughts, rather than getting impatient. Of course I could probably have saved time by using a different checkout but what would I do with that golden minute I’d saved?
Maybe every evening we should count up the time we’ve saved and do something definite with it. Play the piano, learn a language, take up a new hobby. Or maybe just do nothing at all…
I’ll leave you with a quote I came across the other day in the Guardian:
‘Being a productive member of society is now a 24-hour project that consumes all the space needed for inner development.’
I may come back to this in another post.
6 thoughts on “54 Tyres!”
That last quote is spot on. We all need more mental space for development and creativity. I was able to sit quietly over breakfast this morning, no media or anything, and into my head popped several enhancements to writing I drafted yesterday. Might have missed them otherwise.
It’s good isn’t it? I was very struck by it
The feeling that we should be a useful member of society whenever we have the opportunity can become an obsession, if we let it; I’m sure there are plenty of people who never even consider how best they could contribute to society, but I want to believe that they are a minority. Thankfully, awareness of how our mental health can be affected by so many influences in modern life does help us to feel less guilty about just letting life drift by: “What is life if, without a care, we have no time to stop and stare?” There was a very interesting series on TV recently called something like “Walking Britain’s Roman Roads”: you might have watched it? Cheers, Jon.
I didn’t see that. I’ll have to take a look
I’m wondering if that number of discarded tyres is pretty typical, or if the situation has been made worse by the lack of fully-functioning recycling facilities over the past year. Here we’ve been having to make an appointment to visit our recycling centres, and then only if we can’t safely store those items at home.
I’m assuming it’s discarded truck tyres. It’s surely the responsibility of either the trucker or whichever roadside assistance firm they’re employing to sort out their blown tyre. Perhaps of the latter there’s only a small number assisting on those particular roads and therefore it shouldn’t be too hard for authorities to track down which of them aren’t disposing of tyres correctly and fine them accordingly.
There are not many A roads in Norfolk, so B roads (and country lanes) are the norm. Even some of the smaller A roads can be enjoyable to drive on, and it is only the A47 and A11 that feel anything like a motorway on some sections. That makes driving very pleasant around here, except after dark, when no roads are lit, and oncoming headlights can become dazzling and dangerous.
Best wishes, Pete.