Friday, June 28, 2019

Letter from home

I am struggling to keep my spirits afloat with the news as it is. We need to keep abreast of what is happening and to engage and protest by writing letters, signing petitions, demonstrating, or by adjusting our buying habits, but it so often feels like pissing in the wind.

"Think global, act local" is a good dictum but while we are doing our best to be good neighbours, good citizens and helpful friends, our politicians are walking with the devil. I don't believe in the devil but you get my drift. 

Guess what? I have an idea for another novel, despite the fact that I said I wasn't going to write any more. My mind keeps drifting off to the plot and the characters, and I realised yesterday that I use writing fiction to escape reality. 


At Hepworth Towers Dave's bike is broken and he can't find a new one that isn't black. This is a personal and domestic disaster. He cycles about 200 miles a week and without his bike, life sucks. The problem is that it is now virtually impossible to buy a bike for a serious cyclist on this side of the Atlantic that doesn't have a black frame, black wheels, black spokes, black gears, black everything. This morning he told me you can't even buy silver parts and build your own bike if you happen to find a coloured frame.

One of Dave's asperger quirks means he can't stand black. He hates it so much he has made a white cardboard frame to cover the black surround on his computer monitor. Black depresses him, whereas spinning sparkling spokes delight him.

The search continues, but hope is fading. He is keeping himself busy with household tasks, such as painting the adirondack chairs that he made some years ago in forget-me-not blue for me. (He'd rather leave them just plain wood and is being kind.)

Meanwhile, I have been working my way through a tedious to-do list of domestic tasks that have built up because my mind was taken up with the launch of my new book - EVEN WHEN THEY KNOW YOU - and then there were the jaunts to Mull and Cornwall.

I've made some progress, and yesterday I planted out 30 cosmos seedlings with miniature stakes (because said seedlings are tall and weedy) and surrounded them with sharp gravel to deter the slugs sitting salivating in the undergrowth. This morning nothing has been eaten. But it will happen, I know it will, despite the gravel. The man at the garden centre also recommended wool pellets and I'm going to try them round the last 30 seedlings. I'll report back.

The Monsal Trail continues to be a solace. I am so so lucky. Someone in my old writing group said that BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU was my love letter to Dave. I suppose that EVEN WHEN THEY KNOW YOU could be seen as a love letter to the Monsal Trail.

By the way, I know some of you don't like ebooks and it's hard to get hold of a paperback copy of BUT I TOLD YOU LAST YEAR THAT I LOVED YOU. If you want a new one you can order it through your local bookshop; and you can buy one  secondhand from Abebooks.


Helen said...

Interesting theory on the bikes... will have to ask Mr R when he gets home. Suspect he will dispute Dave's theory as he has two white ones, a blue one, a green one, a red one and an orange one... and, clearly, a problem! Is he after a road, mountain or hybrid bike? You could alway treat him to some spray paint...

Funny how colour affects our mood; I have a friend who has the sunniest personality you could imagine but at one group get-together she was uncharacteristically crabby. We joked that it was her new grey top putting her in a bad mood and draped a colourful scarf around her. Surprisingly, it had the desired effect. She later told us she wore the grey top again and was equally irritable and now only wears it with a colourful scarf. She is, however, banned from wearing it at all in our company.

Sue Hepworth said...

How old are Mr R’s bikes?
And are they very expensive?
All suggestions as to where to find a brightly coloured one with silver bits welcomed. You’d be a life saver.
James cycles in Chesterfield - a large bike emporium - has nothing but black bikes, and the guy told Dave that silver spokes and wheels were ‘old fashioned.’

Sue Hepworth said...

He has looked extensively online, of course.

Helen said...

Well there's the rub - yes some of them were very expensive and/or bespoke (no pun intended but enjoyed nonetheless). It's his thing. I'll ask him when he gets home - but he'll want to know if Dave wants a road, mountain or hybrid

Sue Hepworth said...

A hybrid.
and to clarify - apparently he could find a colourful frame, but not the silver components, such as wheels, spokes, gears, brakes, etc.
He limits himself in terms of how much he will spend, and after 49 years I have given up trying to persuade him otherwise. I'd guess £1000 is the limit.

Helen said...

Mr R (who has built several bikes and until recently ran a cycle repair business) says that silver components used to be standard while black commanded a premium, but fashions have changed and now it's the other way round. He recommends buying a colourful frame then building it himself, sourcing parts from eBay. He says some parts may have to be secondhand. If eBay doesn't appeal, he says SJS Cycles have an excellent website and a large range of products - he says if anyone can help, it will be them.

Sue Hepworth said...

Helen, thank you. This is very helpful. I have passed all the info onto Dave and he is even now checking out SYS Cycles. A big thank you to you, and to Mr R.

Helen said...

No problem, he's always happy to talk bikes - and had a little grumble about black components along the way, too. I think there are a lot of similarities there - I noticed it when reading "But I Told You Last Year..."

Sue Hepworth said...