Ooof …

I’m knackered. Our local cycle campaign is running a ‘Bike Message* Challenge‘ starting next week, encouraging people to cycle to the local shops, bank, hairdresser, library, museum or wherever, instead of defaulting to the car. We were hoping that, with luck and a following wind, we might manage to sign up around 40 places to take – some of the more enlightened shops and cafes, the local libraries, the museums. What we weren’t expecting was that half of all the town centre shops would jump at the chance – it turns out that shopkeepers are keen to be involved in something that encourages customers to beat a path to their door, whatever their mode of travel. Who knew?

The downside (filed under ‘nice problem to have’) is that I’ve just spent the last two days tromping round the centre of Bigtown delivering the packs they need to take part to over a hundred shops. Which is a lot of talking to people – something I do find quite exhausting, especially a lot of strangers, and this being Bigtown the shopkeepers were mostly friendly and wanted a chat – and a lot of walking (the bike is more of a help than a hindrance when you’re going door to door). And as a result I’m absolutely shattered. It turns out that regularly cycling 16 miles a day – and being able to cycle all day if I’m going slow enough – is no training for effectively a day spent standing around chatting. I pedalled home with heavy legs and then spent a good hour collapsed next to the Rayburn until I could summon the energy to move.

It reminds me that I’ll miss the Rayburn when we move. It’s already beginning to make the odd chugging sound which means it will be fading out soon, and then we’ll switch it off for the summer. And by the time September comes around, we’ll be gone, and the new tenants will have the pleasure of its company in the kitchen. There’s absolutely no excuse really for running an oil-fired Rayburn in a well-regulated eco-conscious household, and we certainly won’t be getting one of our own. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be sorry when we turn it off for the last time.

spring greenery

And the picture? No reason, except that you cannot have too much spring greenery in your life.

* this makes more sense if you know that in Scotland your ‘messages’ means your shopping (or general errands)

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3 Responses to Ooof …

  1. Paul M says:

    You could get yourself a woodburning Rayburn. Pretty pricey new, but I think there are quite a few going “pre-loved” (or probably not, or the owners wouldn’t be getting rid of them when they move to a house which has one).

    They take a bit of getting the hang of, to be able to get the oven temperature about right, and they work best for things where the temperature can be a bit flexible, like stews. I wouldn’t recommend a soufflé.

    But you do get that smug feeling about using renewable energy. Of course, there is the smoke…..

  2. Anon says:

    Not sure whether shopkeepers should be welcoming this. One thing I’ve noticed since I stopped the ludicrous practise of driving into town is that while before I could buy any old nonsense and stuff it in the boot, I now have to figure out whether and how to take something home on my bike, and as such most of my impulse buying has gone straight out of the window! Great for me, saved plenty of money… but the shopkeepers?

  3. disgruntled says:

    @Paul – a solid fuel Rayburn was discussed, but it would be impractical in the new house. We do at least have a woodburner (and allegedly a backboiler) so we can do our bit to kee local particulate pollution levels high…
    @Anon – ha! the research does show that people who shop by bike and on foot spend more (less on each trip but they make more trips). After all you can’t windowshop from a car and windowshopping has a way of turning into real shopping. I have a huge pannier so those impulse purchases can still be dragged home

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