Doing the Messages

We’ve got one week to go on our local Bike Message challenge (‘doing the messages’ is Scots for going shopping which sort of makes sense if you look at it sideways). Technically I’m not eligible to complete it as I’m helping run the damn thing, but I like collecting the stickers anyway and it’s a chance to chat with the various shopkeepers taking part and see how they’re getting on.

Bike Message Challenge cards

It’s been a revelation just how many little independent shops there are in Bigtown – and so it’s no hardship to try somewhere new for a change. But there is a downside, which is it takes twice as long. Not because the shops are necessarily inefficient, it’s just that the conversations are so interesting compared with the formulaic interactions you get in the larger shops it’s sometimes hard to get away. Like the story I was told in the newsagent today about a local couple – he from Norway, she from Bigtown – who met when she was the cook on a whaling ship in South Georgia; they bonded after he had tried it on with her and she had dealt him a mighty right hook on the nose. I can’t imagine that many women would hold their own on a Norwegian whaler in the South Atlantic, but I’m somehow not surprised that a local-born lass would be one of them…

And then it’s always dangerous to nip into the local farm produce and greengrocers thinking you’ll just pick up a couple of oranges…


Lucky I have a very capacious (Dutch) bike bag

(and as Twitter would like to point out – French rims, Dutch light, German dynamo hub and mudguards … and Scottish rust. Thanks, Twitter)


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