Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Don't you hate it?

- When you have your arms full and a mosquito is sucking blood from your ear lobe and you can do nothing about it.

- When it the dark you put on your pyjama top back to front and it feels like it does not fit properly, and when you take it off and put it on again it is still wrong.

- When you are going up stairs and you step up a stair that is not there.

- When your hands are full of shopping and your car keys are in your pocket.

- When there are lots of doors to open to get to where you want to go

- When a door has three handles or locks on it and it needs two people to open it and you are there by yourself.

- When the bottom is about to fall out of the paper shopping bag

- When radishes go to seed and you have not eaten any of them.

- When the bus driver moves away from the bus stop, and no matter how hard you bang on the door he will not open it up and let you in.

- When you are a second late for a train and it pulls away from the platform

- When the car runs out of petrol and there is not a garage in sight, and when you try to call for help on the phone the battery goes dead.

- When directory of inquiries can find a phone number for you when you know it exists. When they don't even recognise your own name.

- When you have done the shopping only to discover you have left your wallet in the car.

- When you can't find your car in the airport parking lot.

- When sombody wags their finger at you, beeps their horn, and flashes their lights, and you have no idea why they are doing it or if it is really directed at you.

- When nails keep bending over when you try to hammer them in.

- When nails refuse to come out of wood no matter how hard you pull.

- When you crack your head on the door lintel because the door is too small

- When in the pitch black with arms outstreached you inch your way to where you think the open door is, only to have both arms go on opposite sides of the door, with the end result that you crack your head on the edge of the door.

- When the chain comes off you bike when you are going uphill and changing gears.

- When you are positive that you right and it turns out that you are wrong.

- When you say something to a group of people and realise nobody is listening.

- When your soup is too salty.

- When the bit of cheese you ave been saving for later has turned mouldy.

- When you realise the things that you don't want to happen are going to happen anyway.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Crescent fresh dude

Crescent fresh dude
Originally uploaded by HyperBob.
When I came to Finland the first bike I had was an old rusty brown bike that belonged to Maija's father. It had no gears and big wheels, and once you cranked it up you could give any bike with gears a run for its money. It was an old army bike. The chrome was striped from the handle bars and the drab brown color gave the appearance that the whole bike was rusted. It was a bike nobody would want to steal because it looked too distinctive and horrible. Ahh but the gearing on it was wonderful, and the chain and cogs were oiled to perfection.

I used to buy bikes for my kids from the police lost property auctions and over the years I must have bought 20 bikes or more. Sometimes I would buy a bike only to have it stolen the next day. When you go to an auction you have to check the bikes to make sure you are getting a good one. Lift the front forks up and spin the wheel to see if it is running true, and that the brakes are not rubbing. Repeat the procedure with the back wheel, check the tyres from pressure, check the pedals for loose cotter-pins, test the brakes, change the gears to see if they work, and see that the steering is true, and then note down the number so you know which bike to bid for when it comes up.

I overheard a couple of winos at the auction discussing which type of bike to buy. One was saying he would never been seen dead on a woman's bike (dead on a bike would have been a feat in itself) but the other wino insisted that it was too dangerous to ride a man's bike in traffic. With a womans bike it is so much easier to dismount since you just "step through" to get off, whereas with a man's bike you have to lift your leg over the saddle to get on or get off and with the way car drivers are in Helsinki, they would have your leg off as soon as look at you. I think he had a point.

So how did I get my Crescent ( a Swedish bike) All self respecting Finns would only buy Tunturi or Helkima and begrudingly buy a Crescent as a last resort. They somehow have an aversion for all things Swedish. Must come from the times of Swedish rule.

So the story went like this. I noticed a Nopsa in a skip, a woman's bike with a torpedo three speed. I ran the usual test and thought it was worth salvaging. It did not have any valves so I did not know the condition of the inner tubes. Bought 2 valves at 50 cents a piece and the back tyre was OK but the front tube had a puncture. Bought a new inner tube from Anttila for 3.90 euro and The bike was reay to roll. A usable bike for 4.40 euros, not a bad deal. I used it to go down to the allotments and on the way I noticed this matte black batmobile of a bike on sale. Everyone seems to want to trade up. As soon as the bikes have shock absorbers on the front forks and disk brakes on the front wheel the old model has to be traded in and a new bike bought. I gave the Crescent a run, wheels were true, brakes worked, and the twist grip gears were slick and clicked into place with precision.

I traded in the bike I had got from the dumpster and got the Crescent. I don't mind running a Swedish bike in Finland. I am pleased with the deal.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Blossoms and Words

Yes it is June and only now are the blossoms coming out on the trees. For the past month the temperature has hovered around 15 C and it has rained alot. At the allotment the ground is still brown and bare. In the UK I suppose people are already harvesting things from the ground. The only thing that I have showing is "trp". I squatted down and picked a few leaves and ate them. They were peppery.

With growing things there is a time and a season for everything. Arafat the Palestinian has not even started putting things into the ground. He says it is too cold and too wet. I think if I don't get things into the ground then they won't have enough time to grow. The summer is so short. Three months and it is gone.

The blossoms are beautiful. Now is the time and a season for them. Plants perhaps know when to do things, unlike us humans who are famous for doing things at the wrong time. I sometimes wish words were flowers or blossoms, coming into bloom at the right time, and that sentences would be something of beauty. Something to be admired and appreciated. But I speak thistles and all manner of weeds that choke. Weedy words that spring from my mouth at the wrong time and season.

Words are so important and they should be used as a blessing. Dew dripping from a rose, words should have a fragrance that delights our souls. I have not heard enough good words in my life, and I have not spoken enough of them either.