I just want to mention the Ryton Festival again, and something that happened a few minutes after the eleventh session had concluded up in St. Agnes RC Church, Winlaton. A visibly distressed young man from Corbridge Middle School took me to task because I took photographs of some of his friends, but not of him. I didn’t realise that youngsters ever read this, but he told me, “You’re from that internet thing.” I could eloquently describe my feelings with a one-syllable word, but now I know that children sometimes read my blog I’ll stick to saying that I was terribly upset (which comes nowhere near). If you read this sweetheart, I’ve been in touch with your school to find out, if possible, who you are. I took photographs of very few young people that afternoon, because you see their parents, or whoever cares for them, have to give me permission, and there were hardly any parents there, only teachers. A teacher can say it’s OK, but it has to be on school premises. I don’t think I explained it to you very well, and it’s something I’m going to try to sort out for you, but I need to speak to your Mum or Dad.
It’s been a busy few weeks. There’s been Ryton Festival of course, and I’ve enjoyed a couple of duties in Ryton Community Library. We’ve been to the football, and yesterday I investigated Daniel’s Farm off Sled Lane for the first time, which I’ll add to the tea room page later on. I’m also having a publicity drive to get more readers, mainly by posting flyers through doors. These were paid for courtesy of fortuitous couple of quid placed on a horse at the Cheltenham Festival, but the delivering part is involving some hoofing around which will do me no end of good. Have you seen me? I’m dropping off Slimming World leaflets at the same time as my own for my friend Tracey. Believe me the irony is not lost ……
In between all of this I have had Mum to her usual round of appointments; QE Outpatients (not at all crucial) Dr. Amin of Grange Road Medical Practice (fairly crucial) Saccha’s in Ryton (very very crucial).
It is in our family folklore that wherever we roam my mother will always find something to complain about. In The Runhead last Wednesday staff asked us if everything was alright with our food;
“Yes,” came the reply from Mum. “The food is fine thank you, but the knife handles are too cold.” Not the fork handles mark you, only the knives. I left a bigger tip than usual.
We spent a merry hour and a half on Blaydon Trading Estate while she tried, and failed, to choose a new gas fire from the several score they have on display there. My brother helpfully suggested that I could take her to B & Q and have a look at them there. I met this with a flat refusal, so he took her instead.
Then Mum needed to see the optician, so it was off to glorious Asda, spending over four and a half hours in the shop. This was the scene of a crisis last year when on an identical mission, I received an invoice (and remember from private companies these are indeed invoices and not tickets) for over-staying time in the car park. I refused to pay and blogged about it here. This time we asked for an extension, and I carefully noted down the name of the person I spoke to, and at what time. This is because I am expecting another invoice from SMART (who also trade as Town and Country Parking) which I will again decline to pay. These are unjust and unfair, people receive them and cough up because they think they have to, even when they can produce a series of receipts showing they were in Asda, or whatever store it might be, for the entire duration of the time their vehicle was occupying a bay outside. Don’t pay them – tell them where to go and complain to the store manager.
After Asda, I dropped Mum off at home, and not in a very good mood (as is generally the case following one of these expeditions) I headed home up the Greenside Road. I saw the speed van, parked in its regular spot, all too late. This put me into an even worse mood, because unless the person in the van had been consuming his or her lunch, I knew there would be a letter hurtling its cheerful way towards the Linsell Country Seat, so I just hoped that I would be eligible for a speed awareness course.
It did and I was. When the police re-teach you to drive, much emphasis is placed on fast driving, well in excess of the speed limits. Of course it is clear, or it should be clear, why this is against the law unless you are a driving an emergency vehicle to an emergency, or training in one with a qualified instructor. What about when you’re in your own car though, and just going just an incy wincy bit too fast? Oh it was harsh, it was awful, I was the most teensy bit over and here I was facing three points and a hundred quid fine. All true, but when given calm reflection it’s evading the central issue. The limit on Greenside Road is 30mph, not 36mph, 34mph, or even 31mph. It’s 30, and that is what I should have been doing. I was given until July to complete the course, but a sulky check online revealed that if I preferred I could grasp the cold knife quick, and get it over with straight away.
Speed awareness courses are run independently by AA DriveTech and you’re given a selection of venues. The nearest one for me was just off the A19 near to the Ashington turn off, and I had to be there for 7.45am, which was a novelty in itself – it’s six months since I had to be up for anything at all. There must have been nearly thirty of us, and we all had our ID checked to negate the common practice of speeders admitting liability, accepting a course, and then delegating a friend, relation, or often an employee to pose as their far too busy and important selves. Never be tempted into such folly, you’ll end up in prison. I was in a small class of half a dozen or so, and our instructor was a chap called Gavin Hutchinson. Whilst it was informal, we were also reminded that we were in the judicial system, and though we were free to leave at any time, non-compliance would lead to a fine and penalty points. Stay and take it on the chin, and by lunch time our sins would be absolved.
It lasted for about four hours, and you know, I really enjoyed it, coming out with a completely different attitude to the one I’d gone in with. I no longer think it’s acceptable to be ‘just a tiny bit’ over the limit, in that I now understand the difference between hitting someone at 36mph and 30mph, and the reasons why 20 and 30 speed limits must be adhered to. I’ve seen the aftermath of several accidents while I’ve been at work, but I’ve witnessed three injury accidents as they actually occurred, and all three were shocking. Foot off the pedal.
If you’re new to this and reading for the first time because you’ve received a leaflet through your door, thank you very much for visiting and I hope you decide to stay with me. I’m interested in anything going on in the community or individual achievements. This is a non-profit making site and there is no charge. Please get in touch.