Creaky World Tour 3

Currently not allowed to run due to knackered body so was in desperate need of a fitness hobby to stop me going stir crazy. Came up with the idea of seeing how far I would get around the world powered only by my stationary exercise bike and walking with Pokemon Go….

The creaky world tour left us in Rochester.

So on this leg of the expedition we have managed

Bike – 280km

Pokemon Go – 30km

So here we go.

First stop is to a little favourite of mine. Not been here in over 25 years – I hear you scream but you are only 21. We find a way to the Isle of Sheppey after a 28km trip. A small island just off the northern edge of Kent. My sister used to live here. Apparently the first Britain flew an aeroplane here in 1909. A few years later here I got chased into Sheerness by a gang of ducks after they decided they wanted more bread from me. Ended up taking refuge in a pub. To be polite I had to try a pint of the local brew from Shepherd Neame. To my Yorkshire palette it was a shocker.

Now let’s get some distance covered. A hard 90km get us to Dover. First thing that comes to mind now are the 350ft tall White Chalk Cliffs.

Thanks to TripAdvisor for the photo.

The Ferry Port now opens up our world tour. Passport is ready and in a blink of an eye and after another 190km we find our French destination. It’s the city of Lille. It’s a wonderful city. Great history, great art, great markets. It’s a wonderful place to eat as well. It also happens to be the home of a contender to the title of the worlds stinkiest cheese. Maroilles. It’s a tasty one.

On my first overseas holiday with my partner we had to change trains at Lille station. So excited to have left Britain behind us for a week. To completely forget our life’s for a while. Then a booming voice.

“Now Bonny Lad. Wat are yee doin here” – imagine deep Geordie accent – think Brian Johnson from AC/DC.

Unbelievably the guy who sat behind me at Newcastle United matches was randomly stood next to us on this faraway French Platform. He was off to Bordeaux to see his French mum.

Downsize

Do you think I should downsize? You didn’t know I had a decent size fish pond.

“dans mes rêves

I dread to think how much my house insurance would go up if I did live in a French chateau. I suspect my little hover mower would struggle a bit. The dog could do some serious digging here. Space and isolation would certainly not be a problem for our son.

Having a garden big enough to go for a long run would be fun. We could even be like Professor X and set up our own school here then we could tell the government to stuff off with its targets.

We were trying to do some work for our son’s end of year maths tests. Not one but two tests. It always fascinates me how his mind works. For example practicing some multiplications. I would write them down old school while he does them almost faultlessly in his head. How on earth can he do 55×23 or 78×33 in his head. That would be beyond me.

He can see numerical progression sequences so much quicker than I can. Working out ratios and percentages are easy for him. He can work out modes, medians and averages again in his head whereas I again have to write them down. This will cause him problems going forward in exams as he will need to show his workings.

Yet he just can’t process decimal points. Introduce a decimal point into the simplest of calculations and his onboard processor stops working. So for example 1897648+987985 can be done in his brain really quickly yet he is lost with 1.4+1.7. Similarly ask him to round up 14356965 to the nearest thousandth and it’s done instantly. Yet ask him to round 1.23 to one decimal place and again he is lost.

He’s got other black holes in maths. Apparently no clear rhyme or reason to these. A Clinical Psychologist referred to these as his Number Dyslexia. Another label which is not really understood. It wouldn’t be a problem if we lived in that French chateau but in our reality we will need to find a way of solving these riddles. It’s added to our to do list and we will crack on with them – at some stage. But first I need to go and clean my 1000 windows.

Muttley

Before our son was born we loved to visit the Loire Valley in central France. A lovely part of the world. Hot (but not too hot), fabulous wine, fine food, fascinating history and many glorious chateaux. Plus the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours was close enough to justify a visit – managed to convince her just once….

Usually we would drive from a Yorkshire. Only way we could get the shed load of wines back. Partner didn’t like driving in France. It’s not easy as we drive on the other side of the road…. So partner would navigate and I would drive. A perfect combination except for one small detail.

I struggle with LEFTS and RIGHTS….

My partner got seriously cheesed off with repeated “I said the LEFT turn, why have you gone right”.

So we devised the perfect solution. We would put my toy Muttley on the left side of the dashboard and on the other side we put a toy Bagpuss. Then instead of saying ‘turn left’ my partner would simple say “turn to Muttley”. Absolutely foul proof, it was even me proof. You don’t get that sort of quality motoring advice from The Grand Tour and Top Gear…..

Thanks Muttley and Bagpuss. You saved our relationship.