By Melisseus

Making Progress

The paper tells me that Birmingham has installed sixty bollards in three serried ranks outside a primary school. Asked why, the responsible officials included in their reasoning the belief that it would encourage cycling. So far, so British, and certainly light relief on a day when my slow progress on the garden wall regeneration project (cf. Jan 2) was slowed even further by unexpected rain. The site is already resembling Flanders-field, so I took a break

The paper chose to illustrate the article with a photo of the bollard array, with a cheery cyclist in motion alongside, to underline the point. The rider is wearing what look like noise-cancelling headphones, and has a mobile phone mounted on the handlebars that they are not holding, which may not be exactly what the council had in mind - especially if child safety was the real underlying objective

I guess I should be angry about a few irresponsible individuals damaging the reputation of the rest of us. Honestly, I think I was just cheered by the reminder of the days when I had fast enough reflexes to do that. On my first ride out on my new machine, I was pleasantly surprised by how respectful almost all drivers were of my road space, and of the danger of passing in inappropriate places. It now occurs to me that, observing my wobbly progress from behind, possibly they were merely being respectful of their own paintwork

The rain break meant I could investigate the mudguards I incompetently failed to request when I ordered the bike, so now I have to fit them myself. No instructions, nothing online. Happily, the bike comes with WhatsApp access to cheerful and patient technicians. It turns out that some of these parts I don't need at all, several of them can be fitted in more than one way and others are optional. "I'm glad I asked", I messaged to the tech; "You'll be fine", he replied as a sign off

The tailor's shears are Mrs M's heirloom (cf. Dec 31). I used them to open the packet - please keep this between us. In passing, I recommend a film called The Outfit, in which an identical pair play a pivotal role. We watched it this week and enjoyed it very much

The leader of the opposition wants us to elect him so that he can give Birmingham City Council more power. He mentioned growth, levelling up, taking back control and not letting the devil have the best tunes (OK, I made the last one up). He didn't mention bollards

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