Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fifty Cent Mirror

This post comes to you from Rome, where we are on a flying visit to see my youngest daughter Nicola and her family. This is the first time we have seen them this year as they were "between houses" for so long. The person they were buying from died of a brain tumour. This immediately stopped the house purchase because of the inheritance laws in Italy (similar to those in France, which divide property up between the surviving partner and any children). Fortunately that is all now sorted out. Nicola has cleared a space amongst the boxes so that we can have somewhere to sleep while we make a quick visit.

I don't know how many of you have heard the expression "fifty shilling washtub". An old friend of mine said his mother used to refer to people this way if they were a little broad in the beam.

That is as may be, but the picture above is of a fifty cent mirror. I have been moaning for some time in this blog about the difficulties and dangers of traffic overtaking other traffic, ostensibly on the other side of the road, but behind me, on my side, and putting me in mortal peril. I have tried various ways of being able to see what is happening behind me. Last week I hit on the wheeze, with the help of Chris Goddard, of buying a mirror to mount on a walking stick. I am still waiting for that mirror to arrive, but events have overtaken it.

The one shown above was bought by me on Sunday at a vide grenier, or what is known in Britan as a car boot sale. It is lightweight, plastic backed, convex, just like a car rear view mirror. It has a clip on the back, with a ball socket connection, so it could itself be carried on a stick. But the socket folds flat and the whole thing is so light that it easily slips into my shorts pocket and, when needed, can be held in the palm of my hand so that I can clearly see the traffic behind me. I have road-tested it and, held at the right angle, it is the answer to my problem. I don't know where it came from originally, but all walkers on roadsides should have one of these.

This one cost me the princely sum of 50 cents. Not only a life saver, I hope, but at virtually no cost.


Septimus said...

Hello Our Kid.
I thought I'd leave a few thoughts after our recent visit.
Pat and I realised that this particular visit may be different to others; we did not want to upset your training regime but we also wanted to socialise.
To my surprise we managed both the walking and the socialising. Although I surprised myself a little by coping O.K. with the walking regime I do confess that the early morning (early for me anyway) starts were difficult and tiring. Walking in such lovely scenery was a great help but there were times when I would have likede a Machine-Gun to encourage some drivers to behave properly. One thing that I have concluded after much thought is that, although you are undertaking a huge physical challenge (and I have no doubts that you are eminently capable of meeting that challenge), the mental challenge of walking a relentless 20 miles a day is far greater. Rather you than me mate. I did make some observations about diet and hydration and I wonder if any of your readers have any thoughts about these. After the long walks we were dehydrated despite drinking plenty of water and I wonder if you should also be using Isotonic drinks. I feel that dehydrating every day over a long period may be rather dangerous. I also wonder if you should give mare thought to your diet for that 10 weeks; you will probably need to kick off each day with more sustenance than French sticky buns . I'm off for a run now with Patch and Scrufty, sustained by porridge and a banana.
Keep up the good work (and buy that Machine-Gun).

Vic Heaney said...


Thanks for your comment. You will be pleased to hear that the only days I sustain myself with French sticky buns, as you call them - buns which sustain many a French peasant through a long working day - is when I am starting from a market - an activity which was increased for the benefit of yourself and Mrs Septimus, markets being and entertainment in their own right.

My more normal breakfast is muesli and cereal, plus banana and yoghurt. Much nearer to your own porridge and banana. Sorry, can't be doing with porridge.

VH, alias BW