IT’S THE SILLY SEASON!
This time of the year used to be known as The Silly Season as everybody, including the politicians, went off on their holidays leaving the news media with pages to fill and precious little to fill them with. The term Silly Season according to Wikipedia, that reliable/unreliable (delete as per your own disposition) source, is “the period lasting for a few summer months typified by the emergence of frivolous news stories in the media”. Apparently the term first appeared in print in the 13 July 1861 edition of The Saturday Review as:
when Parliament is no longer sitting and the gay world is no longer gathered together in London, something very different is supposed to do for the remnant of the public from what is needed in the politer portions of the year. The Times’s great men have doubtless gone out of town, like other great men. … The hands which at other times wield the pen for our instruction are now wielding the gun on a Scotch moor or the Alpenstock on a Swiss mountain. Work is left to feebler hands. … In those months the great oracle becomes —what at other times it is not—simply silly. In spring and early summer, the Times is often violent, unfair, fallacious, inconsistent, intentionally unmeaning, even positively blundering, but it is very seldom merely silly. … In the dead of autumn, when the second and third rate hands are on, we sink from nonsense written with a purpose to nonsense written because the writer must write either nonsense or nothing.
All this is as may be but, as a Londoner, I find this time to be a good time to go nowhere. (Cue Schadenfreude: cancelled flights, baggage mountains, crowded beaches, climate change et al.). The weather is benign, the traffic is light and the playground is uncrowded. Such thoughts were very much in my mind last Wednesday as I ventured south of the river, (a.k.a. to North Londoners as ‘another country’), to go to an exhibition of paintings by My Kind & Talented Battersea Reader at The SproutArts Gallery in Furzedown; a bourgeois oasis, with property prices to match, just south of Tooting Common. Notwithstanding that cycling in London – as I have done all my life – is not an occupation that increases ones chances of living to a ripe old age, London has progressed leaps-and-bounds to accommodate us foolhardy 2-wheelers. Cycle lanes are now to be found on the majority of London’s major thoroughfares and there is a network of ‘Quietways’ & Cycle-only routes at a cyclist’s disposal. Moreover, with ‘cycling’ as one of the options on Google Maps, (other navigation apps do similar), the major part of most 2-wheeled London journeys can be undertaken on cycle-friendly terms. The roads, less travelled, are often also ones of discovery. Cycling through – as opposed to round – London’s ample open spaces, reinforces what a ‘green and pleasant’ city it is. Occasionally, one stumbles upon famous landmarks that are mentioned in dispatches but which never-ending urban development has covered up. For instance, on my journey south this week, my cycle-friendly route took me along an unremarkable, now side-road, called Lambeth Walk. Could this, I asked myself, be The Lambeth Walk, of Pearly Queen fame, immortalised in the eponymous song from Me And My Girl:
Lambeth you’ve never seen,
The skies ain’t blue, the grass ain’t green.
It hasn’t got the Mayfair touch,
But that don’t matter very much.
We play the Lambeth way,
Not like you but a bit more gay
And when we have a bit of fun
Anytime you’re Lambeth way
Any evening, any day,
You’ll find us all doin’ the Lambeth walk.
The Silly Season could not have come at a better time for my 2022 Miles In 2022 Cycle Challenge. Owing to a bout of Covid and cracking a rib, I rode a grand total of 0 (zero) miles in June. As a result, when I returned to the saddle in the 2nd week of July, I found myself over 200 miles off the pace necessary to achieve my target. Thankfully as a result of cycling to Furzedown and other daily rides, I’ve clawed back over half of the deficit:
METRICS TO END-JULY
Cycled in JULY : 16 Rides/280.54 miles
TOTAL MILES : 1125.91 miles. (Behind target by 65.13 miles).
Number of Days cycled: 72. Average Distance per Ride: 15.64 miles.
MILES TO GO: 896.09
Money Raised for Macmillan Cancer so far: £1423.00.
Money NEEDED* to Reach Target: £599.00 (Donations Page: here)
*ONCE IN A BLOG-TIME OPPORTUNITY: YOU could be the proud owner of this unique & fetching Ericle Cap, IF you are the highest bidder in the auction. All proceeds will go to my Macmilan Cancer 2022 Cycle Challenge.
Submit your bid to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Starting Bid: £25.00.
CURRENT WINNING BID: £165
This will be updated on this website and via email to subscribers.
The winning bid will be announced in the August (A)muse Letter.
Some of the miles of my Cycle Challenge have been clocked-up by dint of pedalling to get-togethers in the manor of My Kind & Talented Battersea Reader who, as a memento, created this magnificent painting for me:
Thus ends an Ericle post without any mention of politics (except this one!) and, hopefully, without any content that anybody will find objectionable or controversial. The Silly Season has that going for it, at least!