Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? These are the opening lines of the most famous rock song ever. I reckon that half the people I know will wonder what the hell I am on about and the other half will know where I am coming from. Regardless of whether you know the song or not, one could easily apply the sentiment to the events of this last year. You could not make up this perfect shitstorm really but don’t concern yourselves that this is going to be some diatribe of rants about Brexit, Boris, Covid or even Trump. We have all had enough of that lot! But we might well ask ourselves – Is this real or is it all just a dream.
Dreams can be categorised into two types. There are the dreams you have every night when you are asleep. Generally, they are utter rubbish and relate to things that have happened in your past at some point but in a disjointed way. Threads of these dreams pull together characters and incidents that you may, or may not, have known at some point, jumble it all up and churn it all around in your head.
To give an example I had a very, very strange one the other night. I was in a work situation for Cooper Tires (yes, that is how they spell it over there) in the Motorsport division. In charge was Boris Johnson……I kid you not! Along with him were a number of the usual people involved in that part of the organisation, many of whom I had disagreements with in the past, and they were trying to persuade me to develop a website for them. Boris was coming out with all his normal bollocks, telling me what a great programmer I was etc. just so he could get his way by getting me to do the deed. I was having none of it. I went into great detail as to why I should not do it for them. I was insisting that it would not be good company practice for me to do this using the languages that I was familiar with as they were not the standards used by the company and I would be the only person able to make any changes or modifications, if necessary, to the finished article. No other developer in the company knew these languages and I was an old guy and likely to leave the company soon. Boris would not take no for an answer and all of a sudden he said: “Julian, tell him he must do it”. Who the hell is Julian you might ask? The reference was to Julian Baldwin who I had worked with on a major project in the company (that bit is true) and who later became the Vice-President of the European company (also true). Why Julian should pop into my head at this point I do not know but I guess it was something to do with the fact that I had a great deal of respect for him and Boris knew this and was not averse to using it. I then went into all the previous explanations for Julian’s benefit. I could see that Boris, and now Julian, did not accept my arguments. My final memory of this dream was to explain to them both that I would not do it as website design and development was basically my hobby, from which I took a great deal of pleasure and if I did it in a work environment that would destroy the enjoyment and satisfaction I got from it. Then I woke up.
Well, what was all that about? Maybe it was something to do with the decision I had been wrestling with on whether to finish work all together. Or maybe it was something to do with Brexit and the likelihood of major changes required to the company applications as a result. Or maybe it was neither, just a load of crap churning around in my head.
The other type of dreams are more to do with aspirations. Things or stuff you would like to achieve at some point in the future. Or even your bucket list – that is things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’. I have a few of those, not the normal ‘New Year’s resolutions but things I realistically can achieve.
One of which is a cycle trip around Wales, unsupported, covering a distance of about 500 miles. By unsupported I mean that I would not have Jane, or anybody else for that matter, following me in a car with all the bike tools, spares, clothes etc. like she did with LEJOG. They would all be in panniers on the bike making it much harder. By unsupported I do not mean that I would be camping out every night though. Let us not be silly about this, there are perfectly good hotels and B and Bs out there. The idea is to enjoy the ride along with the wonderful scenery. The route would roughly follow the `Celtic trail along the south coast of Wales heading west towards St. Davids. After that, head north along the coast through Aberystwyth and on to Borth and Aberdovey. From there I would turn south east aiming towards Monmouth, Gloucester and then home. My aim is to do this in 7 days, that is roughly just over 70 miles per day, but it would not matter if it took longer. You will have noticed that, although I will be crossing the Cambrian hills and possibly the Brecon Beacons, I have avoided Snowdon. Some of the most stunning scenery in the country but only if it is not raining and it does so a lot up there. And, of course, there are many, many hills. I am not sure, at my age, that would be a wise thing to attempt.
I do have a couple more long rides I wouldn’t mind giving a go. The year after next maybe I will try cycling around Wessex. The year after that I wanted to cycle all the way around Spain and visit that place for the last time. A round trip of about 2000 miles. I have very fond memories of that country and I would like to see it one more time. Mainly because my passport runs out then and I have no intention of renewing it.
I like to think the trip next year is not just a fantasy but the real thing. The one after that is very much still in the thinking stage. The Spanish trip is more likely to be a fantasy but we all have to have a dream.
Finally, for those of you who didn’t get the reference to Bohemian Rhapsody you can listen to it here.
It is worth listening all the way through even if you don’t like rock music. It really is one of the classics of the seventies and set the benchmark which in my view has never been surpassed. Freddy Mercury, who instigated this piece was a brilliant performer and musician albeit with a little chemical assistance from time to time. If you do like rock music you cannot fail to play ‘air guitar’ when Brian May kicks in. This one is always worth an airing. Enjoy your dreams.