Thursday, February 28, 2013

Spring Is In The Air ?

Yesterday was a lovely day weatherwise and I've not been able to say that for many months.  It probably wasn't quite a harbinger of Spring but it was good enough for me to dust off the car, charge up the GPS and go for a spin into the countryside.

Now I realise that the days of 'going for a spin' died out when petrol here started being sold by the litre.  This came in on 1st October 1995 although the switch over had been taking place since the late 1970's.

That's when prices seemed to go up overnight and have been going up ever since so that these days, we need to almost save our precious and very expensive petrol for essential trips, like to the shops or to work or to pick up the Chinese takeaway when they don't deliver !

I remember when I got my first car and I'd just go out for a drive for the pure enjoyment of it all. Yes I know I should've been at work but those were the good old days when you could take a sickie and not risk losing your job.

I'd drive to the coast, have seaside fish and chips and be back home in the late evening all for 3 florins. If I did need a fill up along the way, I'd stop at a petrol station where a young fella would fill up the car, clean my windscreen, check my tyre pressures, valet the inside and leave a mint on my seat.  Not sure why he spent so long taking my girlfriend to the rest room but she seemed happy enough when she returned.

Despite petrol now costing 500 squillion times more, we have lost out on all that service.  We have to fill up the tank ourselves, clean our own windscreens and drive around in rubbish filled cars.  As for tyre pressures, who checks those anymore ?  Oh I know we're advised to do so weekly but come on, who like me goes from one annual service to another without ever checking our tyres ?  I'm not even sure where they are on my car !  I'm told I have 5....who knew !!

And the inside of my car has more computing power than took Armstrong et al to the moon and back, allegedly. Added to what came as standard, like many young and tech savvy drivers (shut it !) I've added the smartphone in its cradle, the GPS on its mounting, the mp3 and FM transmitter on the dashboard and since last week, the Nexus 7 on the passenger seat. It's no wonder the lights dim when I start the car !

Actually of all those gadgets, it's the FM transmitter I love the far as in car entertainment is concerned.  Being a basic car, it came with a standard radio/cd player with no input for an mp3 player.  I tried one type of FM transmitter so that it would play via the car speakers but it was a bit of a failure.  I got a new one a couple of years ago and it's brill. It's smaller than a classic zippo lighter and rests in a spare cup holder and means I can listen to MY music and not the (mostly) drivel on the radio.

So yesterday, with a tankful of petrol bought when it was 10p a litre cheaper (2 days ago), I tootled along the A65 at a typically retired person speed and enjoyed the clear blue skies above me and the open road before me.  Well I say open road but we all know those also passed away in the pre litre days. These days if you can get into 5th gear at any point during a trip you've most likely strayed onto a motorway.  On A roads, the best you can hope for is forward motion.

I set off with the idea of going to Skipton (25 miles but 50 mins) as I knew a walk around the canal area would be both good for a bit of exercise and for taking photos.  There are always loads of canal boats moored there and with several companies offering 30 minute trips, there is always action on the water too.

The drive there was lovely and I enjoyed every minute.  Despite my previous comments, slightly tongue in cheek, the A65 was almost empty except when passing through Ilkley, always a bit of a bottleneck.  As well as the open road, there were sheep (if not lambs) in the fields and the Yorkshire countryside was at its most glorious. Low stone built walls, neat farmhouses, hillside villages and numerous streams were all visible through my newly cleaned windscreen - as I'd cleaned it myself before setting off !

20 miles from home, the A65 climbs up into the Dales between Ilkley and Skipton and passes Chelker Reservoir built in 1866 to serve the Bradford area.  God this blog is educational.

There are 4 wind turbines along the far edge of the reservoir as at this height, there is nothing much to stop the strong wind blowing across the waters.  For some reason only 2 have blades so really there are 2 turbines.....and 2 tall white towers !!

I pulled off the road to get some (very) fresh air and take a pic.............

 Then it was on to Skipton and being market day, it was quite busy.

Actually as Skipton has no less than 4 market days a week (Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat) and it's a popular Dales town, it's always busy.  I parked near the canal, had a walk around and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine, if not the freezing temps.

When walking back to the car, I noticed this sign on a van window parked outside a cafe which was a funny take on the usual "No Tools In This Van" which is supposed to stop thieves from breaking into commercial vehicles.  As if !

Then I had to return to Leeds to 'run an errand' and got back before the onset of the rush hour madness that makes driving on the A65 a misery.

So is Spring in the air ?  Well today's weather is the same as yesterday with clear blue skies and 8F and with no rain forecast for the next few days, it's certainly looking promising weatherwise.

But whether I can save enough to afford the petrol for more days out is another matter.

Ahhh for the good old days when petrol was relatively cheap, the roads weren't filled with cars and petrol station restrooms were only used for one thing !

Once again nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

1 comment:

Jennyta said...

Skipton is a lovely place and certainly well worth a visit. The price of fuel must have had quite an impact on many people's recreational motoring. Keith and I have cut back drastically over the past few years. Sad, really.

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