Saturday, 30 January 2010

Small but Noisy

N3 turned three yesterday (tho' if you ask him, he will insist he is five) so we found this little blue horn to go with his little blue bike.
I have been told he grew so much over the summer that he is using the full size wheels now, so maybe he is really five.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Strange Weather

Winnipeg doesn't usually have several days of above freezing weather in January. Heavy wet snow, sleet, and rain, is equally unusual. The combination of the two is ugly.

This is what Portage Avenue, one of Winnipeg's major streets, looked like at about 830 yesterday morning. We had given friends a ride to the airport and were heading off to do some errands. The few cyclists I saw were on the sidewalks pushing their bikes through the mush.

The snowplows were out in full force, but the stuff kept oozing back off the edge of the streets and into the curb lane.

The wet stuff continued pretty much all day yesterday and we are expecting more today. Then the winds are supposed to shift and by tomorrow afternoon the temperature is supposed to drop to -17C. I'm hoping the 'plows can contend with the ice and clear the streets all the way across. The Geek is working from home tomorrow (preplanned but still fortuitous) and I am taking the bus.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Preventing Misplaced Aggression

Yesterday was cold and we had a few centimeters of dry snow, the kind that squeaks under your boots when you walk. The Geek rode her bike home in this stuff, but was very impressed how the drivers of motor vehicles gave her lots of space and didn't crowd her at the lights.
Today though, she elected to run, rather than ride her bike, given that the streets had not improved overnight. She reasoned that while she felt relatively safe from injury, she didn't want to feel responsible if someone who, frustrated at her presence on the road, acted aggressively toward another driver.
It was also a rather chilly today, and she was very frosty when she arrived at her destination.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Bicycle Named Gladys

The last few days have given us temperatures of-35C with a -45 windchill (-31/-49F). Since there is no pressing reason for me to go outside, I have been bundled up inside with the books I received for Christmas.

I am currently enjoying The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. I cheer for the protagonist, 11-year-old detective Flavia de Luce, as only a former 11-year-old detective (and not her mother) can.

Flavia rides her late mother’s three-speed BSA Keep Fit bicycle, L’Hirondelle, (the swallow) which she found “languishing for years in a toolshed”. She rescues her from “rusty oblivion” but her tires were flat and “her gears bone dry and crying out for oil”. She restores L’Hirondelle, and renames her Gladys.

Gladys carries Flavia on her investigations and allows her the freedom of movement and imagination we all relished at that age. “...I let Gladys have her head, swooping down the slopes past the rushing hedges, imaging all the while I was the pilot of one of the Spitfires which, just five years ago, had skimmed these very hedgerows like swallows as they came in to land at Leathcote.”

I wasn’t surprised to find an online ‘Flavia de Luce Fan Club’ as I’ve only read a few chapters, but I can’t wait to find out what she does next.