Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Fifty miles

I drove 50 miles today, averaging 22 mph at 19 mpg.

The first trip was to take my guest, who had overslept, to his courses at Sarasota County Technical Institute.

Secondly I went down to St. Boniface Church on Siesta Key for the weekly Tuesday morning Eucharist, and study group for Priests.

Then I took my car to the auto-dealer for an oil change and tire (tyre) rotation.

Fourthly I drove out to All Angels Church on Longboat Key for their annual Epiphany concert and “pot-love” supper.

Four errands which I could have made by ‘bus, but which would have taken much longer.

I am glad to be able to own and drive a car, and to engage in these four journeys.

‘Twas not always so. Fifty years ago, folks of my generation in the U.K. and in the U.S.A rarely ventured more than four miles from our homes, and those trips were most always by bike, ‘bus, or foot.

We attended neighbourhood schools and churches. We shopped in neighbourhood stores. We lived in a very small world.

In my case, the biggest travel event of the year (as a child) was the Sunday School “Outing” to Weston-super-mare, some 22 miles from home. The journey by coach (‘bus) seemed to last for ever.

In our schools we were issued with Exercise Books for our “exercises” in arithmetic, spelling, and writing.

They were bound in blue covers. On the front were written the grand words “Bristol Education Committee”, with spaces to enter the subject, teacher, and one’s own name.

The back covers always had a map/diagram headed “50 miles around Bristol”. It was as if someone had used a protractor with Bristol at the centre point, and with a circle of the fifty mile radius.

That circle encompassed exotic towns such as Gloucester (county town of Gloucestershire); Newport (Wales); Taunton (county town of Somerset [shire]); Bath, Yeovil and Glastonbury (in Somerset); and Chippenham, Calne and Trowbridge in Wiltshire.

I dreamed of visiting such towns. They seemed to be like foreign places, each within 50 miles of Bristol.

And today? Today I drove 50 miles. I drove 50 miles and thought nothing of it!

1 comment:

  1. Quite different here, perhaps because of the long distance in Australia. As a teenager in the 50's I travelled about 10 miles each way to High school. A sunday afternoon drive would have easily been 50 miles and we regularly went to the city for shopping or movies about 15 miles. Today I rarely drive if I can help it. I drive the mile to the station and catch the train and just once per week drive the 10 miles to the supermarket although last week I made 2 trips to the tip (about 10 miles) with garden prunings. I go by train the 50 miles each way to church on Sunday and usually at least once per week for the movies. Helped in that as a senior I pay $2.50 which allows me to travel by bus, train and ferry up to about 150 miles around Sydney all day.