With rain forecast to some extent on both days over the weekend, and a combination of late nights and early mornings toward the back end of the week, it (whatever it is)pointed to a midday-or-thereabouts Saturday start. There had evidently been plenty of rain overnight and a bit more during the morning, judging by puddles on the road, and there were a couple of very brief and fairly light showers during the first hour after I left the house. I did have a ‘bum bag’ waterproof jacket with me but it never saw the light of day.
It was all very gentle fare, not picking up much pace particularly in the six miles to the coffee stop. At least there were plenty of newspapers available this time, and I much prefer Stubbington to Sholing in the coffee break stakes. The staff recognise me there, they remember my ‘usual’, and they are much quicker in serving than other outlets, so I felt more at home.
I wasn’t struggling at all but churning out the miles while listening to footie; no egg-chasing for me at all today! A few more miles in, I was really wondering what to write in this blog. No particular topical news issues with any tenuous connection to my day to day life, I had had nothing about which to complain, Pompey were winning and Matt’s favourites Newcastle were too. Newcastle’s second goal, versus Southampton, came just as I turned northwards from the Elson roundabout, and despite the writer’s block – or thinker’s block – all was well with the world. I just wanted something to write about.
One of the dangers when walking along roads, by that I mean pavements, is the behaviour of other people, mainly cyclists and drivers. And as I passed past a bus stop, a white van veered towards the pavement and the indented kerb straight through a massive puddle and I was absolutely soaked from head to toe. The driver then veered back onto the road and drove off. I have no idea why he (I assume he) did it other than for some joke, probably with his passenger(s), the sort of “you see that t*** on the path, watch this” joke. I was a bit stunned but didn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing me shouting or giving any hand signals; I’ll just be the bigger man, I thought. I consoled myself by thinking it was the highlight of his day within a very sad life.
That’s not to say that I wasn’t angry. It was appalling behaviour, not to say illegal. Yes, splashing pedestrians is illegal and one can be prosecuted under Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act for careless, aggressive or inconsiderate behaviour on the road. The maximum penalty is a £150 fine and three penalty points, along no doubt with an increase in insurance premiums. I believe (from my Home Office days of crime statistics) it is recorded under the ‘violence against the person’ category. Of course, it is only enforceable if reported, and would probably need to be witnessed by a police officer to have any chance of a prosecution – but it does happen: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/06/puddle-soaked-pedestrians-report-scores-of-drivers-to-police. I don’t think that I have one friend who would do what that idiot did, but then none – or at least extremely few – of my friends are idiots. So I still had almost three hours to walk in wet clothes, though they did dry off quickly enough.
And that was where the day turned, at least for 45 minutes. Pompey managed to do their Jekyll and Hyde act again, and Newcastle failed to score than one more goal. But I gradually felt much calmer about the splash incident at least, with no lasting effects, and it was yet more uneventful fare in completing my 18 mile walk. A nice large mug of milk and a touch of raspberry sauce and all is well with the world.