The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon

The Platinum Ticket by David Beynon
Shortlisted for The Terry Pratchett Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now First Novel Prize

Wednesday, 17 June 2009


Wheels seem to be the theme of the day. A short while ago impact with a noble woodland creature resulted in this:

A tragedy for the deer, no doubt. And the loss of a convenience we had grown accustomed to. A second car has always been a given for us, but we were rethinking the wisdom of it leading up to the accident. The decision made for us, we moved down to a single car.

Many people have applauded this move. "Good for you!" they say. "I am so proud of you guys!" "That's so environmentally friendly!". The truth is, if finances allowed, we'd have had another car in a heartbeat.

Both my wife and I were farm kids, raised in the Ontario countryside where a car wasn't just a nice thing to have - it was a necessity. Now that we live in town do we really need a second car? - but, it's still such a handy thing to have.

So how does one adjust to being carless after having constant access to a set of wheels since the age of sixteen? One gets a second set of wheels with his price range.

This is my new sweet ride. I did the math and this is my first new bicycle in 32 years! I have not ridden a bicycle since I rented one from the train station in Bruges in Belgium about 20 years ago. That bike was a nightmare surplus thing that I am sure had fled Nazis at some point in its history - only it was such a shitty, chain-skipping monstrosity that it must have fled them none too quickly...

Bikes have come a long, long way. Gear changing is no longer some esoteric combination of the two little levers mounted beyond easy reach between the handlebars. A flick of the thumb and a clear display now let you know exactly
where you are as you effortlessly traverse the 21 plus gears at your disposal. The seat, while still ass-numbing, has lost most, if not all, of the testicle-bruising harshness of the bicycle seats of my youth.

I am well pleased with my new bicycle.

The other wheel I'll talk about is the one at the entry to my town's newest park. Last Friday we began the physical work on the site of BT Corner. Our main entry consists of a replica mill wheel surrounded by limestone boulders. The millstone symbolizes the town's earliest industries, while the blocks represent the building material of choice for Fergus' early masons.

The millstone started out as a single squarish slab of limestone that weighed close to 2200 pounds. It was rounded down and chipped away into its final wheel form but still weighs an impressive 1700 pounds. It will be surrounded by plants - junipers and such - and will have a sandblasted stainless steel sign mounted above the diamond-shaped cut-out.

Following our official park dedication on Saturday at noon I'll post pictures of the completed entry, but here's what's on the ground so far:



P.S. I do have some writing related news, but it'll wait until the next post.

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