It seemed it might be the last warm and dry day for awhile, so we walked to Wolff’s Biergarten to celebrate my cousin’s birthday. Eight point two miles round trip. I can’t remember walking further. It went well, but my legs were nearly shot by the end. My legs! It had been my feet on most of our recent long walks, but they must be toughening up.
The destination was worth the walk. Judie was in fine spirits and it was nice to see everyone. Although I couldn’t bring myself to order a beer at ten in the morning, veggie curry wurst, fries and sauerkraut were a treat.
We walked home quickly to have a chance to see my friend’s 1935 Austin Seven out and about. He was going to be in the neighborhood and the car was to be stored for the winter the next day. We made it.
Seeing it in the drive was terrific. It is a bit shorter than a Golf, but it’s narrowness is the real surprise. I didn’t measure it at the time, but it looked to be about half the width of a Golf. Casual research just now suggests the Seven looks narrower than it is (dark colors are slimming and the pointed beak surely lends to the illusion). The Seven is about two thirds of the width of a Golf (four feet versus six).
As a sometimes pedaler, I can’t help but wish all cars were as narrow. Even in the narrowest lane (say nine feet), an Austin Seven could share the lane, side by side, with a pedaler traveling two feet from the curb and nearly three feet would remain. Of course three full feet are required by law, and more space is better still, but if you read on you’ll learn why I would be willing to overlook a bit less than three feet when being passed by this car (hint–top speed is modest).
Four forward gears, but first is a bail out gear–to be used only if you find yourself on a particularly steep grade. You generally start in second. Off we were! The owner worked through second and third, then into fourth, and we found ourselves traveling at twenty-two miles per hour. That was known only because we were driving through a speed trap and the sign told us so–the car itself has no speedometer. I don’t think it gets going much more quickly than that without the help of a hill and/or the wind, as four cylinders producing 13.5 horsepower were all that we had to pull the three of us along. The engine isn’t much larger nor much louder (at idle) than a residential sewing machine. I’d be surprised to learn that the exhaust pipe has a diameter greater than three-quarters of an inch. All this together makes for a very polite motorized conveyance. I will never forget it!
Today, proper fall weather is here. Rain overnight turned to snow, then back to rain as the temperature rocketed to thirty-five degrees. We’ve stayed in.
I rode the rollers in the morning. Since I’ve started a few weeks ago, I’ve increased the effort three times. Started in the easiest gear and left it there for a couple of sessions. Dropped it a gear for the next few and repeated the pattern twice more. I don’t think I’ve pedaled on the rollers in this high a gear before. I won’t further increase the effort–there is no point in pulling my knees apart.
I added to a half batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies a touch of cocoa powder and brewed coffee. Espresso is better (or even just finely ground coffee), but I’ve put away the espresso maker to make room on the counter for the toaster oven, forgot about dry coffee until now and I had brewed coffee in the fridge. I reduced the flour to accommodate the cocoa, but should have left it alone. The batter was visibly loose as I plopped the cookie
dough batter on the mat. They spread a bit too much in the oven, but nevertheless taste very nice.
I finished Irving’s In One Person and am now well into Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here. Recommended by a friend and first published in 1935, Lewis’ book is a satirical account of a fascist’s rise to the presidency of the United States. Chilling. Here’s hoping for fewer parallels between fiction and fact as I make my way through the book.
Rain is now snow again. Not enough to build on the pavement, but it seems the Austin Seven was tucked away for the season none too soon. My cookies and extra blankets will keep us warm. I hope you have the means to do the same.