Barry, Kev, Tina and Trudi

Today and yesterday saw rides in very changed weather: autumn has arrived in a rush. The winds have been strong, from the north, and the temperatures have dropped very noticeably. Last Sunday I was still wearing shorts … not this week.

Yesterday – annoyingly, without a camera – I passed a Volvo called Barry. I kid you not.

On the back of it, someone had taken a lot of trouble to add to the normal maker’s letters and numbers (Volvo V40 / XC60 / XC90 or whatever) the word ‘Barry’, in metal letters that seemed, at a glance at least, to perfectly match the official ones. You can only admire the trouble that the owner had gone to.

Whether the car was called Barry or whether the owner was and this was his version of a personalised number plate, will necessarily remain a mystery.

Today I rode by two road signs in quick succession that someone had written names on – Kev, who I hope is a cyclist …

Kev the phantom cyclist …

Kev the phantom cyclist …

… and Tina and Trudi, who ought to ride horses if they don’t already.

… and Tina and Trudi, the two horsewomen of the apocalypse

… and Tina and Trudi, the two horsewomen of the apocalypse

I have no idea what motivated the writing on the road signs or on the back of the Volvo. Is it all just for a laugh, or completely thoughtless – neither here nor there in any possible sense? Is it all evidence of how some people struggle to assert their individuality in a loneliness-inducing, alienating culture – consciously or otherwise?

It’s disconcerting to suspect there’s meaning in everything, even something as insignificant as a marker-penned name on a temporary road sign. If you accept that there is meaning in everything, it’s perhaps even more perturbing to realise how ineffective in its consequences so much of that intended meaning actually is. Someone’s crying out to be recognised as an individual – to the utter indifference of the milieu that cry’s being made in.