Monday, August 01, 2005

Volunteer Ranger!

The arrival into the world of ones first offspring is often said to bring home a sense of responsibility in the new parent: a sense of the need to protect your child, but perhaps also the world around you that your child will inhabit. Perhaps this is why I have finally felt obliged to do what I signed up to do several months ago: my duties as a Sustrans Volunteer Ranger.

The obligations of this post are to monitor a stretch of the Trans-Pennine Trail (TPT) near where I live and occasionally to perform small maintenance tasks (cutting back overgrown vegetation, etc.). For anything major (fallen trees, vandalised sign-posts) I just report back to the central office, so it mostly involves me riding along the TPT between Stockport and Stretford - something I already happily did to keep fit anyway.

Despite approving of this venture, Hayley loves to tease me about it and at every opportunity sings "Volunteer Ranger" at me, vaguely to the tune of the Lone Ranger. (If she's really taking the mick she calls me "Sherrif Steve".) As time has gone on she has added verses to this chorus of ridicule.
"He's coming into town
Riding on his bike
Volunteer Ranger!
Cutting back the trees
Picking up the rubbish
Volunteer Ranger!
He's riding on the path
Looking out for danger
Volunteer Ranger!"
This is usually punctuated by hearty laughter.

But seriously, I do wonder whether my inclination to take on this minor civic duty is stimulated by impending parenthood or whether it's just (middle) age-related. Either way it keeps me fit which will hopefully help me to keep up with the bundle of energy about to join our family.