After two months I finally got on the bike again. A friend, let’s call her Jill, pinged on my phone and a ride was organised. Trust us to leave it to the end of the summer to get back out there.
With all the hungry mouths fed and watered I had about thirty minutes before Jill arrived this morning. Cue mad scramble for cycling shorts and gloves, unearthing the helmet and sunglasses and last but not least wheeling out the bicycle. It had been in the shed ever since June, when I pushed it in and as I was locking the door, I noticed that I was standing under a wasp nest the size of a football. The shed never got locked and I never returned. Until today. It’s only fair to point out that the nest was destroyed by my husband a week or so ago and I was perfectly safe then.
Off we went with our bikes on the bike rack on Jill’s car. Within twenty yards we got stuck behind a farm machine (driven by my ever farming husband) that was in turn stuck because the car going in the opposite direction stopped. And stood there.
The lady in charge of the small hatchback smiled sheepishly as she tried to reverse to the passing space behind her. She smiled again and got out to let her passenger take over the vehicle. We didn’t laugh because we thought that maybe she was a beginner and now her partner will quickly reverse and let us through. Wrong. If anything he was slightly too enthusiastic with the accelerator and almost ran over his wife/girlfriend/friend. When he eventually reversed back he went into the drive opposite his passing space (exactly where The Farmer was trying to turn into) we laughed now but mostly at the face my husband was pulling while trying to stay serious. Priceless. A little while of shuffling a heavy machinery and a little car and we were on our way again.
When we stopped next, it was for a parade shaking their buckets in aid of Stroke charity. Now only in Britain you can stop people in the middle of the road, ask for money and even though you are neither dressed in a uniform nor holding them at gunpoint, they will give it to you! What a fantastic country! A few coins in the bucket and we continued.
The landscape around Appledore, where we decided to cycle, was magic this morning. The sun was shining and the breeze was warm, just like on holiday. We poodled along chatting about this and that and generally setting the world right. Next time someone tells you that women only talk about clothes and shoes, don’t believe them.
We covered topics like jobs, car fests, coincidences, spirituality, polar bears, our friends, bicycles, the ‘let it unfold’ philosophy, flat pack furniture, religion, books, marketing ploys for bloggers (!), age, my dog’s sex life, WWII and the film Kill Bill. The only time we mentioned clothes was when I asked why cyclists are expected to look like Lycra clad sausages.
We rode for a few miles, wondering why we don’t do this more often. It was one of the best Saturdays I had for a long time.
Once we took off our helmets and got off our bikes, we celebrated our first outing with a cup of tea, a cake and then we very briefly assessed the clothes worn by a lady sitting next to us.