I love movement. I quite like standing still too, please don’t get me wrong, but movement does it for me. The act of travelling thrills me. I know that some people like to get all blase and tedious about these things and complain about air travel for instance, but I get a kick out of going somewhere that can always usefully be described as ‘away’, no matter how irritating the security checks, no matter how annoying your fellow travellers.

Boats too. Rolling on a sea swell lifts my spirits and makes me realise that life has many deep purposes. Hoping to avoid drowning is probably one of them, and getting soaked in the spray thrown up by breaking waves is enough to remind me of my mortality there.

Obviously, I don’t get many chances to travel long distances, so the three mile walk to work in my little high street retail bakery slash coffee shop and back every day is about as close as I get to being a local Marco Polo. Spooning the sugar slowly into my coffee and watching the grains sink and dissolve is as near to excitement as I come most days, so don’t mock my everyday limits, please. This is my life I’m talking about here.

So, in order to lift the everyday experience from torment to something resembling endurable banality, I go cycling every evening. I don’t go far, and I don’t wear any special gear. Just my swim shorts, a tee shirt and my battered, oldest pair of slip on beach shoes. And a facial expression that hovers somewhere between grin and grim. I always follow the same route as well. It’s a five mile ride from my house, down the hill, along the estuary trail, beside the gently sweeping bay past the Tidemills, skirting the Martello tower and along past the beach huts to Splash Point. Then I stop, admire the scenery from the base of the cliffs, and return home the same way. Occasionally, very occasionally, I take the beach path to Tidemills and back over the railway crossing rather than the more direct route, and boy do I appreciate the variety that life can throw at me.

I was chatting the other day to one of the girls who frequent my shop about my evening bike rides, when she asked me ‘Why do you do it? Why do you ride your bike when you’ve been here in the shop all day?’ I had been expecting my raunch factor to increase due to my sporting prowess and all round fitness. I was wrong.

“Because there are no hills my love” I replied. “And also, I really enjoy the feel of salt air whistling tunelessly through the hairs on my naked limbs. That’s one reason why I neither wax nor shave. Try it.” She looked at me like I was talking Chinese. Maybe that’s something I should learn.

One strange and mysterious phenomenon I have noticed on my evening journeys is the growing tendency for dog owners to bundle up their vile companions’ turds in small plastic bags and rather than dump them in the bins provided, they simply drop them on the path. I don’t like dogs, I’ll tell you that now. I don’t go in houses where dogs live, and relatives and acquaintances who have dogs know better than to risk the inevitable upset that they face if they try to enter my house with their dogs in tow.

So peculiar habits like wrapping poo in plastic and abandoning the end result on a public path is behaviour that I for one expect from people who choose to share their lives and homes with the creatures. But why, dear friend, why? What do they expect to happen to their little parcels? The contents won’t degrade in the normal fashion, owing to the limits on oxygen and bacteria available. I can only imagine that some form of fossilisation is expected to occur, with some future archaeologist confidently deciding that some members of 21st century society were in the habit of leaving strange little ritual objects all over the place, wrapped in sandwich bags. They’ll probably let their children play with them too. It’ll be alright though, the smell should have cleared by then and the ancient dog poos will be as hard as rock.

I just do my best to avoid them.


8 thoughts on “Chafed in the evenings

  1. Being in a shop all day is, one would think, *precisely* the reason to go about in the evenings on one’s bike, I would think. It is good you do. I don’t do that sort of thing nearly often enough. And you’ve got a bit of a nice trip for it, as well. Better than pedaling away to nowhere, indoors.

    Re: dog poo: gross as that is, I would like to point out that at least it is emparceled.
    Here one not only gets the naked sort, but at times, one has the terrible realization that it is in fact not of dog. I suppose the one good thing about it is not having encountered the person during production, though I have encountered my share of metropolitan public urination.
    Oh, the joys of civilization!

    Back to the original discussion, your walk to work reminds me of when mine was longer (now it’s just a few streets before and after getting on the train). A bit of exercise and some time to think twice a day can be a rather lovely part of the routine when the weather is not overly onerous.

    Please keep writing. I’m enjoying these just as before.


    1. Ah Lo. You summed it up perfectly at the end there. It’s the time to think, to reflect, to be alone with myself that’s one of the main attractions.

      Back to the poo, yes there’s plenty that’s left unwrapped for the elements to wash away, which is as it should be. The bagged ones are quite horrible in the hot spell we’ve been having this week. They emit gasses as they ferment and if the bag’s been tightly tied you can imagine what happens, with thermal expansion and all that. They’re the ones to definitely steer well clear of. Quite quite horrible.


    1. Dr A.
      I have many incarnations, of which this is but one. I shall drop by your wonderful world of sheds. When time permits. Perhaps I’ll find some kind of inspiration there.

    1. Lo, yes I’m still here. Just haven’t thought of stuff to write. We went to Greece a couple of weeks ago, me and my Anita. I’ll try to make time to write it up, hopefully next week.
      Ooh! I got “I can see the Future” a while back. Wondeful stuff! I don’t think she could make a bad record if she tried.

  2. I see there’s more! Great!

    She is good, isn’t she? If she ever gets to England, try and see her. Lovely stage presence and quite amusing self-deprecating chat between songs … good ones.

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