Saturday, 8 December 2007

Z appreciates the social side of cycling

The Sage woke up. "Do you have to be anywhere?" he wondered. "Don't worry, it's Saturday," I murmured, and we wrapped our arms round each other and relaxed dozily for an extra half hour. We heard the papers come, and Al leave for work and chuckled smugly, because we didn't have to move.

Later, Al came home to fetch another vanful of trees. I biked in to do my shopping. Mark, the friendly butcher, chatted cheerily about the joys of cycling. I looked at him without expression - largely because my face muscles were stunned by cold. I suggested he ask me again about the end of May.

I went and fetched lots of vegetables, plain yoghurt, kidney beans, rice cakes and bought several dozen Christmas cards. It all just fitted in the panniers, but was so heavy that I walked across the road before setting off home in case I wobbled and fell off (even when sober, I'm not all that steady). The rain had started by then and stung my cheeks icily. I was boring and dull enough to weigh the panniers when I arrived home - one was 19lbs and the other 15lbs. It wasn't something I was aware of when I shopped by car.

The water was high in the dykes as I rode across the dam. Yagnub is, on three sides, hemmed in with water meadows and a system of natural and man-made waterways, which feed the River Waveney. These often flood, but that's what they are there for. Sometimes, the surrounding fields look like huge lakes dotted with trees, but the water has to go somewhere and it helps to fill the underground natural aquifers which give us our drinking water - we don't have reservoirs around here, but nor have we ever had a hosepipe ban in this dry area of the country.

Although I was rained on, I was lucky that I arrived home when I did. Since then, it has poured.

The older women in the village are really pleased to see me out on my bike. I greeted three of them on my way in - they had all done their shopping and were on their way back by this time. Millie was fetching her bike as I parked mine. "Glad to see you've joined the club!" she said. I was fortunate enough to have a two-year-old child when I came to live here, which was a great help in getting to know people and start a social life. My mother found her entry into the village was in having a dog to walk. From the general air of warm approval and encouragement around me, using a bike is similarly engaging. If only for this, I'm glad I bought it.

9 comments:

badgerdaddy said...

Mark is fab.

My favourite butcher here has closed down, which is really rubbish. They were brilliant, and won prizes every year for their wonderful sausages; for some reason, the owner couldn't sell it as a going concern, which is very sad.

Might have to phone Mark for some butcherly banter now.

Z said...

It is sad - trouble is, good butchery is hard work and running your own small shop, even if successful, is too. A butchery is worse than a greengrocer because everything has to be washed down and disinfected daily - we only have to sweep the floor a few times!

jen said...

ah Z...i've missed you. the warmth of you.

Z said...

Hello my darling - I've missed you too. I read you, but I've not commented much recently - I'll catch up and get more time soon.

Alan said...

Since we moved and have been able to walk most places, we too have noticed how much heavier those shopping bags are - either that or we're buying more stuff hmm!

Z said...

It was when I no longer had a child in a pushchair that walking in to do my shopping tailed off - I used to get him to walk home so that I could load my bags into the pushchair!

hey bartender said...

Oh how I long to live in a place where it is logical (or even remotely safe) to bike everywhere. I did it in college, and I miss it so.
Keep up the good work, Z.

luckyzmom said...

I love to bike ride. About fifteen years ago I fell while riding and bent the wheel of my bike. It was never the same and I eventually got rid of it. It would be a joy to ride here as everything is so flat. The past week I have been having hip problems. And since knowing about your hip problem, I have been forcing myself to move more. It is working.

Z said...

I suppose I'll start to appreciate the joys once the spring comes. I do notice the countryside more, and I wave benignly at polite motorists.