Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Slippery slope

We've been here before I said.
Or maybe kept the words in my head.
I was communing with my bike you see,
we're a partnership; my pal and me.
Evening sunlight on a supine canal
Sleepy ducks line the weed edged trail
Dogs too warm to wag a tail,
Walkers in a sun drugged daze
are all we see along our way.
Familiar bridge, with a sneaky right
winding, downhill, lipped and tight
Whoosh we lazily, indolently cruise
and now you should see the size of my bruise.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

He rides

The man in front is large, clearly large
The kind of size of a rugby front row,
a player in his youth, but sadly
he's not there now. Not many of us are.
He covers his bulk with baggy shorts
He covers his head with a helmet
He covers his chin with a ginger beard
He covers the gaps in the traffic with himself
I sit in his slipstream hiding from the wind
and chat to him at traffic lights.  He seems nice.

Friday, 26 June 2015

In front

The girl in front wears pink,
She rides an upright bike with mudguards
Her ponytail flicks from side to side
Shoulders sway when she rides uphill
Backwards glances, wondering who's behind
A deferential step aside at ASLs
But she's still faster than me,
And I like watching her ponytail bobbing, bobbing, bobbing.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

More numbers

Numbers mean a lot to me.  Dates, ages, numbers.

In the early days of bike computers - remember those, often with a wire going down the fork to a magnet which linked to one on the spokes, and with a cunning circumference measurement input told you how far you'd gone, how long your journey took, what your fastest speed was etc.  Basic stuff.  In those days I had a spreadsheet for my commute to work.  I could see that  I was getting quicker, and it was satisfying.  There were graphs.

I like Strava, it deals heavily in numbers.  How fast I did the same segment a year ago, two years ago, the dips and troughs of when I'm going quickly and when I'm not.

The Jawbone is another number generating device.  How much sleep I'm getting, how much of it is sound.  How many "steps" I take per day, how I compare to the average population of over 40s.  It has graphs too.

Disappointingly, I'm now playing a numbers game with the bathroom scales.  It's not one which is giving me a lot of joy, other than the relief of seeing the numbers coming down.  I don't like what I'm seeing, either on the numbers front or above my waist band.  It makes me unhappy.  I'm about 10 kilos over the weight I kind of like to be - and that's not really about numbers, that's about feel and appearance.  However, I am less than I was, and I'm on the way down.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Big numbers

It is a big numbers kind of a year.  This is indeed somewhat bewildering.

Here I am, with these unbelievably clear memories of 2005, ten years ago, with a completely different life.  Well, ish.

Ten years ago, for example, I know without looking at the calendar (which I probably still have somewhere because it's a curious relic of unbelievable, unreal activity) that this was the time when Dave's radiotherapy course was nearly complete.  I mostly remember because our wedding anniversary was on 17th May and I remember spending it driving to Christie's hospital, parking, having a cup of tea in the canteen, waiting, waiting and waiting, then driving home along the M60 and not doing very much else.  That was a decade ago.

Yesterday I remembered other things.  I remembered meeting my fella for the first time.  It was the three year anniversary of us meeting, curiously, a date memorable because on the ride there was birthday cake shared by his ex girlfriend.  So when we went out yesterday with his ex and her husband (for indeed they are newly weds) for a bike ride and a meal it was this interesting celebration.  First and foremost her birthday but clear in his and my memories it was also oddly our anniversary, with the bike ride starting from the same Hayfield car park in which we'd met.

And here I am, in a different house in a different town, with a different(ish) job, a different fella and a very different life to ten years ago.  No longer do I spend weekends and weeks doing voluntary Canal Restoration and the weeks in between planning, preparing, sorting out details of equipment, permissions, work schedules, people, transport, accommodation and food.  I mostly spend them riding my bike.  Occasionally I walk up a hill.  I am still in a state of wonder at living in the High Peak.

And this year, my age hits a big number, I hope.  I expect to turn 47 in August.  We all have every reasonable right to expect that, to hope for that, to be reasonably complacent about making it to 47.  Dave, though stopped two days short of that.  So, to me, to be alive at the age of 47 will be something quite quite special.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Where now?

Now feels like a time for conscious decisions, for making deliberate choices, for acknowledging the relative freedom I have to carve out my future into what I want it to be.  For bringing the past with me, or the bits of it I choose to in the way I elect to.

There are a lot of choices.  I don't have convention or tradition or peer pressure pushing or pulling me at this point in my life.  I can simply choose to be who I am, who I want to be, and where I want to go.  I don't want to drift any more.

No more "If I could choose the life I please" because there is no if about it.  I am a freewoman.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Eight years old

Eight year old self

So, would my eight year old self be proud of me?  I don't know. She was a bit dreamy and vague, that eight year old.  A lot of activity went on inside her head, but she didn't really share a lot of it, or perhaps she wasn't able to make herself heard so communications, ideas and opinions were lost on others.  Her mother couldn't tell what things were important to her and what weren't.  Her somewhat distracted mother, I suspect.

She lived in a bit of an imaginary world.  In that world, the garden was an adventure.  Things in it weren't what they seemed.  Mud could be turned into almost every substance possible.  Trees became extraordinary buildings, toys became walking talking characters, and catkins held many many possibilities.  These things were enough.  Adults didn't really play much of a role, and I don't think my 8 year old self had a particular adult she'd have looked up at and said wow.  I think it would have taken quite a bit to impress her.

She liked adults who talked, who smiled, laughed, and who listened enough to understand what of themselves to give back to an imaginative but quiet eight year old.  She was impressed with the loud adventuresses, in that sense that they were a breed apart, something quite out of the ordinary.  I don't think she wanted to be one though, she just liked that they existed and that they were women who did stuff, who made stuff happen.

I think my eight year old self would have been happy to stay that way, stay eight.  She'd have been impressed at me moving to London all on my own, and she'd have been sad about my husband dying.  She had an empathy for life's tragedies.  She'd  have listened avidly to tales of New Zealand travels too, and she'd have enjoyed the camper van with everything in miniature.  This is the child that tried to create homes in the back garden bushes and flower beds.  She'd have wanted me to be with my prince charming.