I am not prolific this year in writing or riding. Its been cold and I’ve been immersed in home decorating. Wallpaper stripping, sealing cracks, filling them, skimming over them, priming the wall and finally painting them in between work and managing remote schooling for 2 teenagers has consumed most of my time. As a result, we’ve saved enough alone on getting someone to skim the walls to buy a couple of bespoke outdoor sofas for the deck.
I like painting walls. For little apparent work, the effect is more or less immediate. Rewarding. And I get to listen to cricket commentary and podcasts. Relating to cricket, I’ve discovered The Final Word, a couple of Aussie journos chatting most things cricket. I’m also getting through the ~ 300 episodes of We Have Ways of Making you Talk, a couple of historians discussing the second World War, dissecting what we know and refuting what we think we knew. I’ve been interested in this war since my mother spotted the glint in the milkmans eye. A strained relationship with a Grandfather who lost his mind serving with the RAF but never wanted to talk about it stimulated my interest further.
So there’s been time for listening and little for riding or writing but here’s what I’ve done with riding. I’ve completed the bike commute 5 times this year, all in February. This time last year I had done about 4 times that much. I’ve really had to force myself into it and I’m fairly sure that it’s a combination of late work finishes, the cold and taking leave at work before I lose it in April. I’ve since lost access to the apartment accommodation that I used for showering after my commute as my employers were forced to provide onsite shower facilities for staff after work to wash away the Covid. They are hiring trailer showers which aren’t exactly spacious and it’s an exercise in planning and organisation to get the job done. And they’re cold. I miss the heated luxury of my former palatial option.
While it has been regular, most of my riding has been on short errands or ambling about making the most of the irregular sunshine in my part of the UK. We’re having a run of Fool’s Spring at the moment and every man and his dog seem to be out enjoying it. The bulbs are starting to flower and the days are finally appreciably longer. It won’t be long before my commutes are blinkie free so I’m hopeful to get back in the action soon.
I also received delivery of my new tyres 6 months after ordering them and installed them immediately. Made in Taiwan, they were probably sitting on the China Sea as a result of Covid and the Brexit shambles. The time of hedgerow butchery by local councils/farmers is close at hand so I will be able to ride with a reasonable assurance of puncture free rides along the roads/trails.
And then there’s the walking. The only goal that I’ve set myself this year is to walk at least 1000km with the pooch. We’ve ploughed through nearly a quarter of that so we’re ahead of target. We’ve chased muntjac and pheasants, squirrels and rabbits with the occasional herd of deer so it’s been entertaining. She hasn’t yet caught her quarry but it relieves some of the boredom taking the same routes. With lock down nearing a welcome end, a 2nd vaccine dose around the corner, school returning and brighter, milder days ahead things look all change (again) for March.