Sunday, 14 February 2016

On a wing and a prayer...

... was the subject of this morning's Something Understood on Radio Four, but my normal, enjoyably slow wake-up process, which involves listening first to the news and then to the first five minutes of the aforementioned Something Understood, was ruined this morning. There's nothing worse than when routine is broken. Normally the radio springs to life at 0600hrs just in time for the pips, followed by the news. But not this morning. The alarm went off, which itself was a stroke of luck as I recall checking the volume switch last night and finding it had been turned down to complete silence. Had I not noticed this the radio would have come on, but I would not have heard it. But it wasn't the news I could hear. Oh no, it was white noise, because whoever had turned down the volume the day before had also been fiddling with the tuner. For a few minutes I tried (in vain) to find Radio Four, but I was still sleepy and it proved impossible. No dreamy start for me this morning, I thought, deciding there and then to get out of bed and get ready for the ride.

Library shot of the Tatsfield Bus Stop
Problem number two. Yesterday I had put various items of my 'cycling kit' on the radiators to dry – there was a dribbling of rain yesterday, but nothing to write home about – but they had gone, which meant disturbing my wife's sleep to ask her, in a whisper, of course, where they might be. Sure enough they were on top of the wardrobe (they must have dried off). But where, pray, were the waterproof trousers I had left downstairs in the conservatory? I thought I'd better ask because I knew that if I went downstairs they wouldn't be where I'd left them. Remember, it's pitch black at 0600hrs and my iphone was downstairs. There was, however, a Maglite at hand and, after a fashion I found the waterproofs. I then had to shake a sock out of a pair of corduroys I'd been wearing yesterday and finally, I was ready to rock. And by 'rock' I mean go downstairs and make some tea and toast.

Is it just me or are clock radios a law unto themselves? Sometimes it's impossible to switch them off and, because a clock radio is invariably used as an alarm clock – and, therefore, is often found in the bedroom – the whole process of shutting the blasted thing down gets a bit frantic. This, I fear, is what must have happened yesterday morning while I was out cycling. Our clock radio (and I'm sure all clock radios) can be switched off by tapping a button, but it mysteriously switches itself back on at intervals and sometimes stubbornly refuses to be silenced. It leads, pretty quickly, to bad-temper and the pushing and turning of any available button or dial to keep the thing quiet. The end result, however, is that the clock radio will always get its own back, as it did this morning, with me, when I awoke to nothing but so-called 'white noise'.

Yesterday, I mentioned dieting and I must say that Saturday was characterised by restraint in this respect. First, unlike at work, the temptation of cakes and biscuits was absent, although there were some bite-sized chocolate cakes from M&S in the house, and I admit I treated myself to two of them, but, as I think I said in yesterday's post, I can eat frugally at home and Saturday was no exception. A cheese sandwich for lunch and cottage pie for dinner, no wine, just water, and nothing for dessert.

Incidentally, it's light outside now and it's not even 0700hrs yet. Mum said yesterday afternoon that it gets light at a quarter to seven and that's fine by me. Everyone in the UK waits for summer and while it's still only February, the fact that it's getting lighter in the mornings can only mean we're heading in the right direction.

The faffing around continued and eventually I sent Andy a text informing that I would be nine minutes later than usual.

The weather today was much improved on yesterday. There was a bluey-grey sky against which bare trees were silhouetted and still. As I rode along Ellenbridge I stood up on the bike, swinging it from side-to-side and then, as I climbed Elmfield Way I slalomed the front wheel like a downhill skier until I reached Morley. There was no wind, not even the slightest breeze, and when I reached the green Andy was waiting. We headed off without discussing our final destination, but I think we both knew it would be the Tatsfield bus stop and sure enough, as we edged our way along the 269 we both agreed.

I had some of mum's Christmas cake, but unfortunately I'd left it behind in the fridge, but only realised it around 1130hrs, a good two hours after getting home.

The weather remained fantastic. We eventually parted at Warlingham Green. I continued along the Limpsfield Road, into Sanderstead High Street and down Church Way towards my house, while Andy made his way home to Caterham.

Quote of the ride: "I don't really give a stuff about cars – that's why I drive a Toyota Corolla."

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