Thursday, 22 December 2016

Storms are coming...

It's the winter solstice, the shortest day, 21 December 2016, and it's kind of damp. There's drizzle. Fine rain that can only be seen in front of street lights. I'm sitting in a Marks & Spencer in Sevenoaks in front of a medium-sized cappuccino and a bun. The coffee cup is huge, I'm going without sugar and there's no chocolate sprinkled on top of the froth.

We've got about 15 minutes before the car park can fine us for over staying our welcome, always tense, but I know we'll easily get down the escalator and be in the car before the warden finds us.

It's dark outside, but then it is the shortest day. I don't like driving at night. The glare of oncoming headlights worries me. I feel that I might lose the road and veer off into a hedge or a ditch. Oddly I never do, but I must concentrate and occasionally flick on full beam.

On the drive back from the café I found myself heading towards Westerham, flicking full beam on and off along the badly-lit stretches of road – of which there was many. We rolled through the centre of town and there were Christmas lights everywhere, hanging over shop fronts, twinkling through windows and lurking in the trees.

It goes without saying that my mind wandered towards cycling as we headed towards the hill. I was reminded of two things: one, that we hadn't riden to Westerham for some time, certainly not since I'd taken possession of the Rockhopper; and two that the weekend might be a little unsettled on the weather front. Storms have been promised. They might affect our planned festive rides.

Heavy weather is heading our way. Pic:
Rain, wind, it's all on the cards, but today is Wednesday, I'm off until the New Year and there's time to get up and head off somewhere on the bike. An urban ride to mum's is possible, but then so is a ride to Tatsfield. I'm not sure yet. I might not even go out. It's a quarter to midnight, Micky Flanagan is on the television – his Back in the Game performance – and if I don't get my act together and go to bed, I'll lose momentum in the morning.

And I did lose momentum. I was out of bed by 0838hrs and now it's 0947hrs on Thursday 22 December – just three days to Christmas. Having enjoyed breakfast (boiled egg, fingers, a bowl of fresh fruit – chunks of orange, black grapes and blueberries, plus a cup of tea) I'm sitting here messing around on the computer when I should be on the bike in the fresh air.

Weatherwise it's lovely out there: sunshine and blue skies and everything is still: perfect cycling weather. But it's a weekday, meaning there's more traffic out there than normal. I might just ride around the block or embark upon a kind of woodland trek (without the woodland, purely because my bike is nice and clean and I don't want to get it dirty). I know, I know.

And if I don't go today, there's always Friday – if the weather holds out. Except it probably won't hold out. Storm Barbara is heading our way and it's not looking good at all. If I get a ride tomorrow I'll be very lucky.

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