Sunday, 18 November 2012

Christmas shopping....

I've made a start. I dedicated yesterday to a full-on assault of the city centre. I need to be ahead of the game this year. I have taken on a work contract which is going to tie me up for every weekend in December - and indeed some weekdays too. So much so that shopping in December is impossible for me. So, with both daughters in tow I battled the traffic into Leicester - it was toe to tail all the way and took me almost an hour. Once there and parked we entered into the frenzy with a wide eyed disbelief. No signs of a recession - queues everywhere, tills kerchinging, people loaded down with bags and packages. Good job I chose to make a start and get some things ticked off - if this is anything to go by there will be nothing left in a week or two - I thought on-line shopping had more or less killed of the high street - i keep reading it in the newspaper - but no evidence or indication of it in real life?

Shopping for stuff is tiring, it wears you down like a long distance bike ride - I got home at about 5.30 thoroughly drained, tired, aching feet, sore back and empty wallet. Later I dozed off in front of the fire.

But this morning I was eager to get out again - no shopping though. The sun was shining brigh and low and the sky was crisp and clear. There was a layer of frost over the car but it was dry and inviting. I decided to wait until around lunchtime; let things warm up a little, and then I was off. Thick gloves, two pairs of socks, three layers of clothing and my warm cycling top that I bought from Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux.

It was still bitingly cold, my fingers began stinging as I cycled up towards Market Bosworth. The effort getting up the hill helped warm me but extremities remained stubborn to acknowledge the effort. I worked my way towards the Bosworth Battlefield site via the gated road from the town centre. there were a few walkers around but mostly I had the road to myself. I paused by a small copse to put on my neck scarf and heard some shuffling amongst the trees. Too heavy for a pheasant or even a fox. As I stood silently straining my eyes through the tangle of branches I spotted a slight movement. It was a deer, perhaps two, dapple shadowy under the trees. They were difficult to see, the exact silver fawn colour of the dead sweet chesnut leaves, with darker splashes, and standing amongst the trees in the freckly sunlight they toned away into near invisibility. Then, as a couple of walkers approached, with a boisterous spaniel, they were roused. They started up and were off, electrically, with astonishing lightness and speed, almost ethereally vanishing back into the deeper cover of the trees.

I am always cheered by surprising glimpses of nature such as that - they happen exclusively when least expected and by unbelievable chance.

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