Friday, 9 June 2017

Gone with the wind.....

The past week has been a bit disappointing weather-wise - Not so much flaming June as flaming washout - particularly unseasonable was Tuesday last - whereby we were relentlessly battered by rain and gales for the whole day. Regular visitors to these pixels will know that I am attempting to ride every day for a year - a challenge that is beginning to lose its initial allure - on storm-day I managed 5 miles and was escorted home by a lifeguard.

Interestingly I've been keeping a daily cycling log, it includes; mileage, which bike i'm riding, if the ride has been long one, where to? - and also a record of the weather.

So far, this year has seen a paucity of good cycling days - there has been but a meagre three that I would proffer as perfect for cycling. I ride to my mothers once a week - a round trip of some 44 miles - only once has that ride been an utter pleasure. Mostly I seem to be fighting against a headwind or else subjecting myself to a thorough drenching. But at least it's not cold at the moment! - not comparitively.

This week, Wednesday was my ride to see Mum. The day before was massively stormy and rained all day and whilst today was at least dry, I set off into a cruel headwind wind and made the slowest of progress.

As I labour along at least I have time to look around. The lanes are frothing with creamy white cow-parsley - hard to believe it has survived and remains defiantly upright after the gales and constant downpour of yesterday. It peppers the lanes for mile after mile, a luminous highlight against the hawthorn hedgerows. As I pass the Church house-martins are careering around the steeple and poking under eaves like builders on speed, I guess they're busy surveying suitable spots for nest sites. A little later I hear a cuckoo - the first for me this year - and always a joy.

The wind never subsides, not totally, although I notice there is a 'tidal' quality to the onslaught - with stronger waves punctuating slightly weaker ones, like breakers rolling up and hitting a beach. On a positive note at least it's a good workout - whilst I'm not travelling at any speed I am pushing a hard gear, the wind makes it tougher and my thighs have developed a constant ache which surely translates as 'doing me good' ?. And I comfort myself with the knowledge that the return journey will feel 'rocket-powered' with the wind behind and pushing me home.

Quite often my mind drifts whilst out on the bike - today I'm musing over Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles. There was a most excellent programme on telly last weekend, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the release of what is considered the most important album in popular music. I thought I knew the album quite well - I can sing along and know some of the stories: Paul getting the parking ticket from 'Lovely Rita' - John's circus poster that inspired 'Mr Kite' etc etc - But this programme opened up a whole new world!

The presenter - Howard Goodall - did a fantastic job of unpicking the album; track by track, layer by layer. Brushing away like a fevered archaeologist at all the delicate bits, uncovering hidden secrets and explaining them expertly. This isn't any old site though, because of the quality of the treasure and its influence, and the stories it is the best dig ever. Tutankhamun basically. 'What can you hear in there Howard?......"
"Wonderful things!"

Of course, I did what everyone else did after watching this programme - I played the album - and there was so much new to listen to - even though I've heard it about 5000 times before - and now those songs are whirling around my head as I cycle along. Check it out on BBC iPlayer or catch-up or whatever configuration you watch - 'Sgt Pepper's Musical Revolution with Howard Goodall' - Fantastic!

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