My Daily Grind

Top of the Hill

Top of the Hill

Tagged by Nutty

My usual weekday routine is not so much a grind as it is a series of thoroughly silly forgetfulness and disorganisation that falls into place something like this.

The alarm kicks off at 0715, that’s about 30 minutes before I get up. The reason? So I KNOW I’m getting a lay in during that time between 0715 and 0745 although more often than not I’ve woken up already between 5 and 6am and only fallen back into the dimension between awake and asleep so I kind of know what’s going on around me anyway.

Once I’m ready to go I Velcro up my biking SPD shoes, pull my ruck-sac onto my back, clip my helmet up, slip my gloves and sunglasses on and waddle out of the door looking like a proper storm trooper.

Outside is always completely still. No cars – just birds. No sirens – just the trickle of water in my pond. No people – just a light mist as the early morning air clears from underneath the trees. Heaven. If I could bottle that part of the morning and the 3 hours prior to keep it like that all day I would.

I can be at work any time and any day as long as I complete my contracted 100 hours per month. However, I do 5 hours per day and usually do them between 0900 and 1500. If I turn up earlier they think my bed was on fire, leave later and they ask if I’ve forgotten how to get home.

In the hideaway dead end of my Cul-de-Sac I locate my bike in the pile of bikes cluttering the garage walls. I roll it out and rest it against the house before breaking the silence with the crashing closure of the garage door.

‘SHIT’ The tyres need pumping up.

I fish my keys out of the net pocket on the side of my bag, unlock the door handle and unlock and remove the padlock from the sliding bolt in order to roll the door up again. Locate the pump, sort tyres.

Close door, secure locks, return keys to pocket in bag.

‘SHIT’ I’ve left my helmet in the garage.

Yank keys back out of bag pocket, unlock door handle, unlock sliding bolt, open door, grab helmet, shut door, lock door handle, return sliding bolt and padlock and turn to face bike.

Only to find I’ve grabbed the bike that has flat pedals and not SPD’s. Do I change the pedals or swap the bike and change shoes? I run to the back door only to find I didn’t pick up the back door key, so I run back around to the front door and realise I’ve left my keys in the garage door.

Once inside the house I kick off my cycling shoes and slip my feet into a pair of trainers more suited to flat pedals. Wil appears and provides helpful remarks such as

‘christ, you’ll never hang yourself’

I grimace and make sure I smear plenty of lip gloss across his top lip when I kiss him goodbye before scuttling out of the door for the second time and down the road on my bike.

And that’s when I realise I’ve left my keys in the house.

My street is short and ‘L’ shaped with a steep hill at the bottom. I freewheel out of the road following the edge of the village green and onto a small stretch of road leading to the church and another small green where I have to glance back over my shoulder before riding across to the other side. I follow a mile or so of hedgerow, cowslips and stinging nettles only broken by the river crossing from one side of the road to the other.

As I approach the first hill I have to stop pedalling in order to hear any cars coming around the blind bend to my left at the Give Way sign. The air near the pub is always tinted with the smell of stale beer and the shingle from their driveway ‘pucks’ and ‘tings’ underneath my wheels and amongst my spokes.

For the next mile the road is dotted on one side with detached houses, barns and cottages and on the other large fields sown with barley, rapeseed and wheat. A small forest borders the back of the last field and leads into a little track which meets the road I’m riding in the next village.

Over the bridge I pass ‘Fresh Eggs for Sale’ which are now kept in a little wooden hutch next to the road since the antique green and red horse-cart they used to be sold from got stolen in the night.

The road bends sharply towards the village taking me past a field of three horses who can usually be found congregated in the roadside corner next to the fence with their long hair covering their eyes making them all look thoroughly miserable. We refer to them as ‘the suicidal horses’.

The village is a little more awake with mums walking back from the school and old ladies queuing at the bus stop to go to town. There are usually a few dog walkers entering the recreation field and always at least two old men chatting over a garden fence. The road continues straight through the village only interuppted by a sharp bend narrowed by two thatched cottages. Two cars can not pass each other in different directions here so there are frequently black skid marks on the road. I couldn’t live in either of these houses for fear of a car implanted into my living room wall one evening.

At the other side of the village the garage is always busy. They have a yard full of cars to mend and the white haired man who attends the petrol pump always waves as I ride past. I stop there for petrol when I’m on my scooter which he’s nicknamed ‘The Generator’.

This is where the new, fast, smooth tarmac starts and it’s a speedy effortless roll between two large fields down the next mile leading up to the hill. If there are going to be dead rabbits on the road, they always seem to be here. At the top of the hill the trees and hedgerows break away to leave a wide open expanse and massive sky. My journey continues up hill for another mile until I reach the singletrack lane which winds through a tunnel of trees before dumping me out on the main road. I’ve been jumped out on by rabbits, stoats, weasels, foxes, cats and badgers down here, all of which have leapt into the road, seen me coming and leapt back into the trees.

My office is about 5 minutes from this point near the junction of the dual carriageway. I don’t like riding on this stretch of road because it has a 50mph limit which everyone reads as 65mph. When cars pass me at this speed it makes me wince so I pull over on to what was once the second lane of dual lane road but has now been white lined out. I can ride down here and be several feet away from passing traffic but I have to watch carefully for glass and tyre killing debris. Before the lane ends and encounters a dodgy junction where lorries and cars are pulling in, I mount a narrow width of footpath divded from the road by a low crash barrier, the kind you see in the central reservation on a main road. The crash barrier has long grass growing beneath it and on the opposite side of the footway there is a massive slope full of rabbit warrens. Lots of the little bunnies hide in the long grass under the barrier and when they hear me coming they dart from the right side of the path to their burrows on the left which makes this part of my ride like being in the computer game ‘Frogger’. I’m the frog they are the objects I have to avoid hitting.

Once I arrive at work I retrieve my clothes from my desk drawer and get changed in the ladies loo. Then I make my breakfast (3 pieces of toast and jam) in the kitchen before slumping into my chair and reading my emails.

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6 Comments »

  1. ah sigh….. yours is so much more interesting!

  2. foxsden said

    Naww… just different! I encounter piles of fecal matter on the way too… it just comes from horses rather than dogs!

  3. lol – I wonder how many people encounter fecal matter on the way to work…. perhaps a question best left unpondered….

  4. Foxsden said

    I bet the numbers would be shocking. I bet everyone comes into contact with shit that isn’t their own every day.

  5. mrs hojo said

    Nicely written, I enjoyed reading that. I must get around to doing mine, but am recovering from the shoes thing. We rarely see muck on the paths/roads here. I don’t think I have seen a horse on a road since we arrived, people are much better about cleaning up after their dogs too as dog mess on the path here is very rare, whereas in th UK it seemed obligatory! We have been jumped out at by a Kangaroo, but only once and often see possums playing chicken in the road.

    xc

  6. foxsden said

    Thank you Mrs Hojo.. Jumped out on by a kangaroo! – that must be very novel to someone who hasn’t grown up around kangaroos. Reminds me of my first trip to Florida when I moved to the states. As the scenery started changing there became more and more Armadillo road kill. I was so incensed that little animals I’d only ever seen in books and zoos were getting killed that I began stopping the car to jump out and carry any live ones to the other side of the road. Same with turtles until I encountered a snapper which didn’t seem to want to be rescued!

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