Monday July 12, 2004
Some days come out all peaceful and mellow, and today was just like that. The weather was soft and gentle, neither of us had reason to go out, Graham’s gum problem—it wasn’t a bad tooth or a sub-tooth abcess after all—is just about cleared up, the world didn’t obtrude upon us in any way, both Harry and Dolly were content and happy little cats, and I didn’t once think about history, politics or even the price of bubble-gum.
I had the most pleasant and satisfying bike ride. I set off at about eleven-thirty, somewhat reluctantly, but the moment I hit the open road I seemed to break through some in-built boundary or other and came to feel I could go on cycling for as long as I wanted. So I turned left instead of right, crossed over the main road—very carefully—and set off to explore the lanes over towards Hagnaby and Hagnaby Lock. Unlike the geometric grid of roads on this side, the lanes across the road are very old, following old farm tracks, winding around the shapes and outlines of ancient holdings, and far more English in consequence. It seems we have two landscapes right at our front door—the one flat, wide open, and criss-crossed by dykes, rather like the Netherlands, and the other a more intimate landscape, closer, and easier to embrace. That’s doubtless down to the presence of far more trees and considerably smaller fields.
I felt increasingly energized by the scenery as it unfolded. Caution and common sense kept me from following the urge to just go, on, and on, so I determined on a circular route from the old Stickford village centre, all on single-track country lanes, following my nose and my instinct but not commiting to a long ride back home. The time may come when I can cast caution aside and just go on and on all day, stopping for lunch and for tea, but it’s not here yet.
However, the outing worked, and it worked splendidly. I cycled a total of 8.53 miles, more than twice what I have managed to date. The trip took about an hour and a half, just a little more than an hour of it cycling. I took a couple of breaks, just for form’s sake, and to get the pencam out for a few snaps, but I really had no need—I could have pedalled happily along without a break, enjoying the air, the view and the gentle exercise.
Sadly, the sky was rather overcast most of the time, so the opportunities for photography were limited. The pencam is a little miracle but it can’t do justice to a landscape without some sparkle of sunshine. Even so, I managed a couple of shots that work very well.
I now have a rather smart and secure bag to go on the back rack of the bike and, when I’ve worked out how to fix it—a mystery of Velcro™ that escapes me so far—I shall be able to take the Nikon with me for those shots which are beyond the capabilities of the pencam. No criticism of the little beast of course. It does remarkably well but I obtained it originally for in-town work, going in close to people and detail, and never did intend to use it for landscapes. Even the Nikon struggles with landscapes. More pixels, that’s what that thing needs.
So, another day, another road, and immensely pleasurable. Not one that brings out any event or thought of note. Just a jolly nice summer’s day.
|Another day, another road