Strangely, I do

Sunday July 25, 2004

It was raining when I got up this morning. Rather a pleasant rain as a matter of fact, light, good smelling, and making the air feel clean and oxygen-refreshed. I poked my head out of the kitchen door to take a good deep breath, decided it wasn’t enough to actually keep me indoors, and so I took a stroll around the garden.

“What’s it like?” asked Graham when I came back in.

“No more than a bit of a damping. Been going for a while, though, so I can’t take the bike out this morning.”

“It’ll probably clear up this afternoon and you might be able to do it then.”

“Hope so.”

The question didn’t much occupy me—I had several amusing little tasks to keep me busy, and some new poems to read from a thoughtful, stimulating English poet I’ve just discovered—but I couldn’t help going to the door several times to check. The rain kept on intermittently right through the morning and on into the afternoon.

“I don’t think I’m going to get that bike ride today.”

“There’s always another day. You don’t want to get obsessive about it.”

“I’ll try not to.”

So I went off for my afternoon nap. Didn’t dream about pedalling along country lanes; instead I had one of those irritatingly vivid dreams where we’ve all been transported to a house I’ve never known, in a location I’ve never visited and in which I feel dislocated and out of kilter. Not particularly unpleasant or disturbing, and of no significance. I’ve had dreams along the same lines for years and years.

When I got up I took my coffee mug outside to see what was what. It had stopped raining, finally, and there was a good big patch of blue sky overhead. Off to the west, though, there was a heavy mass of rain cloud sitting all sullen-like and threatening. The lane was still damp and puddle-rich. So I gave vent to a big sigh and resigned myself to a day without a bike ride. They happen. Sometimes they come in runs and then I get impatient. A single day though, that I can handle.

Back to my desk.

After a good long session during which I uploaded a few poems to my ‘Work in Progress’ online chapbook I took another break at about seven-thirty in the evening. Outside the sky was blue, the sun shone, and the last of the puddles had shrunk to easily avoidable proportions.

“I’m off out for a short ride,” I said, donning a sweater and sticking phone and camera into my cycling haversack bag.

“Don’t be long, then. I want my dinner before we sit down to watch ‘Waking the Dead‘.”

“Oh, never fear. So do I. I’ll just go as far as the end of the fen road and back. Probably won’t even stop for a break.”

“Take care.”

And off I shot, whistling happily, free at last.

It wasn’t much of a ride, short, sharp and sweet. Just enough to get the juices flowing and to shift a bothersome spot of trapped wind that had been annoying me on and off all day. It’s all about mechanics, one way or another.

Late in the evening Graham came into the study to find me chuckling merrily to myself.

“What’s tickled your fancy?”

“Nothing special. Just one of those George W. Bush quotes that are in circulation.”

“Oh, one of those. Anything remarkable about it?”

“Try it for yourself,” I said, and read the quote aloud: “The problem with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur.”

Graham went an odd colour. When he recovered he asked: “Do you think it’s true reporting or made up?”

“Heaven knows. If it’s a fiction it’s a darn good fiction. Cruel, but good.”

“You know what they say about truth and fiction.”

“Strangely, I do.”


Louth, Jun,'04
An older geometry
pencam photo



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