I have not been near my bike since about the 8th November. The weather has been horrible and I have been stuck in a crisp eating, bun munching morass. I’ve looked at the bike several times, even washed it once. I am just not feeling the love of riding. I’ve ridden just over 1600 miles this year, which is seriously pants. Even the mighty Kaysa Tylan beating Billie Dovey’s record failed to rouse me. What did today, is that it was a lovely day, I’ve been trying to learn Esperanto and I’m having a struggle at the mo and it was either do a lesson or ride my bike. Procrastination is the friend of reluctant cyclists, it seems. Also, I’d made myself a new playlist for my iPod.
I only rode to Padstow and back and it took 51 minutes and a few seconds, so no record breaking, no PBs on Strava and definitely no QOMs but I got out. It was nice. I am pretty sure that someone has moved Padstow about 100 miles up the trail though. Boy oh boy that seemed a long way today. I had Dire Straits on the way back so that sped things up. Dire Straits always seem to make me ride faster, that awesome solo on Tunnel of Love never fails to inspire me and I still can’t blimmin’ play it very well. More practice required there too.
The weather was a tidge fresh and my feet were cold at the end of the ride. Good job I have warm, winter riding boots for when it really gets cold. The Camel was a flat calm, good water skiing terrain but there were no skiiers. Must be a warm weather activity, mind you the surfers are out in all sorts of weather. The late afternoon sun failed to be very warming, but the goldie coloured light looked nice and cast a warm glow on the hedges and bushes as I rode past them. The ride was slow and fast all at the same time. I was back before I knew it, but as I turned from the Car Park in Padstow for home, I thought ‘oh my God, 5.5 miles to ride’ and it felt like a million miles at that moment. I am so unfit. It was nice to get back on the bike though, I’ll make a bit more effort for the remaining November days if the weather holds for me.
I am still working at weekends, just 11 hours a week at the same place that I’ve been all summer. I love my job but the money is pants. Actually all jobs around these parts pay absolutely rubbish. Everything is minimum wage (except for Lidl and they have a heck of a waiting list for would be employees). Most work here is seasonal and low paid. Kenn is deeply fed up with the day to day financial struggle. He wants to move on.
In the past it’s been me with the wanderlust but we are here now. The flat is great, the neighbours are OK and the walking is nice. I have a job that I adore and they seem to like me. Couple of beaches around the corner to give the hounds a blat on, it’s all good. The bike riding is rubbish here though. Oh, don’t get me wrong, if you love hills, it’s fantastic. The Trail is lovely and ever changing, whether that be colours, wildlife, terrain (packed earth or deep mud). Kenn, misses road riding without having to slog up hills or get off and walk all the time. I think that he misses Norfolk, or at least East Anglia. Who’d have thought it. I, however, am not ready to go back to Norfolk just yet. He definitely misses a hospital within a sensible distance. He’s dialysing at Plymouth this week, that’s 60 miles each way! Next week, he’s back to Launceston so it’s only 28 miles each way. He’s fed up with it all. Kenn said that the only thing keeping me here, is my job. He’s not wrong. When I really thought about it he was spot on.
To that end, I’ve told Kenn that if he wants to move, he needs to do the driving with it. When we move, I do all the list making, the packing, the organising of a van, liaising with the swap partner, councils, hospital, blah blah blah ad nauseum. He said OK, found a flat just outside Oxford in a tiny village. 5 miles from a huge dialysis and transplant unit and with good roads for riding. The flat is a 1st floor jobber, which might be interesting for the bikes, but it has a decent sized garden, a gate at the bottom onto a footpath which leads to a network of paths that go all over. The swap chap has family near Newquay and wants to move here to be closer. He also has spinal issues and needs a shower room and a ground floor flat. He loves this place and did the paperwork on Sunday, while I was at work.
We’ve seen his flat. It’s nice. Bigger windows than here, laminated flooring throughout – a bit dark if you ask me – but he’s teamed it with oversized (mahoosive) furniture and a ton of fitness equipment so it looks tiny and cramped. However a tape measure doesn’t lie and it’s roughly the same size as this place, the kitchen is bigger and has a huge window so not nearly so dark and pokey as our current one – I miss the one in Felixstowe, I loved that kitchen. The riding will be better, we had a good drive about. It’s lumpier than Norfolk but way, way, way flatter than here. It’ll be fine.
So, off we go again then. Not until sometime in January, or early Feb though. We made some big sacrifices to move here. Not all worth it, if I’m honest. I love my job and going there has been my ‘happy place’ for a a few months. I’m sure that I’ll find another and we wend our way back to Norfolk. I reckon a couple of years and Norfolk will be back on the radar for a permanent stay. Never been to Oxfordshire for anything but a visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum or through it en route to somewhere else. It will be good.