Sunday, 16 February 2014

I just want you back and I want you to stay

Today we went for a ride to Mells. Not a woman, a community café, eh Jon?

And there was quite a crowd, Martyn, Mark, Clayton, Mike, Steve and Rob all joined in for more or less or all of the ride. Clayton had to abandon after getting into a fight with first a branch sticking out of a hedge, and then the tarmac, retiring to lick his leg wounds back home.

Then Mike and Steve, both with family commitments pressing, opted for the Rock Cake Café (or whatever it's now called) instead of Mells. It has it's attractions.

The rest of us pressed on, and eventually Rob decided to bail after a credibility-sapping encounter with a ditch. To be fair, it was hard sometimes to see where the puddle finished and the ditch began. But however you look at it, it's not a good look.

That left just the three of us that had started, to finish, which we gamely did, despite the best efforts of the swarms of grockles that tried their best to kill us in Cheddar gorge.

But, and it's a big but, and whisper it quietly. It was sunny, very sunny. So blinding was the sun that I  felt like a had just emerged from some subterranean cavern, like a Morlock in the Time Machine. Especially as I rode to work on Thursday, the supposedly "calm" day of the week, and still felt like I'd been wrestling with an exceptionally strong wrestler from a country where wrestling is the national sport.

But no, today, the sunshine, it was very real, and very, very welcome. It was a bright, bright day. More please.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Do you see the stars or the darkness begin?

Well, it's official. Somerset IS the new Belgium. FACT.

Trevor, Martyn, James, Dave and I went for a ride today, planned to be longer than we could stand, but finished longer than I thought I could bear. It was windy. Very. It was wet. It hailed. But in the interlude of a respite in the lean-to in from of Sweet's café (apostrophe correctly-positioned, so no need for the grammar fascists to start tutting) we warmed our souls, and more importantly, our clothes, in front of the wood-burner, and dreamt of warmer days and climes to come. And climbs.

But be warned. Stupidity lurks in the heart of us all, even when warned I still forgot to remove my hat from the source of warmth in time to prevent melting. I then compounded my idiocy, and doubled the mirth, by testing the heat of the melted garment with my finger. Still, the hat proved to be very adept at cleaning my chain. That's not a metaphor.

The way back was every bit as brutal as the way there, and poor James, with a ride to North Petherton to look forward to, into the teeth of the beast of the gale, opted for the age-old option of all of us when faced with difficulty. HE called at his parents' house for a lift back. At least, I hope he did. Young, fit, talented and immune to the cold he may be, but 15 miles in today's headwind I would wish on nobody. Even a Chelski supporter.

But worry not about this weather. From the top of Mudgley Hill even parts of the levels around Blackford are now submerged, although nothing like those in the Sandstone-ringed and Blackdown & Quantock-fed basin near Langport. Inimitable signs of Spring are already here, if you know where to look. In this case, my garden. The snowdrops are bursting through the carapace of Winter in full strength. I feel the warmth of March in the mists of my imagination.

Meanwhile, if you are struggling to see through the end of your Winter, real or metaphorical, this is for you.

Now, here's the blog in pictures: