Monday, July 25, 2005


My wife pulled up, returning from her morning swim, just as I was leaving. “You must be mad” she said with a smile, leaning out of her car window as I pedalled off into the rain for the 15 mile treck to work in London, bare legs below bright yellow waterproof cycling top. She’s probably right - look at the things I wanted to tell you about:

…the proud, defiant look on Amber’s face (not quite as proficient a feline hunter as her sister) – “look what I’ve got; no, its mine, you can’t have it” - as she trotted across the lawn into the bushes, a froggy leg seen dangling from her mouth;

…the morning’s welcoming touch of fresh wet grass on my toes as they go about their mercy mission;

…frogs whose entire life’s story consists of being stalked by cats, caught, rescued, returned home to the pond, stalked, caught, rescued, returned home, stalked… (the “Oh no, not again” feel to events reminding me of a certain bowl of petunias from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy);

…frogs who don’t seem to know that they’re supposed to say “gribbett, gribbett”, and instead squeal like tiny soprano pigs;

…how cycling in the rain makes me feel so much more engaged in the real physical world – it’s hard to ignore the touch of rainfall;

…skies that transform by degrees from heavy grey to translucent brightness as the rain fizzles out;

…the revitalising smell of air washed fresh and clean;

…the feeling of independence and security I get from knowing that no matter what befalls London’s public transport system in these troubled times, I can still get home;

…the beautiful people I pass on the street;

…except that is for the moron driving with one hand on the wheel whilst the other holds his mobile phone to his ear – so engrossed in his conversation he doesn’t even notice the suitably rude gesture I make at him (using a mobile phone whilst driving is illegal in the UK unless you’re using a hands-free kit);

…the odd look I get from one passer-by as I realise I’m quietly singing to myself as I go;

…vague unease as I pass only yards from the spot where one of the bombs was found;

…the surreal contrast between this last and everything that had gone before on this morning.

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