Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Marquis de Sade's saddle

I've done it again! Flat on my back - fell off my bike.

Personally I blame Andrew. He took me where there was sand and I'm not too secure on tarmac, never mind the treacherous, slippery substance which seems to constitute most of the Wash - that and mud. Anyway, Andrew collected me at the usual letting-out time of nine in the morning. He'd got there early so he had gone to look at the wildlife reserve just up the coast. I'm not sure what he saw there but it seemed to put him in a good mood - perhaps a dipper slipped in the sand.

Where wasI? Oh yes. So off we went to the seaside where we parked up in a practically deserted car park on the front and Andrew got the bikes off the rack on the rear of his car. He had brought a saddle for me that was clearly designed by the Marquis de Sade on one of his more vindictive days.

Off we set, me pedalling like a demented grape-treader trying to earn a bonus. He seems to do it effortlessly - I haven't worked out the gear system yet. Well, we got a bit confused because we tried to ride down the coastal path but it ended in "No Entry" gates and it was the attempt to turn around on the sand that was my undoing. Down I went like one of Mike Tyson's victims in his heyday - flat on my back on the sand.

Sod it, I thought as I lay there, flat out, staring up at the clear blue sky above my head. Maybe any witnesses would presume I'd done it deliberately if I lay there long enough - so I lay there. Andrew started to come back - maybe he thought I had injured myself, but he just grinned when I sprang to my feet like a retired gymnast with a bad case of osteoarthritis.

"You have to be careful on sand," said he, or words to that effect.

Now he tells me, I thought.

Anyway, we got to the road and pedalled along enthusiastically all the way to the point - amidst traffic too! -  and I neither fell off nor crashed into any unfortunate motorist. Quite a successful ride really.

There wasn't a great lot to look at there so I collected a bit of literature for an insane twitcher I know and we pedalled back. In the car park Andrew changed my saddle for me because, to be quite  honest, the tops of my thighs at the back felt numb. Those skinny little saddles were designed by someone with a twisted sense of humour.

"Right!" said he. "Let's go up the coast a bit to the next town."

More suffering under drifting sand and a saddle that should have been burned on bonfire night. The trouble with the next town was that there was nothing there to see! So we rode back again - and I didn't crash once.

Funny places, seaside resorts out of season. There were a few people sort of wandering around but in my opinion there were more shops open than there were people on the streets. We DID see the parade going to the local Remembrance Service, and I was struck by the number of mothers and fathers with their children. Andrew commented that it seemed the more unpopular a war became, the more people supported the armed forces. I don't know how true that is, but it was true that an awful lot of young folk were marching.

After that, a wander around the undemanding streets of the town and into an emporium of sea-food delight for fish 'n' chips - very nice. (I've got a bit of advice for the shopkeepers of the town: if they want to sell more chips, it's easy - put more on the plates!)

That was about it, really. We drove back out to the point where we left the car and wandered off onto the nature reserve. We saw a couple of birds - neither of us knew what they were really, but we speculated as though we did.

And that was it, really. Not a very exciting day, but as we arrived back at the jail's car park I realised that I had really enjoyed an undemanding day with good company and conversation. A fellow could get to like that sort of day out - and that includes the bike rides. Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be able to get on the bloody bike without doing my best to break my neck - and some people might think THAT'S not a bad idea.

Still, the twitcher was happy. Who can ask for more - apart from a comfortable saddle on his bike!
The Voice In The Wilderness

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