Sometimes I think I’m the oldest swinger in town. In spite of the rain and the cold there were 6 cyclists at Felda serious about going for a cycle this morning. 2 were past pupils and one was the wife of a past pupil. The others were also in the prime of life and had a gung ho look about them which depressed me. Then it occurred to me that there might be someone at the Bridge also so I knew we had to leave.
There were 4 at the Bridge! Have ye no homes to go to! I suggested a coffee in Strandfield House but no one bit. In fact they were half way up the Old Newry Road while I was still trying to think of ways to shorten the cycle. I suggested to Una that we head up the Deerpark Road and cut them off at the pass. I knew there was only one way down from Dromad and sure enough we met them at the Black Gate.
It’s not too often I’m off my bike waiting for the fast group so I felt spectacularly smug. However, by the time we turned they were at the Lumpers and had the best seats by the stove commandeered when me and Una (Una and I) reached the Pats. I needed that warmth so badly because in fairness it was a miserable day and we still had quite a ways to go to home. The craic in the Pats was 90 and the staff gave us several refills of coffee. This act of kindness makes a huge impression on me whenever I encounter it because there are places which charge you full price for every round. This is not a commercial for the Pats but I like the place very much for the warmth, the location and the kindness of the staff.
There was no let up in the rain but it was time to go. There were embarrassing puddles under each chair as if something had happened, and our gear was sodden and cold outside on the verandah but sure it was great to be alive and out, I think? Every truck that passed on the way home drenched us with spray, it was too dangerous to swing out at puddles so you hoped it wasn’t concealing a massive pothole and the road was awfully busy.
I tried to cycle through the Rock as if I was enjoying it. My face was blue and my lips were bluer and I fooled no one. I had trouble pulling the wet gear off and went straight to the hot shower. The feeling of being slightly normal returned gradually. I put on the gas fire in the sitting room, locked the door (NO), and tried to analyse what I had just done. It defied analysis. It just is. Would I do it again tomorrow. You’re damn right I would (if I have any dry gear left),