13 June 2007

Earlly morning onwards

Today (13 June 2007) I fully intended to drive to the station, but I woke to one of those classic English summer mornings which surely inspired the invention of the bicycle. Well, if the modern motor car had been invented first, perhaps the bicycle would have been a solution to the problem of how to enjoy such beautiful weather. Convertible motor cars are another solution. Why can't trains be made with fold-away roofs? Now I'm sitting in one, looking at the sun through the window, I am safely insulated from nature. Which will be necessary in a few years, I suppose, when a few minutes in the sun will be lethal.
The other evening, cycling back from the station, I had to slow to squeeze past a cyclist heading into Didcot on one of the narrowest stretches of the cycle path which is becoming seriously restricted by the flourishing plant life on its verges. "There's an angry woman back there", he warned me, so I assured him I would watch out. Sure enough, a hundred yards on, I came across a lady of ample proportions with a dog. I habitually slow down for dogs, mindful of Boston's sometimes erratic behaviour, and along this overgrown path getting past its owner would require some accurate steering, best done at low speed. (Come to think of it, people are often rather erratic too.)
"Thank you", she says as I coast past. "You've got more manners than the last one. He ran the dog over!"
I throw a comment about all having to live together back to her over my shoulder as I accelerate away again. She didn't look angry, but the dog didn't have the look of one that had recently been run over. Who am I to try to work out what's true?
Riding to the station in the morning is an entirely different matter to returning home after a long, hot humid day. Before seven o'clock, though the sun is bright the air remains cool: tempers likewise. The few people I encounter all exchange cheerful greetings, though I imagine that they might show signs of stress if I ran over their dogs.
Cheerful greetings are exchanged with the train dispatcher on the platform too, a man with whom I have been on nodding terms for many years but to who I cannot recall speaking other than to pass the time of day - something that I was brought up to do, at a time when and in a place where not to do so was unthinkable. "Nice weather" I suggest, unadventurously. "Ah, yes, but wait until this afternoon" he warns, and having listened to the weather report I know what he means: heavy showers are forecast. "They said that yesterday", I point out, and do not need to remind him that it remained glorious all day.
Having taken my bike this morning, though, I have no doubt done all that is necessary to cause the weather forecast to come true.

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