Darkness, water and grit.

Hands still numb, cheeks glowing, cuppa in one hand…and prelim scripts in the other! The only downside to teaching is the marking.

Out on Kilmacolm back roads – between 6pm and 7.30.  Darkness and rain: lovely.  Been enjoying my SPD clips and shoes; fallen less that I imagined I would.

But I return with ten tiny pools at in the tip of each ‘Gore Windstopper’ glove.  I really abhor paying 35 sheets for a product that does not work. (I have bulky Rossignol: 15 pounds and better, if only slightly bulky.)

Tonight thoughts were on how zippy my re-inflated front tyre was: I purchased a Topeak mini pump today after a previous version failed the night I was marooned at the golf course that cold, crisp evening; of course the TAT Tesco replacement barely inflates my four-year-old’s tyres.

But, in that darkness, my thoughts turned to more humbling matters.

The playlist on my mp3 player produced a track from The Police’s 3rd album, Zenyatta Mondatta: ‘Driven to Tears’. Suddenly, and on a back road so familiar and close to my childhood home and haunts, its 1980 again. Sunday evening, baths, readying for P5 (Miss Guitan taught us about the Incas – beautiful teacher) … ‘Astro Wars’ console from Grandstand, warm towels… A father. A younger sister. Neither of them are with us today.

I contemplated a detour, sinking down from the gloom, inti the orange buzz of streetlights and looking up to the maisonette which had produced those vivid temporal images. I declined.

Alone, in the utter darkness and precariously perched, I realised I had other ‘warm towels’ to return to, a clutched bunny rabbit to move aside before planting my cold nose against a sleeping cheek.

To be at home, tea now drained and the warmth having seeped into my becalmed and exercised body, you cannot but think of those who have left us. And one must never forget the simple things: warmth, a home, health, employment…

I am in a profession that provides for the education of our young. At 41 I am making a decent effort of turning some pedals supported by a Specialized frame – and in the darkness, battered by rain and grit.

Humbling.  And to be cherished!


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