I headed out just after 1pm; my wife and son were visiting friends.

Earlier we had enjoyed a family breakfast – a ritual which we aim to instill during the remnants of this holiday, as there are too few opportunities during the rest of the year – and my son was delighted at the second visit by our postman: he had delivered the Allen Lane illustrated edition of The Hobbit, which we ‘won’ on eBay.

This particular text was first read yours truly during the summer break, ’86’ – bucolic surroundings of trout streams, shaded meadow and long hot nights mean that this experience is effectively conjured, re-imagined, perhaps, whenever I’m passing up and down the back roads of Greenock and Kilmacolm.

Such journeys – and Bilbo Baggins’ – I hope to share with my four year-old son, who seemed impressed with the ersatz gold leaf on the dust jacket, and the internal drawings as much as he was with the bubble wrap which cushioned our new addition’s route to us.

Sunny but showery at times, I enjoyed staying on the cycle track to Kilmacolm, before passing the Pullmans and on up to Killochries: was that a practice sheep dog trial I witnessed?

It was windy today and I was tired, but I worked my way up Chapel Farm and Devil Road simply to avoid the wind…

Tired? Yes.  However, contemplating an evening ride into the bargain since I also made good progress in my academic journey and summarized three journal papers!


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