I was back on the bike after a week’s absence today, and it felt as though it had been rather longer. Certainly the hills felt tougher, the headwinds windier, and the various squeaks and rattles from the bike squeakier. And there was something else not quite right, I thought as I pedalled my way through the bends, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Something I’d forgotten. Something important. It was only as I rounded the last corner and started down the last hill that I worked out what was missing: my bag. It was going to be a long ride back with the paper clenched firmly in my teeth…
Fortunately, I had a better idea and, like the professional cyclists cresting the top of an alpine pass*, I managed to stuff the paper down my jumper and make it home without strewing the Film and Music supplement halfway across the countryside. On the plus side – as the pro cyclists know – I found it made a pretty good windbreak on the downhill stretches. Although, on the downside, a damp and sweaty Guardian is even worse than normal at lighting fires**
But I leave you with another rural mystery. Spotted on a post-it note outside the shop was the following inscription:
Papershop*** Village Shop: Short One Fairy
*only with a considerably crappier bike and rather more slowly.
** and it’s not just me – there’s a lively correspondence going on in the letters column of the Guardian about making it more flammable.
*** except it had the real name of the village, obviously, not Papershop Village, which isn’t actually its real name. In case you were wondering.