Out of the Frying Pan

I was all ready for a lovely bike ride yesterday – the day was forecast to be sunny, and a fellow cyclist had invited me to join him for his new ‘lunch your way to weight-loss’ diet plan (you can eat anything you like for lunch, as long as you do so at a cafe a 40-mile round trip by bike from your door). As we woke to a bit of a frost, I was a little late for the rendezvous having decided to put on the ice tyres and then struggled with the back wheel – I ended up riding out with just the front tyre spiked and my normal back tyre. It didn’t matter, though, because when I got to the meeting spot, the ride had been cancelled – the roads were hideous with black ice, and even the spiked ones were struggling. I could feel my own back wheel slipping as I climbed the hills – and had a bit of a slidey moment as I turned into our drive and the back wheel declined to follow – so I felt the decision was probably a sensible one all round, especially as I came back to find my twitter timeline full of broken bones and slips and falls.

But that left me with a yen to do something active outside on a glorious day that wouldn’t land me in A&E, and naturally the garden beckoned. What could be safer than settling down to a little clearing and muck-shifting on a sunny winter’s day? Well, it would have helped if I had remembered the landlord telling me about the shoot that was coming through the grounds to deal with the pheasant menace (it’s quite a good protection racket the shoots have got going here: they breed a load of what are basically garden pests, release them, and then landowners come and beg them to get rid of them from their land, while other people pay them to be allowed to go and shoot them…). I was in the walled garden, but I realised that they were working their way up along the non-walled side which is fenced and mostly obscured by shrubs. I was fairly sure that they wouldn’t actually shoot into a bit of garden where they couldn’t see if anyone was there – but, as a refugee pheasant came in to land nearby, not 100% certain that in the excitement, somebody wouldn’t let off a stray shot or two in my direction. I was listening to them getting nearer and nearer, pondering what to do. Call out? Take shelter? (except there was only the greenhouse). Take cover behind the cold frames? In the end, I did nothing and while a bird did fly up right in front of them, nobody loosed off a shot, there was some impenetrable banter, and the group moved on.

When we were tiny and living in New York, my mother once got told off by a group of hunters for walking with us in the woods in deer hunting season without wearing bright coloured clothing – basically you don’t want to look anything like a deer… Now that I no longer wear my scary yellow jacket much on the bike, I may have to repurpose it as a safety gardening jacket, so I can be spotted from afar. And maybe a bullet-proof vest wouldn’t go amiss either…

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2 Responses to Out of the Frying Pan

  1. commuterjohn says:

    Well, You have a buzzard proof hat for getting the paper so a bullet proof vest for getting a cabbage would not seem over the top!

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