I was cycling home this afternoon congratulating myself on having dodged a heavy shower and enjoying the way the sunshine was making countryside look all sparkly and washed clean, even the cows. I passed the hedge-cutting tractor without really thinking about it except to note how politely he backed up and pulled aside to let me pass. And I was over the big A-road and heading for home when I noticed the front wheel was more than a little soggy. Indeed, it was going flat. In fact it now was flat and I was a good three miles away from home.
This would have gone better had I not, this morning, looked at the bike pump lying on the kitchen table and, for reasons which are not clear to me, decided not to put it in my bag. Nor did I have my mobile phone, because pah, what could go wrong on a routine ride on a September day? Suddenly I was looking at a looooooong walk home.
Unless … unless there was someone at the farmyard I was just about to cycle through who had a pump. Two men welding a gate pointed me at the boss and the boss leaned out of his landrover window and said ‘if you go round that corner you’ll find the gentleman who’s in charge of helping ladies in distress.’ Round the corner I went and found the gentleman in question, complete with bright red overalls, who had a look, diagnosed hedge-cutting season as the cause and used his air compressor to get my front tyre full enough of air to get me within half a mile of home. I never found the thorn, but there was a tiny little hole in the inner tube that suggests he was right. I’m getting more practised at this flat tyre mending lark, although my inner tube replacement technique does still consist mainly of asking the other half to show me what to do (again) and then standing by while he does it after my puny efforts have failed (again). I feel somehow that this diminishes me as a cyclist in some quarters. After all, this isn’t Copenhagen where there’s a bike shop on every corner.
Still, it is rural Scotland where it turns out there’s a knight in shining overalls round every corner instead. Maybe that will be enough to get me through the rest of hedge-cutting season, that and remembering to take my pump with me when my guardian angels have been kind enough to point it out to me.
Oh and the stove? Arrived at 4pm yesterday but with the glass for the door in several bits. T-shirt wearing indoors continues to elude us.