In this strangest of years, it’s good to know that some things haven’t changed. It’s an iron law of life around here that almost any interaction where favours are being exchanged must involve some form of baked goods (in summer, garden produce may be substituted).
Exhibit A: today’s journey to drop off our second string ice cream maker. We bought this at the local charity-shop-which-does electrical-items (not to be confused with the charity-shop-with-a-good-selection-of-knitting-needles, the charity-shop-that-always-has-decent-books or the charity-shop-where-someone-knits-little-cosies-for-its-mugs – I’m sure the charities involved all support good and noble causes but it’s their stocking policies which tend to count most when I’m actually buying something) a couple of years ago and have since upgraded to a bigger and better one.
I was going to take it back to the charity shop (by which I mean putting it in the special place of things awaiting the trip to the charity shop, where it would probably still be when the earth finally fell into the sun, along with the curtains that were in the spare bedroom when we moved in and our Antarctic expedition padded jackets which may well get resurrected as going-out-for-lunch jackets the way things are going). But a fellow cyclist expressed an interest in having it at our last group ride and today there was a sufficient window in the weather to load up the Brompton basket with the help of a couple of cunningly deployed bungees and set off into Bigtown.
I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to then be presented with some home-made biscuits in return, which was very nice, albeit unnecessary (especially as we have a new shiny ice-cream maker which the other half is busy testing out). I then headed to some other friends who are moving house, to have a rummage through their surplus books (outside of course) and parlayed a couple of the biscuits into further baked goods, in the form of flapjacks and brownies, before pedalling my well-gotten gains home.
I’m often asked by baffled locals why I ride a bike when a car would be quicker, safer, and on most days and most journeys drier. There are many reasons which I’ve covered here before, but the one that makes most sense to those I’m talking to is that it allows me to maintain my cake-based lifestyle. Or these days, my cake- biscuit- and ice-cream-based lifestyle…