Tag Archives: holidays

New Year’s Day

Here is a photo, taken a couple of weeks ago of how I had fondly imagined my New Year’s Day ride to have been. And indeed nearly all the elements were in place on this, the old marsh road, just as envisioned in this photograph, as sun rose and (the luminous moon set) on the first day of 2013. There was but a single thing missing from this wintery English cycling idyll. That chap you see on the touring bike was not there. He was home, sipping weak tea and feeling very sorry for himself, having become the latest victim of what would appear to have been the ghastly norovirus that has been making the rounds, and the news, lately.

I hate missing my New Year’s Day ride.  There is something really upbeat and clarifying about starting off the New Year bright and early and in the saddle, when the road are dead quiet and everyone else is asleep or hung over. Some of my most beautiful and memorable rides have been on New Year’s Day, one of my favourites being three or four years ago when I set out at about five o’clock (you may have guessed by now I am not a big one for late-night New Year’s Eve parties)  and reached the ruins of Pevensey Castle an hour or so later with big feathery flakes of snow falling around me, shimmering in the lamplight, and seeing a Christmas tree festooned with fairy lights and dusted with snow beside the old castle’s portal. It looked and felt almost magical. I’ve never forgotten that ride.

No magic for me yesterday, only a vague longing as I looked out the window at the translucent dawn sky, full of imaginings and recollections of what the old marsh road must have been like just then – and being the hopeless optimist that I am, so to speak, the thought that at least I was getting a galloping start on my resolution to lose a few pounds this year.

Better today and tomorrow I hope to be back in the saddle, working more happily towards other resolutions – of actually riding a few century rides this year (I did none in 2012, the first time that has happened for a long while) as well as breaking out of my auto-pilot rut to do some more exploring of those endlessly fascinating olde English lanes up in the weald. I hope everyone else got their year off to a grander start.

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Boxing Day Blues

I am always a little wistful on Boxing Day, with all the presents unwrapped and a sense of anti-climax settling around the tree. Although I am well into my Fifties now, I still look forward to Christmas the jaunty expectancy of a child opening an advent calendar and counting down the days. I love it when we put up the tree, that first weekend in December, seeing the old-familiar decorations come out of the box, and watching for the first appearance of Christmas lights around and about the town. This year the run-up to Christmas just seemed to go so fast – the time seeming to pass all the quicker for me thanks to the unexpected and last-minute assignment in Mauritius, which robbed me of better than a week of Christmas build-up time.

No sooner did we get the tree up this year than I was gone. I didn’t come back until the middle of the month and therefore missed out on about ten mornings of what I think of as my Christmas-tree time – that perfect half an hour after I get back from my ride when nobody else in the house is up yet. I make myself a cup of tea, flick on the Christmas tree lights and sit in the darkened living room, enjoying the solitude and the twinkling lights and decorations, the intrigue of gift-wrapped presents and the recollections of Christmasses past.

It is perfect. I will even cut my morning rides short just to be sure of getting this perfect time. It was still nice this morning, to come back in from a lovely ride by moon and starlight, and have this time sitting alone by the lights of the tree but something of the mood has passed – and I kind of miss it already.

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