Finally I went out. For only the second time this year, I screamed my way up to the supermarket, desperate for bread flour and yeast. The night time frost had transformed into a dull damp blanket of misery, coating the surfaces with a cold unwelcome layer of winter moisture. I heard it over the radio. Even from behind the security of closed heavy curtains, I heard the tyres ripping over the tarmac.
There was no place for sunshine this morning. Where had the brightness gone?
It was Tuesday when I decided to prepare for the outing. It was like another world then. There had been an endless succession of glorious sun kissed mornings. The dazzling skies offered a fillip of brightness to cheer the soul.
Father Jack needed charging. Yesterday he was revved up with copious energy. I’m sure I could hear him: “Drrrink, drrrink drrrink,” as the electricity coursed through his circuits.
Then this morning, despite the uninviting chorus of squelching tyres, I arose determined. In the days of work, before the beast had too much of a say in my routines, I would move silently every morning. I was like a well oiled machine. I was swift and focused, leaving the house at the same time every day. This morning I was that same man again.
Going up Whitehill Road, I weaved a subtle pattern dancing between the potholes and repair subsidence. The cars screamed past, determined to gain their precious seconds. Stony drivers with faces as grey as the clouds charged up the road on their morning commute. Perhaps I should have carried a sign:
“I’m terribly sorry for holding you up. I didn’t realise you were so important.”
It wasn’t pretty but every pedestrian within talking distance received my cheery “Good morning”. The responses were mixed. From equally optimistic returns to stony glassy eyed silence. Most of them were happy. They were little flashes of sunshine in the heavy hearted dullness of the morning commute.
The supermarket was awash with the activity of the early morning routines. The floor manager scurried about directing his uniformed forces around the aisles. Waitrose, like every other supermarket, takes great delight in planting cumbersome temporary displays where one is most likely to run into them.
Like the hungry cat who stands in your way demanding attention, they loom around every corner. Yet despite such haphazard placements, I am yet to destroy a display.
Cat food, milk, bread flour, yeast and fruit; they filled my basket perched in the open compartment on the front of the Tramper. Oh, and I cannot go to a supermarket without picking up some treats.
The open front exaggerated my scooter’s length and power. Big Jack demands respect. It has the look of British post war design when cars looked solid and rotund, ready to take on the world at a practical fifty eight miles per hour.
Waiting outside for me was a nasty little wind just waiting to cut through me as I charged down the hill. I hadn’t noticed it on the way up. It was behind me. Or maybe it wasn’t there and had just emerged to dampen any feelings of smug satisfaction I’d gleaned from actually going out of the front door into the real world. At least the cars were smiling. The commute had ended. These people were outside by choice.
The best cup of tea is the one you earn. And it is best in the comfort of your own armchair. I looked at those fools posing with they’re huge plastic sealed cups of skinny latte, poncing about outside trying to look hippity hop hop in their voguish attire and garish accessories. I’m being unfair. Most of these people returned my happy hello.
Thank-you for reading.