Thursday 12th November 2020
The Portuguese café and bakery out in the depths of Norfolk came as a blessed relief. A hot drink, a pastry and a moment to stand to enjoy the fresh air.
My cycling buddy and I zipped from village to village in the bright, low sunshine. At first and for much of the ride, the wind was with us. We found it surprisingly cool and strong as we headed back to the city.
We cycled quickly in our different styles. He rides with many more revolutions on larger rear cog-wheels than me. My slower, longer rotation requires more effort to generate speed, but has an advantage, i.e. when we approach a rise, or climb I can attack the slope and then still move to a faster tempo on a larger cog, whereas he is already pedalling fast and finds it harder to pedal faster. We both enjoy the unspoken, but keenly contested races to the brow of each incline.
There are many mushrooms and fungi in bloom along the lanes. The breakdown of fallen leaves is in full swing. Earthworms will be dragging these nitrogen-rich reserves into the earth and doing their magical subterranean work to feed themselves and nourish the soil. I can report little evidence of wildlife otherwise.
A black and white barrelled herd of stocky cattle decorate one pasture. I see a few birds, maybe a wren crossing a lane from hedge to hedge in our path, but little else.
On my return to the city I enjoy thick, hot minestrone soup and a bacon bap at Harry’s, I enjoy a conversation with a bicycling paramedic who appreciates his duty in the city centre as a break from the ambulance rostered team, or fast response car.
He has nearly as much medical kit loaded on the bike as is carried in motor vehicles. In a heavily pedestrianised, wonky city centre, it seems eminently sensible to give paramedics a bike to make it easy for them to cut through clogged traffic, cobbled lanes and passageways to quickly reach medical emergencies within the inner ring road zone.
I make my way home to listen to an on-line presentation from Oxford about Ted Hughes’ collection, “Crow” before getting in a tangle with myself on social media. This is not a great thing to do when you feel increasingly isolated because of the constriction of necessary Covid-19 regulations.
I consider moving to Spain as soon as possible to find a mountain village without Internet. I suspect some would happily volunteer to pay for a one-way ticket for me.
News of the development of an effective vaccine is increasingly positive. It is also increasingly clear that the likely implications of Brexit are negative.
If it’s not a Tory government assisting the deaths of over 50,000 UK residents through coronavirus mismanagement, it’s a Tory government digging the country into an economic hole and the likely fragmentation of the United Kingdom. Swings and swings, as it were.
¡ Buenos noches y hasta la manaña!