A sense of wonder

Some rhapsodise about the ‘New Car Smell’
(I’m told that you can buy it in a spray
To endlessly relive the golden day
The car came off the forecourt) but I’ll tell
You something, there’s no greater thrill than this:
That bike-shop scent of packing grease, clean tyres
And polished paint; a perfume that inspires
The ecstasy, the unselfconscious bliss
Of childhood Christmas mornings. Just a toy
Perhaps, but is there any other thing,
At any price, so wondrous, that can bring
Such joy, turn weary man to giddy boy?
This is no mere machine I’ve bought today.
It’s freedom. And we’re going out to play.


After the relentless doom and gloom of recent days, I wanted to write something a bit more uplifting – and what better subject than a new bicycle, with all its attendant innocence, joy and promise of freedom and redemption? If you haven’t bought a brand-new bicycle (for yourself, not your children) for a while, go do it. I find I need one every couple of years…it can be an expensive habit, but there are far worse ones. N.


Good Friday

Easter last, my body
Betrayed me;
And after all I’d done for it, too.

Overuse, genetics,
Or a fractional misalignment
Of joints and bearings turning over
Hundreds of hours and
Thousands of miles
Hammered nails
Into my bones
And all I’d known and been and loved
Was left to die.

I cried out
In the darkness

And my God
Did not
Abandon me;

So now you see me
The veil of fear and anguish
Ripped in shreds and whirled away
In my busy slipstream.

And all that had seemed
Dead and buried
Is restored to me
And glorious.

Is a good day.

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who sent good wishes after my last, rather gloomy, post; things are a lot better now. This time last year, I thought my cycling days were done: on Friday, I took the Madone for a spin and it was just like old times. No pain, no taking-it-carefully, just spinning along on a big gear in the sunshine, feeling fast, fluid and strong again. I know there will still be less-good days (I am who I am) but this Easter weekend has reminded me just how much I have to be thankful for – including the wonderful support I get here.