Not generally a difficult choice. If the sun is shining then beer somehow tastes even better after a pre-dinner sharpener of dirt and sweat. If it’s raining then proceed straight to beer never passing waterproofs, motivation or mud. If, however, your summer is full of moistness and your head desperate for the outside room, even a dodgy forecast and an unbroken line of brooding clouds won’t keep you inside.
But maybe it should. Especially if you forget your rain jacket. Not once, but twice with the second effort irritating me to the point of offering the BBC website a new weather mnemonic known simply as “October“.
My worthy, if navigationally flawed, attempt to link two great woods with something other than boring tarmac has taken on the mantle of an epic voyage. Columbus may has mistaken a few warm islands in the Caribbean for the West Indian coast, but that is nothing, NOTHING I tell you to my aimless wanderings around the Herefordshire countryside.
I have be so lost that a prominent hill positively identified with a major geographical outcrop on my map, turned out to be exactly 180 degrees behind me. Angry shaken fists at distant farmers for sowing crops over little used footpaths were replaced by embarrassed waves, as it became apparent I was carving a wheeled wake over private land. I’ve been scratched, bitten, flayed by spiteful thorns at various times during the last four rides and rained on every time.
The final straw was Monday’s voyage of non discovery where, after thirty minutes of hiding in a wood waiting for the rain to subside below the pain barrier, a dispirited splash back home on hissing, soaked blacktop was rewarded by the sun peeping from behind the now vanishing clouds as I wrung out my socks.
Still every cloud has – apart from about four inches of rain – a silver lining as my map is now nothing more than slightly crinkly water. I don’t suppose this will hinder my route finding in the slightest.
I promised myself that this was the year I would stop bitching about stuff beyond my control. Which at a mere three days before my forty first birthday seems to include about everything.
Specifically though, I was hoping for a sanguinity of middle age where politicians, solicitors, estate agents, voxpox wankers on the radio, Suduko, traffic and, of course, anyone owning a folding bicycle would merely be laughed off in the great game of life.
Failed. Miserable. About to be older, balder and fatter no doubt. So rather than face up to any of that, I’m off to Scotland for our annual “damp midge” tour of some proper mountains. The forecast fully meets my new criteria for “October” which suggests alot of drinking will take place, while expensive mountain bikes remain unmolested by an outside full of horrid.
I just hope no-one tries to wear a PVC dress again this year. I’m barely past the waking up screaming stage from the last time around.