Tonight Matthew, I am Ray Charles

Wandering sleepily into the Barn at 6am this morning, I was shocked into wakefulness by the eye popping evidence of a burglary. Just a terrifyingly empty space where my bikes used to be and no sign of the myriad and expensive tool collection (or weapons of destruction as I like to think of them). It was obvious these were classy thieves as they’d left my commuting bike either because it clearly has absolutely no cash value whatsoever or, more likely, it was camouflaged under a year of unwashed dirt.

For five long seconds, I stared drop jawed at the horror of all that white space. There are two reasons for this; firstly that’s an unreasonable time in the morning to leverage the power of memory and, secondly, I was wearing sunglasses. Gradually reality bit back and with a whoosh of relief, I remembered transferring the lot into the shed the previous day. This explains the burglary but not the sunglasses.

I’m not the take two bottles into the shower kind of bloke (nowadays, being follically challenged, a quick rub down with a damp flannel suffices). The same goes for mandatory eyeball accessories which shield irreplaceable optics from wind, rain and high velocity dogshit. I have sensitive eyes (somewhat at odds with the rest of my selfish and morally corrupt personality) but leaving in the dark before riding the rest of the day in the light presents a dilemma. Take the clear ones and squint or spend 25 minutes stumbling around like Ray Charles but without the musical talent.

These sunnies scale the pinnacle of marketing perfection with lenses perfectly balanced to deliver superb clarity in low light conditions”. Or to be rather more accurate are not much good in any conditions at all. But they are Oakley’s and look pretty cool so that’ll do for me.

They cast the slowly emerging daylight in some kind of post apocalyptic monochrome. Headlights return to a level of lux that passed for main beam before car designers added xenon and “ probably “ plutonium to their products. Shadows rose eerily from hedges [there’s a story here; when I first met my wife she mistook my fear of edges for a fear of hedges. That’s regional accents for you. For a couple of years, she honestly believed I would shy away in horror from aggressive topiary] and aside from a comedy moment when I panicked because of the dimness of my lights “ you’ve got sunglasses on stupid “ it was kind of fun.

And on the platform, there I was resplendent in knackered old vans, waterproof socks, three quarter length shorts, jacket so custard yellow is should come with a spotted dick (there’s a joke in there somewhere), blue helmet and black shades but “ and here’s the important bit “ with pink lenses. It was like North by Northwest with women literally throwing themselves on the rails in their haste to get away. The only thing hurtling towards the platform this morning was the expression fashion crime” since Chiltern Railways changed the timetable for an aspirational vision”

Hoving into view is the London terminus, and it appears I have made a major miscalculation on the sunglasses front. I should have brought flippers instead.

Anybody got the number for Trinny and Susannah? I need help. But I think you knew that.

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