Things I’ve learnt this weekend…

1. Bedraggled, scraggy-looking cats who’ve had a cone on for ten days following surgery, can make themselves look BEAUTIFUL again after a matter of mere hours, once they are able to wash themselves again. Fudge went from dejected zero to bouffed-up fluffy hero in about three hours twenty minutes. He was beside himself to be allowed out again; he trotted off through the back door like the king of the realm … the wind in his fur and the world at his paws. Magnificent. And I think he has forgiven us for his captivity. (I’ll post a photo when he comes in…)

2. I have perfected a new move, in the new socially-distanced supermarket environment. I call it The Lean. When Sandra and her basket of non-essentials come up the aisle a bit too merrily and look like they’re veering carelessly in my direction, I lean like Pisa over the baked beans to keep the two metres thoroughly upheld, whilst maintaining a side-eye WTF glare. Oh Sandra, don’t you know how serious this is?

3. There is nothing like a bike ride down a country lane on two fully inflated tyres.

Bike rides and box sets…

My son and I went out for a bike ride yesterday. My bike had a flat tyre. We have two bikes that have had flat tyres for AGES – we haven’t attempted to do anything about them for ages, either. Neither Matthew nor I are very technically minded (this is an understatement, in my case. Anything mechanical I just stare at blankly and say ‘what…?’ and I’ve never even been able to get my head round how the telly or the landline phone works… fairy unicorn magic, right?) and we don’t do out cycling as often as we should, so the bikes have just sat there, in the shed, tyres flat. Except now I REALLY want to go out cycling. Really, really, really.

My son hopped on his bike yesterday afternoon; I plonked on mine and immediately felt deflated. As we set off down the road, it was like riding something with a squelchy welly as a tyre. And about as effective. It was like cycling through mud. My poor legs, already in recovery from a frantic Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’ workout that morning, were killing me. I got hot. I took off my woolly scarf and tied it round the cross bar. I looked ridiculous. My son was about two miles ahead of me and four times as fast. Nice jogging neighbour passed us (at a safe distance). I smiled and gave a cheery wave. With my welly boot tyre and my red face and my thick Fairisle scarf tied round my bike, I looked utterly ridiculous.

It was not a great success. Since then, Matthew and I have both stared forlornly at the bikes. The bikes have looked blankly back at us. Then, at 5am, awoken by a post-op cat who needs to be intermittently let into the conservatory to do his business inside a flower pot, I looked online and saw that Halfords is still open and doing bike repairs, as the Chief Medical Officer has decreed cycling is a Good Exercise and they have all the right distancing measures in place. We’re going to take the bikes in tomorrow. By Sunday I shall be coursing down the road, waving at nobody at all, on the crest of an inflated wave…

In other news, I’ve always been fond a good box set and never more so, at the moment. I can highly recommended The English Game, on Netflix, recommended to me by a friend during a Zoom video chat the other night (the new girly get-together. We brought wine). It’s about football in the late 1800’s and how a working class team from a Northern Mill team reached the final of the FA Cup, but it’s also about women and motherhood and the class divide and loyalty. Well worth a watch!

PS. Just had a call from the vets and the dreaded cone is off! Hurray!