The Sage woke up. “Do you have to be anywhere?” he wondered. “Don’t worry, it’s Saturday,” I murmured, and we wrapped our arms round each other and relaxed dozily for an extra half hour. We heard the papers come, and Al leave for work and chuckled smugly, because we didn’t have to move.
Later, Al came home to fetch another vanful of trees. I biked in to do my shopping. Mark, the friendly butcher, chatted cheerily about the joys of cycling. I looked at him without expression – largely because my face muscles were stunned by cold. I suggested he ask me again about the end of May.
I went and fetched lots of vegetables, plain yoghurt, kidney beans, rice cakes and bought several dozen Christmas cards. It all just fitted in the panniers, but was so heavy that I walked across the road before setting off home in case I wobbled and fell off (even when sober, I’m not all that steady). The rain had started by then and stung my cheeks icily. I was boring and dull enough to weigh the panniers when I arrived home – one was 19lbs and the other 15lbs. It wasn’t something I was aware of when I shopped by car.
The water was high in the dykes as I rode across the dam. Yagnub is, on three sides, hemmed in with water meadows and a system of natural and man-made waterways, which feed the River Waveney. These often flood, but that’s what they are there for. Sometimes, the surrounding fields look like huge lakes dotted with trees, but the water has to go somewhere and it helps to fill the underground natural aquifers which give us our drinking water – we don’t have reservoirs around here, but nor have we ever had a hosepipe ban in this dry area of the country.
Although I was rained on, I was lucky that I arrived home when I did. Since then, it has poured.
The older women in the village are really pleased to see me out on my bike. I greeted three of them on my way in – they had all done their shopping and were on their way back by this time. Millie was fetching her bike as I parked mine. “Glad to see you’ve joined the club!” she said. I was fortunate enough to have a two-year-old child when I came to live here, which was a great help in getting to know people and start a social life. My mother found her entry into the village was in having a dog to walk. From the general air of warm approval and encouragement around me, using a bike is similarly engaging. If only for this, I’m glad I bought it.