I did think, as I rounded the corner into a headwind and came to almost a complete standstill despite pedalling as hard as I could, whether today, with its 80-mile-an-hour storm warnings and all, was the best day to be getting back on the bike after a month’s abstinence. Fortunately, I soon discovered that riding a bike is a bit like, well, riding a bike in that you don’t ever really forget how even in the worst weather – although I suspect my thighs will be telling me all about it in the morning.
I did also think, as I turned the corner into the train station this evening and saw the despairing hordes staring forlornly up at the departure screens, whether today, with the aftermath of the whole 80-mile-an-hour storm warning and all, was the best day to be trying to get home by train, or indeed any form of transport except a bike with a brisk tailwind. The announcements were warning us simply that there was a tree on the line, with no information as to where, or when it might be persuaded to get off it. And all the trains were marked as simply ‘delayed’ – all, that is, except for one. For the 16:26 Waterloo service – by now a heroic 2 hours and 20 minutes late – was, apparently, due in a couple of minutes and was even promising to be eight cars long.
I was sceptical, of course I was. The train would prove to be a phantom, or packed to the gunnells with weary commuters who’d been in there for so long they’d gone feral and turned to cannibalism, or it would arrive and promptly terminate, or turn around somewhere unhelpful like Queenstown Road. But it was only a few minutes, and the alternative was the bus, so I hedged my bets and waited. And lo and behold it arrived as advertised, all eight carriages,and wasn’t even too crowded, and off it went – the last train in SouthWest London if the departure boards were anything to go by – happily picking up passengers and letting them off as though nothing was wrong.
I even had a chance to sit down and read my paper, where I chanced upon this – tucked away in the financial news. After four months of torrential downpours, the hosepipe ban has finally been lifted. So that’s all right then …