Tag Archives: postaweek2011

A rule of my universe

I cannot find tahini in the supermarket unless I am not looking for it.

I have learned this from long experience. However, long experience has also led me to know that it exists on one of approximately two aisles. To locate it, one then has to – and I say this as if this is a general rule of the universe when in reality it likely is not – walk down the approximately two suspected aisles (where I know it will be on my right if I walk towards the back of the store) and – this is important – move in a  nonchalant manner, never looking  directly at the suspected shelves within the approximately two aisles.

If you think I’m making this up, allow me to tell you this strategy, newly unveiled, worked perfectly today and I had tahini in my basket within one pass down the approximately two aisles. And no scowling or muttering. Just calm, sidelong glances at the shelving.

Tahini and apparent sanity – a good day in the supermarket.

Gnattily dressed?

Ahem, due to starting a new job last week, I have neglected to update my blog. But here I am, keeping up my (just about, if you squint) weekly posts.

Monday I cycled to work for the very first time. Love it! Especially since I have a route that goes along a river. More on that in a second.

And today I finally put one of the bike stickers I bought in Tucson several years ago onto the bike. Stunning.

My bicycle doesn’t have a name yet. I wonder what I’ll call her…

Really, I am finding it so much nicer to cycle to and from work than to walk. It’s like a little treat to top and tail the work day.

My riverside route does take me through clouds of gnats, though. I wonder things like: have I eaten any today? Are they stuck in my teeth? How many have smashed themselves on the windscreens of my eyeballs? Am I wearing any in my hair? Important questions.

The kind of conversation you have with your expat American friends

Upon entering the corner shop, a mild confusion sets in. To the mobile.

“Hi, was it chips you meant, as in chips, or chips like crisps?

“It was chips! Like french fries.”

“Ah ok, I thought that’s probably what you meant. But suddently wondered if you were speaking American. Thought I’d check.”

“Well, whichever you want, but chips.”

“Yeah, yeah, chips are good. That’s what I thought you meant. Oven chips. Got them.”

Farewell, Old Clunker

Today I walked with my purple Peugeot bicycle to the recycling centre, waved goodbye (mentally, that is),  and walked home alone.

‘Old Clunker’ – as I started calling her just yesterday as I selected my ‘new’ used bike – was secondhand when I bought her in Bridgwater, Somerset the better part of a decade ago.  She has since moved house with me three times and was eventually the bike on which I had my first cycle training session last year (to build up confidence after years of not riding). Ultimately, and overall in her time with me, she was more symbolic of me as a cyclist than she was an actual practical tool of cycling. Her gear shifters were stiff, rust laced her purple sheen and the last time I rode her it took about five seconds to get tired with her seat too low and rust, of course, holding the adjusting bolt securely in place. I’ve honed my skills and confidence on a borrowed bike instead.

My old Peugeot California

 

So, no I don’t believe I’ll miss her, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t matter to me. I just grew up a bit and had to say farewell to clear the space in my life for my new ride, who’s having her mud guards and lights fitted, and I pick her up on Tuesday! Now this is a bicycle for riding. I can’t wait…

Dear Brown Boots

Dear Brown Boots,

I miss you.

I can’t remember where or exactly when I bought you, although I know it was in a secondhand shop in the southwest – either of America or of England. I sort of think it was around five or six years ago, and I know for a fact that you were once with me in Arizona because my sister was there too and thought you were pretty groovy. (I think you and I were both a bit pleased about that.)

Dear Brown Boots, you zipped up the side and looked good with jeans.

Dear Brown Boots, you helped me feel brave.

Dear Brown Boots, can you remember, did I buy you when I left England for half a year, to spend time in the desert, to take a hiatus in the city of my birth? I know that you were there around that time. I believe we used to sometimes go to gigs downtown together. Did you come out that night the Kissers, from Madison, played at Plush and I danced and danced? Do you remember Rasputina at Club Congress?

Dear Brown Boots, you know, I could have used your chunky heels the other night at the Anson Rooms. I still enjoyed the band but everyone in the crowd seemed very tall.

I think I have given up looking for you. I know that you travelled with me to Bristol and we settled in first one place, then another, and a third. That last time we moved, I know you found a spot to safely perch. I remember you were here. And I know we continued, as we always had, to go out from time to time together. But now I cannot find you.

Dear Brown Boots, I hope wherever you are you are happy. I hope you are not being held prisoner, covered in dust.

I hope wherever you are, you still sometimes dance. I do.

 

Dear Brown Boots,

 

I miss you.

 

I can’t remember where or exactly when I bought you, although I know it was in a secondhand shop in the southwest – either of America or of England. I sort of think it was around five or six years ago, and I know for a fact you once were with me in Arizona because my sister was there too and thought you were pretty groovy. (I think you and I were both a bit pleased about that.)

 

Dear Brown Boots, you zipped up the side and looked good with jeans.

 

Dear Brown Boots, you made me feel gooood.

 

Dear Brown Boots, so did I buy you when I left England for half a year, to spend time in the desert, to take a hiatus in the city of my birth? I know that you were there. I believe we used to sometimes go to gigs downtown together. Were you there that night the Kissers, from Madison, played at Plush and I danced and danced? Do you remember Rasputina at Club Congress?

 

Dear Brown Boots, you know, I could have used your height the other evening at the Anson Rooms. Everyone seemed very tall.

 

But I have given up looking for you. I know that you travelled with me to Bristol and we settled in first one place, then another, and a third. That last time we moved, I know you safely found a spot to perch. I remember you here. And I know we continued to go out from time to time together. But now I cannot find you.

 

Dear Brown Boots, I hope wherever you are you are happy. I hope you are not being held prisoner. I hope you are not covered in dust.

 

I hope wherever you are, you still sometimes dance.

Getting on with it, as always

Last year I wrote about the frustrations of unemployment and the joys of getting back into cycling. For me, both have taken strength, the occasional dose of courage and lots of perseverence.

With cycling I had to face my fear of mixing with faster, more “menacing” traffic. Like so much in life, I realised it is so much easier when you give yourself permission to take up the space you need to take up. Simple as that. And that if you don’t take a risk you give up the chance to feel the wind in your face and your hair as you hurtle down National Cycle Route 4 (yee haw!).

And a few other things worth noting.

1. The other traffic is mostly non-menacing. It’s just traffic. Like me, like you.

2a. One should not take one’s legs for granted.

2b. A sense of silliness keeps one from becoming too dull. One hopes.

I pledge allegiance to my legs and their united state of happy exhaustion, and to my feet on which I stand, one woman, under the sky, indefatigable, with licorice and rock cakes for all.

Bike sticker from Tucson, Arizona