When it’s a choice between certain injury and likely death, you have to choose the injury, don’t you?
I was riding down the A3 to Guildford, on a cycle path next to the roaring traffic. The path was narrow, underpinned with tree roots, and overgrown with nettles, brambles and hawthorn. But the road was unthinkable.
I’d ridden through central London, Shaftesbury Avenue, Piccadilly, Hyde Park (where the Queen was having another party). I stopped for coffee at a Portuguese cafe, where every other customer was speaking Portuguese, and then got distracted.
Esher, where I lived the first twenty years of my life, wasn’t far off route. So I cycled past the school, where a cabal of sadistic – and worse – teachers made life uncomfortable for their charges. I stopped off at All Saints Church, where as a small boy I’d sung in the choir, and where the service was just ending and I was just in time for coffee and Jubilee cake.
And then I went to see the house where my parents lived all their married life. On a whim I knocked on the door. I was shown the garden, where I told them all the varieties of apple. I was shown the house, considerably improved, and then I played a cello and violin duet with the daughter who was preparing for her Grade 6.
Somehow it’s further than I expected along the A3 to the wrong side of Guildford where, between you and me, I’m not sure my hosts were really expecting me. They expressed a bit too much surprise that I’d actually made it.
Still, we had a full house for the concert in the front room with the grand piano. As well as the cello we had some extremely accomplished jazz piano, and a good time was had by all.
And somehow I’ve got to get up in the morning, and go on, into the wilds of East Sussex.