Spring is a state of mind

Blossom

Look! Blossom! It must be spring, right?

The daffodils in my next-door neighbour’s front garden say it’s so. The blossom on the tree outside my bedroom window says it’s so. The calendar says it’s so. So why is the weather so obstinately refusing to play ball?

Although Thursday was officially the start of spring, it doesn’t feel like it at all. In fact, the weather this week and last has been as bad as anything winter has seen fit to throw at us. Snow? Check. Bone-chilling cold? Check. Torrential rain? Check.

I made the foolish mistake of heading out on Monday morning without looking at the forecast for the day. Had I done so, I would’ve been somewhat more prepared for the downpour that accompanied me on my ride home that evening. As it was, without my waterproofs, I got thoroughly drenched.

I didn’t realise just how cold and wet I was until I was off my bike. I’d stopped to pick up some food for dinner from my local greengrocer (yes! I do have a local greengrocer – Stoke Newington/Newington Green Fruit and Vegetables. Cheap and rather fabulous to boot. Highly recommended if you’re in the area. But I digress…). Just a few veggies, nothing complicated. Or so I thought.

The cold had got down into my very marrow, and everything had gone numb – my feet, my legs, my hands…my brain. I shuffled slowly round the shop, knocking into everything and everyone. My frozen hands could barely pick up the veggies. To make matters worse, this being a proper greengrocer, the bags were all brown paper – which disintegrated at one touch of my rain-sodden gloves. When it came time to pay, my fingers struggled to pick the coins out of my purse – and when I did, I managed to drop them on the floor rather than hand them to the shop assistant.

As a final insult, once I got back on my bike to cycle the final half mile to my house, a car coming in the opposite direction drove through a massive puddle and splashed me right in my face.

It wouldn’t be so bad if this were just a one off. If I could go home, dry off and warm up, safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to go through something similar the next day, or even the next week. Then it would be just another one of my cycling war stories: the ones that are horrible at the time, but gain some kind of kudos in the retelling.

But it’s not just a one off. It keeps happening. It’s been happening regularly since the rain started last June. It happened again on my way home last night, although to a lesser degree, and it’s bound to happen again before spring finally decides to put in an appearance.

Cycling in that kind of weather just isn’t fun. Even I – a committed cyclist and quite possibly a bit of a masochist – have reached the stage where I just can’t face the thought of being soaked, blown about and frozen half to death, all in the name of getting to and from work.

What if this doesn’t end? What if it keeps on raining? What if the sun never comes out? How can I possibly keep on cycling?

I honestly have no idea. So, in the name of all things two-wheeled, please let it be spring soon.

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