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From: “Naomi” <naomi_sajeri [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: An Early Morning Ride
Date: Sun, 30 May 2004 01:18:27 +0100
I awake early this morning, rather too early really for the evening’s drinks
to have properly dispersed. The open window has allowed the noise to disturb
me. An itinerant thrush has landed too near the ivy in the old apple tree
and the blackbird that I know to be nesting there, vociferously chases away
the thrush, along with what remains of my sleep.
I pick up the muni, and after locking the door I traverse the patio, and
have surprisingly little trouble with the 5 steps that take me down to the
rough path past the goldfishpond, and then up along the narrow pathway up
the side of the garage. The frogs, as always are looking up, heads sticking
out of the surface weed, a huge amphibious starry gazy pie. My progress as I
brush past the japanese maple tree causes most of them to retreat below the
surface. Only the tadpoles and pond skaters remain, gently rippling the
water near the odd remnant of floating fish pellet that the goldfish missed.
By the garage I negotiate the garden gate, closing it neatly behind me and
after a few yards reach the smooth newly tarmaced pavement. Time to get on
My first problem: I lean against the gatepost to mount the unicycle, having
long since given up any idea of freemounting the damn thing. The curtains in
the flats across the road twitch again, as I knew they would, the old lady
is on guard duty as usual ready to harangue those passers by who are too
loud, or who drop litter near her bit of the tarmac. Slowly I push off,
always a slightly tense moment, but I usually manage this without falling
off these days, and I ride my way slowly down towards the railway. The GPS
tells me I am going SSWest at about 4mph. It is quite fast enough for me.
After some 150 yards I rest against the wall, not quite panting with
exhaustion, not quite ready to move on. The corner leading to the path
alongside the railway is tight and I know I will have to carefully jerk the
unicycle around it if I am not to UPD. I manage it quite well and steer
down the narrow path trying to avoid the dog excrement and the slugs and
snails that appear to view it as an excellent breakfast. A pair of great
tits watch as, trying to avoid the last couple of slugs, I unceremoniously
UPD, nearly demolishing the rotting fence on my right. But I land on my feet
and am undamaged.
My first UPD of the day, and the GPS tells me I have already covered close
on 250 yards. I suspect this is a crow flies measurement and so the reality
will be more like 350 yards. One of the slugs looks to be past help and I
lean sadly against the metallic green fence and briefly watch a fox on the
railway embankment until the Virgin Express train scares it off. Nothing
usually puts the slugs off their meal, except perhaps dry weather. During
the winter this secluded pathway attracts the fly tippers, who throw
anything from mattresses to half eaten Macdonalds over onto the embankment.
At this time of year though the luxurious growth of grasses, shrubs and
ferns covers most of that which has been dumped, nature doing its best to at
least hide, if not to repair the damage.
It is easy riding now, along the path by the railway, perfectly smooth
tarmac except for one tree root and a couple of manhole covers. I steer
inexpertly but effectively round them and progress for some 300 yards before
needing another rest. Then I ride another short stretch, but I am as ever
too tired to reach the station and instead elect to walk home along the bus
route. The postman gives me an odd look as I pass him by but otherwise makes
I again have no problems with the gate, the front gate this time, so I
walk up the drive and back inside the house. I park the uni in the hall
near to the juggling clubs, and wander back upstairs, contented and tired,
to resume my sleep.
A good ride, slightly less than 1/2 a mile, with only one UPD
Naomi with a small apology to Mikefule.
Mill’s Mess NEEDS gravity, it is probably what Newton invented it for.
But why, oh why, did he have to give us quite so much of it?