Saturday, 20 March 2010

The hill

Part of me can’t believe what I am about to write. The other part of me can totally believe it. I am sat in my car, with the laptop, in the car park of a random pub in the middle of nowhere. It’s midday, on an ordinary Saturday in March. There is no real, sensible or normal reason why I should be here. I’m not meeting any late-running friends for a spot of lunch. Nor am I a Mystery Customer assessing the state of this hostelry’s parking facilities. By now I’m sure you have guessed that this situation is triathlon related. And you are right.

Today, Other Half has decided that he needs to step up his running training; ’up’ being fairly operative here. About ten minutes ago, I dropped him off, GPS in hand, at the bottom of a pretty substantial hill slap bang in the midst of the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. Last night I was briefed with instructions on where I was to drive to and pick him up. Straight up, up a bit more, over the T-junction, a bit more up, a sharp right, up and up some more and I’ll meet you at the junction at the top of the hill, he says. My palms had started to sweat with all the upping.

I have dutifully followed these directions (at least I hope I have – otherwise we could be in trouble seeing as OH does not have his phone with him) and so find myself parked up for fifty minutes whilst only imagining what terror is going on beneath me. It is a shocker of a hill. And not short either. At some points even my car was struggling to make it, juddering in second as we laboured ever on upwards. To make matters worse, it is raining; that annoying kind of rain which from indoors doesn’t look particularly wet – but when you get out into it you feel foolish for ever thinking that...because of course the rain is wet. My poor drowned rat.

But, trying to be ever so “supportive”, I have only done minimal moaning about this latest escapade. I think my tolerance and assessment levels of what is weird (in comparison to other couples) is getting lower and lower. I’m actually pretty happy sat in my steamed up car – I do however wonder what the people arriving at the car park to drop off last night’s empties at the row of bottle banks in front of me are thinking though... I’m quite enjoying the chance to sit and watch and think about what to write. At least sat up here there is no way I can feel bad about not doing the hoovering back at the ranch.

I’m sure you are also hanging on to know about the bike. OH is like a new man. He keeps disappearing and I’ll only notice that he’s gone twenty minutes later and find him in the spare room (I know, I know) looking at it or fiddling with it or talking to it or something. I think it was worth the money just for the amount of pleasure he has had from sitting on it and marvelling at the aero position he can now assume (I had to take photos for him to assess this of course).

It’s not been all fun and games for me, mind you. The day he picked it up we were having friends over for dinner (friends which OH knows much better than I do). Inevitably, it took him so long to have it fitted and do whatever it is they do with new bikes in bike shops that he didn’t get home until ninety minutes after the guests had all arrived. By that time I was the best part of a bottle of white down and in no fit state to serve the lamb casserole and pavlova I had lovingly spent the day preparing. OH didn’t seem to notice – so happy regaling the story of when he picked up the new bike, already an anecdote of legend – basically consisting of: them applauding him as he arrived (seriously, give me a break) followed by photos of OH by the bike/on the bike which were promptly posted by the bike shop owner on Twitter. OH is famous. And yes, he did do that annoying two handed wave which I know he now regrets. I will need to do some work with him on his PR skills.

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