You would assume that at the end of a day which involved work, meeting a friend whom you haven’t met before and her husband and their dog (who was for some reason terrified of a wee puppy 3x smaller than her) on the other side of town and a little more, for whose larger camper you negotiated a parking space, and a day which involved you taking a total of 12 trains and buses to negotiate your way to your various destinations, and finding a pub which would allow dogs – you would assume at the end of such a day, when you reach home at 00:25 am, a cat won’t jump out at you from the darkness when you reach your front door. And if indeed you did expect such a feline assault, you would expect to placate it with a saucer of milk. But no. After said saucer of milk has been warmed (to cat’s preferred temperature) and said Moggie has consumed her drink you have to resign yourself to watching the Mog playing with something mysterious on the floor. What is it you wonder, another of her fur balls (god so many!)? You move closer to examine it and realise with horror it is the largest spider you have ever encountered in your life, your life which suddenly feels very short. You grab your suitcase and attack said spider. You lift suitcase, peek under and spides is still alive. Mog looks at you. You look at Mog. The spido starts moving, you start screaming, the Mog doesn’t do anything. You attack spidy with your furry slippers. You decimate it before it eats you. Peace at last? No? No. Mog tries to eat the spider’s remains. A gory site. You don’t know whether you should let the cat lick the hairy, squished legs off the floor or give the slain critter dignity in death. You choose the latter and cover his body with your suitcase. The Mog tries to move your suitcase. You just want this to end and for the cat to go to its rightful owner (you don’t have a cat flap yet and can’t wait around with the doors open). Mog sits down and decides she wants to lave herself on your rug. You give up and eat some cereal while updating your blog.
I got the result for the exam I took in June, which I’ve taken several times before unsuccessfully and for which I’d worked my ass off. The email began with “we sincerely regret to inform..”. I felt bad but then thinking back I don’t feel as much pain as I did last year. This time around I’ve realised that I’m doing this more than anything to prove to others that I can do it. This year I didn’t sacrifice as much. I still had great holidays and weekend breaks, I got to spend time with mom who was here in London to provide support, we watched sci fi movies and I got better at what I do at work. I have a great job, a darling bicycle, an adorable cat who’s adopted me, a camera and a purple elephant who’s always smiling. I have a holiday planned in 2 days and tomorrow I meet a girl I’ve known for nearly 15 years but never met before. I’ve seen my father and husband face whatever life throws at them with humour and my mother always keeping the faith. I’ve seen my father in law battle and lose to cancer and my mother in law refusing to let it kill her childish joys. To anyone who thinks I’m a loser for saying this, I say I don’t care what you think. There are bigger problems and worse defeats in life. This is just an exam.
This was a good weekend and I have to say participating in Ride London’s free cycle event has to be among the most fun things I’ve done in this city on my own. I realised that I wanted to participate pretty late, on Friday evening. But it took perhaps a minute or two to register. The route was circular and about 8 miles long looping around tower hill in the east to St. James’s park in the west, and cyclists could join wherever they liked. I checked the tyres on the Duchess and we were off. The intention was to get there early to avoid the massive crowds but it was Saturday and I did linger over tea. So it was past 11 am that I left. I cycled to Monument and joined the route there.
The first few moments were amazing! I could not believe the number of people who were already cycling and I could not get over the fact that there were no cars to worry about! I felt happy and proud to be part of a big event for something that really matters to me. I spent the first few minutes cycling on the left, out of habit but then warmed to the idea of just wheeling wherever I wanted. Also parents tended to keep their kids towards the left of the road so it was a bit slow there. Speed wise the pace was slower than comfortable and some overtaking was in order in many stretches. Also sometimes some people would slow things down if they were having a conversation but why not, after all the event was meant to foster a positive attitude towards cycling and get more people to bike.
The Thames as usual looked beautiful, the sky was blue and cheesy it might have been for some people to ride along iconic landmarks but i thought it was lovely to cycle past Tower Bridge, Big Ben, the Palace and the beautiful parks. I half expected the Queen to be on her balcony waving at us. But that understandably didn’t happen.
I left earlier than I wanted to, to make it to a colleague’s birthday party. I had to quell all my apprehensions of meeting strangers and force myself to go. I told myself that being invited to someone’s home gives me an insight into their life and blabbity blah and that I did move here to meet new people and blah blah. It turned all right in the end.
Today I had to force myself to go shopping (I seem to have to force myself a lot these days for all sorts of things!) so that I could brighten up my holiday wardrobe (Turkey! End of this week! Yes!). Because I feel so terribly conscious sometimes I’ve been telling myself to pretend I’m invisible. It’s quite liberating but I feel a bit mental at the same time. Shopping was a success, I timed my visit with just over an hour to go until shops shut. I preferred the morning and afternoon hours to pursue the classic Sunday activity of sitting on my arse and doing nothing. Oh except cleaning up the apartment thoroughly, oiling the Duchess and cleaning her up, doing two hundred loads of laundry and some cooking. Bueno!