As a nation we’ve a very unhealthy relationship with a little bit of sun. As soon as a ray (or two) escapes from behind a cloud we strip down to our underwear and attempt to barbecue ourselves – just in case that’s all we’re getting until next year. I’m convinced there are thousands of men who wear Speedos under their clothes all the time (other types of swimming trunks are available, apparently) so they’re prepared if the summer arrives during their lunch break. It seems these fellas actually enjoy their masochistic attempt to show just how unkind Mother Nature can be, and embrace the waves (light, not water).
Suddenly the lights go out, causing a frisson of excitement to run through the air and down your spine. Next, by pure magic, a flame flickers into existence. This spark warmly illuminates the faces of a gaggle of friends and family, whose grins are only bettered by your own. Then, just as suddenly, the drone of ’Happy Birthday to you…” begins, but nobody cares about the singing. Why? Because we’re all imagining how good the cake will taste.
Imagine the scene: the sun is shining and the birds are singing. You’re on your bike, riding at that perfect pace: not too slow so you’re burning carbs, not too fast so you take in the vista around you. Your freshly-shaved legs are looking good in perfectly fitting shorts and your tan lines are maturing nicely – in fact, it would be easy to be mistake you for a pro. You chat with fellow riders who are great company, while other road users happily, safely and respectfully keep their distance. The only thing on your mind is what type of coffee to order when you arrive at the friendly little café that lies just beyond the crest of the next rewardingly challenging incline.
“Wait until your father gets home!”
That’s what they used to say, wasn’t it? Except in my house it was always wait until ‘your dad’ gets home – ‘father’ was a word more associated, to my young mind, with priests and Star Wars baddies.