Friday, 29 October 2010

Venturing Out

One of the things I love about my schedule here is to be able to indulge that part of myself, part werewolf, part bat, that keeps me up until the wee hours of the morning, usually 2:00 am, but then makes it impossible for me to wake up early like everyone else in the world. I usually squint at the alarm clock at around 10:00 am. By the time I've had coffee, made some breakfast, read some course material or part of a required book, showered and shaved, it's noon or later. Today the sky was heavily overcast and I looked out willing the clouds to break up and reveal the sun, but nothing. Just heavy grey clouds. I'm used to it though. I come from Vancouver.

When I bought my new bike on Wednesday, I locked it up at the university and said goodbye until next week. But today I found myself missing it, and thought it not an outrageous idea to take the bus to the university and cycle back to the flat. The bus ride from here to the university usually takes 50 minutes. I looked at my watch and did the calculations. I could be riding back in the dark if I wasn't careful. I stalled. And then I thought what the heck - if it got dark before I arrived back on this side of town, I could just lock it to a post somewhere and jump on the bus. So off I went. I got to the university and there was Douglas waiting for me. I unlocked him and jumped on, feeling such exhilaration! I made my way back towards the city, or at least in the general direction. Before I knew it, there were road signs pointing to The Cathedral - the only reason the city exists is the Cathedral. Off I cycled, feeling more and more confident. I arrived at the Market Place, which I've become familiar with from my Saturday meanderings. Now I flew past like Lance Armstrong, heading towards the railway station, five minutes from the flat. But there was still enough light that I thought I'd rather cycle down the path along the banks of the River Wensum, so I headed in that direction. The road took me past the law courts and to an opening where the signs pointed to the foot path. Suddenly I came into a car park right next to a very old pub. I couldn't believe it when I saw the sign - "The Adam and Eve." I was in Norwich in 1975 with Mickey, wanting to give my sister the experience of another culture (which it certainly is), and we were taken to the Adam and Eve by a friend, who mentioned that it was the oldest pub in Norwich, dating back to the 12th century. You actually have to lower your head when you walk in the door because in those days people were much shorter than they are now. So to find the Adam and Eve purely by chance was a big thrill. There were groups of people chatting happily outside, it being Friday night and happy hour, and as much as I would have loved to have locked up Douglas and partook in a glass of wine, I resisted and comforted myself by saying I'd go back another time, when I didn't have to ride through the dark streets of Norwich towards the railway station under the influence of at least one glass of wine. Not a good idea.

When I got home, I called Nan and we had a long chat about the plans for our road trip. She'll be here in less than a week, and I'll have finished all the reading and writing for the courses just before the reading break, so we can head off without a care in the world. We're going to drive to Bath first, stay overnight in a hotel, and then head to Cornwall the next day. I haven't done this trip since Marc and I came here with Geoff when he was five - it was 1978. My memories of that time were happy, especially around taking Geoff to places that he found exciting, like the paper mill at Wells and the caves at Wookey Hole. But I realize that Marc and I too did not have a shared idea of happiness. I remember him taking Geoff off to do the laundry at the local laundromat and me heading off to "The Cobb," the long pier that meets the Atlantic, trying to look windswept and forlorn as the French Lieutenant's Wife in John Fowles' novel, which I'd just finished reading.

Tonight I passed Morrisons' - the local "Safeway" and decided I needed something nice for dinner - it's Friday night after all. I chose a small piece of Atlantic salmon (which I've become rather fond of). I knew there was one glass of red wine left in the bottle at home, so quashed the urge to buy more.

Came home to emails from distant lands - David in Mexico and Jill on Gabriola Island. I'll save them to read over a cup of tea and some ginger oak cookies from Morrisons' (for dessert).

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