Thursday, 26 May 2011

Rain Rapping on the Skylights

The weather has cooperated in the opposite way for me today. I had decided to stay inside and just keep writing all day with no plans to go out into the world. Outside the wind is howling and rain is rapping on the skylight. It's been sunny but incredibly windy here in the east of England for the past few days. In fact, high winds were responsible for a death in Scotland and there were reports of minor damage throughout the area.

Only in England do you see signs like this.
Last Sunday I'd decided to take a nice long bike ride, stuffing my backpack with a bottle of water, a book to write in and a book to read, a pen, and a bag of nuts - just in case. I cycled towards Thorpe Road and headed in the direction of Cory's Meadow, the supremely sylvan pastureland I discovered quite by accident a couple of weeks ago and which I wrote about in this blog, but somehow lost the whole post. I'm still mad as hops about it, but there doesn't seem to be a thing I can do. No one at Google answers any of my help questions. At least I still have the photos of that outing and I'm going to include them here even though I didn't go back to the same places this time. Instead, I cycled up the road in the direction of Cromer, briefly entertaining the ambitious idea of cycling all the way to that seaside town and "making a day of it" as the British say. I hadn't gone more than two miles though, all the while battling the wind in my face, when I decided to give up. At one point I was nearly de-biked by a strong gust that sideswiped me. Drivers too seemed to be taking great delight in seeing how close they could come without actually hitting me. After trying to tissue grit out of my eyes, which were irritated anyway from my hair whipping into them, I turned around and headed back home. I learned later that the winds had gusted to 50 miles per hour. Silly me going out in that. I took a camera video of the trees swaying, but no one was able to view the last video of the sailboat going into the water, so I won't bother including the footage here.

The sunny day scene weeks earlier.
I can see you, but you can't see me.
As I got back to the park where the swans were serenely floating and seemingly oblivious to the wind, I noticed again a welcoming cafe that I'd passed before, locked up my bike, and went in.  There was an interesting array of people either eating or just enjoying a coffee, so I ordered a clubhouse sandwich and a glass of water and picked a table by the window. A woman in her seventies sat at the next one over, wearing a wildly patterned sundress that just managed to hold in her ample figure. She had short-cropped, died-black hair and it was like she hadn't been able to decide what to have because she was eating an ice-cream cone, while in front of her sat a cup of coffee and a glass of red wine. A older gentleman at the next table on the other side of me was having a quiet conversation with himself as he enjoyed his coffee, so I took out the book Sally had highly recommended - Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island, which is hilarious and just the right thing to be reading while I'm here in the UK. His descriptions of Brits are dead-on and, like David Sedaris, he is a hugely funny and self-denigrating writer. Bryson manages to capture the accent of the small town English and write it down, which is not easy - I've tried. I do like recording snippets of conversation though. One day as I was waiting to cross the street by the post office, a van came careening around the corner with two young women going somewhere fast, music blaring. One (the driver) was on her mobile, talking to someone, and I just caught, "Right...we'll see you soon then. What's that? Of course you can rip my knickers off later if you want to."
I've heard of "Ladies and Escorts"...

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