Week-end: so you can cycle while you cycle

Swans' nest, with one bird on the nest and the other swimming in the ditch below, dabbling its beak in the water. There's also a mallard drake, possibly also on a nest.

The good

We had a weekend at a spa! I had never done this before, having mentally classified it under ‘not for the likes of us’ and also been nervous about getting it all wrong and exposing myself as a total fraud, but the in-laws suggested it as a nice thing to do before the baby appears and we disappear into a mountain of laundry, and I had to admit they had a point. So we booked into Quy Mill, just outside Cambridge, for one of the few free weekends we have this summer.

Anyhow, the conversation somehow moved from ‘haha, we could cycle there!’ to ‘actually, we could cycle there!’ and our successful excursion to an antenatal class in Littleport demonstrated that taking the Bromptons on the train and cycling to our destination was perfectly practical. (I know this in theory, but it had been a while since I’d put it into practice.) So we decided to cycle there. And then the purchase of a cargo bike happened rather faster than we’d anticipated, and suddenly it made sense for Tony to pick that up on the way. Fortunately it is large enough to hold one folded Brompton, so he was able to cycle to pick up the new bike and then cycle onwards on the new bike carrying the old one. (Yo dawg, I heard you liked cycling, so I put a cycle in your cycle so you can cycle while you cycle…)

This made it possibly the most Cambridge spa trip imaginable, even if we hadn’t then cycled over to Anglesey Abbey the next day.

It was very pleasant. There was extremely nice food; I had a lot of stress massaged out of my back; I also had my toenails painted. I went swimming twice. And we avoided most of the coronation hoohah. (I am what you might call a pragmatic monarchist: I can quite see that you need someone to cut the ribbons and all that, but my patience for the breathless commentary had been wearing very, very thin.)

Other good things this week: the political news was encouraging; the antenatal class was very interesting; the garden is flourishing.

The mixed

I generally enjoy thunderstorms, but not when I’m trying to get somewhere. I spent quite a long time sheltering in the underpass beneath the A14, 300 metres from my destination, but also 300 metres from the last lightning strike.

Also I got lost in Fen Ditton. This is becoming a habit and I could really do without it. I think I’d have beat the thunderstorm had it not been for that extra two kilometres.

The difficult and perplexing

I haven’t quite got the hang of ‘winding down’; or, rather, I’m doing OK at the doing less, but not so well at the feeling OK about it.

What’s working

Being outside. Using the Brompton rather than the (heavy) town bike.


I’m keeping on with Seven Ages of Paris (Alistair Horne). Have reached the twentieth century. No mention of the buses yet but it may yet happen (we have had the taxis of the Marne). Began Towers in the Mist (Elizabeth Goudge) – more appropriate than I’d realised, since the action begins on May day.

Finished Black Gay British Christian Queer (Jarel Robinson-Brown): very good indeed. Also God’s Lovers in an Age of Anxiety (Joan M. Nuth); Julian of Norwich continues to be the best.

Read Miss Marple’s Final Cases and finally ran out of steam with Agatha Christie with Murder is Easy.


Never Say Never Again was on telly on bank holiday Monday, so I joined in the Licence To Queer watchalong. I think it’s rather underrated, actually, and I much prefer it to the original Thunderball (omits the coercion and a lot of the tedious shark stuff).

I have been watching the Giro d’Italia with Tony. And we managed to turn on the telly at exactly the right moment to hear the new Vivats in I Was Glad (and then to be irritated by the commentators talking over the rest of it and confirm our decision not to watch any more coronation stuff).

Looking at

The Last Supper, a set of sculptures by Silvy Weatherall, at the cathedral. These are abstract busts made from broken crockery stuck together with gold, kintsugi style. While I could see what she was getting at, I failed to get beyond my initial reaction – which was ‘Doctor Who monsters’.


‘Asian-style aromatic pork’ from one of the slow cooker books – OK but not particularly exciting.


Quy Mill did very nicely by us. I was particularly impressed by the slow-cooked lamb and the (remarkably light) sticky toffee pudding. Last night we went to the White Hart in Fulbourn, and I had a Mediterranean vegetable pizza.


Cycling – nothing further than 8km, but quite a few short journeys. (It’s rather galling to have someone on the exact same bike whoosh past you, but I don’t think he was seven months pregnant…) And swimming.


Nesting swans on Ditton Meadows (when I rode past on Friday evening, the one that wasn’t in charge of the nest was blocking half the cycle path; today, it was swimming in the ditch). A wagtail at the hotel this morning. Very vocal blackbirds. The same graffiti on the Chesterton railway bridge that’s been there as long as I can remember.

In the garden

Loads of apple blossom, and bees enjoying it. Plenty of wisteria flowering too. The white rose that always flowers first has five buds; the others are beginning to think about it.


A four-day week. A weekend of mild hedonism.


I have mentioned the cargo bike – not that I shall be riding it for another couple of months. A couple of small fripperies in the shop at Anglesey Abbey.


We’re considering some garden furniture – the main problem being that ‘big enough to eat dinner off’ and ‘small enough to fit sensibly under the pergola’ are incompatible specifications. Some thought required…

Line of the week

From the London Review of Books, here’s Sam Rose on Clive Bell:

it’s hard to feel very sorry for a man who insisted on having it all, got more than his fair share, and spent his life increasingly embittered about the little that had been denied him.

This coming week

Another bank holiday, another antenatal class, some travel that’s become rather more complicated than it needed to be, and, most excitingly, a wedding.

Anything you’d like to share from this week? Any hopes for next week? Share them here!

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