I had noble intentions to carry on writing things, along with a similar imperative to carry on riding. I think I managed the latter, just about, but not the former. My commute is lovely, lots of fog and encroaching darkness seeping into the mornings, countered by mind-melting sunrises of transcendent beauty.
I set up a fixed hack for the timebeing; the Bob Jackson needed some remedial work on a very stuck seatpost so disappeared to Argos for about 12 weeks. I feel like a bit of a throwback with my fixed commuter, but in many ways I can’t see that there is a better bike for this kind of trek. I extended my miles and have been putting some bigger base rides at the weekend, again on fixed, and it’s been joyous. I might reach 5000 miles for the year, which isn’t that much compared to some, but is a big increase on a few years ago, and has led to a lot of weight loss and a generally elevated sense of physical and emotional well-being.
This has been undercut slightly by the exhausting reality of secondary school teaching. I don’t have much to say about this, apart from Nick Gibb is morally bankrupt and the obsession with exams is completely bogus, and teachers will carry on doing amazing things and no-one cares what Rod Liddle has to say anyway. I will be glad come Friday to have got through a term that has collapsed into a modernist poem where time and space seem to have melted together and at least a year has rolled unchecked through the past 16 weeks.
Lastly, I did this amazing talk thing with Martin Hurcombe of Bristol University all about cycling and writing. Isabel Best was there, as was Ian Walker and Marlon Moncrieffe, and I felt very lucky to be on the panel. I don’t think I disgraced myself and I said some stuff about voices and people. I’m up early on – the first person to be quizzed – then there’s quite a lot of Q+A a bit later where I talk about books and stuff with everyone else. It was a lot of fun. Isabel has a gorgeous new book out, all about Raphaël Geminiani which is currently sitting in the stack by my bed whilst I finish an enormous book about Philip Larkin, but would make a lovely christmas present for someone if you’re short of an idea (Isabel’s book, not the Larkin, unless you want that person to read about death and unresting death and nothing to be done).