Getting my shopping to and from Sainsbury’s is made so much easier by either panniers or the elastics on my bike: but not both. Unfortunately I’d bought far too much on Sunday, and had to put some in the panniers and make shift with the elastics to tie a bag in place: a bag containing half a dozen tins of tomatoes and a box of egg custards. I like egg custards.
Pulling away from a traffic light I heard a kerfuffle behind me followed by the sound of my shopping landing in the green cycle box. Inwardly groaning, I carried on moving. First things first, I thought: get clear, and only annoy your fellow road-users as much as is decently possible.
So I practically freewheeled away from the junction to drop my bike off and keep out of the traffic’s way. The two cars behind me crawled around my shopping, quite considerately. Trailing them at a similar pace was a tourist, all thick glasses and wheelhunching, concentrating on this wrong side of the road business. As he was moving slowly, I walked as slowly from where I left my bike to the shopping. I’d pick it up once he’d gone, I thought.
Very slowly and deliberately, looking bucktoothedly out over the cliff of his SUV at what I’d dropped, the tourist drove straight over my shopping. The plastic bag sheared open, each egg custard tart was truncated to a pastry base, and every can squished like a plastic cup. I stood silently by, with my mouth hanging open, too stunned to speak. With a rustle and a snap the car’s chassis freed itself from the last of the shopping and, satisfied, the chap drove on: slowly, conscientiously, myopically.