I haven’t seen Metcheck’s storm watch turn puce for some time, so when it did last night I realised I’d have to be in early tomorrow, just in case the predictions turned out to be true. Ominously, our house was still warming up close to midnight, as air of untimely warmth continued to roll in, so the alarm clock was dutifully set.
At half six, much of the village was covered with a real pea-souper, but that had cleared by the time I had had a cup of tea and woken up properly. I assembled my bike with enough pannier space for today’s meeting-clothes, and set off at just before seven, already warm in my cycling gear.
The roads were still quiet—but already flooded with daylight, as though in an overexposed photograph—and it was generally a pleasant ride out of the village and up towards Charlbury. The damp, warm, yellow air, punctured by occasional cold breezes coming off rivers and out of copses, made me think of the brief amounts of cycling I had done near my parents’ place in Spain, years ago. Once the mist had burned off entirely, visibility was somewhere in the order of miles, across expanses of dry grasses and crops, and only cut short by the dark, tall silhouettes of trees.
The only sour note was sounded—twice—by the van from O.G. Stonemasonry. It managed to overtake me on a blind bend on Cuckoo Lane, finding itself faced by oncoming traffic; it then stopped at the office; and shortly afterwards pulled the same trick again, having to dive back behind me and then reel out again just before the junction onto the Woodstock road.
An oncoming delivery van flashed his lights in vain, and as he passed me I could see his facial expression directed at Mister Ogg behind. I wouldn’t say he looked angry, but he was about the same colour as 1488 J/kg of CAPE.