It rained today.
By that I mean it was relentless. Heavy rain. Roads near my home were flooded, though nowhere as deep as other towns and cities under water. More a case of blocked drains. And when it does rain like that I tend to wear a weather resistant top and leggings, though I've not yet got around to sorting out shoe covers I did manage to remember to take some spare socks with me (a fruitless exercise as it turned out, my work area was flooded for a different reason, some idiot left the potwash area's hose on the floor with the mains on - the hose leaked and my walking in I discovered I had wet feet once more. Cheers idiot!).
Frustration number one.
Its dark, its wet, I have reflective strips all over me and the bike. I wear a bright top. Four lights on the bike, too. I cannot be missed. However for some reason a young woman driver this morning decided it was a very clever idea to squeeze past me and the parked car on my right. It was a tight old squeeze too. I presume you saw me lady, and that you just didn't care.
It being a blind bend, too, I'd imagine you'll meet a bus like that one day and facebook will fill up with tributes of what a lovely young lady you were. Modern society not being able to put two and two together.
Frustration number two.
Coming off the Itchen Bridge there is a cycle lane that carries you over the roundabout and on to Central Bridge. Problem number one motorist who wants to turn left but has nowhere to go as I am going straight on. Sorry old bean, you'll just have to wait 2 seconds for me to clear out of the way, no point even pulling up next to me with the blinker on.
Then there is the driver number two on this route this morning who treated the cycle lane (and part of the roundabout) as an extended junction line. His drivers door was over the cycle lane itself. I could go around, in fact I usually do go around and use the road section. But today it was very wet. So I simply pulled up facing the drivers window and waited.
Perhaps it was shame, the fact that Mr early-20s driver looked over at me and away quickly? Perhaps it was the 240 lumens burning into his brain from my cycle lights? I didn't need to say anything, everything that needed to be said was probably already in his own mind. He knew he shouldn't be there blocking the road if it was not safe to proceed.
The lorry driver behind found this hysterical. After Junior had gone I waved thanks to both the lorry driver and another driver who had bothered to stay behind the line and let me safely exit the roundabout.
Frustration number three.
Still wet, still dark. London road has deliveries every morning. As I ride away from the city centre and towards The Avenue the lorries often park up on my right. There is a slight bend in the road so I take it carefully, make sure no-one is about to overtake me in a silly place and try to establish if there is traffic about to come the other way and on to my side of the road.
Today I saw a bus pull up and stop, so assuming they'd be waiting I rode through, only to realise that the lady driver had suddenly pulled out in front of me. No option other than stop far to my left and lean over. I just shook my head and a sheepish hand of apology went up in reply.
The wetness and the dark seems to bring out odd behaviour. Add into that the Christmas season, plus the end of the month, end of the year and half the people in this city are skint it means people's minds often wander when they should be focusing.
Fun number one.
For some reason as I approached Southampton Common this morning it was far darker than at any other time I've ever ridden upon it. The reason looked like all the power to the street lights had failed. Water rolling down and pooling on the grass in the faint light was quite spooky and so hard to describe, and my own cycle lights pointing the way was quite something. For the briefest of moments I felt complete solitude.
Fun number two.
Getting into work and discovering that a work colleague on site has ridden in on a vintage Falcon racing bicycle. It was battered but it was beautiful: a workhorse of an older generations knowledge of engineering, wielding and experimentation. A time before computers and programmable designs.
Fun number three.
Riding downhill at speed on the Itchen Bridge on the way home. The wind and the rain had eased. My lungs and heart felt like they were in my mouth.