Nearly there. Just one more day until the second biggest reason to be a teacher starts; the Easter holidays. I know that sounds a bit cynical so apologies to those educational purists who want us all to be teachers because it is our “calling”, but we all have to be honest and the long holidays are a very big factor in our job satisfaction index and enable us to put up with our working conditions in the other thirty-nine weeks, even in leafy Henley-on-Thames where I ply my trade. Number one is, of course the summer holiday. Easter, on a relaxation scale, comes in ahead of Christmas as there is bugger all to interrupt two weeks (seventeen days this year!) of doing what you want to do…. Christmas is busy!
Even more exciting than Easter is that tomorrow is the start of April, the first month of my three-month programme of health and efficiency that will lead me to cycling nirvana. To celebrate both the Easter holidays and this momentous period of virtuosity pre-Puglia, I will be dining tonight on venison, pommes de terres and Australian Shiraz! That does sound impressive; it is actually venison sausages, mashed potatoes and a bottle of red plonk but I am looking forward to it. I really don’t care that I have another day to work; the kids can put up with a diminished level of education for the last day of term tomorrow morning. We knock off at 2.30pm anyway after only a couple of hours of what is supposed to be meaningful work.
Catching up with all things Puglia, I feel some bullet points coming on:
The Panorama (still no name for him / her) is back at the cycle shop for a few adjustments. I cycled the new bike to work this morning to see how it would cope with the 12% hill that cuts through Henley Golf Club. It passed although it wasn’t that different from the Trek. Still uncomfortable (in both a physical and spiritual sense) with the position of the handlebars, I returned home via AW Cycles for a post-purchase consultation with Darren, the guy who measured me a couple of weeks ago. He was actually busy so I spent some time with the other guy who frequents the upstairs of AW Cycles. I explained how I was feeling the riding position uncomfortable but he did manage to convince me that it was because I was so used to a very upright position with my previous bike. I’m more than happy to buy into this and no changes are planned to the length of the stem that attaches the handlebars to the frame. I did, however, also mention how I was finding the width of the handlebars equally uncomfortable. After a couple of measurements, my cycling consultant agreed and the bike is now spending the night in the bike shop awaiting a re-fit of the handlebars. They will be replaced with a wider set and also the brakes on the top of the bars will be moved to a more central position to allow me more room to grip the bars themselves. I trudged back to Reading on foot but glad that I had addressed the issue. I was now more comfortable in the spiritual sense and I hope that soon that will be reflected in the physical sense.
The second episode of Mark Beaumont’s excellent documentary on his cycle from Alaska to Argentina continued last night on BBC1 but I only made it as far as just south of Chihuaha before I was too tired to keep my eyes open. This is not a reflection upon the documentary but a reflection upon my stupid addiction to getting up at 5am and being at work by 6.30am. I will hopefully watch the rest of the documentary tonight. Basil, my fellow language teacher who I will be visiting in southern Italy later in the year at the end of the ride texted to inform me that riding through Bari will be more dangerous than Mexico.
On the subject of Mark Beaumont, he has made me one of his friends on Twitter! Thanks for that Mark. I wonder if he is a regular reader of this blog?
I received another text today from another fellow language teacher who I used to work with. She wished me a good Easter holiday and asked “is it this one where you cycle to Italy?”. It’s a good job she teaches German and not Geography. Reading to Brindisi in two weeks would be impressive!
End of bullet points. I’m off to dine on my venison sausages. 🙂