Exceptional English Lanes

An English lane in spring

Can the commonplace be exceptional?

Yet another Bank Holiday; another unseasonally hot day. I’m never very sure about the Brits and days off other than the standard weekends. We can all cope with two days; additional ones seem to mean hordes of people milling about, not quite knowing what to do with themselves. That, or doing a very good impression of people doing what they feel they ought to do and not particularly enjoying it.

It would be interesting to collect statistics about Bank Holidays but the interesting stuff would be hard to get – the hidden stresses of everyday life are just that, hidden.

Today saw a good long-ish spin on the Colnago, on a loop with Swincombe as its most northerly point. It was surprisingly windy but enjoyable enough. On the way out and again on the way back I exchanged greetings with a runner, an I’d say middle-aged chap, running with a back-pack on and looking enviably composed. Wherever he’d started out from, it was a very impressive run he was on. There’s a lot of pleasure to be had in witnessing someone doing something well. As with cycling, there was a rhythm to this chap and there’s a rhythm in so many things when they’re done well.

As I started on the homeward leg I thought that I’d seen nothing exceptional today but then it occurred to me that the classic English lanes I was riding along would themselves be quite exceptional, if they weren’t relatively commonplace.

It is very hard to remember to appreciate the familiar – places, good fortune, people. I don’t know how to make it happen on a practical everyday level, but I know it needs to.