Sitting Down Outside

Near Twyford today I had to stop and tighten a cleat (the bit that allows a shoe to clip in to a pedal). That was just sloppy on my part: I’d changed them a little while ago, ridden them since but not checked and tightened them. A basic over-sight but no big deal: a multi-tool will fix most on-road problems.

What it made me think about wasn’t bike maintenance but the fact that I could sit on a bench to sort it out. It, the bench, was just there, on a grassy few square yards near Ruscombe Church.

Public seats near Ruscombe Church

Seats near Ruscombe Church

That’s really quite wonderful. It’s civilised and it’s caring.

Once you start noticing them, there are lots of places for the public to sit down outside, provided by councils or churches or any number of other groups or individuals. If you look further, there are any number of semi-public seats – in National Trust properties and that sort of place – for people to rest on, outside. Add to them all the seats in gardens and it’s obvious that we like sitting down outside.

That’s not something you’d naturally associate with Britain – land of grey skies and showers. Perhaps as time goes on they’ll get more appropriate. Today was another day hovering around the 80F mark and the second day in a row with a very strong wind accompanying it. And there I was, thinking Sirocco-like conditions weren’t for old Blighty.

The saving grace for this time of year is that hot air isn’t so thick, so the strong winds of the last couple of days aren’t so hard to battle against as they would be in winter. It looks far worse than it is once you get out there. The classic ‘out in to the headwind, back with a tailwind’ works well.