I found a pair of saddle bags for sale online last weekend and asked if I could pick them up the next day. They were en route to somewhere I was going by train anyway. The seller gave me his address and I said I’d phone when I knew when I would be there.
Then plans changed. I was no longer going anywhere “anyway”. But the guy phoned at midday to find out when to expect me, so I made a semi-instantaneous decision to cycle there instead. He said he was heading out to a party with his wife in the afternoon but I was welcome anytime before that. Google told me I needed 40 minutes. I told him I’d be there in approximately an hour and a half – Google and I don’t often agree on timing – leaving about ¾ hour before he set out for his party.
When I set out, later than planned, due to a flat tire and a small fight with my pump, and with a less-than-sensible amount of battery life on my phone, it was a beautiful day for cycling: finally a couple of degrees cooler than the last few weeks, with a light breeze..
I pedalled along, enjoyed being strong enough to get further than the end of the road without sounding like a steam engine.
About a third of the way there the sky began to get darker.
Until it was really dark.
And then it rained.
Proper rain. The sort that soaks you before you’ve registered that it’s raining. The sort that is more like someone’s pouring an ocean through a sieve rather than a hosepipe with a spray rose. The sort that makes the rain a couple of weeks before seem like drizzle. There was also thunder, seemingly directly overhead.
There was no point turning back (because I would have still been cycling in the rain, and if I’m going to be cycling in the rain, there’d better be a reason for it) and even trying to find a train station would take longer than just keeping on cycling through it. Besides, once you’re wet all the way through, you can’t get any wetter. Also, the day was hot enough that the rain felt like a cool shower. And there’s something refreshing about just not caring.
My phone appears to care about rain more than I do. Every raindrop which landed on the map changed where Google thought I was and where I wanted to go. I’d packed a long sleeved tshirt in my handbag, in case it got windy, but there wasn’t enough dry material to keep wiping the screen. At some point I just picked a street more or less at random* and hoped for the best.
The rain stopped as I arrived at the seller’s house, about 3 minutes before he was due to leave. They came out in all their finery to find me bedraggled and dripping.
The sale was very simple and the journey home was very wet.
*that’s pretty much what Google had been doing anyway..