This weekend wasn’t one for reflection and contemplation, it was a weekend for relaxing, having fun and enjoying the fresh air that a rare (and thankfully, long) heatwave in the UK has provided.
Saturday saw me headed to the beach, I actually went into the bike shed at the back of my building and dug out my cobweb-covered, rust-ridden Dutch bike and cleaned it. I must have looked so strange cleaning the entirety of my rather heavy and large bike with disinfectant wipes, but with no access to a hosepipe that was really my only option. I then made sure to pump up the tyres, oil the chain and other squeaky parts, and then leave it for an hour to make sure that a) there were no punctures and b) it wasn’t absolutely covered in spiders as well as their webs.
While the bike was ‘finishing’ I went and made a Madeira Sponge, it turned out good, and everyone seemed to like the finished product (which is a bonus).
I was meeting family at the beach, so packed myself a bag (note to self, next time pack a bottle of water), clipped my beach mat to the back of the bike, and then set off. Oh boy, that seat was uncomfortable. I have bruises where the sun doesn’t shine because I haven’t had a ride on that bike since I lost my previous role (yep, that long ago).
Though my rear is still sore today (two days later), the ride itself wasn’t bad. The potholes along the private sea routes are less ‘uncared for’ than the ones littering the main roads that are used by everyone. And the smell of the sea, I can still taste the salt.
The beach that my sister chose for our day out is slightly more crowded than my usual venue, as it’s got a huge green where people camp for the entire day and much of the evening with huge tents, and marquee-like structures, BBQs, and ad hoc fire pits, music and all the games under the sun. We ventured directly onto the beach, setting up an umbrella, mats, chairs and a portable kettle on the stones. The tide was coming in, but we were far enough away that it wouldn’t lead to a “quick, pick that up, move everything” rush when the tide reached the edge of our towels (a fond memory from my childhood spent mostly sitting on the seafront).
The water was incredible, not so cold that you didn’t want to put a foot in, and not so warm that you didn’t find any relief from the heat of the sun. I spent an hour in the water playing stupid games with my nephew, swimming, splashing, it was really nice to get away from my thoughts for more than 20 minutes at a time.
We had a nice picnic, a nice chat about nothing, and after enjoying the warmth, and fun for almost seven hours, I got on my bike and cycled home.
Of course, as any fair-haired person will tell you, no matter how much sunscreen you put on, you are guaranteed to burn a little, but I am already mostly recovered. At the magic hour of 9 my skin felt like it was being bitten by dozens of little ants (or something like it), but with the judicious application of a lot of aloe moisturiser, a cool shower (or three), and the avoidance of the sun for more than 24-hours, it’s now almost fully recovered.
I think that mentally the day outside, with people, not thinking about work, or job seeking or anything in any way related to that, did me a great deal of good.