Af’noon, said the brightly-dressed old man at the arrow of an OAP peloton, zipping by.
I couldn’t reply – I could barely breath.
‘Noon…‘Noon…Af’noon, said the others apart from the two ladies at the back who were engulfed in bumpy, chalk-track chat; jitter-chat.
How rude, I said to Sam.
I mean, we’re killing ourselves cycling up this hill and they’re free-wheeling down… and WE had to move over.
Sam was forced off her bike while they charged past us – I can only guess oblivious of their rule-breaking. I pushed up through the long Downland grass, gob open, partly in amazement, mostly in pant.
The last day, surely, of what might be called summer and we are not being let down – not at least by good old Downs.
The wind is on its tea break and, thanks to a low autumn sun, haze grains the landscape's yellows and greens into a dreamy blur; so beautiful.
We take a track down a limb to East Dean, where a massive car races out of a massive house and releases a massive amount of Co2 into our path, angrily.
Garrrrhhhh, WHAT do you think you’re doing in the countryside?, it snarles through a grill the size of a double barbecue.
We go the other way and join Paul at the Bells.
Two of the girls nearby where we sit are reward enough, but we eat too.
And then bye to Paul and off and along and down into Polegate.
And bye to Sam and Nearly home, just the up hill bit to go, but I’m feeling strong and a little buzzy from that half of Harvey’s… so I’ll fly up it… and oh, arse, puncture.
Broken glass on a Sunday in Hampden Park?, I hear you say… imagine!
But it’s true.
Three re-pumps and ten times more effort than was really wanted later and I collapse dripping on the sofa and watch the sunlight slowly disappear from the lounge window. I wonder when you’ll be back and on such form?