The old bike was stored in what had been the outside toilet. When the house was modernised and a lovely new bathroom installed Jenny had decided to have the old lavatory taken away and the little brick building converted into a handy storage shed. She dragged the machine out and popped a shopping bag into the wicker carrier basket on the handlebars.
She clambered aboard, swung her legs over the frame and tucked her skirt in around her knees. She didn’t have one of the strange plastic helmets and didn’t think it was the law to have one whilst cycling, but that could be a mistake. She would never have thought herself vain but they did look so very odd. Some of the racing cyclists wore sleek pointy ones and they looked special and right on those fit young people but the others were very ugly to her eyes. Of course for the little ones anything to protect them had to be good, but really some of the older people with woolly hats pulled on underneath looked most peculiar. Still, it was wrong to judge and maybe going without was making a mistake but apart from anything else she wouldn’t really know where you would go to buy one.
She shook her head and chuckled to herself, what an old fogey she was becoming. It didn’t bother her at all. She enjoyed this life with its small pleasures. It had been awful when Mum and then Dad had passed on of course but it was in the way of things and had to be accepted. When Bill died that had floored her for a long time but the shock and pain had eased now. Although she thought of him every day the loss was more a little nugget of sadness deep down inside and there was still a lot in life to be happy about.
She pedalled down the jigger and stopped at the end. The road was so busy these days. The lorries were very frightening and some of the cars were driven too fast but there was a little cycle path for the first part of the trip and then just a walk to the shops and there was a place to lock the bike in a rack by the church.
The sun shone day and it was a pleasant trip to town. She had lived here all her life and still loved it. It was a small place and didn’t have anything really particular to make it outstanding, though there was a famous person in the graveyard, a scientist, and some people came to stand and look at his gravestone. Otherwise, it was just a pleasant English town. Yes, the main road wasn’t quite what it had been and there were lots of charity shops and estate agents offices, but it was bright and colourful in the spring light and, as she passed the corner Mr Shah waved and made her feel real.
Why not treat herself to a lovely cup of coffee in the Spiced Bun cafe, and maybe one of their lovely shortbread biscuits. Yes indeed why not? Afterwards, she would drop the shopping bags at home and then have a pedal around to try and spot the old ginger cat.
She had barely acknowledged it to herself, but as she’d travelled along her eyes had swept the road edges and her cheerful mood was in part due to the lack of a poor bedraggled corpse, lying dirty and wet in the gutter. Probably by the time she arrived home Rags would be sunning himself on the top of the shed in the warmth that built up on the black tar paper roof. Well, it would be lovely to have a little ride anyway and maybe go through the park. She hummed happily, strolling along the pavement, wheeling her bike beside her, a smile lifting the corners of her mouth. Life felt good, small and a little unexciting to be sure but good nonetheless.