Curiously, after the humiliation in the pub I described in my previous post, the next day got even more surreal. Alison and I went to visit some friends near Hebden Bridge, also tucked up in the Pennines. At the time I was quite a keen mountain biker, so leaving Alison and friends in the warmth I cycled out into the snow and low lying cloud.
It was cold but I had a good time, but as it started to get dark it seemed to be a good plan to head back and hit the mulled wine. I was heading downhill on a fairly steep farm track that crossed a road and continued on to where I needed to be. I had a fair turn of speed up to try and make light of the uphill stretch on the other side of the road. It was all going to plan when a car hove into sight on the road. A quick calculation (and it is amazing how fast your brain works in circumstances like these) told me we’d both reach the junction at the same time, and that seemed a bad move. So I hit the anchors.
Unfortunately these were packed with snow, and simply refused to bite. Nothing at all. Two choices. Drop the bike and hope I didn’t simply roll into the road and die ignominiously. Nope, not good. Second choice, head the bike into a deep snowdrift banked up against a wall on my left, and let the snow do the stopping for me. Way to go. I steered into the snowdrift.
Things didn’t go quite to plan. The deep snow snatched at the front wheel, and I ran headlong into the wall. The bike stopped pretty promptly. I, alas, did not. I went straight over the handlebars and executed a three and a half pike with two twists that would have looked great off the high board at the Olympics, but not so good over a wall in Yorkshire. However, the gods were with me, and I landed on something relatively soft and yielding, if a bit noisy.
To be honest I’m not sure which one of us was the more surprised, me or the Vietnamese pot bellied pig. One second the poor little critter was sheltering innocently in the lee of a wall, the next 147lbs of human dressed in bright orange appeared as if from nowhere, swearing fluently, and landed on it.
To his credit the pig was remarkably sanguine about things. He stared at me for a second, and lumbered off grunting.