Now that I've had both of my Covid jabs and we're oh-so-slowly approaching something like normality, I've been getting in a bit more fishing with my buddy Chris, catching a few pike - nothing big (the odd scraper double at best) - but welcome anyway.
I'm glad to be on the bank, but I admit that I'm getting a bit bored with the venue: Chris is set in his ways, and it's pretty much impossible to get him to do anything other than pike fish this one local water. That's not for me, really - I do enjoy my pike fishing, but I really like all sorts of other methods, too. And the venue itself is far too public for a social introvert like me.
So I've also booked a September trip to Landrace Cottage in Carlton Miniott, for a week on Woodland Lakes, and (bear with me - this is related to what follows) I've been getting a few rides in on my Specialized Turbo Levo SL.
All in all, I've been making the best of things.
Covid and the lockdown have utterly bollocksed my plan to pass my driving test and get four wheels under me this year - one of the reasons I'm kinda tied to fishing the same pike water every time is that I'm necessarily limited for choice, and Chris is always kind enough to invite me along on his visits.
Now, there are a couple of club waters within ten miles of my front door - well within a bike ride - which are well suited to waggler/centrepin/catch-whatever-is-biting fishing. I've spent years refining, trimming down and dropping the weight of my travel/holiday tackle set-up, which makes the idea of cycling to a day's fishing - especially with the e-bike doing some of the work - an eminently realistic prospect, as the same travel set-up will work here too.
One of these waters has been fishing very well lately, and yesterday (Tuesday 15th June) I decided that it was time for a visit.
So, bright and (not very) early, I loaded up the bike and slung a small rucksack onto my back, and headed towards what I was confident would be a great day's fishing: I've been keen to test out the new Fjuka baits on this water, and reports from other anglers suggested that they were working well, so I was keen to see what was what.
Although my bike is a very capable mountain/offroad bike (the real thing, rather than the mountain bike-alike cack that you can buy for a couple of hundred quid), I have to ride it on the road too. The first quarter of a mile or so of the journey is on a busy road - it's one of the only roads in and out of the town I live in - so it pays to be careful and ride defensively until I'm on quieter routes.
So I did that.
And a fat lot of good it did me...
You know people say that when something bad is about to happen, time will sometimes seem to slow right down?
Well, it's true:
So I went flying. Although I wasn't going at any real speed - less than 15 mph, certainly - the shove in the side from the car chivvied me along quite handily, launching me airborne for several yards before I made contact with the road.
I'm pleased to say that I had the presence of mind to tuck and roll (even with a rucksack on - the trick is to roll along one edge, as it were - a bit like WWII paratroopers used to do), which took a lot out of the impact, but tarmac and bare legs do not good bed-fellows make: in addition to a bruised and sore left hip, ribs and elbow, my left knee ended up with a nasty gash in it (it needed a couple of steri strips when I got home); and a hand-sized area (I have big hands...) on the outside of my leg below the knee looks a bit like steak.
My left hand is aching too, and - somehow - I managed to pull/tear my right calf muscle: that's what's worst right now, even though as far as I can figure it wasn't actually caught up in the impact.
I also found myself being extremely glad to have been wearing a helmet, as my head banged the road pretty hard.
People were very quickly on the scene (it's quite a busy shopping area), and the old lady who tried to kill me did at least have the decency to pull over. But I just wanted to get home and patch myself up, so I dusted myself down, picked up the bike - which, I'm relieved to say, seems to have escaped any obvious damage (I cushioned its fall, I suppose) - and limped my way back to Reeder Towers.
By that night, after I'd cleaned/antisepticked/painkilled/covered up my wounds; and checked my fishing tackle over - unscathed, again surely thanks to me bravely putting myself between it and harm's way - my legs had pretty much seized up, and the pain was... considerable: my mobility was so affected that I'd have lost a race with a fence post, but thankfully I slept well, and I'm already feeling a bit better.
I'm a resolutely "glass half-full" kind of bloke, and this incident definitely falls into the "could have been much worse..." category.
Now, I didn't get the old girl's details, nor did I involve the police. Maybe I should have - with hindsight I'm not entirely certain that she should be driving at all at her age; and there was (I realised later) clearly some sort of issue with her left eye, which was bulging considerably and might even have had cataract (see? I told you I had loads of time to watch her coming at me) - but I'm not ashamed to admit that I was rattled, and I just wanted to go home - my go-to when I'm hurt or otherwise distressed is to want to get to a place of solitude as quickly as I can, to gather my thoughts without having to deal with people. I hate fuss...
So here we are the day after. I'm already planning my next trip to the pond: I think my confidence will be OK, and you have to get back in the saddle.
But next time I think I'll be taking a slightly longer route that avoids this junction...
There are bright sides, though:
A final thought.
While my car aspirations seem as far away as ever, I have - as I've written here more than once - a real interest in the idea of taking my CBT and getting an electric motorbike: the truth is that such a form of transport would be more than enough for most of my own personal transport needs, and it's a rapidly burgeoning market with new and tempting products hitting the market all the time (I could ride this on a CBT, believe it or not - and after the UK EV grant, pay "only" £7k for the privilege.)
But for some reason I've kinda gone off two wheels at the moment...