IT is 8.15 on a cold December morning and I am leaving my house.
My fumbling frozen fingers scramble for the scraper as I try and de-ice the front of my car.
“Morning Thamensian” says neighbour Alan as he cycles past. (Obviously I have changed the names there for anonymity because he doesn’t know I am the Thamensian. Although he does now I suppose. Hi Alex).
He looks frozen in his hi-viz jacket and furry hat, breath steaming as he fixes his eyes on the road once more.
“Ha, loser,” I think to myself, “bet he’s going to the station too. He will be really, really cold while I will be roasty toasty in my lovely car. And on an earlier train”.
I even allow myself a little chortle, which is something you only do in print, as I continue to hack at the ice and frost while my gloveless fingers freeze like Iceland fish fingers. Five minutes later I pass my neighbour, pedalling furiously round the ring road. I wave cheerily. Two minutes later he waves cheerily back as I sit in a jam by Dog-Poo Park and he coasts past on the outside.
Hold on, what’s going on here? This can’t be right. I start to lean to my right to see how far he has travelled as we start to inch towards the roundabout. There he is, half way up the hill. I put my foot down and whizz past. I am perhaps even more annoyed that he is not actually racing, just idling along gently on his bike while I hammer along to get there first.
By the time I get to Haddenham Station I am the clear winner. I slip and slide across the ice on the sparkly roof of the car park, fumble for change, glide back to put the ticket in the car, gently descend the stairs and am half way across the car park when he freewheels past me, parks his bike and removes his helmet.
“I would have given you a lift” I offer
“Very kind but I was in a hurry,” he replies, striding towards the platform while I joined the queue at the ticket office.
Readers, let this week’s column be a lesson to you all. Take exercise, be green and don’t think that the car is always the answer. And perhaps more importantly, you don’t have to know you are in a race to win it.
Finally, and totally unrelated, can I thank the Rev Paddy Harris for his very kind email after last week’s column. It is good to know that my soul is not heading for eternal damnation after all. At least this week. Merry Christmas one and all.
After the Thamensian told us last week how he would be going straight to hell for heckling the Reverend in his younger days, The Thame Gazette has received this from the man himself:
Please could you pass on my thanks to The Thamensian’s writer for a cracking episode this week! Could you please also pass on my assurance of forgiveness! (I wanted Baggy Trousers too!)
Yours sincerely, Rev Paddy Harris, Cornerstone Church, Thame