Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone.
Amen. Joni Mithell speaks the truth.
18 months ago, we moved factories and the company’s activities migrated North. Not far North admittedly (17 miles), but North nonetheless. We moved to a valley of high sides and hilltops and wooded splendour. All fantastic as a lunchtime/summer evening playground, but a bit of a showtopper as far as my commute was involved. The new cycle route either takes around 1hr 45 through some serious hills and mud (fun, but not conducive to childcare or presenting in front of staff) or about 1 hour through some beautiful but very twisty and turny country lanes. I have no desire to meet a speeding, bleary eyed commuter at 8am in the morning as they choose the wrong bend to accelerate around. In short, it’s driving and carpooling save for the occasional mountain bike hoorah in fine weather.
The transition from commuter choked road to free flowing path.
- Sound of birds chattering in hedges, shrubs, tree canopies.
- Mist difting off a mercury river Taff.
- Dog walkers. Yes. Dog walkers. I take the time to say hello. Reach out. Smile.
- Sunlight embracing the fields.
- Putting infrastructure to good use. These things took campaigning and energy to achieve, significant expenditure to realise.
- Arriving at my destination, happy.
- Returning as the city unwinds.
For those of you who enjoy this amenity – or others like it – embrace it, love it, enjoy it, because believe me the alternative – car/traffic/stuttering progress/combative drivers/inactivity/hassle – is no real alternative at all. I spend between 25 and 50 mins (each way, traffic dependent) like I’ve been fired from a bazooka; headed to target as soon as possible with little or no engagement with the environs at all (apart from polluting it). I see nothing en-route. Nothing. Or rather I pass everything, but can concentrate on nothing more than the tailgate in front. And those things can’t sing.