Today was a bad day, weatherwise - the worst I've had since becoming a postie. The forecast was for rain and strong winds, so we knew we were in for a stinker from the start.
I'd overslept, so had got into work on time rather than 45 minutes early as I usually do, and left the office a while after most of the postmen. I was on number nine walk - my least favourite of the five deliveries I do each week. I plonked my bag onto the basket at the front of my bike, and set off across town to where my delivery starts. I waited on my bike to cross the busy High Street, feeling the wind ruffling my coat as I looked for a gap in the traffic. Spotting one, I began to pedal across...realising almost immediately that my bootlace had come undone, and had got tangled in the pedal.
I glanced at the car moving towards me, and figured my best option was to keep moving forward, feeling the lace tighten with each rotation of the pedals. Fortunately I had enough slack to reach the other side of the busy road...only then I had another problem to deal with. My right leg was now stuck fast to the pedal, and the heavy bag was throwing off my centre of gravity; I could feel the bike beginning to lean...and there was nothing I could do to stop it. Resigned, moving in what felt like slow motion, the bike fell to the right, landing my mailbag and me on the pavement. I had to chuckle as I untangled my laces, wondering to myself just how many CCTV cameras had spotted my fall from grace.
After ensuring that my boots were securely fastened, I climbed back on my bike and continued on my way, riding against the wind to the start of my round. The drizzle leaked from the sky as I trudged up and down countless steps, cursing fiddly gate fastenings as I went. The wind was increasing, and I clasped the soggy letters to my chest to stop any from blowing away. I was on my third bag on mail, and had reached a section where the big, old houses had long garden paths (plus umpteen steps each). I stuffed the mail through the letterbox, and turned to leave, slipping on the mossy path and landing on my bum.
Knowing that these things generally do come in threes, it was with no great surprise that I tripped up some steps an hour or so later, ending up sprawled face-first and getting the bundle of letters I'd had in my hand wet and muddy. At least I could relax now. The rain became heavier, and soaked my trousers, which the wind plastered to my legs, like an unwanted second skin. With the last letter posted, I returned to my bike, remembering what the weather forecaster had said that morning: tomorrow will be much worse.
PS I've posted the next chapter of O is for Overland, for those who are following the story. You can find Chapter 3 - The Start of the Tour here. I've also added another 90 pictures to Serenity Photography, all taken in southeast Kent, which you can find in the Recent Additions gallery.
Visit SerenityPhotography.co.uk, where you can buy beautiful pictures from around the world . . . all taken by yours truly!