This morning has been wonderful. It's my day off and the sun is shining. Yesterday I received a text from a friend who was on my corridor during my first year at uni. She's from China, and happened to be in Bristol for 24 hours, so asked if I would like to meet up for breakfast.
I thoroughly enjoyed my cycle to meet her because the air was crisp and there were lots of other cyclists about. I don't know if this is just me, but I feel a certain affiliation with my fellow cyclists - because of our shared knowledge of the hills and pains involved in cycling. But this affiliation is coupled with a bit of a competitive edge of how many cyclists can I overtake on this hill? Who's going to pull away from the traffic lights the fastest?
I often think about resilience when I cycle - how my thoughts about cycling reflect my resilience - and wonder at the thoughts that pass through other cyclists' minds as they battle up hills. When I found the hills a little bit harder than I do now, and people would overtake me, I'd console myself on the fact that most of those people were men, so a fair bit stronger than me, on city bikes a whole lot better than my mountain bike, so the fact that they were overtaking me was not a measure of my fitness or ability. Now, when I overtake people, whilst I feel an element of victory, I also find myself mentally willing those people on up the hill, silently cheering for them to make it to the top because I know how much a bit of encouragement can help you to persevere.
Having had breakfast and bid farewell to Xinying, I did a wee bit of Christmas shopping, then went to the Royal Mail sorting office to pick up a parcel that was too big to fit through my little letterbox. I wasn't entirely sure where I was going, but en route I met a lovely old postman who just so happened to be going there too, so he showed me the way. How kind.
My parcel was the most exciting parcel I have had in a very long time. It was from a lovely friend in Australia who I lived with when I was out there on my gap year. She has set up her own business selling beautiful cards and stationary, and I love everything she makes. I'd wanted to buy one of her writing sets, but she refused to let me pay for it, and just sent it to me as a gift. (Some of the contents are pictured above, right). She also included a whole stack of tiny little cards - I am so excited about sharing these beautiful cards with my friends, but am also going to find it quite hard to part with them because they're just so lovely. Thankyou Alana.
I'm now going to spend a significant part of my afternoon doing some sewing on my newly acquired sewing machine!! I have had ideas going round my head for months of all the things I want to make when I get my hands on a sewing machine, but I never anticipated that I might have one to use whenever I want, so thankyou Hazel.