A sad song and a raised glass – go well, Wouter Weylandt, go well

Yesterday morning the spring sunshine seemed somehow watered down, as if the pale northern light of winter had crept in. My mood wasn’t great, and a cover of Chasing Cars on the radio gripped me by the throat – suddenly I was back to a difficult time in my life a few years ago.

But there was some comfort in knowing that, in spite of the hardships of then, or the lingering feeling of emptiness I currently carry with me, leaden in the carpetbag of my thoughts, things then had worked out and perhaps the current difficulties would again. 

Then, later that afternoon, I read online about the terrible news of a heavy crash in the Giro. And, thoughtlessly, I googled video news and found footage of a rider, lying on the ground broken having what was left of his helmet scissored off. He was in a bad way. The editor cut back to a hovering helicopter which captured medics heaving on the chest of the stricken man. At that moment, the beauty and purity of the Giro seeped away. 

Those who know, they know just how hard riding a bike fast is. They know the addiction, the hurt. They know the thrill and the fear. Cycling, so easy to access in the soft sunlight of a summer morning, is hard.

But it should never be this hard. I have perspective now, but Wouter Weylandt has only the thoughts and wishes of so many, most never knowing him. We should, instead, think of those who remain: his family, loved ones and those who will never know him but will miss him eternally.

For all of you, I raise a glass and wish you all the love in the world. Go well.


A new home. Big Change continues

My good friend, Medway Exiles (http://medwayexiles.squarespace.com/) described a significant upheaval in his life as Big Change. It’s pretty succinct: two words, logically connected, and conveniently capitalised. It’s those two capital letters that tell us it’s not insignificant. 

Sure, moving from a city I had made home for a decade, and for which I have developed the sort of pride all non-natives do, is hardly a massive deal. But, it is. We’re too easily belittled by the world around us – forever told by politicians that we’re ordinary; cheapened by a salacious media desperate to scare us shitless about almost everything. And, in the midst of this, the pressure of just trying to survive from day to day to week to month to year. Just trying to live a life. 

So, here we are. Three of us in our new home. It’s not a flash place, but still I don’t feel I deserve it or have the capability to keep it ours. I’m so happy but want to hide from it and not face the responsibility of Big Change. Life sometimes feels too big to capture. Too much to hold in a single gaze or seize in a singular thought or emotion.

It’s the fact of life’s terror, its pressures and threats that makes Big Change as hard as it is. On the face of it, it should be easy enough. But, actually, there’s so much to take in to do it properly, to do it justice, that Big Change will be here for a lot longer than we think.