I rarely have time to read, more's the pity, but Laura bought me this book for Valentine's Day. I am grateful to her and to the author on many levels. The book itself is intensely moving and a reminder of my own father, in whose name I rode the TCR last year. I am reminded of the need to see him and am always glad of the excuse to cycle the 60 mile round trip to where he is cared for.
It is also a spyglass into the past. Into teenage years spent cycling too and from Little Bealings, where a friend of mine kept his own falcon, a kestrel. I thought nothing then of covering 30 miles on a bike. The love of birds and cycling have remained. As a consequence of that book, I caught up with my old buddy over half term, casting back in time to those pedalled miles and beyond.
But I am minded of the book this week for another reason. I would not for one second make the comparison between myself and a Goshawk, we are too different by far, but for one thing. When we are out of condition, we don't fly.
My cold that threatened to wane by mid-week finally gave up the ghost last night. During the intervening 8 days I have slept and eaten and eaten some more. I have become torpid and confused about my desire to ride, having to remind myself continuously, to listen to my body and to only fly when I know that I am back 'in condition'. There is no point in training when you're ill. It achieves nothing. probably worse than nothing.
Reminded of where I was at this time last year, I checked back through my earlier posts from 2014 and was reassured to find that for the same time last year, it would appear that I had barely covered 250 miles. To date I have now covered 800 and this morning after an impatient wait, I added 31 more.
Helen MacDonald's Costa Book of the Year winning book, 'H is for Hawk', is an amazing read and I recommend it to anyone, whether interested in hawks or not. I have struggled to out it down. Probably a good thing that I was not well enough to ride!
30 Miles today so far
831 miles total
Postscript: As I walked out of the door, barely 30 seconds after finishing this post, a Sparrowhawk lifted heavily from my front garden, a Collared-Dove weighing it down.