Just in case you’re wondering why I’m sending you a picture of a boat instead of a bike, that’s because I’ve taken up boating. Well, not exactly boating, rowing. But unlike this postcard, I’m not rowing in a boat on a nice bit of water. In fact I’m not even in a boat. I’m simply rowing round my bedroom (which is also my writing room-cum-log-burning room-cum-eating room and a few other things besides) on a dilapidated machine I spotted in the local paper for a tenner. I only bought it because I’d wonked my knee. Not my bad knee (again) but my other knee. And that’s supposed to be my good knee for heavens sake! I am now cycling again, albeit slightly lop-sidedly.

The Lake

The Lake

But for those few days when I couldn’t cycle I thrashed around on my rowing machine causing imaginary large bow waves to splosh down the stairs. So as to avoid using my left leg, I rigged up an ingenious cats-cradle device utilizing an old inner tube (26”x 1.75) that I lassoed around the foot pedals. This meant I was able to row to my heart’s content by keeping the inner workings of my twanged patella nice and straight.

Should anyone be faintly interested to know how the devil I injured my knee, well, I’m not quite sure. I wasn’t competing in the Ironman or diving off a hundred foot cliff or rugby-tackling an unsavoury character who had just mugged an old woman of her handbag. No, I was simply going to the toilet when something went wonk. I’m now trying to pay a little more attention to my technique.

By the way, I’m still trying to write a book, but it’s going badly wrong. It’s supposed to be about cycling around New Zealand yet I’ve now written a quarter of it but I’m still bobbing about on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic trying to get there. It’s amazing how much drivel I can write about a large and lumpy sea and a cargo of Russian seamen.

Word count to date: 28,000 words.

All I can say to that is: oh dear.
I think I’ll go and have another row. Because as Confucius (551-479BC) remarks on the front of this postcard: ‘If there is no wind, row’. Very sensible advice, if you ask me.

There again, if there’s no wind, I might just go for a cycle.