have you ever attempted to get peach slices out of a tin using only a teaspoon? it's a bit like trying to catch goldfish with a breadstick, though ultimately a great deal more productive, (unless of course, you breed goldfish). i used to have muesli for breakfast, but muesli is often full of sugar and more than my fair share of salt. sugar might be helpful for pedalling around a bit, but i really can't stand salt at all. i've mever quite figured out why some folks put salt in their soup before they've even tried it; rather unfurls the edges of logic by my way of thinking.
however, if muesli was off the breakfast menu, a substitute was earnestly required, a substitute found by way of a packet of porage oats. well, several packets if truth be told. willfully trying to live up to the fitness, health and macho profile of the kilted shot putter that appears on packets of scott's porage oats, i opted not for the regular fare, but for the old fashioned variety. these are far chunkier in their constitution than the norm, and the equivalent of the need for crunchy peanut butter. only track sprinters eat smooth peanut butter.
now it may be considered sacreligious to criticise the traditional scottish breakfast, but allowing for the fact that i use no salt, it's hardly the most flavoursome product on the market, though its health giving properties are second to none. if only i had subscribed to such a start to the day prior to the shot putt at school sports. having seen an advertisement in one of the magazines i collected when in portland, for bobs red mill oats, where the plate was lavishly decorated with fruit, i thought i'd go down the same route. banana seemed the more obvious solution, but it turns out that peaches are even better. i started with fresh items from the local supermarket, but given that their stock control is as it is, a regular supply was pretty hard to come by. (sadly, subsequent months provided a dearth of even the tinned product for no appreciable reason).
hence my difficulty with fetching sliced peaches from a tin can, to say nothing of dripping juice over the table mat.
after a hearty weekend breakfast, it is common policy to take a bicycle from the bikeshed and go ride it somewhere, which is sort of where the question about freeview in a tent comes from. (for those not familar with the ever changing face of british television, having switched off the analogue signal all across the country, we are now provided with digital free-to-air programming through the auspices of a standard aerial. the picture quality is quite excellent.) though many excursions into the hinterlands are regularly conducted dressed as a member of the pelotonese, every now and again it does no harm to avail oneself of a more relaxed and acceptable form of apparel, one that doesn't necessarily advertise a predilection for skinny wheels and bendy bars. in fact, one that would conceal almost all affinity with the bicycle altogether.
mind you, the tell-tale tanlines on the back of the hands is a bit of a giveaway.
i cannot deny that there is a certain joy to be had from association with the bicycle, so one's garmentation need not stretch too far in the direction of civility, but a relaxed style never did anyone any harm either. since saturday was of favourable weather, not too hot, not too cold, a merino baselayer under muxu's new merino jumper, brilliantly named if only because i have been told i shouldn't use such wordage; the proper description is, apparently, sweater. i prefer jumper; it's a word that engenders an altogether cosier ideology. paired with muxu's threequarter shorts, remove the cielo from under me and civilianity would be mine to own.
it was as i rode in the direction of debbie's, sleeves rolled to the forearms, zip coolly less than all the way to the neck, that i noticed the green tent pitched on the grass at uiskentuie strand. sitting on a makeshift stand only a few feet from the tent, and tethered by a co-axial cable, was a television aerial. televisions and tents are, to my mind, not normal bedfellows, but it occured that, with the analogue signal now conspicuous by its absence, only the digital signal must be providing viewing pleasure. another total contradiction it would seem.
muxu's (pronounced moo-shoo) mapp merino jumper (how i love that word) is of an impressively mature quality, finely knitted, commendably substantial and cosy and warm in just the way a jumper ought to be. for the immediate outset, yet to warm up from my exertions, i had the zip all the way to the neck, at which point it is likely i would be identified as at least a refugee from the peloton, comfortable in my own athleticism. and though sleeves were not long in being rolled, their length was particularly impressive.
i travel light; lunch at debbie's requires only that i carry sufficient folding stuff, in this case, ensconced in the pockets of the ride shorts. however, should i have required the use of a pocket, a substantial canvas fronted example features at lower right, just close enough on the back of the jumper for easy access. closure is by means of a substantial rubberised button which resisted all my attempts of fastening while in motion. it is however, large enough to contain a digital camera and a folded up copy of this year's lagavulin islay jazz festival programme. i could likely also have managed a packet of bikefood lemon energy sweets had push come to shove. supposing that more substantial removals had been the order of the day, both shoulders are protected by the same heavy canvas that fabricates the pocket, so a rucksack or musette would make no inroads into the very substance of the jumper. cuffs and hem are of doubled construction and the internal portion below the collar bearing a bearably white muxu logo makes continued use of the canvas patching.
though i have worn my black jumper for only a brief moment in time, there is every indication that the garment will outlast its wearer.
i cannot, however, deny that a modicum of criticism might be levelled at that rear pocket, and the fact that it is flying solo. though i have only ridden in favourable weather, it dawned on me that should i have required some sort of wet weather protection, there was nowhere to put it. though the single pocket is commendably sized, it comes not even close to swallowing a rainjacket and it might be a favourable addition were a couple of companions provided. at the risk of ruining what is obviously intended as a minimalist commuting garment, surely i cannot be the only one with a 30km round trip to the coffee stop along a fiercely exposed coast road?
anyone help me out here?
i'd also prefer that it was positioned ever so slightly more towards the centre. with a compact digital camera and that jazz programme contained within, the weight pushed the pocket more towards the side/front of the jumper. a trivial complaint i agree; nothing's perfect, but reviews are designed for one to express one's views even if they do seem a mite unreasonable.
all in all, however, muxu have hit the spot with this one. body length and drop tail couldn't be more spot on (medium size reviewed), windproofing is a lot better than you'd think, and the henry ford colour scheme is more than up to the job of retaining my composure, despite an uncanny ability to get oil on anything simply by my walking past the bikeshed. and if testimony towards the everyday were needed, i presaged my cycling efforts with two days sat in a computer chair, wrangling pixels, just to prove that such a practical jumper is no one trick pony.
and did i mention that it's cosy, just as a jumper ought to be?
with the vuelta in mid-flight at present, it is a source of frustration that, for some unknown reason, my freeview enabled set at home refuses to provide itv4, something that would enable me to obviate the need to experience a daily dose of coronation street. as we again passed the tent on the strand with its aerial still connected, it dawned on me that perhaps i should drop in on my return to debbie's to ask if spain could be had on their set.
maybe we could even have sliced peaches while we watched.
posted sunday 28 august 2011..........................................................................................................................................................................................................