during an exchange of friendly e-mail banter with a friend only the other day, the possibility of picking up a book from the library was under discussion. with most, if not all britain's towns and cities playing host to at least one library, doing so could hardly be considered much of a chore; it only needs library card in hand, coupled with a notional idea of just how to find the book or genre in question and the rest is simple mechanics.
that, however, presupposes that the library is an immoveable building, one that has specific opening hours and can be accessed at least five days a week. rural considerations are rarely that simple; in common with many of the country's smaller villages, we have a mobile library; a big blue van that visits bowmore about once every two weeks. suddenly i can see faces realising that perhaps they're not so badly off after all when it comes to public amenities.
and just to lessen the effect of a van every couple of weeks, big and blue though it might be, it does not harbour an inexhaustible amount of space to store all the books you might think you'd want to read. if your needs pertain to a specific genre of literature, it does no harm to give the librarian a call in advance. it saves any disappointment. and should the book you want be not on the island, it can usually be ordered in.
but that doesn't mean we are amongst the uncivilised.
autumn has been in residence for a month and a bit, though the unseasonability of the weather has meant more often than not that the members of the velo club have been unremittingly overdressed. windproof is one thing, but an ambient temperature that is overworking the breathability aspect of any outer garment is making life just a tad harder than it needs to be.
the forecast for the coming week is either encouraging or discouraging depending on your point of view. though it may seem odd to those of you ensconced in the great metropolises of the world, i am eager for the winds to increase slightly, the temperatures to lower just a smidgeon and for even a smattering of precipitation. this is not entirely because my marbles have been lost, but more to do with that having been on the menu come october for the past twenty-five years.
we are nothing if not creatures of habit.
bearing this in mind, when conversations head perhaps naturally towards more regular use of that turbo trainer in the garage/bikeshed, i am not listening. and i am of a similar mind when that selfsame conversation turns to honing one's athletic physique via visits to the gym. because yes, we do have a gym, or rather as it's referred to in local parlance, the leisure centre fitness room. in fact, the centre manager recently managed to confirm suspicions that the english language was not his strongest suit by using the word in its non-existent past tense "if you've not fitnessed for a while, why not consider a monthly membership?"
however, i like to thing of myself as stoic in the face of atmospheric adversity, more likely simply to head into the wide, grey yonder rather than spend a morning in a hot, sweaty gym (sorry, fitness room). but though i do not think myself singular in this approach, the problem arrives during the annual holiday. for, having braved the elements to the point of insolence in order that those thighs of steel develop a respectable chiseled profile, i am loathe to let it all evaporate during a week of lazing about on leather sofas and inveterate visits to the coffee shop.
it is of great good fortune that the holiday destination usually visited by mrs washingmachinepost and myself incorporates a rather fine, yet compact and bijou fitness room all of its own. however, regular attendance at machinery designed to steel those abs, harden the biceps and improve one's cardio-vascular tubing brings with it protocols all but absent in the rural idyll. the least of these is to avoid arriving in clothing other than athletic in pretence, even though the outer shell will be discarded prior to the onset of physical purgatory. and my acute observation has also noted that bringing the obligatory towel, energy drinks, wool transfer trousers and fred perry jacket ought to be done via luggage other than a bio-degradable supermarket checkout bag.
it is natural to wish to place one's heritage on display. i have no desire for my unknown accomplices in the quest for fitness to think i might be merely a civilian on holday. nor do i wish them to consider that i might be an aficionado of the football/cricket/marathon running cliques. though i'd be particularly inclined to sit uncomfortably on an exercise bicycle wearing a velo club d'ardbeg jersey giving manifest credibility to my velocipedinal leanings, there is the journey to and from the establishment to consider. and i can think of no better method of carrying all the necessary paraphernalia than ventoux's latest gym bag.
though i have no need of stuffing this bag in a locker, nor to take as carry-on luggage on any aeroplane, it's quite satisfying to know that its size will accommodate either or both. with 28 litres of internal space, i can carry one heck of a lot of cycle/fitness clothing to suit repeated visits. and no fitness session can be remaindered by going straight home; a slight diversion for froth and a sticky bun is all but compulsory, and that needs cash. which is why it was rather a treat to find that the end zipped section opposite the foil-lined bottle and munchie bit has an organiser pocket.
so, while i might not be enamoured of the act of fitnessing when at home, i am attuned to the benefits accrued or maintained when incurring the resting period of a carefully planned training programme (i could be kidding about that last bit). and i cannot deny a certain degree of pride in carefully placing a bag emblazoned with the word ventoux adjacent to my puffing and panting exertions.
the ventoux bag inhabits the same quality and expertise demonstrated by their 'event bag' and 'big bag'. it's available direct from ventoux-bags in red or black with variously coloured trims. cost is £45
tuesday 8th october 2013