I'm back on my bike after a week recovering from a trapped nerve! I took it steadily for the first couple of days and didn't push myself too much as my back still feels a bit delicate. But I'm now up to my usual speed, whizzing about Oxford again - it feels great to get my heart pumping and to arrive out of breath. I don't get to the gym that much these days, so these little bursts of energy are important to get my fitness levels up a little bit.
The blossom is in full bloom and Oxford seems quietly content as it showcases its new spring collection. I feel as though we all breathe a sigh of relief at this time of year as we start to shed our winter clothes and let our skin feel the breeze again.
I cycled 10 miles yesterday: getting to work and back and then cycling across town to a pub for dinner last night. En route I cycled underneath the Bridge of Sighs on New College Lane (which due to a lack of distinguishing features showing any signs of modern life, has been used a lot over the years to film all sorts) including Inspector Morse and now the TV series Endeavour.
It's like cycling through pages of a history book and even after 27 years living here, the city is still revealing new things to me. At night I have a different dialogue with the City as the street lamps cast spooky shadows and the quiet echos from empty alleyways bound around me, making me feel a little bit scared, so I pedal faster to get home.
When Martha was about 7, we moved to live nearer her primary school so I could give up the car and cycle everywhere instead. We'd hold hands as we cycled along the cycle path after school and talk about how our respective days had gone.
Martha used to feed the cats of a couple of neighbours who paid her to do this when they went on holiday. She was obsessed with animals as many children (especially only children) are. She saved up enough money and bought herself her first city bike - I've kept a hold of it - it's old and rusty now, but here she is when she first got it, looking very proud.