A couple of weeks ago, Dave and I were cycling in the Forest of Dean when my chain broke. We weren’t carrying any of the right tools, and he had to suffer the indignity of standing by, while I flagged down a passing young man and allowed him to fix my bike for me. The very next day, Dave went out and bought a chain tool, and every possible form of quick link, lest such a thing should ever happen again.
That very weekend, he was biking with mates, and someone’s chain snapped. He was delighted to save the day with his armoury of quick links and the knowhow gained from our previous misfortune. Pride was restored. A godsend!
But then imagine, simply imagine, my delight, when today I was biking with a different male friend and his chain snapped, and I had the right kit in my bag for the job! Here I am, affixing the new link to the old chain, in insufferably smug fashion!
The oddest thing is, I have never known a chain to break among any of my cycling acquaintance in the last 10 years! All the people I ever bike with are now signed up to a maintenance course in May!
I thought this would be an easy one! But I have been wrestling with it for weeks. Turns out it is not that easy a) to find inspiration, or b) to find an internet site that will publish it. Many of them have several months’ lead in time from submitting a work of brilliance to seeing it included on one of the many poetry forums.
In any case, I couldn’t think of anything to write. Nor find a genre that I am comfortable with.
‘I can’t think of anything to write a poem about’, I complained, plaintively last night. ‘Why don’t you do one about the pandas shagging at Edinburgh Zoo?’ suggested my other half. He can always be relied upon for a random idea. And in the absence of any other ideas, that is what I have done. And here it is:
Edinburgh’s first panda bear
is ready to mate, but beware:
Much hope is riding
on Mr Panda deciding
That he wishes to stick one up there.
She has but one chance in a year
A mistake will cost everyone dear.
The world and his dog
All gather agog
To see if he cares to come near.
A large scientific task force
Seek to influence nature’s course
With diets and tablets
And panda porn pamphlets
To part panda seed from its source
We have only the two panda bears
On loan from the east for 10 years
We must get them boffing
Or the zoo will be coughing
Up money, for nothing but tears.
Good heavens. I really must get a job soon.