My new bike arrived today! That is, it arrived in pieces in a giant cardboard box.
I've spent half the day downstairs in the hall assembling it. I haven't made so much use of an allen key since I put together an Ikea wardrobe a couple of years ago, and that experience left me cut and bruised. Today I've escaped with only a grazed knuckle and greasy dirt everywhere. I also learned that in America, allen keys are called hex keys. Isn't that clever? Because I think the bike shipping bastards put some sort of hex on all the various components so that I wouldn't be able to figure out how the hell they went together until I'd almost reached the limit of my (short) fuse. I was crouching on the floor with a wheel and a set of handlebars and a very loose brake cable and some pedals and some mysterious metal things and the allen key and two screwdrivers and a scissors and a vile temper, when some builders happened past. Well, they didn't just happen past; the house here is on the verge of collapse and our landlord has hired them to do mysterious things to the chimney shaft. They're up there right now - I've let them dangle an extension cable out the kitchen window, and I can hear ominous banging - but earlier, they watched me floundering with my allen key and incomprehensible instructions (no Rosetta Stone included), and they took pity on me. They loaned me a spanner and tightened up the handlebars and fiddled with the brakes. I offered to recompense them in the form of tea (I've dealt with builders before, I can do a very professional brew) before remembering we had no sugar - the lack of which might possibly have led to some sort of building-meltdown - so I had to hot-foot it to the cornershop. Sixty-nine pence that sugar cost me. These handlebars better be the most securely affixed gadgets known to mankind. (Though now that I have the sugar, I can get the power, and things might start to get rather exciting around here.) So then I spent another million years or more putting the bell and the lights on and adjusting the saddle and giving it a test-drive down to Tesco and back. Here he is, my Claud:
You'd think I'd go and wash now, to get rid of all the grease and crap, but it's forbidden. The landlord came round to investigate a leak and left this notice (and mess) in the bath:
It's a glamorous life I lead.