My Christmas visit to the camping shop played its usual trick on me. We only went in to buy a thermos mug for a friend who has taken to the life less insulated, but merino base layers were half price – until I got to the till, when it turned out that only bottom halves were reduced and my carefully chosen gender-specific pink hoodie was full price. And how did the MSR mug, dinky coffee maker and extra-gnarly tent pegs get into my shopping bag? Credit card whimpering slightly, I returned to the Christmas festivities rather poorer but smug in the knowledge that, come the resumption of my car-free commute, I would laugh in the face of windchill and be snug as a mug in a rug.
Monday morning dark and early I wrapped myself in 100% wool and loaded up Ruby’s panniers, ready to plug in the satnav and the heated vest and head off to work. Just one challenge – the 200 yards of ice between me and the main road. I won round one – big handful of throttle (fuel pump pretending to be frozen again) plus BMW torque reaction plus lack of traction between army boot and tarmac nearly – but not quite – put me flat on my warm, woolly arse. But the weather won round two. I couldn’t get any grip on my boots to push Ruby round and out onto the road. The journey of a hundred miles stopped by a single slip.