There hasn’t been any great change in my circumstances since my last post.
I am still waiting to have my home back, but more than that the yellow bike is still standing patiently on the balcony.
So, what could Nanny Pepper Pot do for exercise when she is not riding her yellow bicycle?
Well there is tissue paper dancing for a start.
I am not obsessed with exercise but I understand the need for it.
And, although I cycle a lot, I never equate pushing pedals around as a means of getting fit.
I cycle for the love of motion.
For the ingenious self propelled way of getting here and there.
I love that travelling on a bicycle allows me to be open to the elements and that from my saddle, I can get the sensation of my surroundings.
The smells of the hawthorn, honey suckle, dog roses can easily assail me as I sail by them. The sounds of the sea or running water can tickle my ears. The wind in my hair. even the rain on my cheeks all add to this awareness.
I love that cycling moves me at a speed faster than walking but still slow enough to allow me look at the passing scenery and stop easily whenever something small needing closer examination catches my eye.
The fact that all this is also exercise comes as a bonus.
I also realise that sailing along upon my lofty saddle, marginally higher above the ground than if I was on my feet, is probably the nearest I will ever get to flying.
When I was young I had a recurrent dream that I could fly.
It was a very realistic dream and when I woke from it I could still remember the sensation of being airborne.
It wasn’t the graceful flight of an eagle or even the clumsy flight of a pigeon.
It was the best flight an awkward solid boned wingless creature who should remain earthbound could manage.
To begin the exercise I would stand on a chair.
Then, using a type of downward ‘swan lake ballet’ lower arm movement, with my upper arms flexible but held closer to my sides, I would concentrate on feeling the resistance of the air against my hands.
When I felt I had built up enough pressure, I would move my arms and hands faster and launch myself off the chair.
This was where I brought my legs and feet into action.
kicking furiously as though swimming, whilst continuing with the arm movements, I would sustain a few moments of being airborne.
Disappointingly I never managed to ‘level out’ but would continue in a slight upright forward leaning position, a few inches off the ground for maybe ten seconds.
It was exhausting.
I tried to explain it to a friend once and she excitedly told me that she too had dreams about flying.
But the type she described were the ‘romantic’ kind. The kind where she soared effortlessly like a bird over the mountains and sea.
I felt hers was ridiculously unobtainable, whereas mine might work if I kept at it.
I am leaping to the music of ‘Recueredos de le alhambra’
Jumping high into the air, arms stretched upwards.
Twirling and catching the delicate white tissue paper as it floats above my head.
Throwing it up again and again to the sky
I catch one corner and zigzag it in front of me in a sort of traditional silk ribbon dance way, its tail following my hand obediently.
I raise my arm and the tissue paper follows floating softly slowly upward.
I rotate my arm in large circles, standing on tip toe, swirling the delicate piece around and around until it becomes a swirling circle.
I grab a spare piece and faster and faster I twirl them.
They are white snakes chasing their tails and at last I throw them high and two delicate doves float gently to the ground.
I fall breathlessly also to the floor, laughing.
I am doing tissue paper dancing.
But this dance was not my idea.
It is invented by my youngest grandson.
‘Beware of the quiet child’ my mother always warned, ‘they are usually up to mischief’!
My youngest grandson, and partly the reason why my yellow bicycle is still on the balcony, has been in my bedroom for a while.
He has covered up his silence by inserting a disc into the CD player.
Yes, at two years of age he has figured out the workings of this complex old fashioned machine and surprises me every day with his eclectic choice.
We could start the day listening to something as cool as JJ Cale or Santana and by lunch time we might be on to Puccini.
To me there is no rational to his choice of material but he knows what he likes and though too young to read the labels will listen to a few strains first before deciding whether to let it play on or whether he will press the reject button.
So now, as the strains of the Alhambra fill the room, I know I should get up and check on him.
But before I get a chance to do so, he comes running into me with some large pieces of white tissue paper he has found in a box.
He stands in front of me and throws them up in the air, watching them float downwards.
His face is a picture of joy and wonder.
Then not content with just throwing he starts to run with them floating out behind in time to the music and so the tissue dance is born.
We are in the mid dance when my second eldest grandson arrives (I have four grandsons).
This lad is a wiry nine year old who’s interest lies in hockey, football, swimming and sailing.
I think he will laugh at us or be bored by the simplicity of our dance.
But he joins in with enthusiasm adding his own version.
We watch as throwing the tissue high, he twists beneath it and blowing with all his might keeps the paper afloat.
as it floats down again he curls low beneath it like a limbo dancer.
and lower again
and just as we are giving up hope the tissue paper floats up again.
Maybe I should rename it the Limbo tissue paper dance.
But what ever it is called it has given me hours of fun and exercise almost akin to riding my bicycle.
Hmm, I wonder if I could fashion some kind of parachute from it.