Caught by the River

Shadows and Reflections – Mathew Clayton

Mathew Clayton | 14th December 2012

In which, as the year comes to its end, our friends and collaborators look back and share their moments:

Early one Sunday morning in June, my brother Alistair and I set off on a cycle ride through the Sussex countryside. The weather was changeable, bursts of rain then shorter bursts of sunshine. There were no cars on the road, just other cyclists. The fields, hedges and trees were at their greenest. It felt like we had been handed the keys to the kingdom.

We had no plan, whoever was in front led the way, and soon we found ourselves swooping down a one track lane, a leafy tunnel pointing towards the South Downs. A broad spine of moss ran down the middle of the road. White chestnut blossom fell on us like confetti. At the end of this lonely stretch was sunlight and a small crossroads. Standing there drinking from their water bottles were two cyclists. They must have been in their late 70s, but were stick thin, dressed head to foot in lycra cycling gear and sporting long white beards; Merlin via Kraftwerk. I looked at my brother and smiled. Maybe getting old isn’t going to be so bad.