Oh My Goodness!
Oh my goodness, I simply have to tell you about the beautiful evening I’ve had! It began very ordinarily; I cycled into Richland along the (ever delightful) river path, returned a few Glee DVDs and rented a couple more, did a bit of food shopping, that sort of thing. But what was really wonderful about this evening was cycling back.
It takes me just over half an hour from Richland back to the Guesthouse, and the path mostly follows the river shore, occasionally detouring inland, along little quiet roads lined with surprisingly large and beautifully kept chalet-style houses (I will get some photos eventually). By the time I set off on my return journey, it must have been a little after eight and the sun was setting. Now I’m a sucker for a nice sunset at the best of times, but a sunset spent cycling along the banks of a river on a warm evening, with the sky a gorgeous navy colour and full of warm-looking orangey clouds? Let’s just say I struggled not to get swept up in the moment and sing loudly.
So there I was, cycling along, thinking whimsical thoughts and keeping my mouth shut so as not to let it fill with moths, when I saw something scuttle across the path ahead of me. I couldn’t think what on earth it was; about the size of a small cat, but really low to the ground and sort of wiggly. Just as I was about to give up and conclude I was approaching the world’s fattest weasel, a small boy on a bicycle whizzed past me in the opposite direction yelling excitedly “It’s a skunk! It’s a skunk!” And it was!! A real, live skunk! Well, that could easily have been an excellent end to the evening, but there was more to come.
As you may have guessed by now, the path is lined with bushes and low scrub, and apparently at dusk rabbits find it great sport to bounce backwards and forwards between the opposite sides of the path, so there were plenty of rustling noises followed by a mad bunny dash causing me to break suddenly. I was rounding one corner when I heard scrambling up ahead in the bushes and was preparing to slow down when something jumped out of the hedges and out of sight. Something big! It was gone so quickly I couldn’t be sure what it was, perhaps a hare? But as I rounded the corner, there was a deer stood in the middle of the path, maybe 100 feet away. A deer! If I tell you it was stood on a slight rise and was a dark silhouette against the background of night sky over the river, perhaps you’d think I was exaggerating for effect, but honestly, that’s the truth. I’m not sure what the rational response is to so much splendour in one evening, but as I watched the deer skitter off into the bushes all I could think of to do was cycle on happily, muttering “Oh my goodness, oh my goodness”.