The gull cannot swallow.
I am standing on Bourne Bridge, bike against the wall, looking out at the boats in Fox's Marina. Less than five feet away on the top of the parapet is a gull with a huge piece of bread in its beak. It seems to suspect that if it were to drop down to the ground to try dissemble it into manageable bits, the flock would notice and come to try to deprive it of its lunch. Again and again it tries to swallow.
I slowly reach for my phone to take a picture, but an approaching couple, out for a Sunday constitutional, disturb it and the bird flies off to a nearby mud flat. And tries again.
Its actions remind me that a lot of life's problems (including writing) can be like this: objectives – the thought of writing an entire novel, for instance –are too big, too unwieldy, too obviously in need of reduction from the point of view of onlookers, and yet we are worried that to do the obvious will somehow be detrimental.
If the gull had just dropped to the ground it would have been obscured by the wall and out of sight of all the others. It could have taken its time. Instead the flock is rising to investigate what it has.
I ride on.
Out along The Strand, up past the empty Freston Boot, and I turn off and into the narrow honeycomb of lanes that twist and bisect the countryside preceding Shotley peninsular. The sun is burning off the mist and the autumn colours are bright and distinct. The air has the fresh bite of cleanliness. There are no sounds other than the tires swishing on the sandy tarmac. It is glorious to be out.
Expect the unexpected.
I am surprised to find that St Mary's church at Harkstead appears to have a diligent and sizable congregation - cars are parked everywhere – and yet the church itself seems as similar as any in Suffolk that no longer have so many in attendance. I wonder what makes this one different.
Ten minutes later and I am riding past it again as the convoluted lanes present it to me from another prospective. Ah-ha!
And so the writing marketing dilemma I have unconsciously been wrestling with resolves itself. I must dissemble and look upon the problem in another way for insight. And this is the result: a new direction for this blog – the thoughts on writing and life that cycling can inspire.
As if to reward my new-found insight, the Suffolk countryside throws up another surprise. Not only have the pheasants been numerous as I cycle, but a close relative nonchalantly wanders into my path.
I give you a Harkstead peacock.