"Where are you on Monday?"
This question, innocent as it may initially sound, is something of a two-pronged effort. Firstly it has the intent of making polite conversation with Herself and shows her that I am interested in her day-to-day activities and secondly, and more importantly, it establishes whether there is a likelihood that I will be able to borrow the car or not to go to the office.
On this occasion the response is that Monday is full of meetings in various locations which mean that no car availability is present in any shape or form: not even for a lift home.
Normally I would just work from home or catch the bus, but the particular office I am going to involves a commuter route that is slightly more convoluted to follow than Amundson's route to the South Pole, a plethora of busses and two hours of listening to the music of people too cheap and ignorant to buy headphones.
Faced with this nightmare journey, and having already confirmed to someone that I will meet them for a brief meeting at the office, I decide that I shall brave the elements and cycle to work.
As many of my long term readers will be aware: I like cycling, but this year particularly my actual amount of cycling has been very low due to a combination of ability to work from home, poor weather and busy evenings requiring a quick commute. This means that I have only managed a few weekend journeys and only cycled into work a meagre 6 times since March (usually the time of year that I start out again - once the evenings start getting lighter)
Today, however, I need to make the longer route to the central office as this is where the chap I am meeting is based. This is 10 miles and four Impressive Hills (IE steep) and the still changeable weather promises much in the way of water falling from on high.
The other thing, of course, is that as I take most of my kit home every day I have to carry a lot of weight on my bike - laptop, change of clothes, shower stuff and, on this occasion, a pair of shoes to change into upon arrival (my cycling shoes have cleats for gripping the pedals and I no longer keep a spare pare of shoes at this site)
However, after the Great Shower Debacle of 2011 I am at least confident that hot water awaits my arrival on site - the GSD being when both the three downstairs cubicles and the one upstairs shower were all, for various reasons, closed. I know I can feel confident in this as I actually received a site email not that long ago saying all was Hunky Dory again vis a vis showers after a nasty shock early in 2011 when I arrived and had to wash as best I could in the sink of the Disabled toilets (effectively the only washroom with a lock)
So on this occasion I packed up all my kit, closed the cats into the front room, got my bike out of the shed and put it in the alley, closed the back gate, let the cats back into the kitchen, picked up all the bits that weren't already on the bike, snuck out before the cats could realize they had a potential escape route, had the usual momentary panic that i had forgotten to pack my trousers (this actually did happen once and I had to call Herself to fetch said pair to the office), pump up the tyre, check the door for the fifth time and eventually set off.
The hills came and went and considering I hadn't done this route for a long time (first time this year) I thought my time of 1hr 2 mins (excluding 2x Top Of Hill rests) was good, but was nonetheless grateful to clamber off at the Bike shed, lock up the bike and trudge, heavy bags in tow, towards the building.
Even despite the reparation announcement I knew from my last visit that, in fact, the downstairs showers would still be out of action, so I headed for the stairs and grunted and groaned my way up them (you'd be surprised how much harder a flight of stairs can be to climb after a 10 mile cycle)
Into the men's toilets I went and pushed open the door to the shower cubicle, locking it shut behind me. My kit was slowly sorted out as I fumbled amongst my bags to find work clothes, towels and storage bags. Finally my cycling kit was packed away and I turned, towel in hand, to step into the shower cubicle.
That was when I finally noticed the big hole in the wall where the shower unit should have been.
There were, shall we say, a few colorful metaphors utilized.
Rather tiredly and out of time for further investigations I re-dressed and headed down the stairs for an "as best i can" wash in the sink of the only lockable toilets.
Later on, when i discovered that I had also left at home my connection cable I ventured into the part of the building where my locker is stored to pick up my spare. As I came back to my desk I glanced briefly at the door of the downstairs showers. Sure enough they were fully functional and unlocked for the first time in 18 months.