At last the cycling season has started for us. We were a bit late this year. We’d meant to start a fortnight ago once the ice sheet had receded, but Benj coming home at the last minute for a short visit plunged us into chaos – very nice chaos though. And then last week we got swamped with broken down cars, trying to sort out the plumbing in the gîte and various other minor crises so the bikes didn’t get an airing. But at long last we’re back in the saddle.

I couldn’t find my cycling shorts anywhere. I have a vague memory that they fell apart towards the end of November. They are at least 20 years old and have had a lot of wear. So that explains my strange attire today. This cycling bib (I think that’s what the outfit is called) was the only suitable item I could find. It’s hotpants for cyclists basically! They’re not woman friendly since there’s the problem of knowing what to do with the straps at the front. Do you tuck them between boobs or loop them around the outside? Hmm. Quite a dilemma!

We didn’t go far, just round one of our shorter circuits since we had a few hours’ worth of tree lugging ahead of us, but it was brilliant. It was warm and sunny, the birds were singing, the roads were deserted, and it was the perfect first ride of the year.

It’s been a pretty perfect day all round really. We did our farm jobs first thing, nipped into Boussac to run some essential errands which involved getting red diesel for the tractor and ordering plaster board, which always means business. Then Rors and I got cracking in the polytunnel, planting mainly flower seeds today, while Chris carried on with repairs in the anglers’ shower room. After dinner we had our bike ride and then carried on with clearing away all the trees and branches we lopped off around the big lake last month. We used Rusty Deux the tractor today, loading the wood onto the hay spikes at the back. That’s a much quicker way of doing things. We finished up with a very satisfying bonfire.

Gigi our pseudo-Siamese cat with disastrously bad eyesight nearly had a completely perfect day. I don’t know when she’d managed to sneak past our usually vigilant defences and stash herself away at the back of the food cupboard where I keep our bread supply, but there she was. I spotted her just as we were about to lock up the house before going down to do our wood work. She’d have been one fat kitty by the time we got back if we hadn’t seen her!

And I must give Cynthia, our new Sussex hen, a mention. She’s out of the Eglu now (we keep all new poultry in there for a few days while they settle in) and pottering around. But not very far. She’s fixated on Rusty Deux and never ventures far from it! We call her the tractor chicken.

And to prove it was a good day I also got not one, but two free books through the post to review today. It’s a long time since I’ve had a dead tree book in my hands. I’m almost exclusively an ebook reader generally.  (The only downer of the day was not having any Internet for most of the day :-(which is why this post is a day late going up.)

And talking of books, I’ve finally fixed a launch date for my travel memoir Heads Above Water. It will be 17th April, the same day as Caiti’s 18th birthday, an auspicious day if ever there was one. So if any of my blogging buddies out there could be persuaded to host a guest blog from me in the second half of April to help with publicity, I’d be eternally grateful …