In January, Al and his family will go away for a week and I'll look after the shop. I'm looking forward to it in a masochistic, what-doesn't-kill-you-makes-you-stronger sort of way. Unless the weather is truly filthy (this is not unlikely) I'll cycle in by 8 o'clock every morning, work for 10 hours and cycle back home again, on a bowl of porridge, a ham and salad roll and whatever raw fruit and vegetables I want to eat.
I need this to get myself back on track. Feeble though I've been for the last few months, I know I can pull myself up to the challenge. Two years ago, I was so stiff and aching that I couldn't get up unaided and, when I'd been on my knees stacking shelves, I had to crawl to the counter to haul myself to my feet again. That year, there was a strong cold wind every day and setting up the shop was frankly miserable, especially when it was wet. The outside display has to go up, because there's nowhere near enough room in the shop for everything and nowhere to put the shelving.
Last year, I wasn't so bad and had already started cycling, so I know I can do it. It doesn't matter if it's tiring, because it's not so over-taxing that it's bad for me in any way. I hope that, by the time it's over, I'll be so used to the exercise and the cold that I'll just carry on and not skulk indoors like I am at the moment.
Having said that, I've no excuse at all not to cycle into town today. The time has finally come for me to finish off the Christmas shopping. I've done all I would otherwise have to go to Norwich for online and the rest will be bought locally.