Friday nights have been somewhat lacking of late. Either driving to a race, or travelling across London to see the boy, but precious few spent doing something nice to make it feel like a weekend. Frenetic. Time to take some time out for self. Cancelled all plans and left work at 7pm with nothing to get up for on Saturday and therefore no time constraints. Cross bike, pocketful of gels, one bottle, lights and a warm thing. Glowing sunlight. Up across the golf course to Cissbury and then a meandering route to Steyning through singletrack (all off-camber and dusty after so much wet); some road hills to Jack & Jill. Back across the tops, getting stuck into the climbs, pausing to watch the pinkest sunset and a pair of kestrels hunting (wildlife all over the place at the moment, seen hares twice this week, buzzard struggling to escape a roadside perch with breakfast in its claws, many deer displaced by the crop cutting that's going on around the clock, dodging bats between hedges and the inevitable rabbit encounters), for a welcome wee in the bushes (can anyone else not concentrate when they're bursting?)... Then putting the hammer down and flying to Blackcap along hard-packed, glowing white chalk, big ring, sore legs, joy of speed through the dusk. Investigations of new trails down from the hill and then quiet lanes to the village. Topped off with the piece of litter caught in an overhead branch suddenly coming to life and swooping down over my head as I rode beneath; a barn owl, so close I could have reached out and touched it, flying alongside for a few wingbeats and then circling out over the field into the darkness. Level crossing open, beer in the fridge. Bliss.