I’ve heard some “interesting” excuses in my time regarding lack of punctuality, but this morning’s excuse by Yours Truly for arriving at work a little late has to be one of the best ever.
This is what happened. I was furiously pedalling my way to the office (trying to beat my best time if you must know) when I turned into Horse Guards Parade and found a big burly policeman blocking my way.
“You’ll have to ride on the footpath,” he said, pointing in its direction. “This road’s going to be closed for ten minutes or so.”
It is technically illegal to ride a bike on a footpath but he’d given me permission so I didn’t feel too guilty, I just made sure to take it carefully and slowly as I tried to avoid running over any pedestrians.
There were police lining the route so I figured that the Queen was going to go whizzing by (I’ve seen her a couple of times since I began commuting to work on a bike), so imagine my surprise when a marching band led by a policewoman on a monster of a draught horse turned into the road.
Unfortunately I did not have my camera, so you will have to take my word for it, but
the band looked like a set of immaculate toy soldiers. They were smartly dressed in long grey wool coats and shiny black boots. They were divided into two sets, the first wearing tall black bearskin hats, and the second wearing normal peaked hats.
I stood and watched them march by. They were playing very loud rumpa-tum-rumpa-tum marching music interspersed with thunderously loud clashing cymbals. (Have you ever seen those cymbals up close? They are GIGANTIC.)
And then just as soon as it had begun they were gone, and I was back on the road cycling the remaining two miles to work. It was a kind of surreal way to start the day. And I certainly received some quizzical reactions when I told my colleagues the reason I was late was because the Grenadier Guards had held me up!