They're better now though (thank God), and Dulcie and the DH are off to the frozen North this weekend to sing a a rather beautiful priory. The little one and I are not going, simply because as soon as we get back we're off to Devon for our annual camping holiday and I just couldn't imagine having the time to pack for a choir trip and packing for a camping trip in just a few days, the logistics of the thing just twisted my melon, man. Poor Freya hasn't quite cottoned on that we're not going this year, I'm being too much of a coward to tell her the bad news because last year she loved it, it was all fairground rides and paddling and fish and chips and hardly ever sleeping. And of course, if you're four, the heady delights of Bridlington are a glamorous zenith.
I shall attempt to make her weekend as fun as possible. After we've aired the tent and packed the rucksacks and shopped for a picnic I'm going to take her to the Coventry Transport Museum. I know, you may think that such a trip is hardly comparable to an old fashioned seaside adventure, but to Freya the Coventry Transport Museum is heaven. When she first started school she did a project on the history of transport and they made a big deal about bicycles. What she doesn't know about Penny Farthings you could write on a postage stamp, but what she really likes, what she really, really, likes are the Safety Bicycles - because, as she says, ladies could ride them and not get their skirts caught in the wheels! For some reason, she finds the idea of ladies in long skirts riding bikes wonderful. So this spot of Youtubery is for her.
A while ago I watched a social history programme which featured many of the bikes in the museum and Paul Atterbury said that the wide use of bicycles at the turn of the last century has been credited with expanding the gene pool! This is a nice thought, bicycles truly are a very convivial technology!
Anyway, my youngest is not the only one who is a little bike crazy ce moment. I do not drive. To get about I either walk, use the bus or wait for the DH to come home so he may chauffeur me about like I'm Lady Muck. However, I used to ride a bike. A man's mountain bike. A man's mountain bike which I can't get on unless I contort myself into impossible positions raising my rear end and lifting my leg in a highly inappropriate way. When I used to ride it to and from work I wouldn't get on it on school premises just in case any of my pupils saw me. Freya would tell me that I need an old-fashioned lady's Safety Bicycle, so that I may ride it in a skirt, indeed so that I may ride it without having to visit the chiropractor. So right now I am hankering after a Pashley Princess.
Freya is, of course, quite right. I hanker after this bike. I hanker after it just like 19 year-old boys called Liam hanker after Subaru Imprezzas with alloy wheels. This bike is handmade in Stratford-Upon-Avon, so it's a local product (and therefore morally good), this bike is the Rolls Royce of the Safety Cycle. I shan't bore you with its particulars, you already know that it's expensive and I can't afford it. But a girl can dream. A girl can visit the Coventry Transport Museum and dream.