5.9.10

The best surprise ever



A few weeks ago I noticed that Hercules, my faithful rust bucket bike, was missing from his home outside the rubbish bin. He really was on his last wheels; nonetheless, he was my freedom ticket out of the village, not being a car driver or owner. And now someone had pinched him. I don't know what goes through a thief's head at the best of times, but surely it's obvious that a bike like this is owned by someone who can't afford a better one? Apparently not. A week later I found him dumped by the bike rack outside the village Post Office, wrecked. I gave a strangled shout of 'Hercules' and rushed home to cry in Andy's arms. To some people it may seem silly to get worked up over *just a bike*. But he was more than that - he was 12 years of happy memories. A kind of diary on wheels.


Happier days

Andy collected the poor old boy and after taking him apart announced that it would be too expensive to repair him, considering his age and condition. Apart from still feeling rubbish from my prolonged cold and exhaustion, this was the last straw - but I didn't realise just how miserable I was without a bike. Life went on and last Thursday we took a little picnic out to nearby Farmington, on a glorious sunny day.


On the way home, we picked up a carton of local/freerange/Fairtrade/allroundgoodstuff ice cream from the Cotswold Ice cream Company. I felt a lot better and we tootled home, me clutching the tub of rapidly melting ice cream. When we arrived, there was a large, flattish box waiting in the outhouse. I wondered what it was. "It's your surprise bike" answered Andy, grinning. He had noticed how miserable I was without one.



To say I was lost for words would not even touch the tip of the iceberg of my surprise. I cried again - for different reasons. I've never had a new bike before and this was not just any old bike, this was a Dawes. In a slight stage of shock I remembered the liquifying nicebutveryexpensive ice cream and dolloped it out into suitably posh bowls.




The cappuccino ice cream was gorgeous and my swanky new bike - in British Racing Green - was assembled in our untidy back garden. (Excuse the washing).



And there she was, a shiny green Goddess of a bicycle; I could barely believe that she was mine. The observant will notice that she's a man's bike - I always ride a man's bike, just another one of my many unfeminine traits, along with the tattoos and army boots. (Sorry if that has destroyed my dainty image for anyone).



Being a Dawes bike, she had to be called Marjorie, after the nursery rhyme. She is the first bike that fits my 6ft properly and she is a tall girl: I can just about scramble up on her. We sailed off - wobbling slightly - on our maiden voyage round the lanes, my heart bursting with joy at having pedals again. And freedom.



Unlike dear old Hercules, she lives in the backyard under a cover, where nasty bike thieves will have to trample through the cottage over my cold, dead body before they get their grubby paws on her. As for Hercules - we have stored his frame and he is having a well earned rest. One day - we will rebuild him.



45 comments:

joanna said...

Hoorah!! Marjorie is a gem of a bicycle, and I know how much you will love her. So pleased that the story of the horrible bike thieves has a happy ending. Happy cycling, lovely friend :) xxx

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, she's a beautiful bike! Congratulations! I wish you many, many happy hours with her. How could someone steal someone else's bike, for goodness sakes!!

Cissie said...

A curse on their nasty sticky fingers. And well done Andy. Hope you have magical days on Marjorie.

Jessie said...

Hooray! What a wonderful happy endng to a very sad story ;)
It made me laugh when you said they'd have to step over your cold dead body to get at it! I've sooo much bloggy catching up to do and I'm happy to be back here reading this, it's cheered up my wet and dreary sunday! :o) xx

Menopausal musing said...

You are a delight, Gretel. Only you could write such a lovely post about something so horrible happening to you. Loved the "Marjorie Dawes" name.... it made me laugh out loud. May you have many years of happy outings together!

Mlle Miracle said...

Oh, Gretel, that's incredible sad&happy news! Marjo is soooo beautiful, now I want a Marjo in my new and country life too. I have a car, but to ride a bike is a totally different experience, it's freedom, you're right!
Oh, and claclapclap for Andy!!!

Caroline B said...

As one door closes another opens.....wishing you many happy hours with Marjorie!
A curse on the bike thief, not only for thieving but for the wanton destruction, something totally beyond my comprehension.

curiouscrow said...

Oh my! A dawes! In British Racing green! I'm so impressed I have to keep using exclamation marks! I hope Marjorie will help you recuperate and I hope all the other bike riders in the area dismount and grovel suitably as you sail past ;-)

Sorry Hercules, but really, a Dawes!

jfidz said...

I hope whoever took Hercules came a nasty cropper as the bike bravely fought back by disintegrating under them.

Anji* said...

Lovely new bike, and I'm so happy you are keeping Hercules until you can fix him up, he sounds special!

Runic Rhyme said...

Ah yes, what we lose comes round in another form, aye?

<3 Beautiful new bike, if I were a thief I think I'd be after that ice cream rather ;]

Tonia said...

Hooray - what a beautiful new bike! And may the person who stole Hercules come to the attention of the Pot Hole Gods.

Sarah said...

I absolutely absolutely love your blog. Today was certainly no exception. What a great story. Thank you for sharing!

Lyn said...

I love a happy ending!
so glad you have wheels again and that photo of the blue sky and lime green grass is wonderful!
love
Lyn
xxx

Patricia G said...

Fab bike - luck girl! Great blog, I love the insects, gardening and walks. Thanks for sharing.

Jane said...

Oh it's horrible to lose a bike - my husband had a lovely Dawes stolen when he was studying at Uni and we could hardly afford to replace it. It's a rotten thing to happen but your new aquisition is lovely - hope it gives you many happy hours.

janet said...

I love Andy for taking such good care of you!! What a great ending to what began as a horrid tale. I know I am supposed to be gushing over the bike, but that ice cream grabbed my complete attention. My favorite flavor. Are you really 6ft tall???? I already head you in my mind as a pretty rough and tumble gal...so rest easy, your image is secure ;-)

Now go work the pedal Gretel..

Janet xox

PS.....I love those spoons!

Yarrow said...

What a wonderful story and I'm happy that you are mobile again. Hercules will be a bionic bike one day, I guess :)

Soozcat said...

I was wanting to ask what had happened to Hercules. Now I'm glad I didn't broach the subject... poor Hercules. And rotten bike thieves! May they be plagued with atomic wedgies and may their trouser legs always get caught in the chain. Mutta mutta.

Marjorie is just beautiful. And you don't need reminding of this, but that Andy is a keeper.

Sue said...

I'm so glad Hercules will live to see another day. I had a sweet old bike for years which got nicked from outside my student house - I even heard it being stolen but was too chicken to go out and confront the thief - but then the next day I found it again, propped up against the wall of the launderette! So exciting... but then years later it got nicked again from outside our little house next to the canal in Hebden Bridge. I never saw it again, but a week after it disappeared there was a terribly sad sight: my beloved wicker bike basket floating slowly down the canal all by itself. A sad day indeed. Now I have a cheap Chinese bike which I don't love at all but gets me places. Enjoy Marjorie :-)

Jackie said...

Happy new Marjorie.

fabriquefantastique said...

now THATS a bike!

Frances said...

Okay, or all right as you might say over there, first of all, I am absolutely disgusted at what some folks (who are supposedly sharing a species with us) will do.

I am so, so sorry to see the pix and read about the theft and abandonment of Hercules. Bad, bad folks involved with that plot line.

Now. Let me change the tone.


As I type this, I have a glass of cheap red wine nearby, and I raise that glass to Andy! You know already that I am in his fan club, but how absolutely fantastic a man he is.

I know that you will have such fun making friends with this new bike. Name? Over here, I would be terrified to ride a bike in NYC, though I did have a bike when I lived in Brooklyn. Do not know the brand at all, but ... if Andy chose it, that bike has got to be winner.

After all, he does have good taste.

Surely this new bike will give you opportunities to get out and about during the glorious September days that are now unfolding.

Gosh...I did ramble. xo

Frances said...

Pg, you could delete this ... I completely forgot in the enthusiasm of learning that you have fresh wheels, that Marjorie as a name already chosen.

xo

TaraLarsenChang said...

Hooray to Andy for being the hero once again (I so admire his gardening willingness and prowess!). Happy ending! I now have visions in my head of Gretel flying over the countryside on her lovely green ride...

Joan said...

Three cheers for Pooh! Why what did he do? I don't know but your story just made me want to say that! Such a happy story at last. May you recognize the thief by his limping! I'm glad you'll keep the new Green Goddess Marjorie in your backyard. Not by the rubbish bin.

Joan said...

PS..that melty ice cream is making my mouth water!

frayedattheedge said...

I hope you have many happy outing on Marjorie .... and if there is any justice, the bike thief will have had a nasty accident involving the crossbar and his 'tackle'!!

Cathy Holtom said...

Now that's what I call a proper bike, I always rode boy's bikes due to having only brothers. Three cheers to Andy and many happy days cycling.

Suze said...

A Dawes just has to be called Marjorie!
What a wonderful man you have there...and bike!

Sweet Birdy Love said...

Oh Gretel, so glad there is a happy ending to your sad story I couldn't bear to think of you not being able to tootle off on your bikes into the countryside for one of your 'boiled egg' picnics.
Truth be told I couldn't bear to not see any of your lovely photos from said picnics!
Marjorie looks like a real trooper, who will serve you well.
RIP Hercules, well done Andy.

Merisi said...

Dear Gretel,
I am so happy that Andy surprised you with this beautiful bike! Please give him an extra warm hug!
I only recently got a 35 Euro well-loved bike, after wishing for one for many years where it was always the children who had outgrown once again theirs before I was able to get one. Riding a bike is so much fun and makes chores around town so much easier.
Good luck with Marjorie,
Merisi

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

Well seee saw ! and a pox on the thief who wrecked Hercules and left just parts of him. Very bad form.
Now on to Andy, oh my! What a fella, I think I'm in love with Andy...that is one beautiful bike and I know you will have a great time toolin' around on her.
(())
Francie

Frances Tyrrell said...

Poor Hercules, what an time he had: abduction, perilous adventures, abandonment and eventual rescue (hmm, sounds like a book someone should write and illustrate).
And you without wheels meanwhile, a very sad feeling, especially when combined with the unpleasant shock of theft. So Hurray for Andy, and here's to happy times with Margery Dawe.

(coincidence - I named my first bicycle Pegasus)

d. moll, l.ac. said...

What a fab new bike! and what a peach a Andy is for getting it :)

Twiglet said...

What a lovely surprise and well done for choosing a perfect name!! (Marjorie was my mum's name and we certainly had lots of happy times with her!!) Enjoy your outings!

acornmoon said...

Hurray for Andy, what a lovely surprise for you and how well deserved.

I hope you now invest in a sturdy lock!

The Pea Pod said...

Crikey! Andy is brill at keeping secrets, they should sign him up for the SAS, I have a feeling he wouldn't crack under any circumstance. Lovely new bike and I hope Hurcules isn't feeling too poorly x

Kitty said...

What a beauty! I love the colour and I bet it goes really fast, too!

My bike is about 4th hand from the 1980s, but very much loved - they are such useful things and I love feeling the wind in my hair.

Enjoy it!

Dale Simpson Illustrator said...

Aw so lovely to see you get a new set of wheels Gretel!
I still have and sometimes use my ladies green hercules bike that I bought with my berry money MANY years ago - hubbie keeps going on about getting me a new bike as with 3 gears it can be a struggle but my old bum seems to like that comfy old seat!! :-)

Ganeida said...

Visiting from Ember's blog.

I don't know much about bikes but that is a wow of a garden! Green with envy, here.

Libby said...

What a fantastic story, (I know its not) but I didn't know what to call it!!! So glad you are free to roam again.
I love happy endings :o)

dowhatyoulove said...

Sometimes the Universe knows before we do that it is time for something new to come into our lives. I think this was such a time. What a beauty your new bike is, and what a sweet gift! Enjoy her for many years!

dowhatyoulove said...

Sometimes the Universe knows before we do that it is time for something new to come into our lives. I think this was such a time. What a beauty your new bike is, and what a sweet gift! Enjoy her for many years!

travelingsuep said...

Hi just arrived from Cathy's Down a dusty lane. This story is lovely with great photos. I hope you are still enjoying whizzing around on Marjorie.