Hello lovely family and friends
I actually rode a bicycle last weekend.
Some of you are saying “So what? Everyone rides bicycles, don’t they?”
No. No, I don’t.
I used to ride a bicycle to school. It makes you hate hills. And you get hot and sweaty. And you get black grease on your leg, or, in winter, your trousers get caught up in the chain and you have to stop and untangle it. And your hands freeze. And you get wet because your raincoat has to be open over your legs. And your socks and shoes and feet get wet. And you get a spray of mud up your skirt. And you hate hills. And you get punctures, and have to push the wretched thing. And you have to take the wheel off and mend the wretched thing. And the carrier rack snaps shut on your fingers. And your legs get sore. And your bottom gets sore. And your school bag gets wet. And your hair is a mess. And car drivers don’t see you and therefore run you over. And you hate hills.
And the seat! Calling it a seat is a joke. It’s a pole, or two poles made into a triangle. Bicycle manufacturers have a great marketing strategy though. “Let’s put 2mm of foam and 0.5mm of fake leather over the pole and call it a seat.”
Have you ever walked into a furniture store that sells actual seats, and seen anything like a bicycle seat for sale?
No. Of course not. Because it is not actually a seat. It is an instrument of torture.
What is to love?
The Old Coach Road above Mt Kaukau, which merges into Rifle Range Road
We used to live near the top of Mount Kaukau, the highest point in Wellington. My three boys liked to ride up and along the Old Coach Road. “it’s so much fun,” they said. “You’ll love it,” they said, so one day I agreed to go. Bruce stayed at home (because we only have 3 bicycles) so the boys and I set off. Bear in mind that I haven’t ridden a bicycle for years, so my skill level is that of the average, wobbly four-year-old. It was terrifying, whizzing down these narrow, winding roads. At one stage, both the bicycle and I summersaulted off the track, and parted company. I lay dazed among the gorse, watching the bike continue to summersault down the side of the hill, while the boys rode on happily. By the time they realized that I wasn’t with them, I had clambered down the hill and was retrieving the troublesome item. And when you start to ride off-road, you have to keep going in order to reach a real road, and the bliss of a car ride home.
Bruce often rides his bike alone on the weekend, generally because his family is living the dream elsewhere – Jack skateboarding, Sam coaching volleyball, me at home with a book. Jack rode with him the preceding weekend, and made him very happy. So, this weekend, redeeming a promise I had made a couple of birthdays (years) ago, I offered to ride with him. Conditions were perfect. Blue sky, no wind etc. So we went, and I rode 16km on the flat, next to the sea, to the lighthouse and back. And it was quite nice. Painful in parts, but overall, nice. There was one tricky bit near the beginning, when a small Kamikaze child on one of those tiny balance bikes swooped across the cycle path in front of Bruce, and then, when he swerved to avoid it, looped back across in front of him so he had to swerve in the opposite direction to dodge it, which he did in a masterful fashion. If it had been me in front, things would not have gone well, to put it mildly. I might have been up for manslaughter right now. Thankfully, by the time I passed it, it was keeping to one side prompted by the screaming of its enraged sibling behind it. Phew.
The sea was lovely. I might actually do it again…
When I am not out living the dream on a bicycle, I am either out doing my cleaning job, or at home in my studio painting.
I have been working on 3 paintings concurrently. I am working to finish numbers 9 and 10 of my Ice series, as well as a small painting called Pearl of Great Price. I have varnished them, and will take them to be professionally photographed next week, and then you will be able to see what the colours really are. Phone snaps don’t do them justice.
Dolphin dive work in progress.
Little Blue (penguin) work in progress.
I have been beavering away trying to finish them because Birdwoods Gallery will shortly be hosting an exhibition of eight “Who would like some more ice?” paintings. Two of the ten I have painted are already sold. Exciting!
Have a look at their gallery – Zimbabwean soapstone sculptures and other gorgeousness, and the best Old Fashioned Sweet (Lolly) shop. Start saving your pocket money for your next visit! I might be forced to stock up on Irish Moss and liquorice rolls when we go to deliver paintings…
And encouraging news on a global plastics solution for my fellow eco people:
So, peace to you and yours all this weekend and week. May no small children swerve across your path. May your wheels turn smoothly, and may you enjoy beauty, and all of the living things around you.
P.S. I am going to put a vegetarian recipe page on my blog (as requested by a friend) with my few, but fabulous, vegetarian recipes for those of us who are trying to convince ourselves and our families to eat less meat. If you have any great recipes, please could you send them, or the link to them to me, so that I can include them? I will be putting a link to the best broccoli salad ever – it has become my 15 year old’s favorite way to eat vegetables, so you know it’s good!