Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Romance and the bicycle...

Yesterday we said goodbye to my grandma's sister, auntie Neen. Her funeral was in Stockport, where my mum's side of the family orginate from.

It was a long drive up north and and, on the way, grandma and I got chatting about how she'd met grandpa as we were passing through where they met. Their eyes met across a field of rhubarb as they were both working on the harvest. The rhubarb was bound for the jam factory, where wooden pips would be put in to pretend that it was strawberry jam. It was 1948.

Apparently, grandpa was 'gorgeous' and, as the only single young man of the group of three he was in, he was highly sought after. Grandma giggled when she remarked 'but I got there first'.

Were there dates, I asked. 'Oh no,' she replied, 'but I cycled 10 miles to work, and he cycled 15, so we would meet at the crossroads and go in together.'

Grandpa's a veteran tour cyclist and I've always known that he and grandma occasionally tandemmed together, but I had no idea that bicycles played such a key role in their romance. How fabulous.

There's scientific proof that the availability of cheap bicycles had a huge impact on the UK gene pool. Suddenly, lads and lasses were able to meet and marry people from other villages and were able to look for work further afield. I didn't realise, however, that their availability had had a direct impact on my existence, for if grandma and grandpa hadn't met in that rhubarb field, I would never have been born.

Yet another reason to fall in love with cycling.

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