“Wrap up warm” she said “and don’t forget stout shoes.”
I grimaced. So far, it didn’t sound like my idea of a treat.
Then she tried to lend me her boyfriend’s fleece, and tutted when she saw one of my many layers “You can’t wear that tomorrow–it’s far too drapey”
My sister had decided to surprise me and was sure she’d found a weekend activity I would love. When the idea was first mentioned, I had dared to imagine a day on the sofa watching “The Crown” sipping Pro Secco and eating something Belgian and chocolatey. Perhaps there would be a Fijian spa attendant, ready to provide a pedicure. I would pack a peignor…
It was not to be. As we drove past Skipton up into Wharfedale I tried to guess what was in store. Oh, please let there be only a small walk and no muddy hills. I like birds and nature photography and crafty pursuits, but I didn’t fancy the idea of a morning spent admiring moss, identifying mushrooms, or listening to a lecture on autumn leaf eddies, or whatever well-meaning but mistaken idea my dear sister was pursuing.
It sounded as though equipment was involved. Surely she hadn’t hired a tandem? She doesn’t like heights so it wouldn’t be abseiling. Our last venture into underground caves didn’t end well, so it couldn’t be spelunking, could it?
“Is it learning to ride a motorbike” I asked, for this is something I really would like to do, supposing I could hold the bike up, which I admit is doubtful.
“You think I would let you on a motorbike?” said Anne at her most disapproving. Another hope dashed.
On the morning of the treat, Anne was noticeably anxious. Lots of phonecalls and tutting about the weather. I put on tights, trousers, a t-shirt, a big jumper, jerkin, scarf and anorak, plus a pair of sturdy boots.
“He’ll have waterproof trousers for you” said my sister, who owns her own pair. She was adjusting a knitted ski cap with patterned ear flaps. I would have shivered if I hadn’t been sweltered under all those layers of clothing.
“He’s here” she cried and I waddled behind her to the hotel door, moving like the Michelin man.
Jason was outside with his Boom trike. Sofa-sized, I still managed to run towards him, squealing with delight. He gave us bikers’ gloves, waterproofs, helmets with microphones and strapped us in. Then he took us on a tour of the Dales, providing a commentary through speakers in our hard hats. We saw the village where the Calendar Girls baked their bosom-covering buns and the community hall that Helen Mirren and Julie Walters paid to build when the film made a fortune. We rode past Kilnsey Crag where the SAS sometimes have night manouevres. We roared around corners and stopped to admire bridges of Yorkshire stone warmed by apricot sunlight. Sheep stared as we zoomed by. On top of the moor, it was too misty to see much, but down below we raced past dry stone walls, bracken-bronzed fields and rivers rushing with the night before’s rain. The road was flooded in one place, but that didn’t stop Jason and the mighty trike. “Lift your legs ladies”. That’s how it is when your exhaust pipes are the height of your glove box.
We drove up and down the main street in Skipton, so everyone could admire us–the Clarissa Dixon-Wright and Jennifer Paterson of our day. We waved to all and sundry and they waved back–how could you not?
We stopped for coffee at the Trout farm and made Jason take our biker chick pictures. It was a great day out. I can’t wait to go again.