Tuesday, August 04, 2009


On my eighteenth birthday, I received a bicycle. My father had asked me what I would like and I replied that the very nice looking, white-with-green-trim, four speed, ladies bike with sit-up-and-beg handlebars, basket on the front, and bell, book and candle and freebie safety lock thrown in, would be something I'd love and treasure.

Some years later, I still have my white-with-green-trim-w/basket-and-bells-and-lots-of-things-to-make-it-look-good bike, but right now, it is having a sabbatical in the garage.

The reasons for its sabbatical are these.

First of all was the trouble the bloody thing got me into during our first year together.
I named the contraption 'Marchant' for no other reason than I share a publisher that knows why, and at first our relationship was good.
I loved the freedom that leaping on Marchant gave me, and together we would nip to the shops, explore the locale, and on one evening we headed west to meet some friends at a pub in East Hanwell West Ealing.
The evening was good fun, and although I'd only meant to stay for the one drink, my friends persuaded me to partake of a couple or so more drinks than I'd planned on imbibing, and at the end of the evening I was in no fit state to get onto Marchant, let alone ride him back home.
I asked the bar staff if they would be so kind as to look after Marchant until the following day when I would be sober enough to get us both back in one piece, and they very nicely said 'yes, they would'.
The next day I drank went into work via London Transport and as soon as I got home, I changed and set off to reclaim Marchant.
Alas, in the pub were some friends I had not seen for about two years who had dropped in on the off-chance of catching me there, and woo... there I was!
Great to see long lost friends, but not so fabulous to have yet another late night which lead to my being incapable of riding home my faithful Marchant.
The following day I went to collect Marchant, only to find that the manager of the pub was desperately short of staff and asked 'could I fill in?' to which I answered 'Yes' and after a very late night was too exhausted to walk let alone ride, and was sent home in a mini-cab, which meant that once again, poor old Marchant was left once again at the pub.
After sevent attempts at trying to be stone cold sober so that I could get my dear old bicycle home again, I ended up being ever so slightly slarmy and in charge of a bicycle while carrying a police officer in the basket so that I could get the bike home at last.
I know that many of my friends (and that includes other bloggers that I've met) have given their cars names and swear that they have their own distinct personalities to boot. I'm sure that many of you peeps reading this 'ere blog have also given names to your cars, and maybe even boats, motorbikes, and plain old push-bikes, like my Marchant.
And I'll bet that all of you believe that your dear 'inanimate objects that provide transport' also have some sort of 'personality', yes?
Come on, if you just said 'No', you're lying.
I know empirically that some inanimate machines are either possessed, or have somehow acquired a sense of humour.
Over the years, Marchant and I grew to know each other even better, and I'd spend time pampering him with oil on his joints, and air in his tyres before many happy trips around the locale.
But then one summer, things began to go 'not so well'.
I made the mistake of lending Marchant to the 'Ex-Partner-In-Crime' and although the epic made sure that Marchant's tyres were well pumped up and his gears were oiled, the epic did not treat my dear old Marchant as gently as I did.
The first clue I got as to Marchant's displeasure was when he refused to brake while the epic was taking him to a nearby pub.
The epic was simply riding Marchant downhill along a quiet road with the intent of stopping at the pub that was there, but Marchant had other ideas, and despite his being in perfect working order, he refused to stop when the epic applied the brakes, which resulted in Marchant having an ever-so-slightly dented wheel, and epic having an extremely bruised collar bone and 'family jewels' for a fortnight.
I didn't get off without punishment either.
One fine day I had to get to Boot's in West Ealing, and forgetting Marchant's grudge about my lending him to the epic, I made the mistake of taking 'Ye olde faithfule push-bike' rather than the car.
I was alright until I got into the heavier traffic around the main busy shopping area, and aimed towards Boot's.
To get there, I had to either be a good 'road user' and wait for the traffic lights to go green before I headed towards the shop, or, be a tad sneaky and dismount and cross the main road with the pedestrians.
I decided to be sneaky and went to dismount, and that was the last thing I remember until about three minutes later...

According to witnesses, I'd stopped the bike and had put my left leg down on the ground before swinging my right leg over to dismount.
And that was when Marchant had 'Gone For Me'.
Honestly, five witness swore that they'd seen the bicycle move as if on its own accord as if to try and buck me off.
It succeeded in doing so and then it had turned on me in a swivwelly motion, before attacking my left ankle which after the bruises came out had tyre tracks on it.
They also swore that the bike had made as if to 'buck up and land on me', rather like a horse trampling on an unloved rider.
Five witnesses.
All said the same thing.
It was with a heavy heart and much pain that I wheeled Marchant home that day.
I discussed the events with the epic and we decided that 'just to be on the safe side', we'd have a chat with Marchant and apologize.
Marchant is still living in my garage where he's shacked up with a rather sweet racer.
I've taken to walking more recently.
The epic drives me when I need to go shopping, and we're all fine with the situation
And if anybody wants to borrow Marchant, fine by me, just make sure I'm there with my camera set to shiny, akay?