When I was thirteen, my friend Emma moved only a couple of miles away, which was fantastic for two teenagers who wanted to talk 24 hours a day, and who could now hop on a bicycle and cycle the short distance to see each other whenever the need arose…
Unfortunately, I did not own a bicycle and was borrowing my brothers, which inevitably meant we always wanted it at the same time! My parents had started a business and I knew there was no money for bicycles and the like… But one morning my (lovely) mother woke me up (very) early (we tended to stumble out of bed ten minutes before falling into the car to go to school, for which we were always late) and brought me downstairs to show me the bike she had prevailed upon from a friend of hers- it was an old green Raleigh girls bike. Let me tell you I could not have been more excited and delighted if it had been brand new and diamond encrusted!! It is one of my happiest memories…
And years later, this (also lovely) chap found a High Nelly outside the sculpture department in college. He brought it home, fixed it up and bought me a little basket for the front.
I later married him (the chap, not the bike) and to this day it is the bike I use for whizzing down the boreen (when I don’t have a little one on the back, needless to say)
or on family cycles, when everyone cycles ahead, such is my propensity to cycle into them or clumps of thistles or any large hole at the side, or indeed the middle, of the track.
Isn’t it lovely?
Even though it’s rusty
And the dog ate half the basket
and the chain is held up with baler twine
Truly, a much loved vintage treasure that should last another few decades!
Ahhh, my lovely High Nelly….