Granny Perkins' Bike.

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Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2006 9:39 am

Granny Perkins' Bike.

Post by retepsnikrep »

First I should describe Granny Perkins. Five foot high. A yard wide all the way down. Dressed all in black, everything fixed immovably in place by black buttons, even shoes, which were a sort of boots. I never saw any part of a leg and not much arm except about four inches of it, red and steaming on washing day. She was not Frivolous, Granny Perkins, this was evident in her face. She had a chubby face with a brownish red complexion like an apple. A Cox's Orange Pippin, one of the few left on the newspapers in January in the loft that hadn't gone brown. She had a straight mouth, without lips and an expression of concentration on the task in hand, mixed with a hint of despair. A wisp of greyish hair escaped from each side of her black hat, attached by a long pin. Extraction of the pin revealed a grey bun. A hair bun. From the back, the bun had a dimple in the middle where all the hair disappeared, like the eye of a storm. I never saw Granny with her hair otherwise, nor did I see the construction or dismantling of the bun. Her eyes were as black as her shoe buttons. She had probably been a good looking girl and handsome woman, but to me, then, people were just old, or not, and Granny was old.

Granny Perkins didn't say much. Didn't speak at all unless it was necessary, but she was kindly enough to all. She didn’t deem it necessary to be talking the time, as we tend to nowadays. She was a poor, sturdy, independent widow of the very old school. A mixture of yellow soap and grate blacking. She didn't have much in the way of possessions. Two china dogs above the fireplace, an American brass clock made by Chauncy Jerome in a factory about the size of Norfolk, some very brown furniture, nothing upholstered, and a bike.

I have taken a long time to get round to describing Granny Perkins riding her bike. Granny's bike was old and tall. The handlebars were high and the saddle was low. The pedals were almost directly under the saddle and the handlebars with their white, slippery handgrips would have been nearly over the saddle on full lock. String was laced from the back axle to lots of little holes in the back mudguard. The front down-tube was curved in the fashion of the day, or fashion of the days some decades before Granny got the bike. It was an expensive item, this bike, and lived in the scullery with the long tin bath.

If you can picture this old lady going along with the bicycle erased, she would apparently be sleepwalking, eyes front, stepping over low obstacles and extending her arms from elbows by her side.

Granny Perkins always cycled along at the same speed, which was not slow. About double walking speed, always the same though, up hill and down and along the High Street. There were considerable hills in the area which she rode up at the usual eight miles an hour with no slackening, no distress. I would have backed Granny Perkins for King of The Mountains in the Tour De France, she would have gone up the Alp D'Huez without getting off. Straight past Tommy Simpson at eight miles an hour, stepping over the low obstacles, bolt upright, elbows by her sides, looking neither to left or right.

The bike was not at risk when left outside the International Stores in the High Street. No one stole bikes then and any resident, shown a row of bikes, could put an owners name to all of them. Granny didn’t ride her bike in the High Street when shopping, she walked from butchers to bakers and greengrocers, filling the front wicker basket. Walking the bike she had to reach up to the handlebars. I think the getting on must have worried her a bit though it looked straightforward enough. Hold the handles, leg (black shoes, black stockings, black skirt.) over the curved down-tube onto the far pedal, then push down, sit down on the Wright’s saddle, locate the other pedal and away. Nought to Eight miles an hour in two seconds.

The bike was a Rudge. A famous old name. There was a rising sun on the steering head. Oddly the front tyre was red. I had seen this on other bikes. I had the idea that they were made abroad. Abroad was not well known. With no reason for it I believed the red tyres were made in India, or Pakistan, like footballs. I wonder if they were?

I got a bike myself as a reward for passing the eleven plus exam to go to Grammar School. It was very difficult for my parents to afford a new bike at all, but they bought me a new Raleigh. We lived in the country. This bike weighed a ton. It would have been OK for a strong curate in a flat parish in Lincolnshire, but not for a spindly youth, currently outgrown his strength in a hilly village. My Raleigh had everything. Dynohub lighting with a battery container on the rear down-tube. This soon disintegrated at the bottom as exhausted batteries leaked and ate it away within a fortnight. Whatever similar bike I ever saw had a bottomless battery tube. My friends had bikes which were much more basic affairs. They had cable brakes, or no brakes at all, some were made from odds and ends. My bike weighed as much as about three of theirs. Laid on the verge outside the shop my Raleigh was comprehensively run over by the Corona Lorry, and good riddance to it.

Peter :)
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:29 am

Granny Perkins' Bike.

Post by Imladris »

I really enjoyed reading that, thanks Peter - you ought to put together a book.
Originally Posted by spot

She is one fit bitch innit, that Immy

Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time

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