Thursday, 10 January 2013


Shove over girls, room for a small one...

There's been a bit of to-ing and fro-ing; some ups and downs; a little disappointment, a lot of  excitement.  Finally she's coming.  The new bike, Suzy, is on her way.  T-2 days.

In anticipation of this joyous event, the cyclist has booked himself a little paternity leave from work, and organised a first ride 'play-date' to a Mountain Bike Trail in North Wales.  He's about as giddy as our 7-year old son was 2 days before Christmas.  Suzy's imminent arrival is pretty much all he can talk about.  Previously a committed Roadie, he genuinely cannot wait to get off-road and dirty; at the moment probably his most used word is 'Enduro' - he's even joined a Facebook group of like minded individuals, and trust me when I say this, this sort of behaviour is highly irregular.  This is not generally speaking a boy who plays well with others.

But the arrival of a new bike begs an awkward conversation and a difficult question; where the hell are we going to put the sodding thing?

Famously, visitors to Redlands in the late 1960's had to sit on the floor as all the chairs were taken up by Keith Richards' guitars; a model the cyclist would cheerfully emulate substituting, of course, the guitars for bikes.  And perhaps getting some bigger chairs.  Possibly even a chaise lounge or two.

There is actually a very real possibility we might have to stick Suzy on the sofa; there is no space.  Our very small house is already straining at the seams.  The bikes have to be inside the house for security purposes, and our front room already has 2 in it, tessellated Escher-style in front of the fireplace, occasionally press-ganged into laundry drying service or forming the basis of a handy battleground for whatever game it is the kids are thumping each other over at that precise moment.  The ceiling in our bedroom is positively bowing under the stored weight of the cyclist's bikes from his former life lurking in the loft, including an extremely elderly time-trial frame (vintage? Antique?), possibly actually hewn from rock at the dawn of civilisation.  We might have been able to squeeze Suzy in to the bathroom, next to the shower, but the cyclist kiboshed this on the grounds of 'splashback'.  There's nowhere to turn in the kitchen.  The dining area is already home to 3 wheels and a winter frame.  The bedroom is out of bounds - hell, I have to draw a line somewhere.  She's going to have to live in the front room.

But oh! the front room.  There is so much (and here I use the technical term) CRAP in our front room, accessing almost anything is like taking on a particularly tricky Crystal Maze puzzle, perhaps from the Industrial Zone.  It's entirely possible that when we move out we'll find the dry bones of an accountant called Dave from Slough who got locked in somewhere between the telly and the gaudy pink play kitchen in 1993.  Currently added to our already critically high levels of standard everyday flotsam and jetsam is the remains of the Christmas detritus (and yes, I am well aware it's mid-January now), including several metric tonnes of brand new Barbies dressed like pole-dancers and Moshi Monsters which will cripple you even worse than a Lego should you have the misfortune to stand on one, which I've been avoiding sorting in to the correct Ikea plastic storage boxes.  For that extra frisson of excitement, once they've run the gauntlet of the Krypton Factor style assault course to enter the inner sanctum, guests to our humble abode can also look forward to debilitating mauling from a small, unpredictable cat with a predilection for GBH and the IQ of a banana - who will, when you least expect it, position himself under where you're about to put your foot and attempt to remove it at the ankle, before dashing wild eyed and flat-eared up the christmas tree (still in the front room, de-baubled and awaiting relegation to the loft), and trying to shag it.  The whole place is very much, in fact, like a ruined and booby-trapped temple from off of an Indiana Jones movie, except Indy did what he did for the Fortune and Glory, kid, and not merely to get to the hairspray in the cupboard next to the fireplace.

As an exercise in 'blue-sky' thinking, I made the following suggestion regarding Carly, the 'best' bike;
'In order to free up a bit of space, and as you probably won't ride her again now 'til the race season starts, how's about we leave her at the office?' (Please note, the office is safe, secure, and has tonnes of space).
He looks at me like I just suggested we break his mother down and sell her off organ by organ on a black market internet auction site.
'Or not, just a silly idea really' I hastily add, backpedalling furiously.

The look on his face is telling me that if anyone's going to be sleeping at the office in order to 'free up space', it'll be me.

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