Roger and Val’s house is very Maison Jardin. There is for instance a kitchen area where Val and Roger concoct the most amazing food. There are ovens and pots and superb breads, soups & roasts. Mince pies, Haggi (plural of haggis) & other sweetmeats are forever emerging to delight invited guests. There are cats too. Lots of cats. And dogs.
There is also a large recreation room in the house which I think they call the Braai room but it is really a garden with walls around and roof over. Icall it a rumpus room. There is a pond in there with Giant delicious monsters planted round and maybe some goldfish and a bridge over the little stream that feeds it. There is a built in braai in there too but also a workshop and lounge chairs and ever so many bicycles. There are
bicycles in the passages and bicycles festooned from the ceiling. Some are fully operational and others are under construction. There are single bicycles and tandems and even a triple and there are homemade bike trailers to tow behind. In order to cross the bridge over the stream one sometimes has to tap a loitering bike on the saddle and say “excuse me please” before you can pass.
The rumpus room
Now Micycle is a self-confident machine and at times she can be willful and rather controlling. She has however never really been sneaky or underhand.
The problem started though when I introduced her to one of Roger’s bikes. ‘Blue Scorpion’ by name. Blue Scorpion was known to her previous owner as “slapnekkie” because she has a coquettish way of dropping her handlebars to one side and looking coy. She has a bit of a sneaky aspect to her nature and she likes to show humans up as being a bit stupid.
Well, on a particular day Roger and I decided to take a gentle ride out to Arabella golf estate and back just to get some much needed exercise. We made the mistake though of allowing Micycle and Blue Scorpion to whisper to each other behind our backs whilst we took a breather along the road.
We heard the chains chattering of course, but neither Roger nor I speak Bikish so we took no notice. When we remounted after our break, we realized that we were no longer in control of the day. The bikes pushed straight past Arabella estate and continued up that killer hill you get just before the Hermanus|Bot river T-junction. At the T junction they turned right and before we knew it we were riding up hill and down dale on the way to Hermanus. Hermanus was not to be the destination however because when we got to the Karwyderskraal turn off 7 km further along, that’s where the bikes turned off. Now Roger and I concede that this is a very scenic road through the country. Fields and rivers are to be seen on every side and everything is beautifully green in the rainy season. The road is hard though because the hills are long and steep. Honestly, between the bikes and the hills, they nearly finished us off. At last though, we came to the T-junction at the end of the Karwyderskraal loop and we were back on the Bot River / Hermanus highway. A turn Left would have taken us home but imagine how alarmed we were when the bikes turned Right instead. They we actually just laughing at us
because less than 1 km up the road we came to a delightful rest stop called Salandra. The bikes were hatching something so we chained them onto the railing to stop them escaping whilst we went in for some sustenance. We were both hungry and feeling quite weak by that stage so we each had a chicken schnitzel and it was good.
At last we were homeward bound but the drama was not over yet. The last 21 km was into the teeth of the Westerly that had grown to a full gale by that stage. As we pushed homewards, it continued to grow with enormous gusts that stopped us in our tracks or sometimes tried to push us off the road. On one downhill where I normally get up to about 45 km/hr, I was in Granny low and pedaling full power just to move forward. The bikes were merciless and made us pedal on relentlessly. It was a long hard haul and I watched as our average speed for the trip continued to drop. We finally dragged in at home feeling very weary but also quietly pleased with ourselves. The bicycles too seemed happy and we forgave them their trespasses because after all, it was a very nice ride.