Monday, May 12, 2014

I'll give you ten bob for it

A man who could not ride a bike at all offered my father ten shillings as a deposit on a bicycle Da had rebuilt from scratch.

This was long before the swaggering cyclists in The Giro d'Italia came flying down the east coast of Ireland and halted in Dublin on the way to Italy.

In high summer, and in his retiring years Da pulled the old bike from underneath a heap of other items that nobody would ever use.

He brought the red framed bike out to the sun and began work.

This was a signal for everyone and anyone passing by to stop and offer advice and opinion, both useful and useless, on the work in progress.

As often as not, stories would be told about great bicycles these people had known in the past; for a bike then was more than a conveyance, it was a part of a person's life, through all weathers and in all social and legal situations, the bike was always there.

That the work progressed very slowly as a result of opinions expressed was of no concern to anyone.

This was detailed work and should not be rushed.

The man from down the road was impressed by the attention the bike was getting and asked if the bike would be for sale?

Invited to state his price, he boldly offered ten bob down and ten bob a week after that.

He neglected to say for how many weeks, for the matter would be ongoing, as far as he was concerned.

"No thanks. Ten bob down and the rest when I catch you with you on the bike, and me running after you,"laughed Da. 

The man was affronted and left.

I dunno whatever happened to that bike.

It may be rolling somewhere still.

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