One of the loveliest thing to happen this year has been reconnecting with my cousin Miriam in Australia. Looking through a box of Dad's old photos, I found a note of my ten Oz cousins, and the names of their spouses etc. Although M is on her own now, she has kept her rather unusual surname, and typing it into Facebook revealed a picture that was clearly Miriam and my Auntie Jean [now a sprightly widow in her 90s] M wanted to know if that was her on the back of my Dad's bike, nearly 60 years ago. No, that's cousin Oriel, now a grandma up in Yorkshire! Dad loved his various motorbikes, and until I came along, Mum rode pillion. As I did, she had her own scooter in her 20s.
This week I have been reading about two intrepid females who rode/ride motorbikes
Doris Halsall, now 96, was a wartime despatch rider. You can read her full story here on the wonderful Spitalfields Life blog. During WW2 she rode all over the place, doing her bit for the War Effort.
The second motorbiker is Isabelle Kydd, and I read her story on the BBC website magazine pages here She works on a voluntary basis, travelling all over the country delivering supplies of blood, surgical tools and more to hospitals everywhere, saving lives and enabling operations.
My admiration for these two women is very great. Riding a motorbike takes skill, and concentration. To use such gifts for the benefit of others is a praiseworthy thing.
We had to bid farewell to our red Honda this year. If you see us on two wheels in 2017, then we will be pedal powered. Bicycles will be the order of the day. But I am hanging on to my biker's thermal underwear, as I will have need of them in four weeks time. Watch out for an exciting announcement soon!