When the going gets tough … there really is only one thing to do! Have a Christmas lights celebration – involving decorating a tandem for the festive season ahead, a ride out and Billy Ocean … oh and Showaddywaddy as well!
Yes I know you don’t get many blog posts which have an intro like that … so let me explain.
As some of you will know the “old git” is a bit of a Christmas zealot so there was much excitement in Matilda’s Rest this weekend as Saturday night was the big Christmas lights switch on in nearby Perth – with some golden oldie pop stars topping the bill.
But before that the “old git” decided he would decorate this “old lady” with some fancy Christmas lights for the festive season ahead – despite the deep reservations held by the “old gal” as to whether this was actually a good idea.
But when the “old git” gets an idea into his head – there is no stopping him! So one day when out for his lunchtime walk from his office in Glasgow he discovered that the nearby Poundland store was selling strings of battery operated led Christmas lights and small fibre optic trees. (and yes, they were priced at £1 incidentally!)
He invested a few pounds on a collection and returned to Matildas Rest to show off his purchases – with the idea of decorating my ageing frame. As I say the “old gal” was somewhat less enthusiastic – but knew that total resistance was futile!
So she humoured him instead telling him it was a great idea and to “go for it”! Well the “old git” likes a bit of encouragement so on Saturday morning he spent several hours attaching these battery operated lights to my frame.
But I have to say he actually made a good job of it – believe it or not – and I now look extremely festive sporting a set of ice blue led lights along my top bar, and two sets of multi-coloured led lights to my z frame. The finishing tough was a “classy” red fibre optic mini Christmas tree for the handlebars!
And it would have to be said that when the “old gal” saw the finished result – she changed her tune and was actually quite impressed! Yes, really!
Now there is no point in decorating for Christmas if you are kept in the garage, so the “old git” promised me that we are going out for a ride-out on Sunday to show off my new lights – despite the forecast of near zero temperatures. The plan is to go out in the afternoon so it will be dusky by the time we return to show off the lights to best effect!
But before that my dynamic duo had the mega excitement of the Christmas light switch on event in Perth – about 12 miles from Matilda’s Rest.
The city was absolutely buzzing when the “old git” and the “old gal” arrived early evening – enjoying a walk through the Chocolate Festival on the way to the main stage.
This was effectively a Farmers Market style event of local chocolatiers selling everything from tasty and unusual chocolate flavourings, wonderful hot chocolate drinks and even a chocolate gin!
The “old git” had to pull the “old gal” away – but only after a few purchases were made – so they could get to the main stage as believe it or not this year’s switch on event took the form of a mini music festival.
First up my dynamic duo enjoyed bopping away and singing along to an hour-long set from Showaddywaddy – including their Three Steps to Heaven hit.
Then there was the countdown to the light switch on – with a wonderful firework display magically lighting up the River Tay.
Next on stage was a trendy boy band, apparently called Lawson. Seems they are quite famous among the screaming youngsters – but not the music for my dynamic duo so they retreated to a local hostelry for a small beverage!
And then to finish it was time for an amazing performance from Billy Ocean – quite incongruous really! The hits kept coming from Love Really Hurts Without You, Red Light and Caribbean Queen.
But the biggest cheer was saved for his signature song – When The Going Gets Tough – which had the many thousands in the audience singing along.
In previous years the local organisers have kind of messed up the event but all credit to them, this year they got it spot on. Something for all ages to enjoy. Check out more details of their related Winter Festival events here.
So after a good blast back in time with the retro pop acts, it was time to head home to the warmth of Matilda’s Rest and get some zzzs for the tandem ride – with the official unveiling of my festive lights!
Sunday dawned with the day frosty and chilly as had been forecast so wrapping up warm was essential with temperatures hovering around zero. My dynamic duo donned multiple layers – with the “old git” even managing to wear his day-glo t-shirt over his cycling jacket!
We all waited till after lunchtime to head off, hoping the temperature would rise. But it was stuck at frozen so any plans for a long ride were curtailed. But we headed off in good spirits through the cold air on the country back roads towards Dunning.
And it was cold! Very cold! And the cold air was playing havoc with the breathing of the “old git” and the “old gal” – and thus restricting the speed we could ride at, especially on the inclines!
Just outside Dunning we stopped (briefly) to take in the magnificent Perthshire countryside – complete with snow-capped hills – and a quick photo opportunity.
We were keen to get going again and soon made it to Dunning just as the sun started to fall behind the hills.
The “old git” was in his element as he got to switch on my new light display for the journey back. It maybe wasn’t in the same league as the gala switch-on in Perth the night before, but it was just as exciting (for him at least!)
The “old gal” was starting to feel the cold by the time we got to Dunning and even turned down the chance of a g&t in the local pub – saying she didn’t want to stop in case she froze (literally) up!
So we headed back to Auchterarder – somewhat slower than our usual pace due to the coldness. The “old gal” was complaining she couldn’t feel her toes any more and even the “old git” – who claims not to feel the cold – admitted his hands were freezing!
I must admit even I was quite glad to be back at Matilda’s Rest as it was a tad on the chilly side – and you know us “old ladies” don’t really do cold weather. Both me and the “old gal” were dreaming of being back in the sun-kissed French countryside, tandeming through a vineyard track, going from tasting to tasting, before one of our wonderful Team Tandem Ecosse picnics!
And then we wakened up and realised we were still in Scotland! But before a welcoming hot cup of coffee and some shortbread for my dynamic duo, we had to get a few photos of my new festive decorations as darkness beckoned.
I hope you agree I look rather attractive with my Christmas lights. And if you agree please leave a comment for me and I will promise to get back to you!
Two other things before I go! Firstly the “old gal” has promised that next Sunday I can be part of the Christmas lights switch-on celebration in our home town of Auchterarder. It seems I can be parked outside the “old gal’s” hair salon to add a festive touch. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep all week for the excitement! And I know the “old git” will be equally excited. He is even trying to persuade the “old gal” that a quick ride up and down the high street complete with Christmas jumpers and Santa hats would be a fab idea! Watch this space! Ho! ho! ho!
And finally, I am rather chuffed as the “old git” received an email recently inviting him to enter Matildas Musings for the UK Blog Awards 2016! What an honour! More of that as the weeks go on – including how you can vote for us!