Tandeming Christmas presents galore including a book of my musings!

My Christmas present - shiny new water bottles!

My Christmas present – shiny new stoker and captain water bottles!

Excitement reached fever pitch at Matilda’s Rest on Friday when Christmas Day finally arrived! The “old git” – who should really be re-named Santa over the festive period! – made sure everyone had their ‘ho! ho! ho!’ on, whether they wanted to or not!

On Christmas Eve the “old gal” even put on her Christmas jumper to signal she was in the mood for Santa’s arrival. She had whispered to me that I was getting a present all for myself so I could hardly contain myself! And I knew the “old git” had been planning something with my blog as a present for the “old gal” so it was an exciting time! I could hardly sleep and I am sure I heard Santa’s jingle bells as he delivered his presents around Perthshire!

The “old git” was up early on Christmas morning making sure that Santa had arrived – and he certainly delivered filling the “old gal’s” stockings to overflowing!

Finally it was time for my dynamic duo to tear open their presents. The thing the “old git” had been scheming away about with my blog was turning the whole of my Musings describing our tandeming tour adventures in Bordeaux during September into a hard back coffee table book.

My Musings of our Bordeaux adventures turned into a coffee table book!

My Musings of our Bordeaux trip turned into a coffee table book!

I must say even I was impressed at the what the “old git” had achieved – and you know I’m not easily impressed! – and as for the “old gal” well she thought it was a brilliant idea! There was even a wee tear in the corner of her eye as she read the “old git’s” soppy dedication at the front of the book! Awh shucks!

Each page is in glossy colour and the book is essentially a full record of each day of my blog – including all the photos – as they appeared on-line! A great permanent record of a fabulous trip! And great fun to flick through and bring back those memories of the days in my saddles in warm sunshine, and the great picnics and wines!

And as a special Christmas treat for readers of my blog you can take a look at the complete book (in a pdf version) by clicking on the title of the book here: A Tour de Vineyards et Beaches de Bordeaux du Tandem.

So then it was time to open my present, and the “old git” and the “old gal” made sure Santa delivered a nice pair of shiny new water bottles – complete with “Captain” and “Stoker” on them!

Santa delivered new water bottles for my frame!

Santa delivered new water bottles for my frame!

The “old gal” lovingly fitted them to my water bottle cages and this “old lady” suddenly felt full of festive cheer! I mean it is not every tandem that gets a special present all to themselves! The “old git” said that it must have been because I was a “good girl” as only “good girls” get presents from Santa!

Then before the big Christmas meal, it was time for the “old gal” and the “old git” to open some more presents from friends! And some had excelled themselves with tandem themed gifts! There was a lovely tandem cushion and a tandem mug – albeit the “old git” was a bit miffed that there was only one mug – and that was for the “old gal”!

Tandem themed Christmas gifts from friends!

Tandem themed Christmas gifts from friends!

The “old gal” quickly replied that the “old git” could get a shot of the tandem cushion to put his saddle sore you-know-what on after a hard day’s tandeming! Oh how we (well me and the old gal at least!) laughed!

The rest of Christmas day was spent in a blur of preparing, cooking and then eating and drinking! Pride of place on the festive table were two bottles of top-of-the-range red wines which had been brought back from the wine capital town of St Emillion – bought on the last day of the French tour.

The “old gal” was in seventh heaven when she uncorked them and tasted the contents! The magnificent flavours really did bring back fantastic memories, and a toast was made to doing a similar wine-tasting tandeming trip in 2016 – with the Loire Valley already earmarked as the destination!

Filled like stuffed turkeys, the “old git” and the “old gal” were hoping for some tandem-friendly weather for Boxing Day – so we could all get out to blow away the cobwebs!

But unfortunately it was very stormy around Matilda’s Rest – and very, very wet! So the Boxing Day excursion had to be cancelled. And therefore the “old git” and the “old gal” had to make do with eating leftovers, and enjoying some of the boxes of chocolates while watching rubbish Christmas television.

Oh, but there was the small colourful addition of them cuddling up on the sofa in their animal onesies which Santa had delivered for them both!

The "old git" and the "old gal" in their Tiger and Zebra onesies!

The “old git” and the “old gal” in their Tiger and Zebra onesies!

The “old git” is already trying to persuade the “old gal” that it would make a good blog and photos to cycle in the onesies! But she has firmly said “no”! Well at least for the moment…..!

In the meantime all three of us are hoping the weather improves so we can all get back out on the road.

So finally, I hope all readers of my Musings has a lovely Christmas and that Santa brought you and your tandems what you wanted! If not then the only explanation is that you were on the “naughty” list!

Christmas wishes to fellow tandemers who know its always better together!

Crimbo card 2015

Jingle bells, jingle bells
jingle all the way!
Oh what fun
it is to ride
On a tandem made for two …. !!! 

With the big day fast approaching and thoughts turning to turkey and tinsel and mistletoe and (mulled) wine this “old lady” decided it was time to wish readers of my musings and fellow tandemers everywhere (and even solo cyclists!) a very merry Christmas on behalf of Team Matilda.

The “old git” being a huge fan of the Christmas period is in a festive frenzy – while the “old gal” is enjoying the (mulled) wine while trying to exert a calming influence!

However they are hoping to squeeze in a couple of rides over the festive period – including a “blow away the cobwebs” tandem to welcome in the New Year in the first couple of days of 2016.

So stay tuned for that … but in the meantime my dynamic duo of the “old git” and the “old gal” would like to thank you all for reading my musings this year and following their adventures! And thanks for all your messages of support!

We hope you found it entertaining – and that it made you smile – while finding something that you (as non-professional fun-loving fellow tandemers) could relate to!

There will be many more musings during 2016 – hopefully including the build-up to and the day-to-day reports of the planned Team Tandem Ecosse’s annual trip to France to enjoy the vineyards, which this year is going to be a “Tour de Loire Valley du Tandem”!

For anyone wondering, the Christmas card image is a snow-sprinkled image from our 2015 tour of the Medoc area of Bordeaux – which included some fantastic scenery including this picture taken at the wild and beautiful Atlantic coast beach resort of  Soulac-sur-Mer.

So here’s to a wonderful festive season to all. And on behalf of all captains and stokers everywhere – lets hope Santa fills your Christmas stockings with all the good things you have put on your present list!

Mind you, that does make an assumption that you are on the “good tandemers” list rather than the “naughty tandemers list!”

And remember: It truly is always better when you’re together on a tandem”!!

So have a “twice the fun” Merry Christmas from Colin, Diane … (and of course) Matilda!

Crimbo card 2015


Jingle my bells! My dynamic duo turn into Santa and Rudolph!

Santa and Rudolph - trying to do a four hoofed impersonation! Jingle Bells!

Santa and Rudolph – trying to do a four hoofed impersonation! Jingle Bells!

So Sunday again and those of you who take note of what I actually write in my Musings will know just what a disappointment it was two weeks ago when my appearance at the local Auchterarder Christmas light switch on was snowed off!

And you will also be aware that the “old git” likes nothing better than developing a crazy idea or two!

Well this weekend he excelled himself! The “old git” is a great fan of the Christmas period and given the slightest encouragement he will dress up as Santa in his full costume – while the “old gal” tries to keep as far away from him as possible and slink into the background, claiming not to know him!

But not content with the Santa suit, he somehow managed to “borrow” a full size Rudolph the Reindeer outfit. And guess who that was for?! yes, the “old gal”!

The grand plan was that they would tandem up and down Auchterarder high street (the longest high street in Scotland I’ll have you know) as Santa and Rudolph! And amazingly the “old gal” went along with it! (Even the “old git” was quite surprised at that one!) They even planned a few stops at one or two local businesses for picture opportunities!

I have to say I was actually feeling rather festive and pleased with myself as we set off – with my coloured Christmas lights! And I was feeling even more pleased with myself with the reaction it brought out on the high street! Lots of cheering and waving – especially from the crowd of people heading into the town hall for a carol concert!

There were a few funny looks too, it would have to be said! And more than a few double takes – mainly from the people standing outside the local hostelries! I guess one or two maybe thought they had a sherry too many and couldn’t believe what they were seeing!

And the look on the bus load of Celtic football fans heading home from a match against St Johnstone in Perth was a picture! Two were even overheard asking their pals: “Is this normal?”!

So first stop was the local Synergy Cycles shop – which is full of very sleek new light-weight cycles for this “old lady” to ogle at … but, disappointingly, no tandems!

My dynamic duo as Santa and Rudolph outside Synergy Cycles.

My dynamic duo as Santa and Rudolph outside Synergy Cycles.

My appearance certainly created a bit of a stir, with some of the people who were in the bike shop cafe coming out to take photos, including a few who asked if they could take selfies along with my dynamic duo in full festive gear!

The mince pies promised by owner Donnie had all been eaten but the “old git” and the “old gal” had an ace coffee and some very tasty caramel shortbread!

Rudolph (or at least her head) about to have her coffee and caramel shortcake!

Rudolph (or at least her head) about to have her coffee and caramel shortcake!

The “old git” quickly had a look at all the Christmas gifts and gadgets on offer – while the “old gal” had donned a Synergy Cycles top and was eyeing up a flash new electric bike.

Rudolph fancied a swish new electric bike - so much for the old fashioned pedalling!

Rudolph fancied a swish new electric bike – so much for the old-fashioned pedalling!

But I am sure she was just joking when she said “This is all I want for Christmas” … as she wouldn’t turn her back on this “old lady.” Although I have heard whispers about the possibility of a motor pack being added to give me a bit of a boost going up hills. But that is going to have to wait until the “old git” and the “old gal” win the lottery – as they are not cheap!

So after causing chaos at Synergy it was time to cross the high street to pay a visit to Corbie and Cheip – the town’s new deli and wine bar.

Santa and Rudolph got plenty of attention at Corbie and Cheip.

Santa and Rudolph got plenty of attention at Corbie and Cheip.

The business has a single bike which, would you believe, is even older than this “old lady” sitting outside. And as we parked up alongside owner Anne came out saying she had to take some photos for her Twitter feed!

There was a general hold up as a number of customers stopped what they were doing and took some more pictures of me and my crew! And you know how I like to have my photo taken!

More photos were taken outside Corbie and Cheip!

More photos were taken outside Corbie and Cheip!

I have to say I was impressed at the resolve of the “old git” and “old gal” who turned down the chance of a little glass of wine – but they had to head home as darkness was now falling … and I am not too good when it is fully dark!

So after all that fun it was time to return to Matilda’s Rest – with time for one final shot with the “tasteful” Christmas decorations at the front door!

Matilda's Rest - complete with Christmas decorations!

Matilda’s Rest – complete with Christmas decorations!

Time for a wee nap for me after all that! After all there is only so much excitement an “old lady” like me can handle in one afternoon!

My sparkling role at Auchterarder light switch on is snowed off!

The "old gal" having a good laugh about tandeming in the snow!

The “old gal” having a good laugh about the prospect of tandeming in the snow!

It was all set to be such an exciting weekend! Regular readers of my Musings will know all about the “old git’s” meticulous planning ahead of trips. And to be fair, usually this is to everyone’s benefit (tho the “old gal” does find it just a bit of  a pain at times!)

But believe it or not, there are actually some things that even the “old git’s” planning can’t counter! And last weekend’s sudden snow fall was one of those occasions .

The “old git’s” big plan was that this “old lady” would feature in a starring role in the local Christmas lights switch-on event in our home town of Auchterarder on Sunday – complete with my own new sparkling lights! I was so excited, I could hardly sleep!

He even persuaded the “old gal” to go along with his idea (well she smiled sweetly at the suggestion anyway!) that my dynamic duo would tandem up and down the length of the high street wearing their unmissable Christmas jumpers and Santa hats.

The "old git" in true festive spirit in the snow!

The “old git” as a true Christmas Pudding in the snow!

He had even arranged to take a few photos outside the local bike store Synergy Cycles – with me nuzzling up to those fast sleek boy racer type bikes with those dropped handlebars to show what a game “old lady” I can still be! There was even the promise of a mince pie and coffee on offer!

And a stop was also planned at the new deli and wine bar called Corbie and Cheip to have my photo taken beside the old bike – that is actually older than me, but doesn’t go anywhere – the friendly German owner has stationed as an eye-catching prop outside their premises. She even suggested it would be fun to have a shot at tandeming! Well I’m, not sure what the “old gal” thinks about that idea!

After attracting  a fair bit of attention, and no doubt a few ribald comments from the locals in the town, the master plan was then that I would be parked outside the “old gal’s” hair salon in the town – Number 57 Hair Salon – as an added Christmas light attraction – ahead of the big switch on.

So it’s all very well to have a plan, but Mother Nature put a major spoke in my wheels with a heavy dump of snow on Sunday morning. And it wasn’t the slushy type of snow that disappears as fast as it falls. No, this was the proper dry, fluffy, not-going-anywhere-fast type of snow.

So as noon approached – the time of the Santa parade through the town – it became clear that tandeming was out of the question. Firstly I am an “old lady” and have to look after my joints these days – and secondly, I don’t have a set of winter tyres or snow chains!

The “old git” – who had worked himself up into a crescendo about the big light switch on – was devastated! But the “old gal” gamely consoled him by suggesting we go outside in front of Matilda’s Rest and take a few fun photos in the snow – complete with their Christmas jumpers and Santa hats!

He was ecstatic and soon we are all outside standing in between 2 and 3 inches of snow – having  a good giggle.

A snow selfie showing the outlook from Matilda's Rest.

A snow selfie and the outlook from Matilda’s Rest.  Spot the “old gal’s” animal print trimmed Santa hat!

The dynamic duo immediately turned into a pair of teenagers frolicking about in the snow flakes – with the “old git” determined to land a snowball on the “old gal’s” new animal print trimmed Santa hat! Much screaming was heard until mission was accomplished!

She does like a bit of animal print does the “old gal” as you will see from looking at her designer wellies – featuring giraffe print! Not that you see many giraffes in Auchterarder – although the “old git” did point out that you sometimes do see the odd “endangered species” walking up the high street!

The "old gal" complete with her wildlife wellies - and nearly a Christmas tree growing out of her head!

The “old gal” complete with her wildlife wellies – and nearly a Christmas tree growing out of her head!

So after a few minutes of getting cold – and the neighbours wondering if my dynamic duo were totally mad posing for pictures in the snow with me – it was time to be put back in my warm garage. And I must say I was quite glad they didn’t change their mind and decided on a snow tandem session!

The “old git” persuaded the “old gal” that a walk up to the high street would be fun so they donned their anoraks, hats and gloves and set off – just as more snow started to fall.

It was a real winter wonderland as they walked along – only to find the high street virtually deserted.  It came as no great surprise to find out that the big Christmas lights switch on – which was due to be carried out by “mystery guest” BBC Scotland weather girl Judith Ralston – had been cancelled due to the inclement weather. Some what ironic that a weather girl couldn’t switch on the lights due to … the weather!!!!

So they decided to escape the snow and retreat into Corbie and Cheip for a warming coffee and a slice of cake. The “old git” had a lovely home-made ginger and carrot cake while the “old gal” had a slice of a tasty festive chocolate cake, accompanied by some real hand-roasted coffee. And as you know the “old gal” is a bit of a coffee aficionado – and she was impressed … so it must be good!

It was like a scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" as huge snow flakes fell.

It was like a scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life” as huge snow flakes fell.

In fact the “old gal” would happily have sat there all day, but after a quick look at some of the tasty foodie goodies on offer in the deli (and taking notes for a few items for some presents) my duo returned to base.

A quick glance at the forecast showed that the weather was in fact closing in – forcing the local Perth Winter Festival organisers to abandon their (eve of) Saint Andrews Day celebrations which included an outdoor concert and ceilidh.

My duo were home in time to catch the last set as Andy Murray (from nearby Dunblane) beat David Goffin to virtually win the Davis Cup for Great Britain almost single-handedly. Well done Andy!

All in all, despite not getting out for a pedal it wasn’t  a total right off! But the “old git” still has aspirations to get out for a pre-Christmas ride to show off my lights. Watch this space!

Smile for the camera! A photo taken via selfie stick stuck in the snow and on timer!

Smile for the camera! A photo taken via selfie stick stuck in the snow and on timer!