14. A Planned Bike Ride

14. A Planned Bike Ride

A Chapter by Peter Rogerson



A wet week followed the break-up of the school term for a long and hopefully glorious summer holiday, and during that time Mrs Bingley learned that she was still rather good at being a short-hand typist even though the office where she worked no longer had a typewriter. And simultaneously Mrs Sagebrush experienced the educational delights involved in working close to a neighbour she had long looked down on because the latter rented a council house with two bedrooms whilst she had a big private house (albeit next door to said council house) with far too many bedrooms for the three people who lived in it.

And yet that same lowly woman turned out to be vastly superior to herself at all things office-related, including word processing, which Rona Bringley had mastered in the twinkling of an eye and rapidly became the turn-to woman when Mr Spooks had a problem.

It didn’t know you were such an ace on a computer, Rona,” she said.

Our Daz has got a laptop and I’ve been known to play with it when he’s at school,” replied Rona.

Meanwhile, their two teenage offspring were making a few discoveries of their own, mostly about each other. To start with, Darren discovered that girls (in the shapely form of Jennifer Sagebrush) were delightful companions when they wanted to be, yet determined and firm when they disagreed with him. And Jennifer discovered that far from being a spotty teenage boy, Darren was a highly intelligent and ambitious young man with a keen eye on his own future.

But they were teenagers and Jennifer wore provocative clothing largely because she knew her legs were shapely and pleasing to behold. And in return Darren found himself moving physically ever closer to her and paying an absurd amount of time trying to rid his face of his spots when he was on his own. He rubbed away at them from a tube of goo that his mother had bought and that smelt vaguely of a farmyard. But he was determined and didn’t even wash the stuff off to prevent it surrounding him with its aroma, but covered it up with something from one of his mother’s more floral disinfectant aerosols. And he began to believe that his trademark spots were beginning to shrink under his tutelage.

Then, after that week, the sun returned. Without going into any details, the wet week was one during which they kissed rather a lot, and he fumbled with her and she fumbled with him, all perfectly natural reactions to the instinctive behaviour of their age-group. And in all truth both had been fairly naive at the start of that week and, by its conclusion, knew rather more, both about each other and about themselves.

The return of the sun was welcome. There were some things, mostly physical things, that they couldn’t get enough of, but they were beginning to run out of the sort of conversational topics that had also occupied them. They even re-organised Darren’s bedroom because Jennifer assured him that for such a relatively small room there was a lot of wasted space, and as they did so uncovered scorch mark on the carpet, one that was exactly the same size and shape as his mother’s iron.

I did it,” he confessed, “I needed to smarten my school trousers with a crease and mum was busy, so I tried to do it myself, and forgot the iron when I finished,” he confessed. “I moved my bed to cover it up.”

Silly boy!” she teased him, and he kissed her because to him silly boy was some kind of praise. She moved a book-case to cover the scorch, leaving a different space for the bed, and she kissed him for saying he wished he’d have thought of that back when the scorch had been born. Then, when the job was done, they kissed each other for quite a long time without needing a reason.

But with the return of the sun the deckchairs came out again, on the Sagebrush garden, her summer frock became shorter and he tried to compete by wearing shorts that he dug out from the back of a drawer where they’d lingered since his junior school days and which back then had been too big and gave him the short-lived nick-name of Baggy Daz but what were what some might call indecently tight on him at seventeen.

Jennifer didn’t like them, and told him so. “I’ve seen what you’ve got there in the flesh, so it’s not necessary for you to squeeze yourself into those shorts,” she told him.

He was grateful and went to his newly rearranged room and changed into the current version of P.E. shorts that he owned, and she stroked them to show her approval. So all was well as they settled back in their deckchairs.

What about holidays?” asked Jennifer.

You mean, school holidays?” he asked.

No. I mean the seaside. Don’t you ever go to the seaside?”

Some times,” he told her, “but mum’s got this job now, and can’t take much time off.”

I didn’t mean with parents,” she said, “I meant with you and me. We could go off camping if you like. After all, we’re not kids any more! I’ve got a tent. It used to be my dad’s. But he said he’s past camping, and I should think he is, what with his fat belly and bum!”

He’s not that bad!”

And he likes you, too! But we could go to the seaside on bikes. You’ve got a bike, haven’t you?”

He did, but it was possibly getting to be too small for him, though he could still ride it. It had been a Christmas present when he’d been twelve.

Er … yes,” he mumbled.

And so have I! We could set out one morning quite early, and aim for the coast. Skegness would be nice.”

He frowned. “It’s more than fifty miles,” he said, guessing. “That’s quite a long way!”

But we could easily do it in a day!”

Something historical, maybe the need of boys to always want to be at least equal to girls, took over his mind and common sense.

Of course we could,” he agreed. “But what about the traffic? Before he died my dad said he’d gone by bike to the seaside and he was glad he wasn’t doing it these days because of all the traffic.”

““Phooey to traffic!” she grinned, “We’ll be all right if we go single file and show some sense! And if it’s too far we could always pitch our tents in a field half way there and spend an interesting night counting the stars.”

Or doing something more interesting,” he grinned, making a point of staring at her thighs and the hem of the short pleated skirt from which they emerged.

That’s the trouble with you, you’re a perv!” she said.

Sorry,” he replied, not wanting to upset her.

But I like it!” she laughed, “so is that it, then? Have we made our plans? We’ll check the weather forecast before we go and if it looks like it’s going to be fine we’ll sail off on our bikes into the sunset!”

Sunrise,” he mumbled, ignoring her mixed metaphor.

© Peter Rogerson 11.05.21


© 2021 Peter Rogerson

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Added on May 11, 2021
Last Updated on May 11, 2021
Tags: school holidays, wet weather, parents, seaside, bicycle


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 77 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..