Wednesday, 15 August 2012

K is for Knighton

My husband confessed to having a crush on Victoria Pendleton.  I know I can never aspire to the levels of fitness and commitment to sporting excellence of the Olympian, but I can get on my bike and show willing! For our 'K' alphabet date, that is exactly what I did.

One of the things I love about where I live in Shropshire is how easy it is to set off down a quiet lane through gorgeous countryside and end up in a little village complete with village pub. For our K date, we headed towards one such village - Knighton.

It was a beautiful evening and I loved the feel of the wind in my hair. I wasn't so keen on the feel of Kamikaze insects dive bombing into my eyes, nose and mouth. I had to stop my bike and get my husband to remove one tenacious little flying creature from my eye. It was quite romantic really - reminiscent of the 1940s black and white classic Brief Encounter where a piece of grit is removed from the eye of a suburban housewife at a train station by a fellow passenger leading to forbidden love and finally, tearful farewells.

We cycled to the White Lion at Knighton. I was slightly alarmed by the long downhill stretch before we got there, realising that this would be a long uphill stretch on the return journey.

The pub did not have Kronenburg so I settled for Carlsberg which seemed the closest thing in terms of phonetics. It was disappointing that the menu, which looked excellent, did not offer a single vegetarian main meal option. We were about to change our plan to include a detour for chips with Ketchup on the way home when the barmaid came over to tell us that the chef had offered to cook us any vegetarian meal we wanted (within reason). We ordered vegetable curry and I was delighted when it was served to us with a neatly moulded dome of pilau rice wrapped in a dark cabbage leaf. The curry itself was a different beast entirely from the sort I enjoy at my favourite Indian Restaurant. It was a lightly spiced medley of vegetables cooked just enough to retain their crunch. And the portion was generous enough to satisfy the appetite I had built up with the 6 mile bike ride so far.

We talked about Knickers!

My husband likes me to wear thongs. So much so that he once raided my underwear drawer and replaced all my Bridget Jones-esque 'dress for comfort' big knickers with sexy little offerings that occupied very little space by comparison. Recently I have taken to wearing panties in the 'shorts' style. When I asked him if my choice of underwear was a disappointment, he answered in his usual considered manner. He surmised that it was a diagonal line across the buttocks that he objected to in ladies undergarment styling. A fully exposed buttock as in a thong or a horizontal line framing the buttock as in shorts were both equally preferable. Had the topic of Knickers not fitted in so well with a K date, we would never had had this conversation!

The ascent I had feared at the start of our journey home was easily accomplished with legs oiled by lager! I had only drank one and a half pints but I did feel myself being a little less cautious and enjoying my cycling with childlike abandon. A dead cat lying on the side of the road, almost certainly hit by a car, was a sobering sight. That was one Kitty that would not be answering the call of it's owners to return home.

As we cycled past the church in the village where my little girl will be starting primary school this September, the bells rang out. The perfect timing of this made it feel as though they were heralding our arrival in the village. A little further on, a huge flock of Canadian Geese took off from a field and flew right over our heads in two slightly messy V formations with a loud cacophony of honking. I actually stopped my bike to fully enjoy the spectacle.

The sun was sinking very low by this time. It had been a long time since I'd cycled anywhere in the dark and I really loved it. We stopped on a humpback bridge going over a canal to finish our date with a Kiss in the eerie stillness of twilight.

Come September, crossing the canal on the humpback bridge will form part of my school run. I hope that it will always remind me of a special evening and bring a little smile to my face.

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