Sunday, 3 January 2010

A Bicycle Named Gladys

The last few days have given us temperatures of-35C with a -45 windchill (-31/-49F). Since there is no pressing reason for me to go outside, I have been bundled up inside with the books I received for Christmas.

I am currently enjoying The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. I cheer for the protagonist, 11-year-old detective Flavia de Luce, as only a former 11-year-old detective (and not her mother) can.

Flavia rides her late mother’s three-speed BSA Keep Fit bicycle, L’Hirondelle, (the swallow) which she found “languishing for years in a toolshed”. She rescues her from “rusty oblivion” but her tires were flat and “her gears bone dry and crying out for oil”. She restores L’Hirondelle, and renames her Gladys.

Gladys carries Flavia on her investigations and allows her the freedom of movement and imagination we all relished at that age. “...I let Gladys have her head, swooping down the slopes past the rushing hedges, imaging all the while I was the pilot of one of the Spitfires which, just five years ago, had skimmed these very hedgerows like swallows as they came in to land at Leathcote.”

I wasn’t surprised to find an online ‘Flavia de Luce Fan Club’ as I’ve only read a few chapters, but I can’t wait to find out what she does next.


spiderleggreen said...

Brrr! It only got down in the negative teens, down south in Mpls. The only place that gets that cold down here is Embarrass, Minnesota. Stay warm with that book.

Dottie said...

Yipes, that is cold! I would be looking to books for my cycling refuge, too :) Stay warm.

Carinthia said...

Brrr... reading is the only alternative and I'll have to seek that book out myself (it's too HOT to cycle here at the moment!). It sounds great... especially with a lovely old BSA as a partner in investigation. Stay warm... :-)

cycler said...

What a lovely sounding book- I'm going to add it to my list of requests at the library right now!

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a cold winter day- inside with a good book!

Richard said...

Read French Revolutions by Tim Moore.

Carinthia said...

Reading this at the moment (thank you eBay) and really enjoying it. Flavia does have her own voice and I've had several laugh out loud moments from this book so far.

Lady Vélo said...

I was talking to my Mum about BSA Bicycles yesterday as she used to have one many years ago!

Wonderful blog :)

Lady Vélo.