Monday, 18 June 2012

I WANT... To Sit Up & Beg!

I think that by now, most of you realise that I am partial to a bit of romanticism when it comes to living in the English countryside and am inclined to skip over the realities and hardships (at least on my blog!) that it can often entail, in favour of the pure beauty and delight that can be found in everyday country living. Some days I'd much rather focus on the delights of activities and pastimes that have hardly changed over the past century. Call me a dreamer if you must, but in a world full of frequent conflict and increasingly harsh politics (and rain...) sometimes it's nice to fantasise and focus on things that are...well,...just darned pretty...

...and today my focus is on the grand pastime of good old fashioned 'cycling'.

Now, when I think of vegetable gardens, I think of perfect potagers with clipped box hedging. When I think of chickens, my mind turns to charmingly hued Buff Orpingtons, or characterful little bantams with fluffy knickerbockered feet - and when I think of bicycles, I think of the traditional and amusingly named 'sit up and beg' variety (named due to their perfect posture inducing seating position), with their large wicker front baskets and rear blanket straps, in delicious pastel ice-cream shades.

I imagine taking wonderful trips through Summer fields and winding country lanes, with jam packed picnics and flasks of 'real' lemonade strapped to my basket...

I imagine a floaty Summer dress folded carefully into my lap and a weathered straw hat threatening to fly off my head as I soar along...

Does anyone actually cycle like this...?

I do in my dreams...

In my dreams, ALL bicycles are pink, mint green or powder blue. ALL bicycles have baskets full of Hydrangeas, Summer flowers and freshly baked bread. ALL picnics feature home made Victoria sponge cake, real lemonade and cucumber sandwiches. ALL apples are large, deep red, shiny and organic...

...and of course ALL men ride a Pashley 'Guv'nor'...

I know, I reality, real life with it's ups and downs, bad weather and metaphorical bumps and pot holes, is never quite as perfect...

Happy Monday!

Images courtesy of;1-8)BEG Bicycles; 9) Pashley Guv'nor; 10) Lucille Ball



  1. That would be me in the last picture, but my skirt would be around my ears!

  2. I love the pink version with the wicker basket - just perfect.

  3. I am enchanted by your cleverness in getting all these pictures to illustrate your mood and thoughts..I must try it out, but I am not very technical at all... however it was a rather dreamy and lovely post so thank you for that.... I was feeling a bit low after having a back tooth taken out this morning and the pain returning.. got to go and get some more painkillers, but thanks for a lovely post!!

  4. I have the same dreams of riding a bike! Just need a picnic basket and I am off.

  5. Hello,
    I am soo with you on this one.....
    Dream on thats what i say!
    Join me for a picnic...
    Maria x

  6. WHAT a lovely, wonderful read this morning.

    Paula, I am too, a dreamer. With the RAIN (WE ARE GETTING IT DAILY OUT HERE TOO!) and the politics and realities, dreaming is of the utmost importance. I refuse to let go of dreaming, but what is THREATENING, is the reality for example, of making a living. I am experiencing the fears of the REALITY that my choice to give a try at selling my art will flop, and I will have to return to the world of teaching. But we do create the world we live in and I am bound and determined to MAKE my dream come true...even if I feel a bit....NO.....VERY scared.

    I love your vision. Make it happen. AND...the book has not arrived yet, but maybe TODAY????? I HOPE SO!!!

    I will let you know and thank you dear for visiting my blog! Anita

  7. I am with you! I purchased one such bike, but since we have moved to the country, I don't ride it is now in the city with our daughter who loves it! I love Lucy;)

  8. Ha, Ha! Laughing my buns off :) Are you okay, dear friend? That is quite a fall. Still laughing!

    Those are some yummy bikes....might get run over riding one in DC, though. One can dream, right? Except mine will be Gustavian grey with white peonies in the basket :-)


  9. These bikes are so pretty! I haven't rode a bike for years, always used to fall off at the bottom of hills cos the breaks were useless! he he

    Bee happy x
    Have a delicious day!

  10. I like your idea of a bike too, nothing energetic or sweaty! Would quite just likE an old one parked outside my front door with flowers in the basket, not actually going anywhere! Have a lovely week, Claire xxx

  11. i wish to have that kind of bike. sometimes i have seen them on pages of British Country Living mag and they look very old fashioned bikes, like there was in Victorian era.

  12. Thank you for this little beautiful escape. My husband and kids gave me a minty green bicycle with a flowered seat and wicker basket on the handle bars...I smile whenever I see is a comfortable ride but not very fast. Just for cruising :)

  13. I love these bikes and need a more stylish one. In truth here in our town a lot of people ride their bikes to our small gorcer and have baskets on their bikes. My bike is nothing as pretty as these.


  14. I want a bicycle like that. And that gorgeous boy too!! In my mind, I too look glamorous like in the old movies on my bike. In reality my hair becomes a birds nest and £4.50's worth of my knickers disappear somewhere uncomfortable. :(

  15. Hi Paula,

    Yes, we do have bicycles like that in Holland! My daughters ride a bicycle like the one on your photo's. You will just have to come over and get one :-)

    Your way of cycling and enjoying the countryside sounds so very romantic. You are right: just forget about the strong winds and the rain. Life is a picknick :-)!!

    Have a lovely new week!

    Madelief x

  16. PAULA DEAR!!! I just came in from sitting in my garden where GUESS WHAT I OPENED???????

    I heard the postman come. I ran out and there was a LARGE package.....I sat by my fountain, opened it up and savored the most GORGEOUS I am in love.

    THANK YOU. I cannot tell you how much these beautiful images mean to me for your lovely world is a place I would love to visit and emulate in my home. My house is French inspired, but we are going to be adding exposed beams to our large living space. One of the photos in the book reminded me of what I long to have in that room. Total beauty my dear and I am so happy to be following you.

    I STRUCK IT RICH with this win!

    Have an enchanting day, Anita

    1. Oh Anita - I'm SO glad that you like it - I have it too, and it's an absolute favourite of mine!
      Best wishes,
      Paula x

  17. I just wanted to tell you that my husband lovingly snatched the book away and looked at every single page and oooohed and ahhhhhed all the way through. Oh I love it.


  18. I actually have a Raleigh bicycle languishing in my shed ! It has a basket but it is in need of some TLC there is somewhere in Hastings where I could take it but I don't really know if I would ride it, but I love the idea ! especially with the basket full of fresh flowers, bread, homemade cake and lemonade !!! :)

  19. Love this post. I do have a mint green bike with a basket like the one in the picture and I love it! I have also been known to wear a summer dress and straw hat while riding it. These cruisy bikes are such a pleasure to ride. I can see you riding one in the beautiful english countryside. Leahx

  20. PAULA!

    Thanks again for coming by the blog. OH how you made my day with that book! Now all I need are some sheep, some wellies and a hillside to romp around in and we are set!!!!!

    Have a PERFECT DAY! Anita

  21. Hi Paula,
    Such a romantic and lovely vision.
    I haven't ridden a bike in years. Truth be told I'm a bit scared on the country lanes, with the bonkers drivers around here.
    I think the boys have a couple of orange Choppers in the garage!- but thats a totally different picture altogether!
    Have a lovely week.

  22. Oh Paula! You're a romantic and idealist just like me. I love your biking vision-- it's beautiful. And the humorous ending is perfect.

    Like I said, I am a romantic, and I will tell you that, like many other Americans, my view of those of you who live in the English countryside can hardly be topped when it comes to romanticism. The English country life is what my romantic dreams are made of!


  23. The photographs are heavenly.I can almost smell the summer breeze as I waft down a lane edged by lush hedging, with my pink lemonade and cucumber sandwiches in the front basket. I love your daydreams.

  24. Three years ago I DID look like the last image. I wrecked while riding and shattered my elbow (which is now made of rods, pins, and a wire basket. Still I loved your post and it's beautiful photos!

  25. Are you sure we're not twins?? My dreams are exactly the same, pretty old fashioned bicycles filled with roses :) I just LOVE this post - so romantic and so perfect for Summer! Do you have one of these bikes - I am sorely tempted to get a pink one!!


  26. Paula, Great photos. I especially love the pink bike. Would also totally embrace a lifestyle that would allow unhurried rides up and down country lanes. Good to dream!! Never heard of the term "sit up and beg" for this kind of bike...but you can bet now that I've heard it, I won't forget it. Thanks for stopping by my blog. All the best.

  27. Gosh! This made me laugh, I used to cycle everywhere when I was a student, (1980s) in my long floaty Laura Ashley dresses, and constantly caught them in the bike chain! I still cycle when I can, but stick to trousers now!

  28. Gorgeous post. I do actually cycle in Spain, with my basket attached to my bike. However, I am sure it will all change when I move back to the UK this summer ;-)

  29. These bikes are very romantic! My first bike was like that but in those days they were very heavy. When the lighter ones came on the market I changed because here we have many hills. Lovely post, as always! Christa

  30. My first "grown-up" bike was like one of these - it was my Mum's and had a speedometer as well as baskets on the back and front. It was the envy of my friends but incredibly heavy compared to a modern bike!

  31. Hi paula thankyou for your lovely comments over on my blog ,i do love reading yours too ,i tend to see everything like you do its a lovely world to be in isnt it xxxx

  32. What would England be if we didn't still have those dreams of classic bicycles, Miss Marple, high tea and cottage gardens. Whatever makes us feel good, even if it's not exactly the way we live anymore ! Great post, as always !xx

  33. Dearestt Paula,
    I am so sorry it took so long to visit you! I was so very busy the past weeks!
    Thank you so much for following my blog and for all your sweet comments!
    I love your bicycle post of today! Soooo charming! Beautiful pictures!
    And now I am off to read some of your earlier posts!!
    Have a great start of this new week my friend!

  34. Hi Paula, thank you for your comments on my last post and bicycle - I too wanted a pale green but I couldn't find hydrangeas but I did cycle home with a baguette propped in my basket from my local waitrose! Love your photos! Have a lovely week. Sharon

  35. Whow, whow. I love your pictures and style.
    Lovely hugs

  36. What kind of bike is the top pink one?

  37. Wow! I just stumbled upon your blog by accident as a result of googling large wicker bike basket (because I need one, of the vintage variety). How happy am I? I think we must be 'sistas from other misters' or something - as I got that slight heart flutter as I scrolled through the images on this page and then read your little blurb, thinking, yep yep, that's so mee. And those bikes though.....aaah. Anyway, you have a new subscriber. Is what I'm saying :-)


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