Thank you Aunty Phil!

(Butterfly in Powerscourt Gardens)

The Happy Pear cafe/restaurant/vegetable shop in Greystones has come up with another healthy idea. They are asking people to donate their old bicycles, no matter what condition. They will fix them up and then make them available free-to-ride around the town, just like the blue bicycles in Dublin and other cities. Then you can leave your car on the edge of town and borrow a bike and ride around to get your groceries or to just meet friends.

(No pictures of The Happy Pear – a happy cabbage instead?)

That got me thinking about when I first came to live in the big city (Dublin) when I was nineteen. My mother organised that I would live with my aunt, who was (and still is!) just three years older than me. I had just got into a computer course with a small software house and she was at university in Trinity. She travelled in each day on her bicycle. At home in Cashel, I used my bike once in a while and usually only rode it on the footpaths…. nevertheless, it was decided I would need my bicycle. As my course was on her way and I didn’t know (for a while…) how to get there, we rode together most mornings.

(Old stone wall on the Aran Islands)

It would probably have been the bravest thing I ever did, if I thought it was dangerous. But I didn’t. My aunt taught me how to weave in and out through the traffic – there were no cycle lanes then. She taught me that it was essential to be at the front of the traffic when the lights went from red to green. She taught me that I had as much right to be using the road as the cars, buses (no bus lanes either) and trucks, and she taught me to believe that. Because, once I knew I belonged on the road, the other road users knew it too and they gave me space.

(Old stones on the beach)

She did all of this without telling me anything. But in her every behaviour she told me by example.

Be the example of what you want in the world, Mairead.

PS. Thank you Auntie Phil!

2 thoughts on “Thank you Aunty Phil!

  1. I laughed and remembered when I read this blog.I wasnt a very responsible auntie ignoring rules of the road and adopting agressive cycling policy when unleashing my gorgeous niece onto the city streets.I am so proud of you and how you have grown into a wonderful,confident woman full of warmth and self belief. Go safely on your bike in greystones!!

  2. Aaaaw, thank you again Auntie Phil! You were and you are a great example to me. xxx

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