going biking with Charles and the children at the
weekend. They have the proper safety gear, of
course: helmets, knee pads, elbow pads,
fluorescent armbands, and a plastic wallet for
putting maps in which hangs round Charles
neck. With the wind in their faces, they pedal
along the Brighton bus lanes, passing all the
supermarket traffic, to the farm shop where they
buy locally grown produce at exorbitant prices.
Then they cycle back home and put the fruit and
vegetables into the walk-in American-style fridge.
do we have to have cabbage and parsnips again?
its off to lunch at one of the pubs in the
South Downs on the bikes again, naturally,
Felicity pointing out birds and plants in the
hedgerow. You can see much more when
youre not in the car.
replies, Yes, darling, and
Thats interesting, darling,
while Rory and Toby discuss whether Daddys
car is faster than Oliver down-the-roads
Halfway up the
first hill, Toby decides that hes too tired
to ride any further. Come on, old chap,
says Charles. Exercise is good for you.
Did you know that one in ten six year olds is
In the pub at
last, Charles and Felicity drink organic wine
from Sussex vineyards and Rory and Toby eat
cocktail sausages, made from ethically- reared
pigs, who have lived short but happy lives on the
Downs eating organic swill.
Back home in
the afternoon, Charles sprawls out on the leather
sofa and reads The Guardian while
Felicity spends a happy hour with Elizabeth
Davids Mediterranean Food and
the half-bottle of Merlot they didnt finish
last night. Eventually, she prepares a
complicated dish using organic polenta and whole
spices that looks and tastes like Yorkshire
pudding. As they sit down at the table,
Felicity shuts down the computer, Because
appliances left on standby create more than four
million tonnes of extra carbon emissions in the
dont feel hungry, Mummy, says Rory.
dont feel hungry either, says Toby.
all right, boys. As the childcare books say,
children will eat when theyre hungry.
Gay Pride next week, says Charles,
surveying the pale yellow lump on his plate.
Shall we go along
on our bikes?
all different, says Felicity. Its
important that everybody feels valued.
my best friends are gay, says Charles.
Quentin? asks Rory.
Certainly not. And dont let me ever hear
you say such a thing again!
Felicity throws away Rorys and Tobys
empty crisp packets and thinks about sorting out
paper, plastic, bottles, cans. But
its so much easier bunging them all into
the wheelie bin - and the dustmen never notice.
morning, while Charles is at his flying lesson,
Felicity throws the bikes into the Range Rover
and drives two miles to the sea front. She and
the boys have a fantastic ride on the promenade.