Tuesday 13 September 2016

One day one photo - 4: A scrumdiddlyumptious bike ride

Happy birthday to Roald Dahl who would have been 100 years old today!

This casts me back to a photo shoot I did in Great Missenden a few years ago as part of an article I wrote for Cycling Active about cycle rides in the Chilterns.

It was a good day out, though fairly busy as parents arrived with their kids to go an visit the Roald Dahl museum for their half-term holiday treat.

Roald Dahl museum, Great Missenden

Andy Jones, the photographer managed to get a few photos of the mueseum, as well as Roald Dahl's old house, the shed where he penned his famous stories, and his gravestone.

In the UK media, people have been talking alot about Roald Dahl, whether it's to discuss our favourite books or our favourite words and phrases coined by Dahl. Talking of words, the Oxford English Dictionary has added six phrases from Dahl to this reference book of the English language: dahlesque, golden ticket, human bean, oompa loompa, scrumdiddlyumptious, witching hour.

I don't have a favourite book, but something that resonated with me was the extract from his book based on his life as a youngster, "Boy". There is a part where the young boy describes how impressed he is to see an older schoolboy with long trousers and clips, on a bicycle freewheeling down a hill with his arms folded.

The boy decided that when he grows up he doesn't want to become a doctor or a lawyer or the Lord Chancellor - he just wants to have a bike like that and go whizzing down the hill with no hands. It would be fabulous!

I know the feeling exactly. When I was younger there were many things I wanted to do - travel to far off countries, speak a foreign language, be published in a magazine, appear on telly, work in an ad agency, write a book, be an athlete or perform on the stage.... I have done a number of these things or am on the road to doing these things. But I have still not been able to freewheel down a hill on my bike with my arms folded. At my age my brain would freak out too much for me to dare have a go, not to  mention the fact that if it went wrong it would have far-reaching consequences!

The other thing that I remember most about Roald Dahl was the television programme "Tales of the Unexpected" that used to be on a Saturday night. Those tales always seemed to have a macabre twist - definitely not for children. I particularly remember the episode called "The Landlady" in which involved a man staying at a B&B and being offered a dodgy cup of tea.

Although I have not read many Roald Dahl books I realise his cultural influence has been felt in my life more than I realised.

I look forward to riding in the Chiltern Hills soon, and I'm sure it'll be a scrumdiddlyumptious ride!

Related posts
Shoot Story - The Chilterns


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