As a child, Beningbrough Hall, a Georgian mansion in North Yorkshire, was the ultimate day out. We’d drive there on a nice day as a family and me and my sister would be entertained for HOURS in the adventure playground or in the grounds playing ‘no-grown-ups-allowed-to-see-us’. As we got older, Beningbrough became more than just a day out – it became a JOURNEY as we cycled there, which seemed an absolutely enormous feat for two small children. We were almost too exhausted to run around playing games, and as I look back on it, this may have been a ploy on our parents’ part to get some peace and quiet!!
The bike ride got much less hard after a while, and I’ve cycled there many many times now, both with family and my friends – last year I went with my family and me and my sister were STILL playing ‘no-grown-ups-allowed-to-see-us’. Not much changes!!
The day before yesterday, me and some friends decided to cycle to Beningbrough once again, as we hadn’t been on a bike ride together since last summer. The weather forecast wasn’t fantastic but we decided to man it and keep the British stiff upper lip. Got there with almost no trouble – Lizzie’s chain came off and her bag broke, but we fixed the chain and put her things in our own bags and soldiered on. On arrival, it started to rain a bit, so we sat at a picnic table and put the sun umbrella up – protects from rain as well as sun!!
The weather still grizzling, we decided to take a tour of the hall itself. Asked if we were art history students, we responded with a definite NO (there were two Biologists, a Geographer, a Law student and an English student) and proceeded straight upstairs to where the fancy dress was. Despite us all being almost 20, we really are just big kids. We spent the vast majority of the afternoon playing dress-up, running around the adventure playground and, after a failed attempt at croquet, playing a competitive game of ‘Billy 1 2 3’ (CLASSIC game). Lizzie fell over: strike two of her day’s unluckiness.
We were rather tired after our childish exploits and decided to cycle home. Unfortunately, on the return journey, there was a bit of drama as Lizzie’s unluckyness stuck again – she got lost. Three of us were pretty far ahead and the guy behind her didn’t shout loud enough to let her know that she’d missed the turning and was now cycling down the A19. For those that don’t know, it is a rather busy road, and pretty terrifying to cycle on. Me and my friend Matty had to cycle all the way back to Shipton to wait with the guy who had shouted, while the guy in front pedalled on homewards in an almost demonic way (he did have to get to work). After a fruitless jaunt along aforesaid horrific A19, we made about a billion phone calls and eventually learnt that Lizzie had sensibly gone to a farm house to call her Mum. It was pretty stressful for an hour, but we did laugh about the whole thing on the way back home once we knew she was safe. I really hope she’s not put off bike rides with us again, because the day as a whole was brilliantly fun.
Moral of the story: get on your bike and GET OUT THERE even if the weather isn’t as perfect as you’d like – you can still have a fun time in the rain. Also: don’t cycle down the A19. Just don’t.