Spending so long in the saddle in close proximity to each other Mark and Boo do spend a lot of time chatting (or should I say ‘blethering’ since we’re in Scotland?). Actually, it is probably more appropriate to say that Boo blethers a lot and Mark listens much of the time (he would be the first to admit that he does sometimes tune the chatter out).
So what do they talk about for all those hours in the saddle? A lot of the time is spent discussing the route or pointing out significant view points. The advantage of Boo having her own bike computer, and knowing the anticipated daily mileage, is that she doesn’t ask “Are we nearly there yet?”
She is in charge of checking for traffic from behind and has developed her own vehicle classification system with special categories for the range of tractors they have come across on the back roads. The close proximity of some passing vehicles has led to a few choice phrases from Mark’s lips, so the Double Trouble riding duo now have a rule relating to the need to keep ‘tandem language’ for tandem rides only!! On the upside, by the time she is driving a car she’ll have a good awareness of junction and lane rules, as well as the best way to treat other road users.
Rather like the dreams Boo was talking about when I overtook them this afternoon, they usually can’t remember much about their conversations; but recent subjects covered have included the development of a classification scheme for plants and animals, what daemon members of the family would have if we lived in the world of Philip Pullman’s “Dark Materials” trilogy (Mark would have a badger, Boo a pine marten, Nanna a hedgehog, Grandma a cat, and I would have a hare. They worked out most of the family but couldn’t remember them all, or the logic behind them by the time they saw me), what birds and animals they have seen (alive and dead), the discovery of phosphorous by an early chemist looking for gold in his urine, who will win the Tour de France, favourite foods, and the formation of peat.
They also sing, often repetitively, individually and together, and even to the irritation of the other. Boo is equipped with a mini camera which we have experimented with. It is now known as ‘Finger Cam’ and is somewhat inclined towards pointing towards the sky as it is clipped to her track mitts but she has used it to record the pair of them singing the tandem rider’s perennial favourite: