It’s a morning of cloudless blue November skies, sweeping countryside, winding lanes, steep hills and all the warmth you can expect from Lancastrians beeping and waving us along for Children in need.
Elsewhere, the country’s government is falling apart.
During the time I spent cycling or riding the BBC Lancashire ‘Power to the tower’ rickshaw across beautiful north Lancashire hills, dales and coast for Children in Need as part of Team Graham (Liver), six members of government resigned, Theresa’s May’s Brexit agreement( announced the night before outside No.10) is looking extremely shaky and the country is on tenterhooks to see if she will go too. (she didn’t, in case you were asleep)
On social media and the news networks the mood is aggressive.
Yet under gleaming sun with just the slightest hint of chill in the air, my fellow-rickshaw riders, cyclists and I are experiencing the generosity of spirit that comes with the very notion that children, in our own country, close by, are in need.
Everywhere we go there are smiles, money is slipped into our collection buckets not just in coins but in wads of notes, as we wobble along – pushing the heavy rickshaw up beautiful country lanes and cause a blockage on the busy A6.
Frustrated drivers’ grimaces turn to smiles as they spot us, wave and beep.
An entire roundabout of traffic waits patiently as we attempt to manoeuvre across the crammed junction.
Then we arrive at our first school.
As we cycle up the road, the pavement is practically shaking to the sounds of a hundred or so children chanting as unison for their hero ‘Pudsey, Pudsey..’ as anticipation grows for our arrival.
We hide around the corner and let the big yellow bear make his appearance, the shrieks are earth shattering and the headteacher admits we might have even outdone Christmas.
Then we set off again, increasingly heavy buckets dangling off handlebars until they are too weighty to carry any longer, the rickshaw wavering across the road in heavy gusts of wind.
Our legs tire from cycling and our arms from waving but then in the distance we hear more chanting children and we are once more inspired.
Pudsey for PM?
This first appeared as my Jabbering Journo column in the Lancashire Post
ALSO READ: Review of Kinky Boots the musical