Meet Gwladys. Pronounced Gladys. I was wandering around Broadway market about a month ago when stumbled upon this little red ball of fire. She was on sale for a song in a bike repair shop, locked up in a row with a lots of shiny new road bikes.
Gwladys is definitely not a shiny new road bike. Wherever she came from her previous owners gave her a fair share of knocks and tumbles. She's all scratches and rust, but she's got character.
That's why her name is spelled with a W. To really understand what it is to be called Gwladys spelled with a W you need to watch THIS clip so that P. G. Wodehouse can explain just how girls named Gwladys with a W really are (watch a few seconds from 6:39 until Tuppy walks in announcing his engagement).
But she's a fearless little thing! You have to be to ride around the streets of London. That's why she is also named for Flavia de Luce's legendary charger; also red, also brave as a lion, and also named Gladys (not spelled with a W). If you haven't read the Flavia de Luce books you absolutely should. It's one of those series that I wish I could go back and read again for the first time. Start with The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.
I now spend the best part of my evenings and weekends careering around Hackney with Gwladys, trying not to run over cats or crash into anything. Much like I did when I was twelve. We make a pretty good team, her and I.