If you were to ever mention the Hairy Bikers to anyone, two images immediately spring to mind: a couple of big Northern lads who obviously like their food, and motor bikes. In terms of the bikes, it’s usually the bigger the better. BMW’s, Triumph’s, Kawasaki’s – they’ll ride whatever’s on offer. It’s the same for food too: they certainly believe in man-sized portions. I suppose that’s why they ride big bikes? Their latest task is to try to revive the ailing British institution of Meals on Wheels. Most Local Authorities are cutting back on expenditure because of the government cuts, and are targeting services for the elderly and Meals on Wheels as the easy option. Others have already axed the service. So, it’s the job of the bikers to put matters right. This week they rode out to Slaithwaite in West Yorkshire to try to resurrect the meal service that was closed down 10 years ago. Now normally the stars of the show, after the boys of course, are the bikes. This time however, whether inadvertently or not, the real star of the show was the good old traditional Chesterfield sofa – covered in eye-catching Union Jack fabric. And, what a beauty it was too.
Most of the action took place around the town itself, and the centre of activity was the local community centre. This is the place for all the local youths to gather and chew the fat or play a game of pool or two. That’s fine, but what seemed incongruous is the centre-stage positioning of the Chesterfield sofa. It’s not normally what you’d associate with what was once called a youth club. From recollection I seem to remember utilitarian plastic chairs that were easily-wipeable and too heavy to be smuggled out the back door. Mind you, who’d really want to borrow them: they certainly weren’t items of aesthetic beauty. The Chesterfield settee, though, was a real stunner. The shape may have been traditional, but it sat fantastically well in the contemporary space and the covering was stunning. I suppose it only goes to show that not only does the Chesterfield sofa look good, but it must be incredibly practical too, to have withstood the test of countless youngsters bouncing up and down on it, yet still look so good.
Anyway it featured heavily in the show for during group discussions, tactical sessions and what almost amounted to a council of war when the local environmental health officer wasn’t too keen on playing ball with the plan to re-instate the Meals on Wheels service. Fortunately sense was eventually seen by all those involved, and the plan got the official go-ahead. No doubt some would say that was because common sense prevailed, but I’d prefer to think that it was the Chesterfield sofa that won it in the end: comfortable, practical and immensely persuasive. Who could ever resist it?
All good stories have a positive ending, and this one’s no different. The Meals and Wheels service got the official nod, and the boys and the local volunteers made it the success every on had hoped it would be. What better way to celebrate this success, than a toast with a bottle or two of Moet Chandon? So, it was back to base and glasses were raised as they all sat together satisfied on the Chesterfield sofa. Well, I say all: there wasn’t enough room on the sofa for all of them. Maybe the next task is to buy another Chesterfield settee, then everyone would be happy.