Ode to the Road

At first I was afraid

I was petrified

Just thinking I’d be broken down and stranded at the roadside

But then I spent so many days

In the garage on my own

And now it’s strong

And I learned how to keep it going

And so we’re off

To Applecross

I just pulled out to hit the road with a big grin upon my face

I should have done this weeks ago

Just sat down and turned the key

If I’d have thought for just one second

How much fun it’s going to be…

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This is what anticipation looks like

It is May.

I have had strep throat for 2 months. (“That’s a bit American. We call it tonsilitis,” said the annoying GP.)  It has seen off two sets of antibiotics, though why the NHS decided to give me the same drugs twice is a puzzle.

So alternate therapies are needed. I am sitting with a turquiose towel wrapped round my throat. I will leave you to work out why with the aid of google. And I am going to the far north. In a turquoise Lomax, which will be helpful for my karma.

Helpfully, it’s not as far north as it used to be, and I can get there in a long weekend instead of 10 days. (Coincidentally, the length of an ineffective course of penicillin.)

It is May, and in May it is traditional for me to ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats, though the last time this happened was 2011.  There is a run happening right now, organised by the intrepid Nathan Millward. He probably doesn’t remember but he was brilliantly helpful to me when I was planning my WA ride, so any adventure led by him is likely to be a good one.

Lands End was too far for me to go to join in, so I am sneaking in at Durness on Friday night and doing the final stage. I am wholly inconspicuous so I expect to get away with it.*

 

*This may  be untrue.

 

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Drive It Day

IFA Club friends were having a lovely time in Lincolnshire. Last year’s Lacock run was immense fun, and in fact the only full excursion I had with Scabbers before his health failed him. He’s now gone to live in East Kilbride, and, rather in the manner of sponsored children in Columbia, every now and again I get sent a photo and an update. He has been fully fettled and took part in the Scottish IFA Drive-it-Day today. I’m glad he has a new lease of life and is in really good hands.

I was hoping to get out with 2CV Ecosse but Hortense has not been terribly well since the mice moved in. And, much as I want to meet new friends now I live in a new place, old friends were visiting, and deservedly took priority. They wanted to re-enact Chariots of Fire on the beach but we paused for a quick photo-shoot on the way.

 

 

 

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Heave, Charlie mouse

It’s a sad day when you discover that beloved childhood TV was lying to you.

Mice have moved in to the 2CV. They are cheerully munching their way through the air filter.

I was led to believe that when mice took an interest in something they fixed it. Every little bit of it. Though they may stick it with glue rather than make a permanent repair.

So was I wrong to anticipate a transformed 2CV, Greased Lightning stylee?

Apparently I was.

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I am become death, the destroyer of rats

If you don’t like Brexit come to Scotland, the First Minister said. I like to be early, so I arrived in Scotland at the beginning of February. And things started to go wrong.

Cheer up, friends said. It can’t get any worse.

Hold my beer, said Scotland.

I unzipped the Lomax cover to go to work, because the flat back tyre took a while to replace and it turned out that Hortense’s starting problems were due to one of the brushes in her starter motor being mostly missing.

As was the Lomax seat.

A quick google of the difference between rat shit and mouse shit (size, colour and pointiness are the clues to look for)  suggested that Rattus Norvegicus was to blame and I trotted off to the Brown Overall Emporium to investigate their array of lethal options.

I live in the forest and I own a dog. I also read Mrs Frisbee and the Rats of NIHM at an impressionable age. I don’t want to kill rats. But they can’t be scoffing my car seats. So I compromised on plastic bags of poisoned grain that I could leave on the seats for rats who got the munchies and I hoover like a bastard before the dog gets in.  They have been back but so far they have taken the bait not the faux leatherette.

Rats did not eat my car when I lived in the city.

 

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Reasons to be cheerful

17015704_1869520966626435_7181847006457450365_oSo I crashed and burned on the big beautiful blogger challenge. In February I had to move out of my first digs into new digs, where I am really happy but there was a certain amount of awkwardness in carrying out the flit and it is not trivial to move four motorbikes, a pushbike and a Lomax.  Then I had to go home to finish selling my house. If I’m honest, I’m finding the new job a bit of a struggle so evenings are either spent keeping up with tasks, sleeping or weeping.  Then the back tyre on my daily commuter went flat. Then I left my phone in the office. Then Hortense simply refused to start. Given that she has trundled up and down the M6 far more times than a 1980s girl with a 600cc engine should be asked to, and mostly without complaint, a small rest cannot be begrudged to her. But it meant I missed a social weekend with friends that I was looking forward to and it also meant that when I had to take the back wheel to Cupar Motorcycles yesterday for a new tyre in the biblical downpour, we had to do it in the Lomax.

As I peered into the spray and enjoyed the bracing sting of the rain on my face, I did my best to find things to be grateful for.

  • I successfully took the wheel out of the frame so the tyre could be changed. That was good. I am grateful for the skills I have built up, and for my friend in the north who gave me a step by step guide. I’m also grateful that my new landlady hasn’t complained about me doing it in the greenhouse.
  • I still had one vehicle that worked, even though it was uncomfortable and Shakey was extremely unimpressed to be sharing his seat with an 18-inch Suzuki back wheel.
  • I live close to a good motorcycle shop. So I didn’t have to travel very far in the uncomfortable conditions.
  • I also live near a good tool shop that was open at 8am on Friday morning when I remembered that the spindle nut is an odd size and you can’t get a socket onto it because the exhaust is in the way.
  • My house sold without problems apart from a late intervention by Storm Doris flattening part of the fence.
  • I live in a warm cosy flat which is very lovely to return to when you are cold and damp!

So I’m sorry about the failure. I tried hard but didn’t succeed. Story of my life at the moment!  But I have friends who help me and the sun came out today, so there is always a bright side.


This post is part of the February 2017 Brave, Bold Beautiful Blogger Challenge by desert-campingToadmama. Find out more here: Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge.  I really enjoyed #29in29 and know that I need a kick up the arse to start posting again.

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Simple pleasures

Due to teething problems with finding new digs in my new town, I am in a hotel and have to take AdventureDog to sit in the car while I work. This requires a very early start to bag one of the spaces in the office car park.

But that meant we were walking on the beach while the sun rose and painted the castle walls in glorious colours and the surf rolled gently in. We had the place to ourselves, and then we got coffee and watched the rest of the town wake up.

The day turned to hell after that, but at least it started well 🙂

This afternoon I am hoping that the Proprietor of the Northern Rest Home for Distressed Machinery will be able to come and help me move my bikes into my new place. This evening I shall be meeting up with friends.

Friends, bikes, dogs – that will do for me.


This post is part of the February 2017 Brave, Bold Beautiful Blogger Challenge by desert-campingToadmama. Find out more here: Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge.  I really enjoyed #29in29 and know that I need a kick up the arse to start posting again.

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Random Act of Kindness

This is an easy one. A long time ago, when I was married and the internet didn’t have pictures and came down a phone line, I bought my very first motorbike. I bought it from a bloke in Surrey. He’d passed his test on it and had moved on to bigger things, and it was going to help me wobble round cones and parking lots until I passed my CBT and then a 2-day Direct Access course, because it was a lot easier to get a bike licence in the 1990s.

How does a non-rider get a KH100 round the M25?

These days there are many firms that will move a motorcycle around. Back then there was spoint, a member of my online riding crew called cix_bikers. After muttering that “I could piss that far” he hitched a trailer to his car, stuck the bike on the trailer, dropped it off in Buckinghamshire, had a pint, kipped on the floor and buggered off before breakfast.

I put my new helmet on, wobbled off to work and crashed on the way home. You learnt by experience in those days!

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This be the verse

cb5e7-img_0078Today’s blog challenge prompt is Mother.

I don’t want to write about my mother. This blog is too full of introspective navel-gazing emotionally incontient posts as it is.

When necessary I try to look back with kindness but mostly I try not to look back at all.

I had the good fortune to be led to Women Who Run With The Wolves, a book about how folk stories can teach us about our intuitive feminine nature – that wildness that is too easily trained away by mothers who want us to be good, to be quiet, to know our place. Dr Pinkola Estes writes about our vital need to have joy, to dance, to rejoice in our own bodies, and to find as many mothers as we require.

One of the stories in the book is Sealskin/Soulskin, a story originally from the Inuit Nation about how sometimes we need to step out of our everyday lives and go back to the well, the soul-place that feeds our spirit. You can read some of the story here, or the full story in the book.

For me, that place is the road. My father once told me that I “wouldn’t have got away with this if your mother was still alive.” I am quite sure she would not have allowed me to ride motorcycles. And I would never have discovered the gifts the road can bring.


This post is part of the February 2017 Brave, Bold Beautiful Blogger Challenge by desert-campingToadmama. Find out more here: Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge.  I really enjoyed #29in29 and know that I need a kick up the arse to start posting again.

 

 

 

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Three pics you’ve never shared

Another really challenging topic from Toadmama! Three photos that I’ve never shared? I share everything! I’ve had a good search through my camera roll and it’s mostly the Lomax engine in pieces and photos of AdventureDog, because I truly dread the day his abused bones hurt him so much that I have to send him ahead of me into the dark. He is scared of the dark and I normally step ahead of him so that he can see it is OK.

I have picked these three.


32523684231_1a8eb39fbb_zThis is Winston, from Australia’s Black Dog Ride, having a day trip to Cambridge. Steve Andrews, the Black Dog Ride founder, has recently stepped down. He has done a huge amount to raise awareness of depression and suicide, and to get people talking about mental health. Winston is wearing his doggles because it is sunny and is about to tuck into a nice pastry. It was one of my last days in Cambridge.

 


31803300344_c95e08b1ec_zThis is Shakey and me in a motel after moving out of our last house but one, in order to move to the West Midlands for the job I have just finished. He is a big fan of Saturday night telly. We were about to move into a caravan parked in a commune. It was a tough couple of months but we were kept afloat by our amazing friends.

 

 

 


32646425895_760b008239_zThis is one of my amazing friends being Stunt Biker for a magazine feature on motorcycle camping. It was supposed to be me in the pictures but a few days before the shoot I fell down some stairs and bruised my arse rather severely. So Boffin volunteered to be my stunt double. It all worked out rather nicely as he is a much better rider than me and was able to take Roy the cameraman pillion for some video footage.


This post is part of the February 2017 Brave, Bold Beautiful Blogger Challenge by desert-campingToadmama. Find out more here: Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge.  I really enjoyed #29in29 and know that I need a kick up the arse to start posting again.

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