Possessing the Secret of Joy

Last Sunday I woke up at 7.30am in a strange bed with a sore head (single malt), a dodgy ankle (dancing beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free again) and a pair of texts on my phone from the man I had been talking to all night suggesting a date: the morning after the Mojo Triangle after-show party, at which Hugh had made the generous error of putting a bottle of Glenlivet and a glass in front of me with the injunction to “help myself.” The least dramatic of the consequences to which has been my volunteering to learn to fly the mixing desk before our next gig. The more dramatic of which are still unfolding.

Somewhere around mid-day I arrived back at Dojo Ursus Maritimus, gingerly clutching my bottle of full-fat Irn Bru, to find a plot being hatched to test-ride the new Aprilia Caponord Rally Raid (manifested the previous weekend.) As this plot involved riding to Hunstanton for ice-cream I thought that if I deployed my full arsenal of hangover cures – starting with the Irn Bru but running through coffee, cake and lying submerged in a lukewarm bath rehydrating from the outside in – I would be in a fit state to join the ride.

At 3.30pm we rolled out of the drive and onto Norfolk’s finest B-roads, under the compulsory post-late-night-drinking session blazing sun, to test the Aprilia 2-up and to see how I coped with the Africa Twin after a week riding motorways on Ruby.

I have spent considerable sums of time and money on therapies which promised to free me of the black dog which has followed me for years. And I can tell you with some confidence that chasing an Aprilia through the coastal roads of Norfolk, taking a moment to wave at the Queen as she passed us on the road, eating ice-cream while watching the kite-surfers and then racing the clouds home beats them all.

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