Category Archives: Friends

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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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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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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I should have ironed the factory

15034008_10154767142872577_354449354_oLife has been difficult of late. I lent Scabbers to the BBC and this happened – a literary and literal demolition job. A replacement engine and gearbox are on their way from Germany but it will be mid-December before they get here and Scabbers went away for pre-BBC fixing in June.  All that stress and not even a lovely story as a souvenir. I think perhaps he didn’t want to go to the factory without me.

Maybe he will be fixed in time for next year’s SALT tour. (That is a tautology, by the way, and causes sub-editors teeth to itch in the same way as PIN number and ATM machine). I have been promoting the splendid collective madness that is SALT at the NEC Classic Car Show. Uniforms are always interesting. In two weeks time at the bike show, most people in the NEC will be wearing black t-shirts, beards and boots. Your classic car chap was more likely to be found in mid-range jeans, a polo shirt and a sports jacket. They roamed in pairs. Some of them roamed up to the SALT stand, where Sarah and I were playing the part of kombinat workers at our suspiciously 2-dimensional car plant.

“I should have ironed the factory,” the Northern Comissar ruefully observed, afterwards. But it does look rather splendid in the photos. The big blue car is a Moskvich and the red one isn’t a Lada, though many of the herds of roaming car chaps took some persuading. Apart from a young lad, the skinniness of whose legs was only outdone by the pointiness of his shoes. “That’s Ed Hughes’s Tavria!” he declared, with joy.

Lots of people thought we were offering actual tours of Russia. That would be dull. It is much more fun to bring Eastern Bloc cars and their owners together to create a little theatre in the byways and fords of the UK. Or in the Pavilion of the NEC.

 

 

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“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

P1010631 ScooterBob has joined me in a wee tipple to celebrate passing my 6-month probation at work.

Apparently my opening quote is from Seneca, the Roman philosopher. I feel very lucky to be able to call myself a professional journalist.

Although I try to fool  myself into thinking I can learn to rebuild engines, or play the harmonia in a blues band, or ride a motorcycle, the truth is that I am a writer.

I am lucky to be in my job, but I have taken a lot of steps to get here, from starting my blog  eight years ago, to asking for work experience at RiDE, and pitching for freelance commissions on camping magazines and the Sunday papers.

I lost a few people along the way. That’s why it’s just me and ScooterBob celebrating.

I gained a lot more than I lost, though. And that’s another reason why ScooterBob is helping me to celebrate.  The enormous privilege of being a writer is that someone halfway round the world can read your words, feel them resonate, and maybe even make a comment back. And when you’re just starting out, for someone like Bob to leave kind comments means the world.

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ScooterBob has come to visit.

IMG_1387 It’s my turn to host ScooterBob. Sadly we won’t be going on many adventures as once again the Lomax requires surgery. The Interesting Welsh Roads proved too much for my exhaust, though overall the engine held out really well.

I hope that Bob won’t mind keeping me company while I try and get the exhaust studs out of the manifold. He was always very encouraging with his comments on my posts during last year’s top end rebuild saga.

He will be coming on a camping weekend with me this weekend and I hope to show him some of Coventry’s finest sights next week. We have Ted Simon’s motorcycle in our Transport Museum and I think Bob would like to see it.

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Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake

IMG_0062While my house is being rewired I’m back staying with longsuffering friends in England’s Second City. They kindly allowed me over the threshold to clean up my borrowed motorhome at the beginning of the year, and now, like a vampire, they can’t get rid of me!

I would normally earn my keep in such circumstances by buying wine, but these friends are Very Serious Wine People, and I felt that my usual tactic of going into the Co-Op and seeing what had been reduced from a tenner to a fiver would fall short. So I went to a Very Nice Wine Shop in the posh bit of Coventry (yes, it does have one) in the hope that I would be able to ask advice from the shopkeeper.

Sadly the shopkeeper(s) turned out to be a posse of young lads who were very knowledgeable about the equipment at the gym, how their friend might have come by a questionable mark on his neck, and the best ways of mitigating it. I may be doing them a disservice, but I felt their knowledge of wine might have been slightly less encyclopedic. So I fell back on my other buying strategy – comedy names – and emerged with a bottle of Innocent Bystander and a bottle of Evolution.

The red was very good but the white was excellent, apparently.

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Goodnight, Bob

FuzzyGalore has just told me that BobSkoot has passed away.

I looked forward to Bob’s comments on my posts. He was always kind and supportive, things which I seem to need more than most people.

Goodnight, Bob, and sleep well, wherever you are.

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This one goes up to 11

Cabin fever is bad at the moment. The long dark nights render too much of the fun stuff impossible, and it’s the fun stuff I rely on to distract myself from the fact that I live somewhere I didn’t choose a long way from people I love.

Fortunately there are consolations. This Saturday I met up with good friends (I would call them old friends but I fear that might sound rude) to go and see a panto in Southampton. I had failed to realise that Julian Clary was in it, so that was a happy surprise. Nothing has been funnier for many years than the sight of him dangling on a harness dressed in what looked like bubble wrap singing My Heart Will Go On next to Lee Mead.

I am also distracting myself by organising some of the structures that fell apart in recent times of difficulty. One of them is birthdays. Although it is bad for the environment to send munched up and flattened trees through the post I think it is good for the soul. I have a poster on my wall to write them on. Although it feels a little like a census of affection I think it is a good thing to think about.

Someone on twitter wrote that friends are in your life for a reason, a season or for life. You can’t tell in advance which they are going to be. It’s one of life’s great adventures.

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Bah humbug

It’s a bloody good job Christmas only comes once a year, except in James Bond films. I would become a permanently grumpy old woman. All those cheerful adverts – Asda is the prime offender this year – praising mums for being the warm heart around which family Christmas revolves. I don’t have a mother and I am not one. It would be inspiring to see a retailer showing us some alternative Christmas celebrations – single women (with or without cats), eating their favourite food and enjoying being free from sticky fingers and dysfunctional family dynamics. And not in a Bridget Jones style either.

I’m off to spend the holidays in the bosom of someone else’s family. I’m hoping it will include puppy-cuddling, excessive consumption of booze and the chance to walk on the beach with someone I love.

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