On the face of it, lockdown is a perfect opportunity to develop new skills. But I am raging too much at the loss of all the things I enjoy doing outside of my house to accept knuckling down and getting on with something.
I worked hard to change from being a shy, retiring “wee Mary” into, frankly, a massive show-off. Riding motorcycles and playing the blues were the two chief means of achieving this, with a side order of pointing and shouting at people at Cadwell Park.
I could go back to the harmonica of mixed memory – like so much in my life, it started well but ended badly. On this occasion White Russians and Pink Floyd were to blame. But I don’t think it’s helpful to backtrack. Forging ahead to find new fields to fuck up in is, after all, the Highwaylass way.
A few years ago I bought a ukulele, and like most people I can thrash out a few skiffle tunes. It doesn’t satisfy my need to show off because the local uke group meets at a dog-unfriendly pub (or did, in the Before Times), and I don’t like the tunes in their songbook. (I’d rather stick pins in my eyes than strum along to Snow Patrol).
Last week I bought a Banjolele. The bastard offspring of a banjo and a ukulele, it has brought great joy into my lockdown purgatory. It has flames, which means I match the Wingman’s doggles. And everything looks better with flames. And more entertainingly, it comes with a Special Tool, for you have to tighten the banjo head every now and again and it reminds me of tightning up spokes.
An instrument that is nearly the same as building a motorcycle wheel – what more could a woman ask for?
I suppose, like Bill and Ted, I’d probably better learn to play.
….they're organised and line up well. But then they've had the advantage of hearing the briefing session which explains what to do.
Nothing to do but wait…I haven't been promoted, by the way. The stivker just gives me a legitimate reason to Queuejump.
Calm before the storm at Cadwell Park 🙂
Only a little bit further and I’ll have that cylinder head down…I did scrape a boot at one point 🙂
Thanks to Steve for the photo.
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She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life said Susan B. Anthony, US feminist of the 19th century. Most days right now it feels like I am failing at both. My brain is failing to process information quickly enough to help me make decisions; I’m not looking far enough ahead and I’m not rolling on the throttle to get me smoothly through the corners.
Martin Hopp said lots of interesting things at Cadwell, the most relevant of which right now seems to be that controlling the bike should take no more than 10 per cent of your attention, leaving 90 per cent for information gathering, scanning, gear choice and all those other things that get you making progress. I reckon I’m still somewhere around 50 per cent of attention going on machine handling. When I learnt to drive I hated roundabouts, because you had to spot the gap and be ready to go all at once…unlike traffic lights where you had time to get the clutch to biting point, set the accelerator and be ready to go on green.
In an effort to find tranquillity I have taken up archery again, where you have all the time in the world to get bow arm positioned, target sighted and arrow loosed (and despite this, I’m still hacking lumps out of my arm. I’m not a junkie, I just have “string sting.”) At the club last night we were joined by John Cavanaugh, one of the UK’s top archers, who’s going to Beijing with the paralympic squad. He pointed out that all the practice in the world won’t help if your basic technique is wrong. So maybe I need to go back to year zero in some sort of biker regression therapy. I’m sure my KH100 is out there somewhere…
Despite one being very slow and one being very fast, archery and motorcycling do have one thing in common. When you get it right, there’s an amazing feeling of sweetness and flow. One arrow last night, one corner at Cadwell on Tuesday. Maybe I should look at this in a glass-half-full way and think how much I have to look forward to when I get it right all the time.
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