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- Wales and the Welsh
I have been considering a road-trip, as the weather forecast got sunnier and the weather started to become warmer and less damp.
Head off, I thought to myself. Give yourself a few days away on the Bandit.
Maybe leave Thursday and come back Monday?
These thoughts sounded excellent in my head.
As a result, I have spent a lot of time looking at the map.
Somewhere in Europe (I thought to myself)?
A quick trip down to the Eurotunnel, and then head southwards from Calais? Head for the warmer plains of central France?
Yes, that became the plan, a plan that was formed just 48 hours ago.
This morning I checked the weather forecast and noticed that the warmer less damp spell is not going to be quite as warm as promised.
Not even on the warmer plains of Central France!
Suddenly there’s much less of a temperature difference between the UK, and mainland Europe – at least until one gets well south of Madrid.
And even in Sevilla (where it is currently 16c) it’s pouring with rain.
What’s the point of that, Spain?
I mean, yes, a road trip would be lovely, but if the mercury is struggling to hit 4c on the mainland, and it’s 5c in Falmouth, then…
So yeah, this road-trip isn’t looking, on paper, quite as it did in my head, a mere 48 hours ago.
In fact, in my head, this road-trip is now looking like it might not actually happen.
Not unless the weather does something weird and we find ourselves in the sunny 10c that was predicted three days ago.
Or unless I head down to Falmouth.
*tries to think why that would be a good idea*
warning: this piece contains very many hyperswears that are directed at a specific person and a generic person type. if you are this person or if you are this person type then get a fucking grip of your life and sharpen up because people like me will put all your fucking details all over the fucking internet, you selfish cunt, and if you are offended by very many hyperswears, erm, soz
Last night’s commute home from London was made unpleasant by, well, a very unpleasant person.
A very unpleasant character type.
I label this person – and this character type – as The Space Invader.
You know the sort.
They get on to a table seat and take over the whole fucking width of the table because they are selfish fucking bastards.
This woman spent the entire journey, from Paddington to Charlbury, peering intently at her laptop display as if she was plotting re-entry calculations for the next European Space Agency launch.
She wasn’t, of course.
She was just sending fucking emails to her boring fucking colleagues.
The ‘I’m peering really seriously at my laptop display’ was to try and show everyone how totes fucking important she was, and how completely necessary it was for her to take over the entire width of the fucking table.
Well I’ve got news for you, love, you’re not that fucking important at all, otherwise you would have been in First Class, not here in Standard Class with the rest of us plebs.
This space invading arsehole made absolutely no attempt to apologise for taking over 50% of the table width for her twattish little laptop.
But worse than that, she had the monitor so rakishly angled away from her, that despite having *some* degree of table to put my things on, I actually had no amount of table that I could use, because her laptop screen backwards-overhung the entire width of the table.
Now, because she got off at Charlbury (and I think she was slightly alarmed that I got off at the same stop – because she totes knew she was being a selfish cuntmonster), it would have been soooo easy to follow her to her car.
And write down her registration.
And with one phone call, find out her name and address.
And arrange for a trailerload of rank cowshit to be parked outside her house for three or four weeks.
But I didn’t.
Because I am a truly nice person.
Unlike this selfish pile of shit:
as usual, if you click on each image and, when it’s loaded, click on it again, you’ll get the full-screen option
Mid-morning on Saturday, despite the -2c, I sat on the Bandit in the freezing sunshine and pointed it westwards.
I chose to avoid the motorways and as many main roads as possible.
Conditions were really not that bad, despite the chills.
The run through the Forest of Dean was brilliant, I do love that road. I used to ride an old BSA Bantam over that route, as a schoolboy.
I stopped in Monmouth for a medicinal Pain au Raison and an equally medicinal hot chocolate.
And then continued westwards until I saw the sight of – bizarrely – what I consider to be home:
I found a pub doing B&B, checked in, and went for a bit of a hooley through a piece of the Black Mountains that I know so well from my youth.
Painful long-dead memories were reawakened. Emotions ran high. And also, I managed to get my right knee down (intentionally!) on a brilliantly sharp mountain pass bend that I have been aching to try that on for decades.
The bend, if you’re interested, is here: 51.815885,-3.05399 (I can’t even begin to describe the uphill gradient that road is on. It’s amazingly steep, like looking up a mountain. Oh. It is!)
On top of the mountain I stopped at Keepers Pond for a view-check:
I then rode the bike over to the other side of the mountain for a look at the view there:
Back at the pub I put the Bandit to bed (the pub owner very kindly offered me a garage space) and went walkabout and foraged for food.
Much later, about 9pm, I went for a drink.
I left that pub after midnight, slightly well-oiled, and having flirted somewhat with one or two girls on Twitter.
I can’t help that. It’s in my genes. Jeans?
The next morning I had a semi-full Welsh breakfast, then headed more or less back the way I’d come in to Wales, out through the Forest of Dean.
I stopped en-route for a coffee at Rich and Dawn’s house and admired their new addition (it’s a human, this time, not another racing car).
And then I trundled home.
The poor old Bandit, after two days of thrashing around the Black Mountains in winter, was a state:
The quick application of two runs of warm soapy water and a wipe down soon had her looking like this:
And then I went to Sainsbury’s and bought food.
What did you do this weekend?
In contradiction to my desire to do more with less, I find myself planning a trip to Somerset on Saturday (tomorrow).
And then coming back home, then going on to a gig in Oxford on the same evening.
I need to stop thinking like this.
My trip to work this morning was accompanied by the most sentimental mawkish ballad I’ve heard in a very long time.
Imagine, if you can, Snow Patrol’s worst excesses, blended with Keane’s more popular work.
I listened to that track four times on repeat.
It might be sentimental, but it is lovely.
For the the last ten miles, as an antidote to the ballad, and to get my head ready for the office, I had to listen to some arse-kicking thrash metal from Gibraltarian rockers Breed 77.
*does the rock fingers sign thing*
1. Dreams can come true
I’m awake. Woken 20 minutes before my alarm by the aftershocks of a full-colour, action-packed, most vivid dream. I was startled awake by the images that my subconscious served up. Sexual. Explicit. Erotic. And so fucking real. Yet there was no soundtrack – the audio accompaniment was muted. But it was my field of vision. My point of view, that my ‘eyes’ (hindbrain) served up the images through. As a person who never (should read seldom) remembers their dreams, being able to recall this one is weird enough. Recalling the granular detail is disturbing. My heart is racing. I am excited. By the dream.
2. ¿Buscando Quien Eres?
Trying to capture, to articulate who I am/what I am looking for is easy. Trying to get it is much more difficult. I shouldn’t review these things in this post-dream now, but there is a gap in my life and I am keen to fill it. My head, still in a turmoil from such wonderful images, urges me in one direction. The post-dream shreds of common sense tell me to chill out. Relax. Don’t be such a teenager. But it’s not easy, at almost 5am, hands shaking with excitement. I shouldn’t lie here trying to figure out how to get what I feel I want. Not after ‘experiencing’ such real/not real images. It’s like walking out of the best feature film you’ve ever seen and trying to reorganise your life.
3. Comfortably Numb
There was guitar lesson last night. I was less good than normal. My sight-reading failed me and the pentatonic scales couldn’t engage. My head was elsewhere. But we duetted, Trev and I, on some Pink Floyd. Comfortably Numb and then some Wish You Were Here. They both sounded good. Better than good. They both sounded better than they should have. I have only practised three times since last week’s lesson. That’s what being mentally busy gets you. I need to make sure I don’t let guitar practice slip.
4. Splendid Isolation
Daughter is busy. I’m not sure how she has a hectic social calendar, given where she lives, but she is busier than I. Last night’s phone call was brief. I was tired, she had things to do. I miss her. But her next few weekends are fully booked. No time for me.
5. Run To The Hills
Work is entering a less-busy phase. I’m thinking of taking some quality downtime. A long weekend – three or maybe four days. Rome, maybe? Or somewhere in north Africa? Or somewhere else – but somewhere warm. It has been too long since I felt the sun on my skin. Somewhere quiet. Good food. Good wine. Good relaxing. Good company? Want to come with me?
One of these weeks I’m going to get a weekend that is peaceful, relaxing and, you know, involves doing absolutely nothing…
I’m working. I’ve been awake since 4.30am and up since 4.45am.
It’s a Very Big Weekend workwise, with stuff going on 24/7 from Friday evening up until Sunday afternoon.
Stress and sleep don’t fit together too well.
Anyway enough about that.
This evening I’m going to the premiere of ‘Shift’, a film made by the uber-talented Ash. Yes, I have work-related reporting milestones this evening too, but I’m confident I can juggle.
But, due to a couple of factors (1. the fantastic weather forecast for the weekend and 2. the film premiere being in that London), I have, at this late stage, decided to turn the weekend in to a mini-adventure.
Later today I shall pack my rucksack, jump on the Bandit and wend my way to London – on the backroads, not on the motorway.
After a couple of hours, I shall pitch up in the general area where the film is being shown.
I’ve booked a room at a nearby hostelry, so I may have a glass or two of lemonade this evening.
And tomorrow morning, head clear and fresh, I shall potter my way back to last Sunday morning’s venue – the Ace Cafe in north London – for another gargantuan All Day Breakfast.
Then get back home to crack on with the work stuff.
This is my plan.
I shall try to make it so.
My weekend hasn’t really happened; there has been much work-related stuff but, as ever, I’ll not go in to detail about that here
I did snatch a few hours off, today, and managed to put that time to Great Use!
I washed a Barbour and a Drizabone riding coat.
And also washed last week’s work-shirts and various socks and underwear.
Soz, bordering on the TMI there.
And rode the Bandit in to Norf Landahn’s Ace Cafe where I met the redoubtable Mr Masher and his brother-in-law (Graham).
And we did partake of the All Day Breakfasts and Lo, we did Eat Heartily.
At Ace today was a meeting of the BSA Bantam Society (or similar).
The first motorbike I ever (knowingly) touched was a BSA Bantam.
It belonged to Forgotten Firstname Griffiths who lived a couple of miles down the lane at Llansabadd Farm.
We mucked about with that Bantam; it was the first time I learned to take things apart and put them back together again. Successfully.
We rode it around the fields, crashed it in to trees and ditches and – when that happened – we learned to rebuild it.
It was weird looking at the familiar-yet-alien-by-today’s-design-standards Bantams. They seemed very ‘other worldly’.
I also saw a Laverda Jota, the 1,000cc little brother to the 1,200cc Laverda Mirage I owned when I lived in Germany.
What a stunning bike that was.
It had superbike acceleration. And the brakes of a supertanker.
Ah, the many many scares I gave myself on that monster.
I changed my route home from Ace Cafe; instead of hoofing it up the A40/M40/A40, I went cross-country.
The cross-country route was much more fun than travelling at *cough* 70mph with all the nutters on the motorway. And much prettier too.
The ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads were such fun; I do love the way the Bandit throws itself around twisty-turny lanes.
I got back home about 2.15pm and tucked straight in to work stuff.
Between 5pm – 7pm I took a break, tidied, put a load of washing in, put the rubbish out, drank tea, had a brief visit from a friend.
And now, at rapidly approaching 9pm I’ve just sent my last work email of the day, and I’m winding up on my last work phone call of the day.
So all things considered, even with the work distractions, it has been a pretty good day really.
Because of tremendous pressures at work, nipping over to Spain this weekend isn’t going to happen. Work-based things need my attention over the weekend. That’s all I can say.
The forecast for Sunday, as pointed out by the redoubtable Sir Masher of Englandshire, is reasonable.
So I’m going to trip in to that London on Sunday morning, on the Bandit.
And in that London, on that Sunday morning, I shall be hitting that Ace Cafe for one of their gargantuan All Day Breakfasts, which shall be washed down by several gallons of Best Quality Builders Tea.
Sir Masher of Englandshire has strongly hinted that he will consider sitting astride his Mighty Triumph, and will point it at another gargantuan All Day Breakfast of the Ace Cafe.
Do you fancy joining us?
Motorbikes optional, obv.
In other news…
I did ride the Bandit to work today, so in your face doubting Thomas and doubting Thomasina.
In. Your. Face!
I had a bucket of fun.
I wouldn’t like to ride the Bandit that distance – esp that route – every day.
Not every week.
Maybe once a month, and just for fun.
I am in bed.
It is 9.45pm.
I really need to switch my brain off, stop fretting about work-related things, and get a solid night’s sleep.
That’ll be tonight.
So, what’s new with you?
I’m trying to put together a little trip to Granada, for this weekend.
The problem is that I am very restricted in how much time I can take off from work on Friday (none) and Monday/Tuesday (none at all).
So I’m looking at flights out on Saturday, and return flights on Sunday.
Here are my destination airport options:
This airport does not have direct flights to/from the UK.
If I caught a flight from LHR at 11am Saturday, I could get in to Granada at 5.30pm after one stop – and a total elapsed travel time of five hours. I would have to pick up a hire car and drive to my destination – a cool 1h 45m away.
The return journey would put me on a flight out of Granada at 1.45pm the next day, and would get me back to LHR – after one stop – at 5.20pm.
That’s not much time on the ground – especially when you factor in the hire car to/fro journeys and making it to departures in the advanced time that the airline demands.
At least this airport has direct flights to/from the UK – even though they’re EasyJet.
If I catch a flight from LGW at 6.20am I would get to Almeria at 10.10am. I’d have to pick up a hire car and drive to the village, which, from Almeria, would get me to my destination around noon.
But I would have to leave the village around 9pm, to drive back down to Almeria (two hours), to a hotel to spend the night, to ensure I returned my car and made it to departures in time to catch my return flight at 10.40am.
But this option would get me about 9 hours on the ground.
I’m not even going to look at using Malaga. I dislike that airport. And it is three hours’ drive away from my destination.
This is all a bit mentile, isn’t it?
Well maybe it is.
But it’s my daughter’s birthday.