Another lovely short job over, and looking to the next again. I checked my diary to find an empty page for this week, apart from “Robin’s Stag” written in for Thursday. Robin lives in Rochdale. He lent me the bike. Empty diary + having to be back in the North on Thursday + needing to return the bike to Robin… The only thing that’ll get me back to London is an audition.
I packed up my huge camping rucksack. It weighed a ton. Then I plopped myself on top of the little motorbike like a hippo riding a skateboard. I jammed the phone into my helmet again. It never occurred to me to check the option on Google Maps that says “avoid motorways”. Before long I was on the M60 in that little tiny Honda, wobbling in the wind at 56mph as cars shot past me honking. Then the fuel display started flashing. Oh God. I’m on a motorwsy illegally and I’m going to run out of fuel. “Continue straight for eleven miles,” said the Sat-Nav. “Screw you,” I replied. I was getting blown around all over the place, plus I was breaking the law. Accidentally, mind you. But police are notorious sticklers for the rules for some reason. Best get off as soon as possible. Running out of fuel with a giant rucksack on a 125cc bike on a freezing cold motorway in Lancashire is no way to die.
I made it to a petrol station, and then to Robin’s. It’s his fiancee’s hen, and he’s on his own for the weekend. I may have been fed up of the bike and shivering when I arrived at his, but after a steak and chips Robin suggested we scream up into the Pennines and who am I to turn down a soon to be groom.
You can buy battery powered gloves that heat your fingers for £120. “What a rip off,” I thought when I saw them in the shop. By the time we got to the reservoir, if a leprechaun had offered to trade me the bike for a pair of those heated gloves I would have done so and only realised my mistake when he drove off laughing. Fortunately there were no leprechauns, but there was a gorgeous view.
We had a great ride, screaming into the sunset, stopping from time to time to wonder at natural beauty, or to get hot chocolate and just hold it until the circulation started in our fingers again. God it was cold. But a lovely bright day. A long, hard glorious and exhilarating couple of hours. And who better to do it with than a good friend and a good heart who is also a motorbike instructor. I learnt a great deal. Including the importance of spending money on equipment. I’ve never been so happy in my life about emptying a still warm dishwasher as I was when I got back to Robin’s. “Let me get that metal pan. Where does it go? Nevermind, I’ll just hold it a little. Ahhh that’s better.”
Now we’ve stuffed a Chinese takeaway and we’re playing “Escape from Tarkov.” Let the girls have their hen, I say.
Although they were in a spa earlier. God a jacuzzi a massage and a manicure would just about do right now…