It’s the first day of Spring. I’m knackered from cold and it’s only half nine. We piled into the car and spun frenetically through the morning, with Robin at the wheel foaming at the mouth and cackling maniacally as he jacked up the handbrake on every icy corner. The snow has come down really hard overnight. Cars were abandoned at the roadside, some of them written off. At the entrance to Bowlee there was a three foot snowdrift. We hit it sideways at 40 and then tried to plough through the remains. The wind was howling as the back wheel spun in the snow. Cal and I ended up in the heart of the storm trying to push the fucking thing over the drift as Robin spun the wheels. Too cold for logic. Problem. Push over problem? Still problem. The wind was turning us into abominable snowmen. Two lads from the local service station stopped and joined us laughing. “What are you mad bastards doing?” Eventually we compromised by getting it back out of the driveway and leaving it at the kerb like all the other casualties.


To be frank, in retrospect we weren’t going to get down that driveway without a snowplough. But we wouldn’t be us if we didn’t try.

In the morning we messed with the Benelli again. It’s not a bike designed to be taken to pieces and rebuilt. Just as well Robin knows his stuff. But God the cold! It was like working inside an igloo full of petrol. Something of a baptism of ice, learning to maintain bikes in this freezing weather. When it finally comes to summer (when oh when?) I will be glad of this time. It will never be as miserable as this again, and it was still quite fun. Perhaps our relentless entitled species-greed has actually already sparked that second ice age. Perhaps Trump nuked North Korea and this is a mini nuclear winter. But more likely it’s just a bit of snow. And in the heart of it, we rubbed cold petrol into cold metal and tried to do delicate things with numb fingers and listened, for some unknown reason, to every song that Phil Collins ever wrote. I didn’t question it at the time. Now I look over it, I have a feeling I was being punished for something I did in another life. But I’ll feel like it’s delightful when it’s sunny.

And then Brian made it to Manchester, on a miraculous train from Mold where he had been checking out a new production of Gatsby for theatre Clwyd, with some dear friends of mine. I kind of wish I’d been there. I might try and swing by Mold and catch it and them before it’s done.

The 4 of us got back to fixing cold metal machines for the rest of the working day and now I’m home at Robin’s, under a cat as usual, trying to get the warmth into my bones again. Tomorrow is the first day of Robin’s Stag. Most of the plans have fallen by the wayside, but it promises to be a relaxing few days in excellent company even if we can’t ride motorbikes.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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