Just me today sadly, poor Carol had to go to work and I had a job interview in Bristol, so although she was not with me physically, she was with me in spirit and here is why.
I took Sylvie to Bristol this morning so I could get to my interview with a company called Mantra, this involved a quick dash up the M5 to Bristol, a quick skoot along the A4 and a sudden stop in a car Park in Baldwin Street. This was all undertaken before nine AM this morning and it was a pure joy to be up and riding at that time of the day. I wont lie to you and tell you that the roads were empty, because they really were not, but it was so cool, the day's heat had not yet risen and the sun was not yet at it's zenith.
Getting from the flat to the motorway was an unusual adventure for me in that I chose a route, found my way there and did not hit traffic until right up until the turning onto the A370. Once in the standstill traffic though, I just filtered slowly through. Carol taught me that to filter is a dangerous and cunning art form and I actually really enjoyed it. I got to the front of the traffic queue and turned onto the motorway.
Riding on the Motorway is not particularly exciting, it is windy, pretty straight and too fast to actually be fun. Riding B Roads at thirty to forty mile per hour is technically more demanding than riding on a motorway at motorway speed (I say motorway speed, because they are not always 70MPH) and considerably more fun to boot. I am still learning how Sylvie corners and to feel her dropping in on one side and then swooping over to the other is exhilarating and you do not need speed to feel that. Maybe this is because I am still learning how to ride her, but Sylvie at lower speeds is a beautiful bike to have control over.
The Motorway quickly gave up the miles to Sylvie's wheels and then the traffic bunched up, with the inside and second lane of the Avonmouth fly over being full of trucks. I managed to get into the second lane and saw my exit, but it was blocked by trucks who were nose to tail, there was barely enough room between them for a Rizla paper, let alone Sylvie and I. So we sailed past our Exit at the great speed of sixty eight miles per hour and headed up the road to the next exit to turn around. It added an extra four miles to our journey and only a few minutes.
The A4 was clogged from the outset for us and once again Sylvie's beautiful slow speed handling came to the forefront as we slowly filtered through the traffic. Filtering is an art form and having followed Carol, I know that I still have a lot to learn. Today though I aced it and managed to filter slowly and surefootedly through the slow moving or still traffic. At one point I caught up with the ZZR600 that had over taken me on the entry to the A4 and kept pace with the Blue haired rider until I managed to pass them. Filtering is about confidence and taking an opportunity that exists for less than a second. Slipping through gently and with ease. I had one moment when I decided to let discretion be the better part of valour on the road going past "At Bristol", when a truck needed extra room to turn around a bus, but I soon passed the obstruction and was once again on my way.
Once into the centre of Bristol I headed around to Baldwin Street and found a Bike park with a nice steel railing to lock Sylvie too. I do not like the idea of leaving Sylvie unprotected in a busy city and so she had disk locks front and rear as well as a chain and a D-Lock. She also has her steering lock and her alarm just to keep filthy thieving hands away from her. Not sure I mentioned it, but I love my girl Sylvie.
Then came the interview. Forewarned is forearmed and Carol did some digging into Mantra Marketing for me, because she is good at stuff like that. The job advert I had applied for was looking for a Media Sales Executive, sounds posh does it not? The job they interviewed me for was selling door to door... You know those dodgy types who ring your door bell, then stick their foot in the door so that you cannot get rid of them, well that is the job. I was less than impressed. The sting comes in the pay packet, if you work really hard and walk an entire street, knocking on every door and get rebutted at every step. You earn nothing. If you find a little old lady at home and intimidate her into buying some rubbish she does not want, you earn fifteen pounds.
The people at the interview all have a similar look, keen, confused and young. Well except the guys who are obviously out of work sales men in their fifties. The woman interviewing me was hideously pretty, one of those people who should be beautiful, blonde, petite and with a big smile. I felt like I was swimming with a shark and a hungry one at that. She apologised to me for wasting my time and wished me bon voyage home. I left that odd place and was stopped outside by a young man who had the distinct hippy look to him. "Excuse me I am looking for the Krishna centre?" Oh yeah, the same office and phone number as Mantra... Scary.
I took Sylvie over to see a dear friend to Carol and I, a lovely chap and engineering genius known as Wayne. Seeing him in the garden working his magic on his ZX10 project is a joy to watch, but today he was working on his Dad's Fazer 600. Yesterday he hit some thing big and hard in the road and damaged both wheels beyond repair. So he took them out, took off the disks and ordered new ones. It was a shame to see him looking so down. Luckily it is hard to keep a spirit like Wayne down and he was soon happily playing with Titanium bolts for his race bike.
The ride back to my beloved Carol was very nice and took in the road between Bristol and Clevedon, a lovely winding road with a forty limit, heaven in tarmac form. I had ridden this road a few days before, but had got stuck behind a large articulated lorry, which was in turn stuck behind a large old tractor. No chance of filtering past those two on that day. Today though the road was clear and swift. I did not hit the speed limit of because the corners are rather tight and with out knowing what is on the other side of them, I would hate to go flying round and find a traffic queue. However, I was still faster than anything else on the road and was only caught when the rode finally entered Clevedon itself and more traffic queues.
A quick blast down the motorway and I was soon in the arms of my beloved Carol. I was tired, I was aching from the ride and I was heart sore at being apart from her. My girl is beautiful and her smile is enough to make flowers want to blossom or birds want to soar. She was waiting for me and she treated me to the lunch of royalty, a Quarter pound cheese burger and chips. We sat together in the sunshine, holding hands and basking in each others love. Did I mention that I love my Girl?
In truth I love both of my girls, Carol is my life partner, my soul mate and my friend and Sylvie is our bike. With both of these gifts from the gods in my life, it is hard to be unhappy for long, even after a wasted interview.