Sunday, 29 August 2010

Agnes, an addition to our stable.

Part One:- Road Chaos and desperation.

Have you ever sat on E-Bay, watching intently the item you really want, the seconds are counting down and you have made your final bid, the one that pips every one else and then some bugger beats you by twenty quid?  Yeah, happened to us too last week. Yet this turned out to be a good thing.

You see, we sold Henry the Honda 125cc training bike to a nice lady who is going to use him for what I used him, learning to ride and passing her tests. Henry was faithful and loyal friend who gave us several hundred fun filled miles. He also gave us moments of worry when we though he was going to cost us a lot of money, but he always came through for us and he always just kept going, even when his tank was on reserve.  Henry had charm and with in minutes of his leaving, I missed having his happy little headlight in the garage. I also badly needed a bike I could use to commute to work on, because although Sylvie is a fabulous bike, commuting on her on a daily basis, will ruin her.

Sylvie and Henry out playing in Cheddar.

So Carol and I scoured E-bay and with the money we got from selling Henry, plus some more from a settlement against a school I used to work at, we found a few nice little 250cc bikes I could use. Now, I passed my test in April this year and am on a restricted bike for two years, which suits me fine. I must admit that I find that a restricted Sylvie is still an awful lot of bike for me and I do find her a little scary some times. So any bike I ride has to be thirty three BHP or less. Now I was thinking that a 250 or 300 cc bike would be about right, but Carol was less than convinced.

So while looking at 250cc bikes, we found a really interesting Z250 Hardtail chop and it looked with in our budget. So we sat there watching, the last few seconds came up and I placed my bid, only to be beaten by some other lucky bidder. Feeling a little despondent I looked through the other things that we had on our watch list, nothing really sang out as nice or reliable. Until Carol had an idea, a little research and she finds a lovely 400cc Yamaha XJ. Thinking that it was unlikely to be my power rating, I almost dismissed it, until Carol found on line power ratings. This could be our bike. We began watching with a couple of days to go.

I want this one please

The bike was described as a little tatty, but otherwise reliable and one of the photo’s clearly showed a bright young woman with the bike at a wedding. We checked out the photos and examined the bike as well as we could and hoped that we would not be pipped at the post. However, the bids were going up slowly and it was soon looking like we were going to lose out. Finally the day came and we sat down with our dinner and watched the minutes tick down. With a few seconds to go, we entered our bid, confirmed it and hoped for the best.

A few minutes later, we were scanning Google Earth, looking for a place called Leighton Buzzard, the home of our newly won motorcycle. Now this place just happens to be very near the home of a couple of dear friends of ours, Xander and Boff, two of the nicest and most gentle people you could ever ask to meet and also conveniently married to each other, so seeing them both is nice and simple. The plan was to leave our place nice and early with the car and trailer, drive to see Xander and Boff and then go and pick up the bike. Nice and simple you would think, would you not?

The truth though is much darker, this journey was plagued by accidents and problems, starting before we even got on the road. Carol had to rewire the trailer board because the lights stopped working. She made them work and then they just stopped working again. They continued to be unreliable for the whole of the journey and Carol went through a pack of spare bulbs, just to stay legal. Finally on the road, we were heading out of town when a girl was hurt in a traffic accident. The road was blocked and we sat delayed in traffic whiling away the time looking at the places around us, as we slowly crept passed them. We were running approximately ninety minutes late by now.

The motorway was nice clear and we had a good run, although the chance of making up time is not really there when the car is restricted to 60 miles per hour because we chose to have a trailer. Things were moving along well though until we hit the M6. I hate the M6 now, it is a horrible motorway. A large lorry carrying several tonnes of gravel had crashed into another large lorry and the resulting mess closed two lanes of the motorway, leaving every one, trying very hard to get passed in a single lane. We waited for another ninety minutes, while the car slowly moved in a speed measured using snails as relative markers! Finally, we got to the accident site, just in time to see them sweeping up several tonnes of gravel with one of those road cleaning trucks, no wonder the place was blocked, there was gravel every where!

So once more we began to travel at a speed more appropriate for a motor car and with in two minutes had left the motorway, heading for Xander and Boff. By now our plan was seriously delayed and even if we stayed for only a minute, we would be late to get the bike. Just before we got to the village where our lovely friends lived though, a car towing a large caravan left the road and spun into a bank! The Police were on their way and we managed to avoid being caught up in any more traffic jams.

What can I tell you about Xander and Boff? Well, they are both lovely, Boff is quiet, gentle and as sharp as a tack. She has been married to Xander for awhile now and they seem really happy. What ever you do though, never use her real name, she will kill you! Xander is one of those friends who feels more like a little brother, although not because he is an inch shorter than me! He is another quiet gentle type and he and Boff are a lovely couple. Best of all though, they are also bikers and have a bike each, although I prefer Boff’s bike even if it is huge and terrifying.

Your author with Cat, Xander and Boff.

These two also have a small menagerie of pets, so we were able to see the two beautiful kittens that we gave them last year. Our boy cat Maccie brought home a little queen and they produced two litters of kittens, the two here are from the first litter and look almost identical to their father. I managed a quick cuddle with each one before they turned into wriggling ginger monsters and shot away into the hedge.

Last time I held this one, he sat in the palm of my hand.

Sadly almost as soon as we got there, we were back on the road and this time with company. Boff took the Sat Nav off of her bike and with Xander driving; they lead the way to where the bike was, a journey that took us another hour and  then we knew that we had the right place as soon as we pulled up, sat outside a nice new house was a black lowrider factory custom bike with a tool roll mounted on the forks. It looked good and finally after being on the road for eight and a half hours, we had finally made it to our new bike. Blessed relief at long last.

The sellers of the bike were a lovely couple called Karen and Amanda and the wedding photo in the E-Bay advert had been theirs. I think that they were glad that we arrived at last because they were due to head out that very night and waiting for us had kept them at home. I had most of the money for the bike, but the winning price had been £490.30. Yes, you read that right. Four hundred and ninety pounds and thirty pence. In my purse was £490 only. Carol had the thirty pence, an evil glint entered my eye…

Turning to the lovely woman selling us the bike I carefully informed her that we had a small problem with the money. She looked crest fallen, I informed her that she needed to talk to Carol to get the thirty pence and that I had the rest! Xander laughed and then told me off for being a nasty evil witch! Karen bless her laughed and breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that very soon these odd people would be out of her house.

We then began the difficult process of loading the bike into the trailer and finally after much swearing, cursing and stamping of feet in the cold, we were loaded up and ready to head homewards. Although a quick stop for food and a chat with our friends was also very much needed. Laughing with Xander and Boff as we stood outside the Milton Keynes KFC by the football ground is one the nicest things I have done for ages. However, I was a little insulted that the smokers of our group (every one except me) walked away from me because I happened to have farted rather loudly and petulantly!

Then with a sad feeling I hugged my dear friends good bye and we went our separate ways, vowing to return on the bikes when we could. The rest of the journey home was gentle and quiet. The chaos of he day on the roads was no more, only truck drivers and the occasional boy racer were on the motorway now and we cruised homeward and into the early hours of the morning. Once home we unpacked and put the bike away to bed with Sylvie and retired ourselves. It was four in the morning and I was knackered.

Part 2:- Agnes

Sunday morning should be spent in bed, reading the papers, maybe even a light mid morning breakfast before spending the day wrapped in PVC tape and having electric shocks applied to ones nipples!

However, our Sunday was spent up to our elbows in oil, grease and motorcycles, namely our new bike. First job of the day was to make the engine start, for which we needed a power supply from Sylvie and her battery. Attaching jump leads between the two bikes gave us the magic fire that makes the engine run. The engine coughed and spluttered before firing into life and roaring thanks to a hole in the exhaust, but nothing we couldn’t fix. The bike warmed up, slowly the battery charged up and pretty soon we disconnected the two bikes from each other, while waiting to see if the new bike could run on its own. She purred, or rather growled as the engine gently ran on its own. A quick test ride was now needed and Carol being the brave soul that she is, volunteered to go for the first ride.

Peter Fonda has nothing on this lass.

I can happily report dear readers that the trip was fine and Carol is both safe and well, her trip around the block proved that the little bike has a good engine and will pull well from a standing start. The brakes though are another story; the rear is hugely powerful while the front feels like it could stop a battle tank!

Having ensured that the mechanicals were fine and anything not fine was fixed, it became apparent that both bikes could really do with a wash. Sylvie was still covered in the road grime from Pride in Bristol and the new bike was just dirty from being left in storage for ages. So with a bucket of soapy water and a selection of fine cleaning products, I donned my marigolds and set to work. Washing, polishing and waxing the paint work and chrome of both bikes.

Wash me!
 My first ride on the new bike was something to laugh at, not knowing how to use a manual choke, not knowing how to take it off of the centre stand and not knowing how to start a bike with stale fuel was enough to cause the strongest of instructors to shake their heads in despair and retire. Luckily for me Carol is very patient and before you can say “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch” I was on the road to success.

Now this is the first time I have ridden an IL4, or In Line Four for those of you not down with the kids. You see, Sylvie is a lovely V- Twin and Henry was a single. Of course I am referring to the number of cylinders in the engine, Sylvie has a ninety degree v-twin which gives her lots of power and torque for a small engine size. She is a fantastic bike to ride, but her power comes in big meaty lumps and boy does she know how to gallop. Even when restricted to thirty three BHP, she can still give me a good ride out. Do not be fooled, 33BHP is not a wimps choice and DAS is not always the best way to go.

So I jumped on the new bike and tried to make sense of the controls, the lights have to be switched on, the choke is manual and the handle bars are just weird in that they are in front of you and do not require acrobatic agility to use. This bike is already winning me over. The engine though is a little sweetheart, it purrs and then screams and although it is not doing very much, it feels like it is very busy while it does it. There is a lot going on in an In Line Four, four pistons leaping up and down, four carburettors breathing vital life into the engine and four exhaust pipes all screaming their burnt gasses down into one single end can. It feels busy, it feels like it needs to go for a long hard thrash so it can tell me everything it can do, but until we can sort out the MOT, Tax and Insurance, once around a private carpark will have to do.

I worked out this much though, it may be a thirty year old bike, but it is pretty nippy. So friends, welcome a new chum to the stable. Internet folks I present Agnes, she may not be Sleeping beauty, but she most certainly will not be missing out on the ball.

Even Carol's Mum had a go
 By the way, it was Carol who named our new bike Agnes. I think it fits. 

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Bristol Pride, a day of not being a minority!

I wish that I could tell you that it had been a glorious sunny day, but it wasn’t. I wish I could tell that the day stayed dry and bright, but it did not. I am going to tell you though just how much fun I had at Bristol Pride and watching the wife’s band Oestrogenix rock the stage in the Trans Tent.

The day started for me at about half past seven in the morning. Carol was long gone having to be at the Park for eight with the trailer and kit, so I had a nice lay in and awoke bright and early feeling all excited. Pulling on my favourite Marduk shirt and my bike trousers, I got ready for a fast as fuck trip to Bristol on Sylvie, our loveable Suzuki SV650S.

Traffic was light to start with in Weston, but the M5 was a little clogged with holiday traffic and the going was slow up until I got past Clevedon, from here it was a blast to Avonmouth and the turn off for Bristol. Having taken this road before when I went for the crappy job interview in Bristol with the scam company, I knew where I was going and before long I was blasting past my old playground in Avon Gorge. No climbers today though because the rock was greasy and damp. Carol had kindly produced a map for me for when I got close to Pride, which I only had to consult once and that was only because I was unsure about a junction. Turns out I should have followed my nose, because Pride was just around the corner.

Now in case you do not know and this may be news to some of you, there is a reason why I was going to Bristol Pride. You see, technically, when one woman is in love with another woman, they are called lesbians. Lesbians are a part of the LGBT community. LGBT is the grouping that includes, but is not limited to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people. Also often known as Dykes, Fags, Poofs and Trannies. However, if you are a part of this spectrum of people, you will know that these words are more often spat with hate rather than spoken to us. Pride is about people like us saying loudly and Proudly, I am Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender and there is nothing bad about it. Fuck it; at Pride it is the straight “ordinary” folk who are in the minority and I have to be honest, given some the straight “normal” folk I have met, I will gladly take a field of dykes any day.

Pride is an important aspect of Homosexual and Transgender life, with out the People who started Pride, there are many of us who would still live in fear, persecuted by the law for simply being what comes naturally to us. I would say with conviction that the Pride movement has given us greater rights and respect from an otherwise judgemental society. For this reason, Pride gets our support.

So I pull up in the bike park and take all of Sylvie’s locks out of my seat pack.

  • Yellow Oxford Disklock
  • Black D-Lock
  • Black Magnum Disklock and Chain

One disk lock for each wheel, a heavy duty armoured chain and a D-lock through the forks, just to make things difficult. Any thief that can get through this lot, the steering lock and the alarm is damn clever and should be employed by the lock companies to show them how it is done. Giving her a see you later pat, I headed off to the still setting up Pride event and to find Carol.
Oestrogenix had been invited to play in the Trans Tent by the Western Boys, a group that offers friendship, support and advice to a group of ordinary men. Men who happen to have been born with the wrong genitals. Trans Men have a tough time of it, they are often short, look soft and gentle despite beards and crew cuts and have to endure some horribly cruel tricks played on them by Mother Nature. Trans women have similar if opposite issues. We are often tall, well built and muscular and fuck me is it painful having a face full of beard burned out with a laser and electrolysis needle. Next time you are out with your mates and you see a trans person, be fucking polite. They have endured more than you will ever know just to be where they are stood at that moment. If you can’t be polite, then shut the fuck up and don’t stare, it is rude and quite often, they already feel self conscious enough with out your input. Trust me, I have been there. Yeah, I am angry, but then I lost a job I loved due to transphobic prejudice. This is why Pride is so important.

The stage in the Trans tent was set and the tent was nicely tidy, with the PA set up and Carol and Lucile looking relaxed and busy. Nikki the sound engineer looked very chilled and I was greeted with a warm welcome from everyone. Carol was tired and still gave me the biggest kiss I had all week. She looked excited and was bubbly in that special way she has when preparing for a performance. Stepping back, I looked at my beautiful girlfriend and I felt a heart full of Pride, just to be with her.

Bristol was about to be inundated with the local and not so local LGBT community and those folks who were friends, family or just believed that every one should be equal. The march started at twelve opposite the Hippodrome and there was a huge crowd, supported by a group of Samba drummers. I had contacted my biking friend (who should by now be familiar to you) Stu about meeting him. He is not Gay, but I am among his gay friends and he as going to come along with another. Sadly Stu was poorly (I suspect freshers flu had got to him, the joys of being a student!), but Nikki his delightful Girlfriend and her friend Pauline were trying to find us. They found us pretty quickly and just as they said hello, me being the bitch that I am pretended to be some one else! The two young women looked confused for a second until I smiled and said hello properly. Some times my sense of humour just misses!

Pauline, Nikki and your author

Let me tell you about Nikki and Pauline, just so you can be jealous. Both of them are very pretty, early twenties students with smiles and hearts that are a credit to them. Stu (Nikki’s fella) is a lucky guy, but we don’t want to embarrass them both too much, do we?

The March started and the whistles and cheers were deafening. Traffic ground to a halt and some wicked looking Drag Queens, in heels that frankly would have scared me, tottered along ahead of us. I was in my combat patterned Bike trousers, my Marduk shirt and boots so big, I was two inches taller.

Hello Mum! I am at Pride and it is great!

I was filled with the spirit of Pride, even if I could not hear it! The March went right passed Bristol Bike show and we got cheers and support from the bikers too. It was great thing to feel and Carol walked along either holding my hand or taking the photos you can now see. Oh yes, Pride means a lot.

The march ended back at the park and we headed back up to the arena and they got ready for the first act of the day, Kris, the guy who had worked so hard to organise the Trans tent. 

Although he looked like a super hero in his Pride outfit of the day. Kris was also in charge of making badges and he kindly helped me to make a couple.

My first was a rainbow with the legend:

Trans Biker

While the second, suitably enough for me, read:

Trans Hooligan

Oh yes, I am that woman that your Mother warned you about when you young!

The acts that played in the Trans Tent were either inspirational or emotive. However the Trans Man Stand Up Comedian and recent father of a bouncing baby boy was so brilliantly talented, that I actually thought I was going to cry. I wish that I could remember his name, because I would tell you to go and find him and listen to him perform.

Nikki the sound tech has a daughter called Lou and she teamed up with our good friend Zed (who had even brought her beautiful son Pipin with her) and also took to the stage. 

Zed has a rich quality to her singing voice that is just beautiful, however when you realise what the words are that she is singing you realise that her mind and wit are as sharp as an assassin’s blade. Lou played her guitar with perfection given that she was asked to perform only minutes before and seeing them both performing this fantastic number together will go down in my life as one of the glad I saw it events. It was brilliant and they received a justified round of applause.

Finally Carol and the girls took to the stage, just as the heavens opened. The stage flooded and Carol’s drum pedal started to so slip and float away as the rain water flooded in through the gaps in the tent covers. A brief stop so that she could get her pedal back and they were back on and once again performing with their usual professional approach. They do not play like a small band that practices in our hallway, Lucile has the stage presence that you would expect from a big name band, she sings with passion and with her heart in the performance, Carol is intense when she is drumming, focussed and calm and the mystery bassist is there with her unknown face, hidden in the shadows of her secret identity. Will we ever know who she is?

Pride slowly came to an end and with the kit all packed away, I faced the ride home in pouring rain. However, being warm rain made it bearable and the road took me back through the gorge and onto the Motorway. A quick stop for a waking hot drink was needed after such a long hard day, but I was soon back in the saddle and blasting back down the motorway and home. On the SV forum I often read of SV’s that suffer with wet plug, a condition that causes the front cylinder to fail and for a huge power loss as soon as the weather gets damp. Sylvie though is a trooper and all she wants to do skip in puddles, dance in the gutter and flutter her umbrella about her in true Singing in the rain style. Her road manners are impeccable and she rides as smoothly in the rain as she does in the cool summer evenings. Finally as we got home and parked up outside the garage, the rain stopped and as she cooled and ticked, I exhaustedly removed my wet bike gear and thanked her for another fantastic ride. I sprayed her up with GT85 before retiring her to bed and locking her back up with all of her locks.

Pride, what a totally brilliant day. A huge thank you to Oestrogenix for making it a great day out and to the other performers who gave it everything to make the day a success. See you all next year. 

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Training Wheels

Since passing my tests in April, my trusty rusty CG125 has pretty much sat in the garage, getting in the way and doing nothing. It has tax and MOT until January 2011 and has been a fun and faithful bike. He has seen better days paint wise, but he has had some work done on him to keep him on the road, such as fork seals, regular oil changes, wheels serviced and even a strip down and clean. £300 would get him out of my way and into the capable hands of a budding new Biker.

It has taken several days to decide to do this to Henry, he has been a friend and a companion to me since starting my motorcycling career and it has not been an easy decision to make, he is after all one of the family. But some times a person has to make a harsh decision, after all, he is not a living thing and he is somewhat battered. 

But what of my plans to chop him I hear you ask? Well, they are on hold for the seed of an idea that is currently in my head. I want a winter hack bike, a cute little 250 or 400 twin that I can ride in the filthy weather, not worry about dropping and be easy and cheap to run. 

So keep you eyes peeled for a nice old Kwak or Honda for me. As for Sylvie, she will soon be getting the much needed bar conversion that she needs to be a fast and comfortable sports bike. Her days as a standard bike are coming to an end and her future as a kick arse streetfighter is almost upon us.

We will keep you posted! 

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I looked at him as he looked at me and it was awesome!

Busy day today, started off with a bang too! My lovely hand built desk top computer farted and died today, shutting down and staying shut down, no matter how many time I impotently prodded the big black ON button. The power supply had failed, or more accurately, the cooling fan in the power supply had failed, quickly followed by the rest of the unit!

Luckily for me, my fair lady wife to be, Carol has a real interest in IT and Computers that has also included building her own PCs and she still had some stuff left over, including a battered and rusty looking PSU. After much faffing and a considerable amount of swearing, the old PSU was removed and the new one installed. It was only after the case was back together and everything wired back up that I noticed that I had lost my engagement ring! Luckily it had come off while looting the computer store cupboard and was sat under said cupboard, in the dust. However it took thirty minutes of my frantic searching before I found this to be the case.

So after fixing the computer, finding my precious ring I then settling down to listen to Total Biker FM, a really cool internet radio station that Carol found recently that has even played some of her music on air, to great critical acclaim. This peace and quiet was to be short lived because Carol phoned and offered to meet me for a picnic in Bristol. So, pulling on the bike gear, I shut down the newly fixed computer and headed over to garage to get my second favourite girl, Sylvie out for a blast to Bristol.

The ride to Bristol was lovely, all A roads and before I knew it, I was in the city centre, heading towards Clifton and my Darling wife. I thought I was doing well, I had last ridden a bike here in 2001, but had been a mountain bike and yet I still managed to get to where I wanted to be today. Over looking Sea Walls, on Clifton Down.

Carol pulled up with in seconds of my parking up and we shared a quick kiss. I think that I am lucky, I am engaged to a beautiful woman who positively encourages me to ride motorbikes. Our picnic consisted of a ham roll and a bag of onion rings, while a large blue shark swam by in the sky above us!

Yes, you did read that right and no, we had not taken drugs! As we sat on the grass enjoying our food and just basking in each others company, a large kite in the shape of a shark took to the air behind us and proceeded to swim in the breeze. It was a beautiful thing to see and it looked like a real shark in its movements as well as its shape and colour. To put it simply, what a fantastic kite.

As quickly as we had met, it was time to go and Carol and I parted ways once more, as I headed over to Filton and the UWE campus to meet my friend Stu. Regular readers may well remember Stu, the young gentleman with a similar bike to me, albeit with a noisy exhaust and a dark blue paint job. Stu very kindly agreed to meet me and we headed back to his for a cool drink and a chat, before the real fun started, fun that has left me with a decidedly sore bottom!

Yay... It was ride out time and Stu had a wicked ride in mind. a quick blast up the M4 towards the A46 was just enough to get us in the mood for a play on the roads. We followed to the A46 away from Bath and along some pretty amazing roads, eating up the miles as the fast roads allowed, sweeping corners, blinding bends and awesome straights that allowed great views to over take slower moving cars and tractors. As always, Stu was a real gentleman and always made sure that I could keep up, pulling in to allow me to catch up if we got separated by traffic. We followed the road for miles, passing through villages until eventually we reached a large town and finally Stu's Mum's house.

Now I am not sure what Stu's Mum made of me, I am after all a rather tall, slightly odd, motorcycling lesbian, dressed in Combat trousers with a pink and black Bike jacket. Hardly the sort of person you want your baby boy bringing home to meet the folks, but she was very friendly and was soon chatting. Stu is the apple of his Mum's eye and she is obviously proud of her boy, which is a really lovely thing to see, especially when he is a black metal loving, motorcycling monster! Just like me in fact...

The ride back home was quick and great fun. Dropping on to the motorway and blasting up the almost empty road was a wonderful life affirming experience that I will never forget, riding a restricted V-Twin means that I will never get the silly speeds that an equivalent sized In-Line Four engine produces, but this was not about speed, this was about companionship and enjoying a moment with a mate. I pulled ahead slightly for a moment and took a turn off so that I could adjust my hair and sort out my music player. At that moment an old guy, with a beard down to his groin, pulled up on his Harley. Seeing two bikers stopped in a layby was enough for him to check that we were OK and our enthusiastic smiles and welcome reassured him that we were fine. Not two minutes passed before chap in a Landrover pulled over to check that we were OK and once again we laughed and told him that we were just taking a rest. There is something wonderful about the biker community that makes complete strangers care for each other just because we share a common passion, a love of motorcycles.

The final blast together was what I can only describe as one of life's beautiful moments, I was in the middle lane and pushing motorway speed, Stu was just behind and then he pulled out and drew up next to me on the nearly empty road. Riding along like that, looking over and seeing my friend was a moment that will stay with me forever. Our wheels were a blur on the road, our engines were singing with a V-Twin harmony and our dark visors kept out the perfect evening sunshine. Human beings and machines, fused into a living, breathing, dancing symbiosis. It truly was a beautiful moment and one that I am thankful to my young friend for sharing with me. We rode like that for a couple of miles, over taking the slow moving heavy goods vehicles and the occasional car. I looked at him just as he looked at me and it was awesome! It was not the speed of it, but the harmony of moving together, the shared moment of our passion of riding motor bikes. It was a moment I will treasure, along with many others from my motorcycling adventures.

However upon getting home, the ache in my bottom from that saddle was enough to have me walking like John Wayne after a gallop across the desert. Note to self, must buy a new saddle and soon!

Thanks to Carol and Stu for making an otherwise humdrum day into a day that I shall always remember, for a picnic with a beautiful woman and a ride with a good friend. Today I was blessed.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

North Devon or Bust... To Wed or not to Wed.

So the big day approaches and Hazel, my beautiful and dearest sister, is about to marry her gorgeous and handsome beau. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, nothing actually…

A few notes to get you in the mood though.

Mad, 80 year Old Grandmas with filthy mouths, who whitter through services and make unkind comments to helpful Granddaughters, should be shot!

Priests who warn supportive sisters that they must show behaviour appropriate for a church should expect to be reminded about child abuse cases being covered up. Fortunately supportive sisters are able to bite their tongues.

Fathers who drone on and on and on, while managing to say nothing should expect to be told to shut up, especially when they managed to embarrass the Bride. 

Older sisters, who are asked to do a reading in Church, will be mildly surprised when the Groom’s Mother likes it so much, she cries and asks for a copy of the poems.

Older sisters will grow more and more surprised when lots of people comment on her beautiful and well performed reading!

Older sisters will nearly cry when beautiful newly weds thank her for her reading and give her a present.

Flower girls should not be so sweet and lovely and then have tell off the brides sister for being silly, even though they are six and she is nearly forty!

Drunken younger brothers should not try to use a wedding as a cruising place to pick up his sisters unmarried friends!

Drunken old lesbian Aunties should not accumulate around the Bride's young lesbian sister, like Priests around an Alter boy. It is creepy and disturbing!

Hotel waiting staff, who try to smother a laugh, when asked by the Brides sister to slap the brides poorly behaved brother, shall be tipped.

Best Mans speeches with that many Knob gags will cause tears of laughter from every one.

However, before you can get to the fun bits, lets deal with the getting there first. My Brother Mez phoned at Midnight on Thursday to say that his friend could not drive them down due to her spraining her ankle and not being able to drive. Cue him begging for a lift from us. Sure enough he turned up the next morning with plenty of time to spare and looking a little worse for ware, having just been made homeless!

With all of our clothes ironed and packed, all of our toiletries packed, my crate of make up packed and my brother crammed into the car, we headed off to North Devon, a place rumoured to be a hive of incest, sheep farms and hillbillies with more than the usual allotted number of toes, fingers or eyes!

Now the journey there is one that we have made several times in our old faithful car Toyah, the Toyota Corolla. She has nice manners and drives very well, even up the steepest of North Devon hills. However, today I felt like doing a bit of driving, having driven only three times before and still being some way from my test. Once Carol had got us safely away from the Motorway I took to the controls. Fear has a smell and it is the smell of fouled underwear.

Carol drove us safely the rest of the way, Mez tried to let the horror of the last few minutes pass safely away from him and I let my heart beat fade back to a mere black metal blast beat!

Arriving at the farm, we parked up and unloaded some of our stuff and relaxed in the garden, Carol photographed some amazing butterflies and I worried about hillbillies while Mez chatted with family inside the house. The cats played and the day was beautiful, what a time to be in North Devon and away from home.

The hour of practice approached and we were soon bundled into the car again and off to the church for the practice service…

Now you should by now have an idea that I am not at all the most girly of people, I ride motorbikes, I listen to extreme black metal and my favourite footwear is my old brown walking boots. For this trip I was wearing my Snow camo bike trousers, my old brown walking boots and a my Marduk shirt. I looked every inch a brick hard dyke!

The Vicar looked at me with disdain, I was not his usual type of parishioner, if anything I looked more likely to burn the church down than want to come inside and listen to a service. However, I was polite, friendly and my usual cuddly self. The two darling little flower girls, my sisters God Daughters, smiled at me and giggled as I waved at them while they sat bored on the pew as the Vicar went through the rules with my sister and Dom.

To be honest, I wanted to keep my mind off the religious ceremony that was going on in front of me and also that man making my pregnant sister to get down on her knees in worship of an invisible man who lives in the sky, struck me as some what wrong. So I pulled faces at the flower girls and they giggled and laughed very quietly, hurting no one and in no way getting in the way of the discussion going on at the front.

The Vicar then called for me in regards to my reading. I was asked if I wanted to practice and I said that I was fine with it and he simply showed me where I would go to read it. He then added that I was to show the respect becoming of a church on the day. To be honest, I was a little bit incensed; after all, fiddling with kids is really not my thing and I am not keen on Alter boys or any kind of boys! Grrrrrr…

Back home to the farm and we got lost, the Sat Nav was tying to take us back to Bristol, in a vain attempt to get me away from religious men in frocks and the local Hill Billies, strumming away on their Banjos. Once home though I retired to the bed room to sort out my bits before an early night and a restful sleep.

The next morning we awoke bright and early, not to the gentle sound of birds singing or bees buzzing, but the droning of my Grandmother and father talking and giggling, only it was not morning, it was still night time, being only half past five! We managed to get back to sleep and were woken up again at seven by Grandma and Dad still chatting like loons, only my Dad had now added Elvis style singing to the mix!

Once washed, dressed and had half a pound of make up applied to my face I was ready for the day’s proceedings. Carol looked beautiful in her Skirt and top outfit, her pretty red toe nails showing through her open toed shoes. Had she not been my girlfriend already, I may well have asked her for the first dance. As it was, she complained that with my four layers of different coloured lip stick, I was refusing to kiss her, knowing that I would leave smudges every where.

We arrived at the church and waited outside for a while, various people turned up looking well dressed and ready for the wedding of the year. Dom although looking beautifully dressed, was as cool and casual about getting married as if it was just an ordinary day. This is just one reason why I know that he is the perfect man for my sister.

Finally we were all asked to enter the church and take our seats. Once again the Vicar asked me to ensure that my reading was appropriate, I reassured him that it was a selection of the finest knob gags and he pleaded with me not to make it so. Ha ha, the power was now mine. Dress boy wandered off to talk to the family of the groom and escape the lesbian harpy threatening to make knob gags in his church. I sat with my mad Granny and listened to her rolling off the mildly offensive phrases as she spoke to me in what ever gender she wished to apply and casually referring to both my Step Mother and I as over weight. She was to whisper and comment on the whole day and to be honest I stated wishing that I had brought the sticky tape with me, to tape up her mouth!

Your Author and Step Mother
 Hazel arrived and was more beautiful than I have ever seen her, My Dad held her gracefully on his arm and she was radiant. Only an utter fool would turn her down today. The hymns started and I found that I was in a minority group of Atheists, but the ceremony went ahead with out a hitch so to speak. Finally the rings were swapped and Hazel was married to Dom and they shared their first kiss as Husband and Wife. I was then called to deliver my reading and had chosen two lovely poems, an Inuit Love Poem and Wedding Advice by Jane Wells from 1886. The rest of the service followed and we were allowed to leave, to the sound of bells ringing out.

Signing the wedding certificate
The reception was at the local Golf Club and once again we got lost in Darkest North Devon, our fear of Hill Billies and being made to squeal like piggies prevented us from asking the local three eyed sheep farmer for the way. However we soon found where we had to be and headed for the club, screaming up country lanes at speeds top rally drivers would be proud of. Crunching to a halt on the poor surface of the car park we got out and sprinted down hill to the pavilion. Just in time to hang around for an hour and a half, doing nothing but chilling out in the sin shine and relaxing with a cool drink. Perfect.

The dinner started and Carol and I were sat together with Mez, Vikki and her chap Chris. We also had Hazel’s future Brother in law with us and we talked mountain bikes, fast bikes and adventures. He drank a bottle of wine to himself and got slowly merrier, were we really that difficult to talk to? Mez was his usual playful self and at one point I asked a passing waitress to slap him as she passed. For a tiny second she looked concerned and then started to laugh before running away.

The speeches would follow the lunch and first up was my Dad, with his usual style, he waffled and wandered, telling bad jokes and making us either laugh or cringe.

 Through it all though shone his pride in my sister, like a lighthouse on a stormy night, even if it was in a desert.

Dom’s speech was short, charming and witty, his graceful delivery was perfect and again the most obvious part was his love of my dear sister. 

He also chose this time to give out gifts to the various people that he and Hazel had believed had been of help during the wedding. I was surprised and honoured when he called out for me and Hazel handed me a gift to say thank you for my reading. As if asking me to do it was not honour enough. The beautifully wrapped box contained a delicate and pretty silver watch. I could not believe that they would do such a thing.

The Best Man had obviously spent some time working on his speech and his delivery was perfect, his jokes hilarious and his heart warming stories were lovely. 

This was the way that a Best Man should be and a series of Knob gags were finally delivered. After the speeches, I was suddenly surrounded by a group of elderly lesbian women, all of whom approved of my choice of dress and collection of poems I had read out. Dom’s Mum had taken my copy of them and the gaggle of dykes wanted copies. Bravely I retreated and told them to e-mail my sister who could forward them copies.

The rest of the day then turned into the entertainments and coffee drinking. A magician wandered around showing us tricks, a Dj set up his disco and a band set up their instruments. Carol and I wandered off to get changed and chill out away from the noise for a few moments and then bumped into Hazel who was once again being photographed. A few snaps with us together and then I was off once again, having walked Hazel back to her wedding.

As day turned to evening we slowly grew quieter (except my Grandma who continued to be abusive, rude and hilarious, with out ever realising she was doing it!) and more tired and eventually after a buffet meal we retired to the car and the drive home.

Step Mother and Grandma
To Hazel and Dominic, I wish you the very best for your marriage, for the best of health for the baby you have on the way and for years to come and may your lives together be as happy as the day you declared your love to us all. I love you both dearly and will hold you in my heart for ever. 

Bike Night with Carley

Where to begin with this new entry to our world of Blogging.

Well first of all, welcome dear readers, thank you for showing interest in our little lives and do please leave comments on our blog if you want to, nice ones will be cherished and if any one compares us to Hitler, well we can live with that too. We are big and hard after all.

Two adventures for you this month, one by Bike and one by Car.

Weston Bike night again this week and sadly Carol was working and I was stuck at home packing for our Devon trip. However, a new friend to us, the delightful Carley, has recently been very poorly and has spent some time in Hospital, luckily she is mending now and is almost ready to get back on her bike and get on with passing her big bike test. Carley is also quite brave and agreed to a trip out on the back of Sylvie before pulling up on the sea front for Bike night. Now as you can imagine, with me on the front and Carol in work, this was going to be an interesting trip.

Getting her ready
The first thing to do was find her and we agreed a pick up point close to somewhere I could actually find. Sure enough, she was there and I got a little lost and then stuck in traffic. However, the engine roar was appreciated as we pulled up and Carley and Sylvie got to know each other. Once geared up and with the bike intercom in place, we set off and I promptly took a wrong turn and ended up in the Car park for McDonalds! I quickly found a way out and headed the right way and towards the motorway.

Carley had not been on the motorway before and also going on the back of the SV for the first time was a bit of a new experience too. Unfortunately the cross winds were horrible and on one occasion the gust was so strong it blew us across our lane and almost in the next. It was only the use of counter steering and black magic that stopped us, the black magic being the grip from out excellent tyres on the road.

We took the exit for Brent Knoll and turned on to the main road to head back towards Weston, slowing some what for the heavy traffic. The whole journey felt to me to be slow and stop start traffic, we managed to filter past some slow moving cars and eventually made it to the faster sections of road before taking the roundabout turning onto the A370 to Weston. Here the road speeds up for about two hundred metres before dropping back to a forty zone. The Speed camera has finally been removed, but road conditions were making it a slow twenty five to thirty miles per hour speed limit. Once the road opened up, we blasted out and past a line of slow moving cars to catch up the one that was going thirty in a national speed limit (if that was you driving like that, you are rude and dangerous) and shot past into a nice big gap, closely followed by a 900 Hornet.

A quick blast at sixty brought us close to home again and sadly the traffic started to bunch up again as we enter a fifty zone, the Hornet behind us was trying to get past us, but we in turn we stopped by oncoming cars and trucks. Eventually he saw a gap that his bike could make, but Sylvie in restricted two up mode would struggle with. He shot past and pulled in three cars ahead to avoid a truck, before slowly skipping one car at a time homewards.

I throttled off a little and just enjoyed a pootle, although the wind gusts were so strong that I had to keep on correcting our road position. Finally we passed the Weston sign and the Blue Hornet was still in sight just ahead. It looked like he too was heading to Bike night. Cruising down the sea front with a laughing Carley on the back is one of the coolest things I have ever done, giving some one else the ability to enjoy bikes just by taking them for a ride out is a brilliant thing to do.

We pulled up and paid our pound towards the Royal British Legion, a charity that cares for ex British forces troops, so it is a pound well spent. The Sea front was filling up rapidly with bikes and we weaved our way through the crowd to a parking spot, before stripping off the hot and humid bike gear and going for a wander to see who had turned up.

Bikes continued to pour into the parking area and it looked like there were hundreds, if not thousands of bikers and bikes. As we wandered a local Council worker tried in vain to communicate with us, but being a local and having several missing teeth, she found using language a bit of a struggle. As it turned out she was concerned about why there were a lot of bikes turning up and parking on the Sea Front, so we just smiled and left her to her cursing.

After a while the wind dropped and the heat started to disperse, leaving Carley and I with a wish to sit down and watch the world of bikes pass us by. Carley kindly bought me a cuppa and we sat and talked bikes for a while before going for one last wander around. By this time, the line of bikes was three time longer than it had been on our arrival and it was also parked up in four rows. This was a lot of bikes and even a few trikes. As always, the unbaffled exhausts of the Harleys sounded mean and aggressive, but just managed to “put put” through the crowd to the road way and river barge turn onto the road. It saddens me that a bike with three or more times the capacity of my little Sylvie can actually produce only slightly more that her restricted engine.

We geared up and Carley started Sylvie who purred into life, a passer by remarked that she was “just an old SV”, yet he was a passer by who did not know her well. She may well be the first of the pointies, but she has the heart and soul of a lioness, proud and ferocious. Even with her quiet pipe, she sounds lovely and that is how I want to keep her for now.

We weaved through the crowd towards the road, people stepping out of our way as I practiced my slow control, only one guy failed to notice us, but the small child he was pushing into our path sure did. Come on parents, if you are a holiday maker and you are walking through a crowd of bikers, don’t push you kids about with out looking, they might get squashed!

The road to Kewstoke takes in the Sea front and it is finally open, at last. We blasted along and looked so cool, the gentle sea breeze now nothing more aggressive than the occasional gentle gust and we entered the Toll Road. The sweeping curves would be awesome at speed, but the signs tell us that a lot of folks have had horrible, horrible accidents along there, so the limit is reduced to a snail like twenty five. Even at this speed Sylvie feels lovely though.

Passing through Kewstoke we were moving at a steady twenty five when a car pulled up to a junction, I watched the young girl driver look to her left and just pull out as we approached. She crossed our path and turned right, heading to where we had come. I pulled my brakes hard and Sylvie’s nose dived, her new repositioned horn let the girl know that we were not pleased at her dangerous move and I was livid. As she passed us by the girl looked at us and laughed. I despair at the state of the world when a driver can nearly cause an accident and think it is funny.

I dropped Carley off and turned Sylvie around, before opening her up and slipping the clutch slightly to get her roaring as I pulled away waving, Carley now safely home and ready for a restful evening.

The following morning was the next big adventure, a trip to North Devon and Hazel and Dom’s wedding…

To be continued.