I’ve just returned from Plymouth (via Glastonbury) where I’ve purchased a new bike, a Suzuki GS500F, my first ‘proper’ bike. It’s only a year old with 140 miles on the clock, in very good condition, and I got it for under two grand. The way it happened is a good example of ‘awen in motion’. I met Nigel at the Bardic Camp beginning of August. I went over and had a chat with him when I saw his Suzi 500 parked outside his tent. We hit it off straight away. I told him I was looking for a new bike and later at the camp he told me that he’d heard of one for sale down his way. We swapped contact details and later on I rang him and we discussed it further. He went to check it out and told me it looked good – in fact, it was a bargain. Then proceeded a ‘firming up’ period with the bike brokers, where it was being held (the first and only owner had crashed it after 130 miles – cracking the front forks, but these had been replaced along with the front wheel and it looked immaculate except for a couple of small scratches you wouldn’t notice unless they were pointed out). Everything seemed to flow – my partner lent me the money (Goddess bless her!) and both Nigel and the breakers yard were available on the last weekend in August – my only free weekend until October as September is going to be busy! I booked a single train ticket down on Saturday 30th August, taking my biker gear with me. Everything had been a bit up in the air all week – the bank holiday had pushed everything back, and I hadn’t been able to get hold of the breakers, but finally on Friday the communication channels cleared and I got the green light: the bike would be ready. I hunted down some insurance and got that in place, and got ready for my wee trip. Nigel met me at the station in Plymouth and took me on the back of his Suzi 500 to the yard, where – there it was! Looking even better in ‘the flesh’. Dave, the breaker, seemed like a decent, straight-down-the-line bloke who let us take it out for a spin and explained its history and what they’ve had to do to it. Even with the all the extra work, he let me have fifty quid off for cash, and, after some brief form filling – it was mine! We went into the centre and got a tax disc and some lunch, sitting in the glorious sunshine. Later, we went down the Barbican – to Cap’n Jaspers, the place to be if you’re a biker in Plym it seems. It was a glorious day to be out and about and to buy a new bike – riding it for the first time was an intense learning curve (I had taken my DAS a year before and hadn’t ridden a 500 between then and now) but far more pleasurable in the sun, and with Nigel bike maestro leading the way I felt a lot safer. After a couple of trips in and out of town I felt a lot more confident. The Suzi is a dream to ride – solid, reliable and with enough poke for day-to-day use. Having the extra ccs makes all the difference. It enhances the riding experience immeasurably. No more struggling up hills! The whole transaction flowed brilliantly – it makes the world of difference having reliable people to deal with: a friend’s advice and an honest dealer. Thank you guys!
Sunday 31st August
It was raining heavily when I set off from Nigel’s – a real contrast to the glorious day before – but I may as well get used to riding in the rain. I had done my DAS training in a practical monsoon, so it was nothing I couldn’t handle but it wasn’t much fun going along the dual carriageway hardly being able to see a thing through my visor. Still I managed to pick up speed and loved how the Suzi chewed up the miles. I was home by noon, in less than the two and half hours recommended by the routeplanner. It was lovely to see Jenny and to relax in her beautiful sanctuary. I showered and changed out of my biker gear and then we set off for the Tor – to see an open air version of the King Arthur story by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company. This was another bit of synchronicity – as I am starting to think about my next novel, which will be my ‘Arthurian novel’. Recently I heard a play ‘Steinbeck in Avalon’ on R4 at the same time I came across his The Acts of King Arthur and his Noble Knights while cataloguing for Bookbarn. I am also reading Nikolai Tolstoy’s The Coming of the King and John Cowper Powys’ Porius was awaiting me when I returned home today! It was lovely to watch the play by the excellent ensemble cast while enjoying a yummy picnic (which we devoured, both ravenous by then) on the side of the Tor, in the Fair Field, looking towards Chalice Hill. In the audience was no less than Nicolas Cage with his partner and child, doing his best to be anonymous with his hood up, but I think most people knew he was there by the end of it. Ghost Rider! Perhaps I should have asked for his blessing on my bike ;0) Actually I wasn’t that bothered – Jenny seemed more star-struck – the play held my full attention, and its young cast garnered my respect with their energetic and imaginative rendition. The gods were kind and the rain held off. We wended our way home for tea and siesta. My ‘bike-quest’ had taken it out of me. But it was certainly worth it. The bike will soon pay for itself – I’ll be using it a lot over the autumn and winter with all of my teaching, etc. Reliable and economical, it will help my working life to flow. Awen on wheels!