Ah, that’s better, a bit of time to myself.
It’s been manic these last few weeks. The problem’s my family and friends who live all over the country, so instead of settling into slow way of life I’ve been racing around trying to see as many people as I can. Hence why I’ve not been online very much.
But enough about me, it’s Dorothy you want to know about. Well, I’ve just been down to the shed where she’s been stationary for the last two weeks and bar a couple of drips of oil from the sump plug she’s still really well. I need to give her a clean and start working on her restoration but she fired up almost first time and when I did last ride her she ran like a dream. Still slower and more hesitant than her former self but not on the brink of death as first feared.
She’s certanily going to get a full overhaul before the next adventure. I’m not too sure exactly where that’s going to be just yet. We’ve discussed her being freighted to Alaska for the Pan-America but that’s still early days. In the meantime she’s going to get a good run to a friend’s wedding next weekend in Leicester. I think I might even retro-fit the orange panniers that we started with. Those black ones from India turned out alright in the end, the others though were just more waterproof.
As for England I’m really enjoying it. There’s always a lot of talk and expectation about being misreable when you return from a long trip. But three weeks on that’s still not kicked in. I’ve been down London quite a bit and seen with fresh eyes what a great place it is. I’ve even concluded that of all the cities I’ve passed through on this long adventure it’s actually my favourite. And I never thought I read myself typing that.
There’s just so much soul to the place. Riding through the day I arrived back stuff was happening wherever I looked. I’ve also discovered my global friends live here too. People from Pakistan, from Indonesia and Russia. Ride the tube and you can hear them all, jabbering away in languages I recognise but still can’t understand. It’s as though all the characters I met on the trip have all been brought together in one place. It’s brilliant.
And so is London. I’ve walked along the river and up through the alleys and old parts, met friends for lunch, even gone out clubbing in Brixton. And quite honestly the place fascinates me. So many sides to it. So many faces. And while I’ve come all this way wondering why us in our western world aren’t as friendly as those in the countries I’ve passed through, I’ve soon realised that we actually are.
Almost every step I had to ask someone if I was on the right road to Trafalgar or Shepherds Bush, and amazed I was that everyone obliged, smiled, laughed and chatted. Even on the tube and on the train. I think we beat ourselves up too much, criticise too heavily because our societies really aren;t that bad.
I blame the papers. Walk in to a newsagents and all you see is bad news about this and that and how England is sinking from chavs and scoundrels and immigrants and David Beckhams beard. Then there’s Jordan and Peter Andre slagging each other off on every page and all of a sudden you find yourself swimming in squalor.
But look up, smell the roses, ask a strangeer for directions and remind yourself it’s really not that bad. Same goes for world news where Pakistan’s getting its latest roasting. Believe the news and you’d be excused everyone’s walking around with a pack of TNT on their back. I want to tell the TV man to shut up and stop making it up. Go there, meet some people, see that most are nice. But you can’t, you’re back in the real world where I guess you just have to suck it up.
But all in all it’s good to be back. My shed’s on order and we’re just trying to figure out how best to insulate it for the winter. I went for a 8″ x 6″ which should just give me enough room to sleep in their if it’s warm enough. But this is Yorkshire so probably not.
I’m even thinking about writing the book on its walls. I hate typing in Word you see, I find it too throttling. I just fancy a big wall to scribble it all down on and doodle and dream about the places I’ve been, because bugger me if it all doesn’t all seem like a dream right now. I see the pictures and see my hairy face in Thailand, in Ukraine, but it still doens’t feel quite real. Hopefully doing the book will help it all sink it. Make it all seem more real.
Today I’m back up at my parents editing photos and staring at bank statements that I know must soon be opened. On the radio I’ve got Jeff Buckley and in my mug chai tea. It’s the one bit of India I did really love. if only I could get it to taste the same. I can’t of course, it tastes a bit shit.
Right, I’ve gone on too long enough as usual. But I’d love to keep dropping by to say hello while my next adventure brews if that’s okay. I feel a bit lost without somewhere to come and say a regular hello.
Anyway, from a cold blustery corner of North Yorkshire we all say goodbye.