With the laundry over and the morning far too good to be doing housework, it was out with the bike. I had no idea where I was going- but as the Cheshire-Cat would say,
“If you don’t know where you are going, all roads lead there.”
Out onto the B939 for Ceres, then the back road to Strathkinness, I stopped at the crossroads make your mind up time. I turned right and went charging off on a big weeeeeeeeeee down into Guardbridge. Looks like I am heading for Leuchars. But before I reached there I turned left and followed the back road into the village of Balmullo, there I turned left again to come back into Dairsie roundabout, then home I had compilated a figure of eight.
The weather was perfect and the roads quiet, this once was a big fruit growing area and one year I asked the farmer at Pittormie Farm if I could bring a few hives of bees over when the strawberry fields were in flower,
“Not a problem” he told me.
I trailed the hives all the way up from the borders and set them along the edge of the field of strawberries and raspberries canes should make a very light and sweet honey, and of course the farmer will receive a few jars, as a thank you.
A week later I received a frantic phone call at work, the farmer had phoned to say they intend spraying the fields with insecticide, tomorrow, just to warn you, Whit.
Rushing home from work I swapped a motorcycle for Land Rover and drove all the way up to northeast Fife, the best part of three hours. It was late by the time I arrived so most of the bees were in the hives. I stuffed the entrances, put straps around them and loaded, the now heavy hives, onto the land rover. It was a big risk moving hives with wet combs, but I had little option, I had not wish to open up hives and remove combs at that time of night. By the time I arrived back home, honey was seeping from two of the hives, what a disaster.
The farmer did not receive any of the promised honey, what a Numpty, he must have known that they sprayed the crop when it came into flower, and not just that day.
“I hope your strawberries all go fusty” I called as I passed the farm.
I am reading “when you dead, you dead” Guy Martin.
The book is really 18 months of his life crushed into its 314 pages, and much of it is about the television programmes he did during that time. Like Guy, I have always loved motorcycling, unlike Guy when I entered motorcycling racing as a teenager I was totally clueless, the only possibility of me winning a trophy would have been if they had a World Championship in break-dancing in the middle of a race track during a race Thankfully I realised my shortcoming before I killed myself. But like Guy I just loved to be riding my bike, it was all about freedom in the 1950s and the motorcycle became part of my life. When I look over the pages of classic motorcycles magazines today and see some of the beautiful (and crap) machines I had, even a Vincent, that I bought for £35.00, and see what they fetch today…….
What was it, 2016 when I lost my balance, I dropped a heavy motorcycle on my right leg and broke it in three places. That was when my sister convinced me to hang up my riding boots. Actually, they are still hanging in the cupboard along with my helmet and touring leathers, and although I know it is foolhardy at my age to even consider another motorcycle, I have to sneak past motorcycle showrooms still.
The title of the book came from a saying of his father’s “When you dead, you dead.” and that he said was the reason he tries to live every day to the full. I am not so sure that this is true, for I know the Guy Martin within me, We see things and think – I would like to try that or I would like to see that and set about getting there, it’s more of an adventure nature than any real ideology.
Guy made a few programmes for television, I watched a couple but did not take to them, the media company seemed to be trying to turn him into another Fred Dibnah – the working man image, the down to earth Grimsby accent, when really they were light-years apart. But Guy took the money so had to perform to their script, and he always looked awkward, as if he was a bystander.
I suppose that is what I loved about my life, I really did do it my way. Most of my early travels were on my bicycle, I was fit and it was easy then.
When I found myself at Kishorn, at the start of the oil boom in Scotland, companies were throwing money at us, we thought we would never be poor again. I worked on the Ninian Platform, it was four weeks on two weeks off routine, for the next 8 years. Working constant nightshirt, 13 hours a day, (half an hour ferry ride to work and the same back), we no longer spoke to one another by the end of the month, we just growled, such was the intensity of the work.
This is where the money and my brand new BMW R80RT came into their own. As soon as I was free to leave the site I headed for the south of England there to catch a ferry to Europe. With lots of silver in my pocket and a perfect touring motorcycle under me the world – or at least Europe, was my oyster. In the winter months, the south of France or Italy (although it was often cold even there, I was well used to the cold weather drug a Scottish winter, so there is cold and cold).
So yes, I can associate with much of what Guy is saying in his book when he said things like “Sometimes, I just want to ride my bike”, or like when he talked about his ‘Chimp Moment’ – referring to a book by Dr Steve Peters – your chimp moment is the behaviour of a chimpanzee, you do things without thinking of the consequences of what you are doing. Or possibly you ignore the possible consequences and you just go for it. I’m sure we have all been there.
If the book has not come my way, I don’t believe I would have bough it myself, even from a charity shop, for the language is that of a different generation, and written for them not me.
Another great day awheel, now how will I get some water to these plants along the wall?