Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Saddle Happy

Haven't been here for a while. Jumped on one of the motorbikes last week (I haven't yet mastered how to ride them both at the same time) and scooted off to East Anglia for a few days recce. Thanks to some good friends who were away up North, I was able to use their home on the Norfolk/Suffolk border as a base and save myself a lot of money in a B&B.
Back roads of Suffolk

Border country - Norfolk on the left bank, Suffolk on the right

Dustbin day at the church

The 210 mile run started at 6.30pm and I arrived at 9.30pm. Travelling in the UK can be quick and easy, you just have to be careful in choosing the time you travel and not be too greedy for speed on the roads so as to avoid drawing attention to yourself. Averaging 70mph on a 3 hr hop, with one quick fuel stop, is bloody good for this country. After viewing a house I headed to the south coast, another 150 or so miles. Not quite so quick, as I had to travel during the day, cross the Thames on the Dartford Bridge (bikers don't pay, thanks to MAG campaigning) and then run the gauntlet of the M25, at times arguably the worlds largest car park. I hate motorways and so came off on the A3 only to find that the new Hindhead tunnel, which I heard was officially opened a few weeks ago, wasn't actually open at all although a member of the Royal Family had in fact `opened` it. Well some bugger had re-closed it after they left.

It's a fake!

I crawled through some lovely Surrey countryside but by now I had a need to work some feeling back into my gluteus maximus. Against my principles, I stopped at a McDonalds near Petersfield. I just had a coffee and ate a Crunchie. I sat there watching young mums with that `thousand yard stare`, slumped at various tables, their heads propped up by an arm, as their junior citizens-in-training sort of ran amock, creating a havoc for all the other customers that mum seemed either oblivious or indifferent to. I heeded the McDonalds handy warning that my coffee was hot and braced myself against the mayhem until it was cool enough to drink. Then I was out of that hell hole of hyperactive, indisciplined kids and off down the road, thinking that the brats should have been in the bloody burgers. Shit, am I turning into a Nazi?

I spent 4 days at my son's pad, kindly offered to me whilst he and his gal enjoyed a week on a Greek Island. I had a good time catching up with my daughter and the two grandchildren. It was great meeting the grandson from his morning at pre-school. It was even better when he asked me to meet him the next day, without his mum! I was honoured. Catching up with an old friend, eating fish and chips with him in his caravan and watching "Longitude" on dvd whilst enjoying a Bishops Finger (no Papist jokes please, it's a great English beer) was wonderful.

And so home on Sunday. Thanks to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, I was diverted through some delightful Northamptonshire villages, some I'd never seen before and some where I used to play the local schools at football during my childhood. It reduced my average speed but improved my state of mind, an excellent trade-off.

Whilst I was away, I couldn't watch  news bulletins because they had all been hi-jacked by something called the `News of the World`, a paper that I wouldn't even use to pick up a dog turd. If that's all the world has to offer in the way of `news`, then I was clearly better off on my bike.


sparkflash said...

Your friend has excellent taste in beer. I'm lucky enough that one of my locals still does Nun's Delight on draught, from time to time. Not as strong as it used to be, but hasn't been spoiled by the downgrade.

Anne said...

sounds lovely. We just had a week in south Devon with the dogs, I've never been there before but the pubs are great, and lots allow well-behaved dogs (doesn't happen in Scotland). The drive took 2 days each way but worth it! Hubby wants to retire there (he's from Brighton) but had forgotten about the traffic in England, hmm..

Hogdayafternoon said...

Sparkflash: A fine brew indeed, although I did manage to convert old Bob to a drop of Adnams Best. I came home to a nice collection of Speckled Hen, courtesy of Mrs H. I rode past the brewery twice last week. As a result of a medical test last week I'm now on a large doseage of antibiotics so am pondering said tins in the `fridge and wondering....Strangely enough I had a de-caf coffee last night and it had a reaction so perhaps the SH will be OK?

Greetings to you. Yes, a nice part of the world, but oh the summer traffic down the dreaded A30/303. Still, you'd be nearer the equator :-/

Blue Eyes said...

Norfolk AND Suffolk? Divided loyalties and therefore lack of integrity. Consider yourself de-friended.


Hogdayafternoon said...

Blue: We are staying in Aldeburgh for 3 days next week.....and for a week in August during the Carnival ????

JuliaM said...

If you took away the council-standard plastic dustbin, that church gate would look like something from Middle Earth!

CI-Roller Dude said...

I'm still tryingn to think if I could ride on the other side of the road without gettting confused.

Roland said...

I must admit that going out for a ride on my bike helps me relax from the job and lifes other pressures. 70 mph average in the UK is very good.

Took off with a couple of mates for a weekend in France a few weeks ago, lovely. Roll on retirement, so long as the pension survives !

powdergirl said...

I've been on tour as well. Only instead of a bike tour I floated down the long, winding as c-c-c-cold Enderby river with a bunch of drunkish women instead. One avails oneself of the entertainments closest at hand, no?
Did you pick the little guy up from pr-school without his Mom's supervision? Too cute : )
And yeah, when I think of all the work I put into getting my kids to behave with civility, even at Mac D's, I often wonder why I bothered. Well, not really, these days they're a pleasure to be seen with for the most part. I hardly ever want to to stuff them into a burger any more : D

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

You must have been on the British equivelant of the Interstate, if you could maintain 70. Here in Wisconsin, if you do less than 75 on Interstate 90/94, you'll get run over, but if you are on a two lane, like US 12, the Wisconsin State Patrol is gonna say something.

Speaking of motorcycles, the State Patrol, on thier motorcycles, have gone to LED lights that seem to have a "retina burn" setting.

sparkflash said...

Adnams remains one of my favourites, though Speckled Hen is something of a sore point for me. Used to love the stuff when it was still Morland's and 5.2% on draught. And then those once-fine-brewers-now-asset-strippers, Greene King, went and bought it and decided what the new-pub-drinker-demograph really wants is one of those nitrogen cream-flow "ales" at about four-and-a-bit-percent. Maybe even also do a carbonated version to help the migration from lager.

And I wept bitter, bitter tears.

It's still quite passable in bottles, but I only drink in pubs, so...

Anonymous said...

I'm almost ready to cruise in the old Land Rover I'm fixing. Can't find anywhere with valet parking round these parts!

TonyF said...

I loiks Stowford Press.

Hogdayafternoon said...

East Anglia has lots of things like this. The Lychgate does indeed have a touch of Gondor about it. It's in Kelsale.

Roller Dude:
In a lot of places in the UK, some of the locals have problems driving on the correct side of the road, let alone the foreigners. You'd do fine. You could always follow me for a few hours to get the hang ;)

All thanks to an almost empty A1/A14. France is a wonderful biker country, but the sneaky bastards are hiding cameras in roadside furniture! National limits are fine by me. `Ride steady, live long`.

That trip sounded like something approaching a male fantasy world ;)
Polite kids weren't born that way. All credit to you.

In my experience, US freeways were worrying places, mainly because the drivers always seemed to be away with the fairies or on mobile phones :-/

Concur on all points!

Old Landies park where they f`ing want to `round here.

I once knew a cider drinker. He took to wearing wellington boots - all the time :)

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Ah, you HAVE driven the I System, then!