Day Three Part Two-A side-line. The Isle of Man TT 2016

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Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale.

A tale of a fateful trip.

That started from the Hobbit House

Upon an Aprillia seat.

(Are you singing Gilligan’s song yet??)

Anyway.  The pannier bags were tied to the bike.  The rolled bag was tied with occy straps and I was perched between all three items.  My body was positioned where my knees had to take all of my weight as my feet kept slipping off the foot-pegs due to the pannier bags sliding just a tad too far forward.

With every start and stop we had to do- having to obey the road rules, the bags and my weight kept inching me further forward.  Now this can become a rather dangerous task as there is a solid immobile petrol tank situated right between my husbands legs, right infront of his body.  With each inch I slipped forward, he was pushed further and further onto the tank.  Now I could say lots of rather naughty things here, but I will let your imagination run with it- lets just say he was looking for ice once we landed in Douglas.

Anyway.

All along the way, there was a peculiar odour which I thought was coming from other bikes, travelling around the warf which houses the largest scrap metal yard in England (a bit of trivia for you).  The strnch was coming from every angle.

As we have ridden 50 miles to Liverpool, ridden onto the ferry, ridden off the ferry, travelled another 50 miles to the hotel (ok reality it is only 7 minutes down the road driving on the speed limit), the strange smell was still following us – mainly when we stopped.

So we unload the Yellow Thunder.

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Struggling up the million stairs to the Reception desk where once again the familiar face of The Propietor of this Fine Establishment (TPOTFE) greets us with a huge smile and a warm handshake.  He hands us our key and we start the long haul up 300 flights of stairs, down the Alice-in-Wonderland labyrinth to our room.  We could have taken the ancient lift to the floor where we then have to descend a flight to land on the floor we are assigned.  But as we do not have three hours to travel three flights of stairs inside a tiny electrified box that shudders, shakes, travels through time yet never opens, groans, creaks and finally comes to an unbearable stop.  We chose to take the stairs.

Now in some wild fantasy I imagined –

  • we had been upgraded to a room with a view, or at least a room that had air circulation.
  • I thought that mysteriously the bathroom would be transformed with a stand-alone shower, not one which hovers above the bath open to the world and allowing the water to cascade all over the floor to form rivers of soapy water which need to be dodged while wearing socks.
  • I thought the bed would at least have more than 1 inch of foam placed on top of rickety wooden slates,
  • Maybe the doona (duvet for those other than Aussies reading this page), would have a new cover (it is the same cover now as what we were greeted with three years ago now).
  • The floor would not be so uneven that my Husband rolled his ankle when he walked past the wardrobe.

But alas nothing had changed.  But a sense of familiarity, home entered my sub consciousness and I was at peace.

A couple of days later, I was chatting to The Organiser about the This Fine Establishment but came to the conclusion that this would not be our adventure if this establishment was not part of it.  This chapter enriches our experience, it adds an element that could never be replicated.

As I placed my pannier bag upon the bed, my nostrils were once again assaulted with the stench that had followed us from The Hobbit House.

I bent over to unzip the zip, the pannier bag moved a tad but seemed to snag on something.

Hmmm.

I released the strap and unwrapped the rubbish bin liner bag I had lined the bag with incase it rained.  I started to unpack the bag, long sleeved t-shirts folded into the drawer, strange stench becoming stronger.

I pulled a clump of pretty colored lace, melted into a ball and tinged with black from my bag.  Hang on.  I know this material.  These are my knickies (what my Grand daughters call Knickers).

Oh no.

Ok Guys you can skip the next paragraph as this may cause you to blush.  And apparently there are somethings guys don’t need to know (as My Husband suddenly went deaf when I was trying to explain that this was an important part of my clothing that has melted into a pretty ball of laceish black mass.

These are my pretty lacy knickies which I packed thinking that being lace they will dry quicker than my Granny Panties. Now I don’t know about you but I have favorite clothes, Knickies, shoes that I wear and feel good about.  If you have noticed from pictures posted when I am on a motorbike, I am wearing black men’s motorbike pants.  They are big (except around my waist), Baggy around my legs, rustle when I walk and I honestly feel like the lower half of the Michelin Man.  So having pretty things underneath just makes me remember that I am a girl.

As I deved further into my now stinky bag, dread spreading throughout my chest, fear assaulting my senses, I pulled out a lovely navy long sleeve tshirt (which I had only worn once) and was faced with the following new design.

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This is not really a fashion trend I am prepared to start.  With a sinking heart, I turned the bag onto its side and was faced with this-

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Now you can imagine how I felt.

This was the start of our adventure and already I was faced with a decrease in available attire and a stench of burnt clothing, exhaust fumes and despair.  But looking closely at what had happened, I realized that we were very lucky the whole bag had not caught fire and burnt my right leg and caused more damage to the rest of my clothes.

I looked in disbelief while My Husband looked in shock.  Suddenly I started to laugh and be very grateful that it was my clothes and not his.  It was honestly one of the funniest things I have ever experienced.  I could not believe that a perfect circle had been burnt through my bag, forging a path of burnt destruction along the way.

As we met up with The Lads later that night, showing pictures and laughing about it, one of the Boys piped up with

“You know I was looking at the way the bag was sitting and thought it might cause a problem’.

Oh really?  Don’t you love the ‘after the event Sayers’ who don’t speak up and burnt things occur.

So I forged past this hiccup and I must say it was the brunt of a number of jokes made on my Husbands behalf.

A couple of days later I took a bag of washing down to The Proprietor and asked if he could do a load of washing for me.  Apart from normal soiling, the burnt stench was attracting unwanted male attention that was becoming tiresome.  It is strange how males can be attracted to a stench that is so offending to normal people, and follow the smell around.  A similar phenomena occurred when a certain bike flew past, but that will be addressed at a later date.  The Proprietor laughed at me and said I make these visits of our so much fun because he is never sure what he will be faced with when the “two mad Aussies’ arrive.  He called to his wife that she needed to put extra smelly stuff in this wash as this was ‘that’ wash he had been expecting.  A loud giggle erupted from the bowels of the kitchen.  Hmmmm.

As a side-line, when we were leaving The Proprietor of This Fine Establishment was not going to let us leave without fixing my bag so nothing else would be burnt, or a trail of clothing was left behind as my clothes were spewed from the hole.

He disappeared from the desk, brought a piece of lead which he had saved from when he was fixing the chimneys,(now there is a story he told about this episode where he was left with a square piece of lead.  He had climbed on to the roof to repair four chimneys.  If you have ever noticed the seagulls in England are the size of emu’s if they flew.  These birds are huge and they have a ‘don’t mess with me attitude’. So anyway he was repairing said chimneys not knowing there was a seagull nest nestled inside one of the chimneys.  As he started to clean it out, a million seagull flock swarmed upon him.  He was being dived-bombed , squawked at, wing-bashed whilst perched precariously on the roof.  He looked around to find something to ward these birds off before they pushed him from the roof.  He bent down, picked up a rope and started to swing it Texan-cowboy-style above his head, squawking back at the offending birds.  Now, picture a five-foot six  sixty year old English Chinese man, with a heavy Chinese accent relating this tale to us.  I was wetting myself, tears streaming down my face, chest aching through lack of air as I hysterically listened to him relate this tale.)

So he taped the lead over the hole, tapped it into shape with a piece of wood, placed layers of sticky tape over it to secure it.  When we arrived to the Hobbit House after re-tracing our trek back. the tape had started to melt off.

Hmmmmm.

 

 

 

 

Our 2015 adventure Begins…The Isleof Man TT…Part Four…The Ferry and The Boys

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As the light filtered through the curtains, birds chirped outside the window, the Hobbit House was stirring as the realisation that ‘The Day had Dawned”.

Excitement started to bubble inside my stomach, my consciousness becoming more awake and reality started to set in.

I rolled over and gently woke Yellow Thunder-

“Hey…wake up.  We have to get ready”

He turned and smiled-

“Yes Sal.  You have to pack.”

PFFT!!

Unfortunately as I slowly lifted  my head from the pillow, I realised that I was still a little bit foggy from our tea with Aprilia Mille (Green Jacket) and Miss Sunshine, The Organiser and a number of glasses of gin and tonics.  We went to the same restaurant/pub that we had been  the year before- The Cross-House Inn.  This is the place that last year The Organiser told me was “just down the road”.  We ended up walking to Scotland and back.  And yes it is still the same distance from The Hobbit House.  It has not mysteriously moved, it is still a hike.  This time I was not bogged down with ‘The Jamie-flu’ so I did not complain, I quietly and meekly followed behind.

With a cheeky smile, Yellow Thunder bounded out of bed and I knew I had a huge day ahead of me- trying to pack two weeks worth of clothes into two pannier bags.  And we all know who’s got more clothes than me and must have the opportunity to choose between at least two similar articles of the clothing where often it is just the stitching that is different.

Slowly I emerged from the bed, looked at the huge case and again wondered how I was going to condense it into two tiny bags.

We could hear the kettle boiling as The Organiser was preparing breakfast.

Padding down the stairs, heading into the kitchen where the cheerful bustle and skipping footsteps  of a Master Scrambled Egg-Maker at work brightened my mood and made my mouth salivate in anticipation.

I was given the task of measuring the milk using the broken half eggshell while he whisked the eggs.  Yellow Thunder was tasked with buttering the toast as tomatoes were sliced and popped into another pan.  A feast fit for an army was created.

Breakfast done, dishes done, second cup of coffee done….the Boys left the house to check on their babies.

Excited chatter could be heard coming from the garage as once again the key was inserted into the Yellow Mille and it roared into life.

I headed upstairs to gather washing that needed to be done before I could pack.  I gathered some of The Organisers washing and headed to the shed.

Climbing over an assortment of bike paraphernalia, man toys, greasy tools and The Organisers phone chirping, I made my way to the washing machine.    With trepidation born from my run-in with the vice the day before, blonde strands of curly hair still attached to the handle, I bent to put two pairs of jeans and an assortment of tops in for a wash.   Now realistically I would have had all of this done prior to the day we were heading off on our adventure.  But reality was not bearing witness in my life at the moment as these jeans we had been wearing throughout Italy and I had not had enough time to wash them.

We were not leaving the house to meet up with the other guys until around 5pm, so I thought I would have heaps of time to wash and dry them- alas I was unaware of The Organiser’s plans and the needs/wants of Yellow Thunder.

As I headed upstairs to once again pack the pannier bags, I marvelled at how talented I was and how I had finally ‘given in’ to rolling the clothes rather than folding them flat.  Strangely I was able to fit more  into the bags than I had first thought.  I could even fit my toiletries in.

Standing admiring my skills I was summoned downstairs and informed that we were going for a spin.  Now logically I should have declined and explained that the washing only had about 10mins to complete.  However we all know that logic is not something that is a strong personality suit of mine.  So with excitement and bravado I climbed onto the back of the bike and we headed off.

Down to the supermarket, getting an internet connection to contact people was the aim.  The hidden course was to get me used to the bike.  This was yet another different ride to what I am used to.  The seat is a tad higher so I can peer over Yellow Thunder’s helmet and actually see what is coming toward us.  This is not necessarily a good thing.  Take into account that we travel long distances, down cobblestone roads, up hills, down dales, along beaten tracks, roads covered with fallen rocks and loose gravel, and add “The Germans” into the mix and it is a melting pot of adventure.

After about an hour, taking the scenic route, we arrived at the supermarket and thus the ‘connecting to family and friends’ (ok Facebook) saga began.

I won’t bore you with the details, but I will say that after another hour, walking into a phone store and letting ‘those who know’ connect us, we became active again.

We made it back to The Hobbit House, I had one hour to get two pairs of jeans dry.  So into the dryer they went (forgetting that when we dry things on high in the dryer, shrinkage tends to be abit of a problem.  Also eating Italian cuisine for nine days and now eating English food-what hope does a menopausal woman have?)

Packed, bike loaded, gear on, perched precariously on Yellow Thunder we headed off to meet the guys at Honda VTR SP1’s and his beautiful wife- Miss Smiley’s house where Suzuki GSXR 750, Aprilia Mille (Green Jacket), Honda VFR 750 (this is a new mix to the fold-this is guy grew up with the boys, he currently lives in France and is getting married in a few weeks.  So this is his Bachelor Party), The Organiser on his beautiful MV Augusta all waited patiently for Aprilia Tuono to arrive.

Then the dreaded phone call-“I cant get the bike started”.

Everyone mounted their bike, the cavalry was on their way to revive Aprilia Tuono as time was ticking by to get to the Leeds wharf, climb on board the ferry and start the adventure.

As it always happens when a motorized vehicle is running well then all of a sudden stops.  As soon as we entered his street, his bike roared into life.  So off we went.

We made it to Liverpool without any incidents.

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As we lined up with the other thousands of enthusiastic, excited riders, all taking our place in the designated line, waiting with overwhelming excitement, I could not believe we were about to start our adventure again.

I dismounted, readjusted my backpack and climbed the gang walk to enter ferry.  One thing I forgot was I have to take my jacket and backpack off and walk through an x-ray machine.  This means that the Samsung tablet I have down my front, the sling bag I have under my jacket which carries all my ‘girlie paraphernalia’ the extra jumper I am wearing, the camera body I have slung over my shoulder and laying like a monkey on my back all have to be taken off so I can be examined.

I finally repacked my body, putting all of the things I had taken off back on, being weighed down again by all the necessary items we ‘couldn’t live without’ nor fit into our panier bags.

I followed the pointing fingers to enter the ferry.  Hoping Yellow Thunder would find me and I would be able to secure twelve seats.  This was my only job to do on the ferry.  So I thought.

It was noisier, busier and more colourful than I remembered.

Being a part of something as awesome as hundreds of different bikes, different helmets, different leathers  all crammed onto a floating device makes you wonder how buoyant this ferry really is.

The sky was darkening and turning grey.  The sea was starting to match the sky in color and was becoming more choppy with little white ‘seahorses bobbing along the tops of the waves’.  The wind was picking up and I gazed out of the window and prayed I would not succumb to seasickness.

I found a couple of seat with tables and placed my gear on them.  The room was filling up rather quickly.  I could not find seats all together so I spread out as much as I could.

Announcements came across the speaker “Please ensure no gear is placed on the seats”.

Oppsie….oh well I will smile and state I only understand ‘Strayan’

I heard a familiar voice giving salutations  as she walked through the room.  Here she comes.

Here comes Curls.

My face mirrored hers as I looked at her smiling, shining face.  I couldn’t believe it.  It has been a year and she has not changed one bit.  She epitomises being a lady wearing biker pants with helmet hair.  Though she is able to have helmet hair and NOT look like she has had a helmet on.  Whereas I on the other hand had a definite helmet look with my hair all matted  at the ends- rats tails is one descriptive word that comes to mind.  Her nails are done in a blood red shade and never chip over the two weeks.  She makes a beeline towards me and I know that nothing has changed over the year.

After cuddles and European kisses, we settle down, chatting nonstop, and wait for the boys to arrive.

Suddenly we were inundated with arms, legs, helmets, jackets, bags, boots and greetings from all the boys.  It was like a family reunion.  There was not a moment of silence.

After we set sail, I looked at Yellow thunder and stupidly asked if he wanted something to drink or eat.

There are times when you should never open your mouth and ask questions which in your heart you hope will not be answered in the affirmative.  I wandered over to the kiosk.  Looking at the baymarees and smelling the food, I remembered how last year Curls had produced a delectable array of nibblies for her and Aprilia Mille (flat black).  My mouth watered as I remembered what they had, yet my stomach turned as I looked at the food presented before me.  When I got back to the table I was to see that yet again she was so well prepared.  I really need to get my act together and have something similar prepared.

My ears were pricking up as I heard a familiar twang.  Are Englishmen taking Australian speaking lessons?  There seems to be a lot of Aussie sounding people on this ferry.  I smiled and ordered coffee and bickies.

As I came back to our group, there was a strange couple sitting at the table.  I smiled and started chatting to them.  It seemed that there was an Aussie contingency onboard.  A large group of Aussies had bought a tour and were headed to the TT.  Does this mean people have been reading my blog and decided to join in on the action?  (Ok I know that is egotistical of me-but a girl can dream)

There were a number, a huge number of red cap wearers sitting in clusters around the room.  I smiled and listened as the couple were being quizzed by The Organiser.  There were more red capped wearers than naked heads.

For those who are unsure what I am trying to say- there were a hell of a lot of Aussies on the ferry.  We found out that there were potentially four different tour groups, all with different participants from around Australia all descending on The Isle of Man.  The numbers were in the hundreds, with different activites they could do- walking the pits, being at an interview panel with the likes of Cam Donald, John McGuiness, Guy Martin, Michael and William Dunlop – be still my beating heart.  Last year I got a cuddle with Cam Donald- “sigh”.

After listening and chatting and watching the boys all interact with each other, I knew our adventure had finally begun.

Our 2015 Adventure Begins…..The Isle of Man TT……Day Three……Wales

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Ok.

Writers block is starting to crumble, confidence is returning .

I am back to tell you about our adventure with the 2015 TT Race.

But before we board the ferry to really start our adventure.

Lets go down a few country roads, a highway, a few back-streets and through some villages with the most unusual names which The Organiser explained were real words and names of streets/villages, just written in Welsh,  and catch up with SOTO and her Hubby.  Now for those who don’t remember who SOTO is=Sister Of The Organiser, and her Hubby we first met them last year in Chester and felt instantly encompassed within a beautiful dynamic family.

The Orgniser is the younger brother and the ‘apple of SOTO’s eye’.  The dynamics between these two is something to behold.  They support each other, love each other fiercely and stir each other with cheeky smiles, twinkling eyes and always talk about their beloved parents.  This is a beautiful thing to witness as we have both felt that after a couple of hours encompassed within this beautiful family, Yellow Thunder and I have met, shared and felt the love this family has (from the stories of the family vacations and antics of their cheeky Dad and beautiful  Mum who have departed physically but are always close by).

SOTO has three daughters who are each spoken of with such pride, love and adoration by SOTO, her Hubby and their Uncle.  They are grown women with THE BEST names and girl could be blessed with- Emily, Verity and Christabel

Ok enough background for you to understand how honoured Yellow Thunder and I fell to be part of such a family.

So we pile into The Orgnisers beast (lucky it is very comfortable in the back) on a cool, brisk Wednesday morning remembering to wish my dearest friend a Happy Birthday, and head out of the driveway.

The Adventure begins and we are off to Wales.  Now for those who actually know me know that my directional skills, map reading skills,  and following verbal directions are all skills that I have never possessed and so I do not miss them.  So when The Organiser gave detailed directions, using words I had heard of and had a vague idea what they meant- we head in a northerly direction for three miles, turn left and ……..  He stopped talkng, took a look at the vacant look on my face and stated that it is just down the road to SOTO’s holiday house, naturally I thought that it was just down the road.

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Just a reminder of what all the fuss and chatter was about.

We took off, armed with our cameras, excitement building with the journey ahead full of enlightening conversation, so I settled in the back of the Beast, listened idly as Yellow Thunder and The Organiser talked incessantly about bikes, bikes and bikes.  This is a lovely thing to witness for about 10mins, but nearly 4 hours it is better than any sleeping pill. wpid-20150603_120953.jpg

Miles slide past the car window, the view ever changing.  Homes built side-by-side, doors and windows backing onto the footpath, road narrow enough to fit one car going in one direction, open highways, glimpses of castles nestled on hills, tantalizing views of the sea as we keep travelling- heading for lunch and laughs.

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As we head uphll, road narrowing, the beautiful scent of the sea wafting through the crack in the window, the end is in sight.

Tricked You.

We still have 2 hours to go.

Now we must back-pedal just for a moment.  Before we left Malaysia, Yellow Thunder had ined up two new job interviews.  These unfortunately fell within the two weeks of us being abroad.  He had recieved one call about a pending job whilst standing in a beautiful Italian Church and monastery.  There was a second call due today.  This meant that The Organiser and I needed to give him privacy so he could apply for another position.

As the hour drew near, still being on the road, The Organiser decided that if we could find a petrol station along the way, we could pop in and give Yellow Thunder some peace.  So we had 2 minutes left, and yes my bladder was letting me know that it was time to rest and take notice of it.

“Spoto a petrol station” was called from the backseat – first called by my bladder then my mouth.

We pulled over opposite the station.  Parked beside a crude wire fence and cobblestoned wall infront of a rickety wire gate that lead into a thick green lush meadow which although we could not physically see any inhabitants, we could smell them.

Doors unlocked, The Organiser and I left the beast as Yellow Thunder’s phone rang.  Thumbs up sign sent to him with my fingers crossed, we wandered over to the petrol station.  Refreshements bought, restroom sought, reading material  viewed we settled in to wait to be summoned back to the beast to resume the adventure.

An hour later, a frantic call to SOTO after realising that it was 3 hours since we had left the Hobbit House and we still had an hour to go, we were summond back to the car while a beaming Yellow Thunder related his call and how confident he felt.  This is the same response we had after the first call in Italy.

Back on the road again.

Hills flying past, beautiful lush meadows with shaggy inhabitants lifting their heads, more castles poking their spires towards the heavens, quaint homes blurring before our eyes, strange signs written in some form of language with the english interpretation underneath we made our way to SOTO’s house.

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Up another hill, through another village a beautiful bay spreading out below us, we climbed along an extremely narrow road where perched on the top was a gorgeous home.  The front windows were interlaced into a beautiful cobblestoned wall which backed straight onto the road, the front door facing a small one car carpark.  SOTO’s hubby came out to greet us and directed us to park in the nextdoor neighbours driveway as they are currently away.

A huge clay lifelike representation of a seagull was perched on the gate.  Obviously this was to scare any intruders away who inadvertantly were carrying food, were a feline or canine or just wanted to pass.  It worked.  I took the wide berth and scooted past the gate-just incase it took to flight and pooped on me like so many other gulls have been known to do.

We entered the home- it had a gorgeous nautical theme running through each room, open planed rooms, steps that led to an alluringly soft couch that beckoned us to sit.  As I longingly gazed at the couch (Yes I had just spent 4 hours sitting in the car, and we all know how exhausting that is) a noise drew my attention to the left.

There she was.

SOTO’s sister, full of love, hugs, beaming smiles, genuine warmth and a chilled glass of white wine and a guiding arm to what lay aheaad.

Ascending a small flight of steps, two massive glass doors were opened revealling one of the most beautiful views.

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Oh I can see why we would travel so long for such an awesome view.

A comfortable wicker and feathered couch lay waiting for bodies to lounge and drink in such an awesome view.  Behind us was a table straining under the weight of cheeses, meats, desserts, olives etc, all waiting to be consumed by hungry Aussies and our chauffeur.

After an hour of catching up, laughing, eating, drinking, being warmed by a glorious sun, some bright spark suggested a walk along the beach.  Now if you look back at the pictures I have posted, you can see the roof of the neighbours house and the bay behind it.  Now, take into account I have a full belly, a merry wine mind, my legs have blood circulating though them again, my tooshie has feeling, my bones are warm….and they want to make walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more (singing it yet-I dare you not to) just to walk alond the beach??

And so off we went.

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And yes I will concede that the view was well worth the walk.  Now I guess I should explain again that SOTO’s house was on a hill, at the top of a jill, perched on the hills crest.  Where is the beach?  Down the hill, down the 500 mile walk down the hill.  Walking past beautiful flowers, quaint homes, along a one car only road.  This was an easy walk.  I was enjoying the way, chattering and listening to wonderful conversations taking place around me and including me.

We walked another 500 miles along the beach, the wind dropping and a chill entering beginning to enter our consciousness.  Ok it was entering mine, The Organiser had once agin removed his shirt and stating how warm and sunny it was.  Lets get this moment into perspective, I am an Aussie living in Malaysia-it was cold.  These guys are Englishmen living where 15 degrees celcius causes a public holiday where everyone strips down to bare skin.

So we decide to head back to the house.  Now go back to the paragraphs written under the beautiful picture of the beach and a yacht.  Now reverse it and take out the cheery mezmorizing and fanciful descriptors and put in the pounding blood in my ears, sweat flowing down my back and forehead,  eyes growing dim as I stand at the base of the hills, looking forlornly up at the winding one car road to which I had decended and was to ascend again.

This was not going to be pretty where an amazing Amazonion woman was going to break out of this poor middle-aged body, sprint up the hill without so much as a curl out of place or a glimmer of sweat on my brow.  This was not going to be pretty.

Finally reaching the top, using the premis of taking pictures of flowers on the roadside, looking back at the beautiful views below, I was able to make it without looking like I had run a 500 mile marathon fully clothed.

After some more laughs, my heart beats almost returning to normal, we piled back nto the beast and headed off to Hells Mouth.  Ok it is not really Hells Mouth, it is a beautiful historical home nestled within a magical forest overlooking Hells Mouth.  This is the idealic resting place for The Organiser and SOTO’s parents.  It was the Organisers dream to sprinkle beautiful wildflower seeds around where a wooden chair had been erected and placed in the prime viewing area above Hells Mouth.  According to childhood tales related during the day, this was the main vacationing place where beautiful memories were created with a cheeky Dad who would encourage and challenge his kids to go swimming during Easter breaks where little toes, feet, legs and bodies turned blue and shook with cold.  While Dad would swin by, braving the freezing water to encourage his kids to join him.  Where fish and chips were consumed and the shop was still operating millions of years later.

Words cannot express the honour Yellow thunder and I felt being part of such a beautiful experience.  We parked the car and climbed a slight rise to where a beautiful old tree was overshadowing the chair.  The sound of a little brook gurgled past, beautiful native grasses, bushes, flowers, a murder of crows nestled amongst its branches casting a magically beautiful atmosphere in which we were granted enterance to.

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Seeds were scattered, silence was granted, a magical moment created whilst a son remembered his parents with so much love and sorrow.

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After returning to the beast, The Organiser smiling and reminicing about days gone by, we headed back to Liverpool, preparing to meet up with Aprilia Mille and Miss Sunshine for tea.

Gazing out of the window, watching the changing countryside slide past, I realised how blessed I am to be experiencing such an adventure with such wonderful characters.  Thank you for a truly beautiful day xxx

 

2016 Day Three- On our way to the Isle of Man

Bags packed- Check

Bike ready- Check

Excitement built to fever pitch- Check

Enough space for my tooshie to perch on the back with all of the luggage- Checkish

Ok.

Lets get something straight here.

Before I continue, I am not sure you realise that we are heading to the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Races.  We are travelling via Liverpool which is roughly 12.7 miles (according to Google Maps.  According to my internal directional skills, I do believe it is closer to 50 miles) away from the security of The Hobbit House.

This journey requires skills that are nearly beyond my scope.

Below is a picture of what I am dealing with.

 

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Jpeg

I must perch ontop of the Yellow Thunder, balanced between two pannier bags, pushed forward onto My Husbands back due to a large black rolled bag digging into my lower back. Add a computer, entertainment gear and survival gear clipped to my back inside a backpack which is forced higher up my back due to the black rolled bag, all pushing my warrior headgear forward.  A tank bag magnetized to the tank that has all of the camera gear lovingly nestled between My Husbands arms as he manouvers Yellow Thunder through thousands of cars, along goat tracks, stopping and starting at millions of traffic lights, dodging potholes, pedestrians and ensuring we get to the ferry intact.

With the bags precariously positioned on the Yellow Thunder, a square inch of seat left for my “Nanny-ass” to perch, warrior headgear positioned causing steaming and sweat to run into my eyes, feet clinging tightly to the footpegs, knees and ankles gripping the bike, we left the safety of the Hobbit House, following The Organiser on his MVAgusta (still an awesome bike), starting our adventure for 2016.

Worry starting to set in.  Have I packed enough clothes to make it through the next two/three weeks?  Have I packed enough socks?  Have I packed enough items for my Husband?  Did I pack everything he expected me to pack?

Oh well- if I have not done my ‘one job Sal-you have one job to do’ properly, I will certainly hear about it.

But before we head off towards the ferry, those who are travelling with us, all meet up at Honda SP1’s house.  Anticipaton of seeing and hugging Honda SP1’s wife (Ms Giggles) in real-life and not via Facebook causes a flutter of excitment in me, whereas My Husband longingly waits to see what new toys He has purchased.

Dismount, embrace each traveller ( Aprillia Mille Flat Black/Red, AprilliaTuono White/Silver, Aprillia Tuono White/Blue, Suzuki GSXR750, Honda CBR 900 Fireblade) re-acquaint ourselves with each other, marvelling at how no-one has changed in a year (except me-older, fatter and less atheltic), meeting Triumph 675 R again and now Triumph Street Triple (Poppy), (who is his lovely wife and yes she is riding her own bike) who had popped over to say Hi (they are travelling on tomorrows ferry) and being embraced in Ms Giggles arms.  Things were starting to feel normal and familiar once again.

With guarded awe, not daring to breathe, each of us wiping our shoes on the ‘Enter at your own Risk’ mat, wiping our sweaty hands and dripping brow on a towel that was whiter than snow,  we entered the inner sanctum of Honda SP1’s lair.

Please note: the following description is written through the writer’s observtions with just a tad of elaborate licence employed.

This is his amazing ‘toybox’ where everything is so spotless you could eat off it, if food was allowed in here.  The air is conditioned to ensure that it is even and constant at 23 degrees, day and night.  The idea of inhaling within this sanctum is terrifying and can only be undertaken if you have cleaned your teeth and devoured a breath mint.  Even the ride-on-lawnmower is spotless.  Oh hang on, I can see two blades of grass hanging precariously to the spotless black shiny tyres.  The carpet is spotless, spiders are not game to poke a toe into this shed without the fear of a swatter swiping at it.  The idea that dust could form in here, or dustbunnies would be game to enter – is ludicrous.

Sitting magestically under a dust blanket, made from the finest lambswool and spun gold, on heated carpet squares, is the latest toy.

(Ok girls read the first five words and jump to the next paragraph- gentlement you may continue to read)

A magneficent red 458 Ferrari with carbon ceramic brakes, Brembo calipers that take up half of the wheel, the engine situated in the rear of the car (to me a dumb idea as where do you find the dipstick?  Ok that is one of the only words I know that lines up with whatever is under the hood of a car).  White carbon fibre seats (now this is an important item that will be referred to in later posts) which are never touched by anything other than white seamless, button-less, stud-less pants and white tops.  If color is introduced on these seats the hospital had better be rung from speed-dial as Honda SP1 will surly have a heart-attack.  Skin is never to touch any part of the interior of this beast.  Ms Giggles has entered this beast once, white tracksuit pants (turned inside out so the branding ‘Juicy’  does not inprint onto the leather) and white top.  Her hair tied in a white turbin so no residue from her hair is left on the headrests.  She was handed her handbag which was placed on the floor, zipped closed, secured between her feet so that only the base touched the car.   White kid gloves must be worn every time the door handle is touched.  The paintwork is never touched, if a finger-print appears, bells and whistles sound off and a direct link to MI5 is dialled with a swat team on standby to smack offending hands away.  The original number plate bumper bar thingy tied to the wall as it has been replaced with one that is more exotic and fitting for a designer car.

If you are reading this in disbelief, please note that this male has a pristine white Honda SP1, white Castrol leathers that fit like a second skin and even the sun is jealous of the shine that eminates from them, a brillaint hot pink warrior headgear and never leaves the home without hand wipes, plastic wrap and hand-held vacum cleaner.

So after every male in the group has drooled over said ‘new toy’, obviously NOT in the presence of this ‘new toy’, but outside away from the toybox and in one particular section of the garden, we mounted our beasts to head to the ferry.

Travelling over 50 miles to the ferry, dodging pedestrians, stopping at traffic lights, keeping the lead bikes in sight so we do not get lost, strange smells eminating from the bike infront of us, passing a carpark where a group of passer-bys are standing on the seats of a convertible waving frantically (yes I unclenched my left hand from the tank and waved back, stupidly smiling inside my warrior headgear), smiles beaming back at me.  Little did I know that these gorgeous people belonged to Aprillia Tuono White/Blue.  Unfortunately he was too intent on looking where he was going and missed seeing them waving frantically.  We finally made it to the Liverpool ferry.

Now this can be an overwhelming experience where thousands of riders, various makes, models and types of bikes, trikes and whatevers are all lined up waiting to board the ferry. Wonderfully colorful warrior headgear, various motorbike gear, pannier bags, backpacks, all forms of luggage all congest the road leading to the gate of the ferry.

This is where reality kicks in and you know your adventure has begun.

As we join the long que, a familiar smile and wave greets me as I look around the colorful apparition before me.

Curls and Aprillia Mille Flat Black are there.  Now we have come full circle.  Now we have caught up with almost all of the lovely people who join us on this adventure.  The amazing thing is, as I found with Miss Sunshine, there is no awkward silence.  It is like we had a coffee yesterday and picked up the threads of our conversations from a year ago.  I can honestly say I do not have this experience with a lot of people, but I do have it with these wonderful people.

Curls and I board as foot-passengers which means we are onboard often 15minutes before any of the boys arrive.  So we casually spread our gear around so that we can all sit in one area and catch up.

As a side-line, Green Jacket from previous blogs, will now be referred to as Red Leader- Aprillia Mille Flat Black/red.  Anyway Red Leader has a strange dislike of one of the greatest MotoGp riders in history.  Valentino Rossi *sigh*.

I am unsure as to why these feelings have emerged, but because of this, he is constantly ribbed, hassled and stirred about these feelings.

If you look closely to the monetary note that is being held above his head, you will see that it is a Valentino Rossi currencey.

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And yes the shinanigans begin.

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Day Three- And we are off- Isle of Man TT 016

Pannier bags precariously positioned on the bike
large rolled bag sitting across the top of the bags
a square inch left for my ‘Nanny-ass’ to sit, back-pack tightened and tied onto my back, leaning forward as there is no way I can sit upright, helmet steaming up as nerves kick in and feet cling tightly to the foot pegs.
Slowly repacking the bags as I re-assess whether I have enough gear for the two of us for the next nine days.  Do we need this, must we have that, can we do without this, should I take that.

Bags packed.

Worry setting in- have I packed enough clothes, have I packed the right weather gear, did I pack enough socks???  Oh my.

Anticipation and excitement building as the time is drawing closer to head off to Liverpool

Loaded up and off we head to ____ place.  I wonder what new toys he has purchased since last year?
With guarded expectation, we enter his private sanctuary where a magneficent red 458 Ferrari sat,
Carbon ceramic brakes Brembo claipers that take up half of the wheel
engine in the back with the boot in the front
wrapped in the equivalent of a lambswool blanket on heated carpet squares
white leather carbon fibre seats
replaced the number plate mount as it took up too much of the front bumper, from the stock standard
Cannot sit in it
white clothes only, no buckles, no studs
changes the wheels when he takes it out to drive to show it, then at the show he will put the wheels back on
cannot breathe inside unless you have cleaned your teeth and eaten a mint.
Do not touch the car without wearing kid gloves and even then there is only a tiny patch where it is allowed
Two people only are allowed inside as children will never be allowed anywhere near it
No food or drink allowed in the shed
This was later to have the mickey taken out of him as he is presented with white seamless jeans, no studs, no stitching,
wifey is not to place her bag on any seat, must be placed between her feet on the floor
This is one of the most pristine males i have ever met
He heads out into the woods on a full moon to chant and dance to the god of grott to leave his presence, his ride on mower is pristine with a coup,e of blades of grass clinging precariously to the wheels hoping not to be detected
Sarah is perfect and the other half of him-not a hair out of place, straight beautiful shiny hair, glowing skin-certainly not someone u want to meet after 9 days at sugarlands on the back of a bike
Gleaming leathers which glow like a beacon,
Pristine garden blanket
Everything just glows and is so clean u could eat off it

2016 Day Two- Before landing at the Isle of Man TT

Day Two- Before the TT Begins

Today I spent a lovely day with Miss Sunshine. 
She arrived at 9:30am with a date with a Miracle Worker and the intention of introducing me to her ‘one and only’, the ‘love of her life’.

As I nervously got into her car and travelled on the wrong side of the road to her friends home, suddenly she darted across the road to park facing the direction of oncoming traffic. 
Hysterically I state

“You can’t park here.  You will cop a huge fine”
(This is going to be a phenomenon that will haunt us in days to come).

Laughing she informed me that you can park anywhere you want as no one will tell you off.  Oh how easy is traffic here in England.  They even stop to wave each other through if it is noticed that they have been waiting for a while.

Slowly getting my bearings, I realised that we were parked directly opposite the service-station where our lives were to change forever and The Organiser entered with a huge bang.  Imagine three years ago two drowned, exhausted, excited, scared Aussies landed, embarked on a harrowing journey up the motorway from London to Formby to join a rag-tag team of mates to experience the TT Races on the Isle of Man.

Walking up the pathway towards the home of the ‘Miracle worker’ an aura of energy greeted us with a huge smile and deep seated fear as she took a look at my flat, fluffy, lifeless hair.  Fourteen hours in planes, waiting in airports will have an affect on your body, well my hair. We made eye contact and both knew that this was a miracle in the making if she could make my hair presentable (as presentable as possible)  after a motorbike helmet was removed.  We have nine days of trying to be presentable infront of a group of merciless men.

Movement assaulted our eyes as a brand new StaffyxKelpie puppy, two little men under the age of four, some Aussie kids program playing in the background all vied for attention whilst darting around “the Miracle worker” who absorbed it all whilst focusing on my hair. 

As we entered her cottage, I was one again transported back to different television programs where English lives are played out for the world to see.  Lovely gardens full of spring colors, bees humming, birds chirping all made familiar English theme music play in my mind.  The quaint, cosy, vibrant, hospitable, friendliness in each of these homely English residences are mirrored across this beautiful country.  Just the contents, colors, occupants and energy mark the differences.

As I sat with a towel draped around my shoulders, conversation swirls around my head as jetlag hovers on the outskirts of my consciousness. 

Names are mentioned where dim recognition bells start to ring in the deep recesses of my mind. 

A sense of familiarity starts to dawn as I recognise names being mentioned. 

Though one name is not jumping to the foreground of my consciousness. 

Andy?

Nope.

Yes you do know him.  He went to the TT with you last year.

Ummmm.
Nope.

Suddenly the front door opens and in walk Grandma and Grandpa.

A deep male voice starts to bring facial memories to my mind.  The clouds of jetlag start to rise as in walks Andy.

Oh my…..thats not Andy.
Its Aprillis Tuono

Yes I remember him-from our first TT adventure. 
Can this world become any smaller?
After an hour where I was a captive audience, we emerged to climb into Miss Sunshine’s car to head off to meet the ‘love of her life’.

We enter a purely beautiful horse boarding stable which again allowed your imagination to run wild with visions of Miss Maples looking for clues as to who killed the butler in the downstairs parlour.

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We head to the stable where Daff resides.  He is currently out in the field with his mates, muzzled as he has been known to overindulge in the sweet grass growing in his yard.
A stern discussion takes place between Daff the Boss and Miss Sunshine.  He was making sure she knew he was not happy wearing a muzzle and being denied such sweet grass, whilst not heading her excuses that he can get diabetes, fat and terrible stomach aches. 

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He Sends her looks of quiet tolerance as she leads him over to meet me.

His attention was more focused on the grass he was walking over than meeting a new person.
                            
After cleaning out his stable, chatting to him and showing him some attention, we piled back into  car and headed off for lunch.

After lunch, we headed off to have a look at the Church and Reception venue where her whole future will change and the man she adores and loves will proudly stand beside her proclaiming his promises and love infront of family and friends. 
We arrived at the church. 

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My breath caught in my throat as I stared at one of the most gorgeous churches which evoked visions of Queens, Kings,

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Regal nobles all wandering around a Tudor Church and magnificent headstones celebrating lives lived hundreds of years ago.

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We then headed off to where the reception will be held.  Images of beaming faces, all thrilled to be part of this celebration bombarded my mind.  This is going to be such a beautiful celebration.
As we headed back towards the Hobbit House, we passed an unusual site, a van covered in turf.

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Can anything be better to advertise a law mowing service?

We arrive back to the Hobbit house and organise to head off for dinner- not the Cross House Inn which was where we ate the night before-

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Tonight we went Italian where Ducati 748 (Yellow Peril) joined us. 

It was a great meal, great company which was leading to a great
adventure ahead.

2016-IOM Adventure Begins-Day 1

And the 2016 Isle of Man TT Race Adventure begins-

As I sit quietly in the kitchen of a quaint English Cottage, (The Hobbit House) on this day the 31st of May 2016, 12:34pm, the sun streaming through the windows, birds chirping in the distance, muffled voices speaking on the telephone organising the resurrection of the Yellow Thunder, I think back over the past 24 hours re-tracing our journey in my mind-
How on earth did we get here?

My part of the journey began Sunday 29th May 2016, with an 8:30am train ride from Geelong to Southern Cross Station.  As I disembark from the train, walk towards the Skybus terminal, I find that I can now purchase my ticket from an automated ticket machine outside a new office.  Gone is the personal service, with sprightly Customer Service Representatives who greet you with a smile regardless of the time day or night.  Being tilted off-kilter, just a tad, I continue towards the bus, new return ticket in hand, people milling around, chattering, hugging and tears flowing as new journeys are being undertaken. 

The bus took a tad different route, traffic beginning to congest the roads already. 

My heart was starting to quicken with the prospect of my new husband waiting at the end of the line in Brunei to collect me from the airport, flowers in hand, face beaming and shining with love. 

When I entered the International Departures area, walking to the back of the checking-in area, my heart starts to sink as I see the queue of expectant travellers waiting to check-in, the line snaking towards the door. 
This was going to be a slow process.

After an hour wait, not daring to head to the ‘ladies lounge’ in case I lost my place in line, I finally stood before the Check-in lady for Royal Brunei.  Visions of my first encounter at this desk two months earlier, flooded back.  I had stood before the lady, excitement of a new bride shining from my face.  Nervous tension building within as a new chapter was going to begin, in a new land. The blinding glare of a beautiful new set of bridal/wedding rings dazzling me each time I gaze at my finger.   However there was not any documentation to verify this monumental moment where I became a Mrs instead of a Ms, so I was still referred to as a Ms with a different surname to my husband.

Checked-in, under weight (only by 1 kilo-but under-weight nonetheless), I head into the Immigration area. 

Again orders are barked out by angry Customs People who have to yet again repeat the statement “No liquid over 100 mils- and Yes that includes bottles of water you have purchased.  Either drink it or throw it”,  “Do you not understand Sir, water must be thrown away.  I do not care that you have just purchased it”. 

Made it through, with a ‘pat-down’ as again I have buzzed as I walk through.  I get through to the Immigration area where I am confronted with another alteration where I can enter my passport into a machine and be checked through without any personal interaction.

Through I go, heading to the gate so I can chat to my husband before I embark on the final leg and remind him once again to not forget me or be late.

Boarding the plane on time, nervous energy coursing through my veins  knowing my husband will be waiting for me in 7 hours, I take my seat, settle in and watch a movie.

After a rather uneventful flight- which is a wonderful thing, I disembark from the plane. Not long now and I will be in my husbands arms, showered with kisses, the scent of freshly picked flowers assaulting my nostrils, words of longing and promises whispered into my ear.

I gathered my suitcase and headed for the exit. 

“Madam this way please”.

A stern looking Customs Official motions for me to place my case on the x-ray machine.  It was then I noticed yellow dots on my case.  Damn, I should have discreetly removed the dots.  Yet again another delay set in place to delay my reunion with my husband. Breathe and relax, don’t draw unwanted attention to yourself that may be misconstrued as criminal behaviour. 

Finally I walk through the exit gates, into the reception hall, silently screaming out my husbands name- making him see me and come rushing towards me, flowers thrust into my face, taking me in his arms pleading with me not to leave his side again.

Alas, this fantasy was not to be. 

The reality is- he was late.

I was standing with fading excitement, being assaulted by 35 degree heat and a mixture of odours emanating from others, whilst I was wearing jeans, a shirt, boots and socks, carrying a backpack with a leather jacket and gear for the Isle of Man, others being engulfed in loved-ones embraces, me standing forlornly to the side.  Pitying glances as women and men look at me knowing there is not anyone there to welcome me. 

After what felt like an eternity, the reality of 10 minutes, wait, in strolls my husband, empty handed, a quick peck on the cheek and a stern look in his eye “You are early”.

Fast-forward 24 hours to the minute and we are back at the same airport, different level, different bags packed, different belongings and some small gifts for others waiting for us to join them at the end of yet another journey.

Within said 24 hours, I have unpacked a suitcase, done two loads of washing, both his and mine, started to sort out what items I can remember taking on the last adventure to the Isle of Man, placing said items on the bed, getting bags, suitcases, electrical items and nicknacks to place in the cases. 

I silently wandered around choosing tops, his and mine, jeans, only two to choose from for me whereas he has …. pairs, toilettries, charging my Ebook, finding wall plugs that adapt to English electrical outputs, answering messages on Facebook by concerned friends who were unaware I had left Australia, familiarizing myself with my little home in Brunei and noticing a distinct lack of ‘house-wifey chores’ which had been neglected by a very overworked husband. 

To give him credit, he had been working 14-16 hour long days, chatting with me for up to an hour each night, eating tea most nights around 9pm and then logging back on to work to chase material which had not been completed during daylight hours.  The apartment was in a considerably neat state, but not a ‘Sally neat’ state.  But all was forgiven as the growing excitement of the upcoming adventure was starting to take form.

Finally falling into bed at 3am, knowing the alarm would sound at 6am, I snuggled next to my husband, sweat forming an imprint on the sheet of my body as I acclimatized to the sweltering mugginess and heat  of Brunei.  

Off to work my husband trotted, cases still unpacked, whatever I had chosen for him to wear has been changed, added to and with big blue eyes and a child-like innocence he has informed me that if I have time could I do …… and do ……. and maybe ………

I locked the front door after his retreating form. 
Breathed out a huge sigh of relief and looked forward to a day of peace and quiet whilst I quietly pottered around the apartment, cleaning three weeks of mould, washing towels, changing bedsheets, folding washing and if I have time do three weeks worth of male ironing.

The hours flew by, my husband promising to be home no later than 3pm as the taxi will be arriving at 3:30pm to take us back to the airport. 

After numerous text messages from him making sure:
1. I have packed everything,
2. Our bags are under-weight,
3. I have put the rubbish out
4. I have cleaned out three weeks worth of rotting vegetables
5. I have rested

I was finally able to sit on the couch with a pod-coffee and log into Facebook, proudly knowing I had completed said tasks, ok maybe not all of the tasks.  The ironing was not done.

My nerves were starting to ping as I realised it was 20 minutes past 3 and I was still minus one husband. 

I did not ring him, I did not harass him as I knew he had a mammoth-load  of work to complete before he could leave his office with a clear conscious.  I nervously sat on the couch, luggage lined up at the door, all of us waiting to hear the ping of the elevator announcing someone’s arrival to our floor.

At 3:28pm my husband flew through the door, grabbed the hand-held scales and proceeded to inform me we were .5kilos over weight with one of the cases.  I grabbed his thick jacket from the case and scrunched it up into my backpack. 

Little did I know I should have grabbed a complete change of clothes for both of us.  Looking back in hindsight, a more in tuned woman would have been prepared.  I did do Brownies for a year in my youth, but being prepared as Scouts are, was not part of the curriculum- however I can sing and dance and sway like a tree as learnt from said sessions in that year.

So we descended in the lift, loaded up our gear, snuck a quick kiss on the lips as the doors opened and we began our new adventure.

The taxi driver informed us that we had to be past a certain part on the highway by a certain time as ‘tomorrow is a public holiday and the roads will be congested with people heading back to their villages, family and friends’. 
Oh no, oh my, oh hell- this is not going to be good. 
We were actually running with 30 minutes spare up our sleeve, but there can be more often than not a hiccup in our plans.  Little did we know there would be a coughing-fit headed our way. 

Checked-in, our luggage has been checked through to Manchester (leaving Brunei, landing in Kuala Lumpur and being transferred to another airline, landing in Amsterdam and being transferred to yet another plane and finally landing in Manchester, England).  I was comfortable with this concept, however Husband was not.  He mentioned it a couple of times whilst sitting in the departure lounge in Brunei.  This was going to be a long flight if he fixated on this detail.  So I started talking about the trip and likely poses he/we could do to post on Facebook to let people know we were on an adventure.  This then created a monster with various scenarios and poses created to amuse the masses.

Boarding the plane to Kuala Lumpur on Royal Brunei Airline and an afternoon snack was given. 
This filled a little hole which was fine. 

Landed in Kuala Lumpur, walked to the gate, photographs and videos done and posted. 

Boarded the KLM plane bound for Amsterdam.  Hostesses in Delft Blue, pictures of windmills and everything Dutch strategically positioned to catch your eye.

Bottoms on seats, ear phones in and movies  chosen to entertain me for the next 14 hours. 

As the Captain made his announcement, he informed us that there are actually 3 Pilots for this flight as it is a long flight.  If we see a pilot wandering through the plane, not to become distressed as there is bound to be someone still flying the plane.  A nervous giggle escaped through some lips, nervous eyes darted around seeking assurance from other passengers panicking, where as I settled in for an entertaining flight- bringing us closer to our wonderful friends and the magic of the TT.

We took off- in the back of my mind I was hoping our luggage was nestled safely underneath, following us silently on the adventure. 

My husband wiggled his bottom on the seat, settled back and started to watch a movie.  I followed suit, ready for a light-hearted giggle and soon lullaby land.

Unbeknown to us, there have been wild storms raging across Europe with reported deaths and untold damage.  And we were flying straight into it. 

The turbulence was incredible, with massive jolts and dips causing your stomach contents to enter your mouth.  Hands clutched onto arm rests, permeant imprints marking where panicked passengers sat.  Fingernails forever embedded into the leather head rests as once again we dipped or rose to incredible lows and highs.
This was not a flight for the faint hearted.

Fourteen hours of being tossed through the air like a cork on a raging sea saw us land in Amsterdam.  A little worse for wear- though secretly grateful to my parents who were known to rock, dip, squeeze and often shake to sleep a rather unsettled demanding infant, I had found the turbulence rather soothing.

As we wandered through the ‘fast track’ area of Schipol- which I do believe was twice around the perimeter of the entire airport, we found Gate 25.  My husband again thought of another pose and video, so after and numerous pictures taken, one posted, video uploaded- I went and lined up, found my seat and settled in for the flight to Manchester.  All the while waiting to hear my husbands name over the loud speaker asking him to join the rest of the passengers for the flight.

We are welcomed on board, again secretly hoping our luggage has followed us like obedient children follow parents through the supermarket.  The Chief Airhostess informed us that although the plane was not full to capacity, could we all sit in our assigned seats to ensure the plane is balanced. 

Hmmmm….. ummmmmm…..ok.

The Pilot introduced himself and informed us we were running a tad behind schedule as 3 passengers had not joined the flight yet their luggage had been loaded on.  So the baggage-handlers were sorting through the luggage, unloading and re-loading and we should be under way very soon.  Now this factor did not alarm me nor worry me.  But it did stick in my mind for future release.

This flight was smooth and I actually fell asleep through take-off, woke as a snack was being served then dozed off again. 

Again I was secretly hoping the baggage-handlers had remembered to load our luggage back into the plane and had not left it on the tarmac like a discarded toy which has been outgrown by a child.

We landed and wandered through the newly refurbished Manchester Airport,  more poses done, to the Immigration area. 
Here I was faced by a very gruff and grumpy man who asked my purpose in England.

I told him I was going to he Isle of Man. 

“Oh yes and what for?” Not asked in an interested fashion. 

“Umm to go to the TT Races” I nervously replied. 

“Humph”.

All the while I could hear my Husband chatting animatedly with his Custom Official who smiled sweetly at him and blushed as he answered all of her questions. 

Oh really!!!!

Anyway, we wandered down to the carousel to gather our beloved baggage. 

Not one hint of movement from the carousel.  There was nothing to say it was going to start to circulate, nothing to ease our minds to deliver our luggage to us.

After 30 minutes of waiting, the board informing us that we had landed- duh, a couple of apologetic messages sent to The Organiser who was waiting on the other side of the gates for us, we were informed by a rather disgruntled matured lady that due to the storms (the first we had actually heard about them) there were no flights out of Amsterdam as of yesterday at 3pm. 

She and her 84 year old Diabetic husband had had to sleep at the airport without any compensation by the airline.  They were given a blanket ech by a staff member at the airport. 
Not even a cup of tea was offered- and we ALL know how much the Brits need a cuppa to settle their nerves. 

She was beside herself as a taxi had been ordered to take them home which is over an hour from the airport.  Their first-class cruise and holiday becoming a dim memory as she became more worried and distressed about the final flight she had endured.

She then informed us that the baggage-holders were having trouble opening the hull of the plane to retrieve the luggage. 

Now this started to send warning bells off in my head, here was the huge coughing-fit I mentioned earlier in this saga, however, ever the optomist, with a little ray of ‘maybe’ our luggage had jumped planes and ended up on another flight and was to be delivered to us on another carosul regardless, I quietly waited diligently by carosul, longingly anticipating the appearence of our luggage.

But alas, fantasy could not override reality and no one was getting their luggage.  

This meant that with an outside hope our luggage had actually been put on the plane and not left in the Brunei departure area millions of years earlier.

After paperwork was filled out, frantic calls were made to The Organiser to make sure we had his correct address- as The Hobbit House is not really an identifiable address.  We wandered into the waiting arms of The Organiser- reeking of nearly 24 hours of non-stop same clothing wear, worry that all of our toilettries and camera gear and bike gear would never be returned to us again we were loaded into his waiting chariot and whisked to the nearest Tesco to buy limited supplies.

And YES- Husband has been out to the shed, caressed lovingly The Yellow Thunder, started her up and grinned like an in-love fool (not that I would ever see that look aimed at me) whispering soothing words to her and making promises of two weeks of undivided attention as we get ready to head to the Isle of Man once again.

Oh by the way- husband has already logged on for work and is fixing a crisis that has reared its ugly head.

Oh by the way way- an SMS was received at 4:15pm informing us that our luggage will be delivered between 5:15-7:15pm tonight. 

Stay tuned……

Our 2015 Adventure Begins…..The Isle of Man TT……Day Three……Wales

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Ok.

Writers block is starting to crumble, confidence is returning .

I am back to tell you about our adventure with the 2015 TT Race.

But before we board the ferry to really start our adventure.

Lets go down a few country roads, a highway, a few back-streets and through some villages with the most unusual names which The Organiser explained were real words and names of streets/villages, just written in Welsh,  and catch up with SOTO and her Hubby.  Now for those who don’t remember who SOTO is=Sister Of The Organiser, and her Hubby we first met them last year in Chester and felt instantly encompassed within a beautiful dynamic family.

The Orgniser is the younger brother and the ‘apple of SOTO’s eye’.  The dynamics between these two is something to behold.  They support each other, love each other fiercely and stir each other with cheeky smiles, twinkling eyes and always talk about their beloved parents.  This is a beautiful thing to witness as we have both felt that after a couple of hours encompassed within this beautiful family, Yellow Thunder and I have met, shared and felt the love this family has (from the stories of the family vacations and antics of their cheeky Dad and beautiful  Mum who have departed physically but are always close by).

SOTO has three daughters who are each spoken of with such pride, love and adoration by SOTO, her Hubby and their Uncle.  They are grown women with THE BEST names and girl could be blessed with- Emily, Verity and Christabel

Ok enough background for you to understand how honoured Yellow Thunder and I fell to be part of such a family.

So we pile into The Orgnisers beast (lucky it is very comfortable in the back) on a cool, brisk Wednesday morning remembering to wish my dearest friend a Happy Birthday, and head out of the driveway.

The Adventure begins and we are off to Wales.  Now for those who actually know me know that my directional skills, map reading skills,  and following verbal directions are all skills that I have never possessed and so I do not miss them.  So when The Organiser gave detailed directions, using words I had heard of and had a vague idea what they meant- we head in a northerly direction for three miles, turn left and ……..  He stopped talkng, took a look at the vacant look on my face and stated that it is just down the road to SOTO’s holiday house, naturally I thought that it was just down the road.

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Just a reminder of what all the fuss and chatter was about.

We took off, armed with our cameras, excitement building with the journey ahead full of enlightening conversation, so I settled in the back of the Beast, listened idly as Yellow Thunder and The Organiser talked incessantly about bikes, bikes and bikes.  This is a lovely thing to witness for about 10mins, but nearly 4 hours it is better than any sleeping pill. wpid-20150603_120953.jpg

Miles slide past the car window, the view ever changing.  Homes built side-by-side, doors and windows backing onto the footpath, road narrow enough to fit one car going in one direction, open highways, glimpses of castles nestled on hills, tantalizing views of the sea as we keep travelling- heading for lunch and laughs.

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As we head uphll, road narrowing, the beautiful scent of the sea wafting through the crack in the window, the end is in sight.

Tricked You.

We still have 2 hours to go.

Now we must back-pedal just for a moment.  Before we left Malaysia, Yellow Thunder had ined up two new job interviews.  These unfortunately fell within the two weeks of us being abroad.  He had recieved one call about a pending job whilst standing in a beautiful Italian Church and monastery.  There was a second call due today.  This meant that The Organiser and I needed to give him privacy so he could apply for another position.

As the hour drew near, still being on the road, The Organiser decided that if we could find a petrol station along the way, we could pop in and give Yellow Thunder some peace.  So we had 2 minutes left, and yes my bladder was letting me know that it was time to rest and take notice of it.

“Spoto a petrol station” was called from the backseat – first called by my bladder then my mouth.

We pulled over opposite the station.  Parked beside a crude wire fence and cobblestoned wall infront of a rickety wire gate that lead into a thick green lush meadow which although we could not physically see any inhabitants, we could smell them.

Doors unlocked, The Organiser and I left the beast as Yellow Thunder’s phone rang.  Thumbs up sign sent to him with my fingers crossed, we wandered over to the petrol station.  Refreshements bought, restroom sought, reading material  viewed we settled in to wait to be summoned back to the beast to resume the adventure.

An hour later, a frantic call to SOTO after realising that it was 3 hours since we had left the Hobbit House and we still had an hour to go, we were summond back to the car while a beaming Yellow Thunder related his call and how confident he felt.  This is the same response we had after the first call in Italy.

Back on the road again.

Hills flying past, beautiful lush meadows with shaggy inhabitants lifting their heads, more castles poking their spires towards the heavens, quaint homes blurring before our eyes, strange signs written in some form of language with the english interpretation underneath we made our way to SOTO’s house.

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Up another hill, through another village a beautiful bay spreading out below us, we climbed along an extremely narrow road where perched on the top was a gorgeous home.  The front windows were interlaced into a beautiful cobblestoned wall which backed straight onto the road, the front door facing a small one car carpark.  SOTO’s hubby came out to greet us and directed us to park in the nextdoor neighbours driveway as they are currently away.

A huge clay lifelike representation of a seagull was perched on the gate.  Obviously this was to scare any intruders away who inadvertantly were carrying food, were a feline or canine or just wanted to pass.  It worked.  I took the wide berth and scooted past the gate-just incase it took to flight and pooped on me like so many other gulls have been known to do.

We entered the home- it had a gorgeous nautical theme running through each room, open planed rooms, steps that led to an alluringly soft couch that beckoned us to sit.  As I longingly gazed at the couch (Yes I had just spent 4 hours sitting in the car, and we all know how exhausting that is) a noise drew my attention to the left.

There she was.

SOTO’s sister, full of love, hugs, beaming smiles, genuine warmth and a chilled glass of white wine and a guiding arm to what lay aheaad.

Ascending a small flight of steps, two massive glass doors were opened revealling one of the most beautiful views.

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Oh I can see why we would travel so long for such an awesome view.

A comfortable wicker and feathered couch lay waiting for bodies to lounge and drink in such an awesome view.  Behind us was a table straining under the weight of cheeses, meats, desserts, olives etc, all waiting to be consumed by hungry Aussies and our chauffeur.

After an hour of catching up, laughing, eating, drinking, being warmed by a glorious sun, some bright spark suggested a walk along the beach.  Now if you look back at the pictures I have posted, you can see the roof of the neighbours house and the bay behind it.  Now, take into account I have a full belly, a merry wine mind, my legs have blood circulating though them again, my tooshie has feeling, my bones are warm….and they want to make walk 500 miles and I will walk 500 more (singing it yet-I dare you not to) just to walk alond the beach??

And so off we went.

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And yes I will concede that the view was well worth the walk.  Now I guess I should explain again that SOTO’s house was on a hill, at the top of a jill, perched on the hills crest.  Where is the beach?  Down the hill, down the 500 mile walk down the hill.  Walking past beautiful flowers, quaint homes, along a one car only road.  This was an easy walk.  I was enjoying the way, chattering and listening to wonderful conversations taking place around me and including me.

We walked another 500 miles along the beach, the wind dropping and a chill entering beginning to enter our consciousness.  Ok it was entering mine, The Organiser had once agin removed his shirt and stating how warm and sunny it was.  Lets get this moment into perspective, I am an Aussie living in Malaysia-it was cold.  These guys are Englishmen living where 15 degrees celcius causes a public holiday where everyone strips down to bare skin.

So we decide to head back to the house.  Now go back to the paragraphs written under the beautiful picture of the beach and a yacht.  Now reverse it and take out the cheery mezmorizing and fanciful descriptors and put in the pounding blood in my ears, sweat flowing down my back and forehead,  eyes growing dim as I stand at the base of the hills, looking forlornly up at the winding one car road to which I had decended and was to ascend again.

This was not going to be pretty where an amazing Amazonion woman was going to break out of this poor middle-aged body, sprint up the hill without so much as a curl out of place or a glimmer of sweat on my brow.  This was not going to be pretty.

Finally reaching the top, using the premis of taking pictures of flowers on the roadside, looking back at the beautiful views below, I was able to make it without looking like I had run a 500 mile marathon fully clothed.

After some more laughs, my heart beats almost returning to normal, we piled back nto the beast and headed off to Hells Mouth.  Ok it is not really Hells Mouth, it is a beautiful historical home nestled within a magical forest overlooking Hells Mouth.  This is the idealic resting place for The Organiser and SOTO’s parents.  It was the Organisers dream to sprinkle beautiful wildflower seeds around where a wooden chair had been erected and placed in the prime viewing area above Hells Mouth.  According to childhood tales related during the day, this was the main vacationing place where beautiful memories were created with a cheeky Dad who would encourage and challenge his kids to go swimming during Easter breaks where little toes, feet, legs and bodies turned blue and shook with cold.  While Dad would swin by, braving the freezing water to encourage his kids to join him.  Where fish and chips were consumed and the shop was still operating millions of years later.

Words cannot express the honour Yellow thunder and I felt being part of such a beautiful experience.  We parked the car and climbed a slight rise to where a beautiful old tree was overshadowing the chair.  The sound of a little brook gurgled past, beautiful native grasses, bushes, flowers, a murder of crows nestled amongst its branches casting a magically beautiful atmosphere in which we were granted enterance to.

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Seeds were scattered, silence was granted, a magical moment created whilst a son remembered his parents with so much love and sorrow.

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After returning to the beast, The Organiser smiling and reminicing about days gone by, we headed back to Liverpool, preparing to meet up with Aprilia Mille and Miss Sunshine for tea.

Gazing out of the window, watching the changing countryside slide past, I realised how blessed I am to be experiencing such an adventure with such wonderful characters.  Thank you for a truly beautiful day xxx