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 pann…
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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-
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.
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
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.
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.
And yes the shinanigans begin.
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.
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
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.
Yes you do know him. He went to the TT with you last year.
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.
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.
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.
My breath caught in my throat as I stared at one of the most gorgeous churches which evoked visions of Queens, Kings,
Regal nobles all wandering around a Tudor Church and magnificent headstones celebrating lives lived hundreds of years ago.
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.
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-
Tonight we went Italian where Ducati 748 (Yellow Peril) joined us.
It was a great meal, great company which was leading to a great