This news is long overdue, but there is so much to tell that I haven’t known where or when to begin.
The most unlikely, delightful and, in a sense, preposterous item is that I am going to marry. A Ukrainian beauty, no less, so I hasten to add that I did not acquire her through the internet.
We have known each other for seventeen years, and you may remember seeing her on my page in 2008, when she visited and travelled around the country with me. I couldn’t pull it off then, and God knows why she has succumbed now, but the deed is almost done.
I am sorry you can’t all come to the wedding.
In India, where guest lists of thousands are not unusual, we could have managed it. Every guest would get a banana leaf with a grain of rice on it and be satisfied, according to my old guru, Rajaram. But no self-respecting Ukrainian would dare to provide less food than it takes to provoke a major intestinal crisis and we can’t afford the emergency medical service.
The only loser will be my tractor, which I bought as a consolation, but it proved to be an inadequate substitute.
The wedding will be in Europe, probably in Ukraine, and I’ll be going there 12 days from now, but before that happens something else equally wonderful will arrive on my doorstep and turn my life upside down.
I got myself a V-strom. John Rains gave me one to ride in New Zealand and I liked it so much that the first thing I did when I got back was look for one. It came off Craigs List, and my friend Kate has borrowed it for a trip. Here she is at Joshua Tree and having a great time. I’ve come very late to discovering what a cool machine it is.
My son William is doing the quintessential American thing, uprooting himself from Kentucky, and packing his girl friend, their peerless 14-month-old son, their furniture, two dogs and a riding mower into a U-Haul, to live in California and occupy my house while I’m gone. So I’ve been running around frantically making doors for low-lying cupboards, child-proofing the stairs, and facing up generally to an astounding mess.
In May, on the weekend of the 21st, I have been invited to a big Spanish motorcycle fiesta near Alicante. I will fly to Madrid from Ukraine, and then travel down to the meeting with Angel and Teresa, my two Spanish friends and publishers. Then I go back to Ukraine, rescue my bride from her school, and we will do a sort of honeymoon car trip around Europe.
Then she has to go home and await Uncle Sam’s pleasure, while I go on to the UK. I’ll be at the HorizonsUnlimited meeting near Ripley on the 25th of June, and after that I’ll start the road trip I couldn’t do last year, around the UK, for the book I promised to Little Brown. I’m going to do it on an MP3, just for the hell of it, so if you see one of those ambling past give it a wave. There can’t be that many of them, so it might be me.