A Wonderful Week

3rd July 2022 |

I’ve had a wonderful week in England, right across the spectrum of motorcycle travel. First there was the enormous ABR meeting at Ragley Hall, and then, on my last night, an intimate evening in a pub with sixty fellow bikers.

I must admit I was nervous of the ABR. Huge meetings like that have never been my thing although I compromised for years in the States because it was the only way I could get to see my friends. But somehow something as big as that, attracting tens of thousands, didn’t seem right for little England. But I was wrong. Immaculately managed by Bryn Davies it was even better than the Overland Expos I used to go to in the USA. For one thing, there was acres of sitting room. And there were hi-tech tents I’ve never seen before covering huge areas. It was under one of those tents that I had the pleasure of being grilled by Billy “Bike Truck” Ward, and under another that the unstoppable Simon and Lisa got me flowing on a cold morning.

Thank you all for making it so easy for me. Billy has been especially generous to me. He is the man who arranged for me to fly to Dubai on a 380 in business class, my best stratospheric experience so far, until I go up one day with Elon. It almost hurt me to learn that Billy himself only flew coach.

XRW964M was parked up by Ragley Hall and it gave me great pleasure, as always, to be near it. The Hall itself disappointed me, a huge grey pile on a grey day, looking rather unfriendly, but perhaps in sunshine it does better, and I heard there are beautiful gardens behind it somewhere. Much more friendly and luxurious was the Arrow Mill hotel I stayed in very nearby, where my room looked out over swans, and the bathroom was like something out of pre-war Hollywood. Fortunately for me I didn’t have to pay.

The night before flying home I had dinner with sixty bikers in a splendid pub in Cranleigh, Surrey. Cranleigh is said to be the largest village in Britain, which doesn’t seem to be something to brag about, but the bit I saw looked pretty enough. The dinner was arranged by a super nice and efficient couple, Sara and Chris, who have a motorcycle apparel shop called Motolegends in Guildford. Everybody liked me. It may surprise you to know that it always comes as a bit of a surprise to me too. I’m very likely to go back, and I really want to visit their shop. The website is full of surprises. Next September maybe, when I go to the Overland Event at Oxford, which is the diametric opposite of the ABR. It’s a lovely small meeting I try not to miss, and I still hope against hope that XRW964M might find its way there again, as it has all these years.

A summer’s evening in Aspiran – where I live


I’m sorry, but there’s a question I have to ask. It’s not that I don’t care about guns, or abortions, or LGBTQ, but I care more about the survival of our species.

When will someone find a way to explain to Republican (whatever that means) Americans that their representatives are lighting the gas in the oven which is going to roast my grandsons?

Do those six sick Supreme Court justices (what’s justice got to do with it?) not know that there are already zones in the ocean that are 2 degrees hotter than normal and killing off their inhabitants?

Do they not know that desperate workers building football stadiums in Quatar are dropping like flies because working in fifty degree Celsius heat is lethal, which is what those sick justices and their enablers on the Hill are preparing for us all?

They must have, at the very least, the intelligence of your average working Josephine. The only explanation I can come up with is that they know the game is up, and that they might as well have some fun. Shall we join them? I’ve heard of Hanging Judges, but I’ve never seen one hung.



PS: Since only a miracle can save us, I bring you news of a miracle. The morning after I returned from England (via Easyjet, and that in itself was a minor miracle) our ancient water-heater packed up. We called a plumber.

He arrived at our door, young and enthusiastic, in under ten minutes.

He diagnosed the problem and returned twenty minutes later with a new heater. In no time at all we were fixed up and he took the old one way.

I consider that to be a miracle. Of course you may say it doesn’t count because it happened on a Thursday and true plumbing crises always happen on Saturday night. Well poo to you.