So here we are, the end of one year and the beginning of a new one.
OK, cards on the table straight away. I’m not big on the whole “Happy New Year” circus! Yes, I know that lots of people love it, but it’s never really floated my boat. I suppose the “tradition” when I was young, of being pushed out of the back door with a lump of coal in one hand and a glass of whisky (which I had severe instruction not to even sip!) in the other and then having to wait around in the cold for the clock to strike midnight before the charade of “First Footing” through the front door did it for me as a kid!
I always had to hand over the bloody whisky as well!!!
Looking back on 2015, it certainly has been quite a year, both in my life and in the greater world.
All of it though, has paled into scant insignificance with my mate G’s cancer diagnosis.
G had it really rough just before Christmas, he developed an infection and spent six nights in hospital on I.V. antibiotics for pneumonia. Fortunately the skilled medical staff in Exeter got him sorted and well enough to get home for the big day and quality time with his family.
We popped over to see them last Sunday and after we arrived it took G all of two minutes to arrange a ride out on the bikes on Monday! “Just a small ride to get some fresh air.” He told his long-suffering wife.
The weather over the holiday period in the UK has been awful and whilst Monday wasn’t exactly sunny it was good enough and very warm for the time of year.
We rode the coast road looking down on Chesil Bank, the famous natural shingle structure that stretches for eighteen miles to Portland. The wind blew fiercely off the ocean but was over our right shoulder and of no great consequence. G led the way, his Triumph Tiger flipping effortlessly through the bends as Baby and I rumbled contentedly behind him.
Once through Dorchester we hit the dueled A35 for a few miles and rode side by side, our grins defined by our twinkling eyes. It’s good to ride with your mate you know! We peeled North through Blandford Forum and stopped for lunch at Compton Abbas airfield, one of G’s favourite watering holes, where they do great food, but no flying today to watch over our food.
Suitably refreshed, we toured through Shaftesbury, Sherborne and Yeovil where the roads were coloured by hundreds of yellow daffodils in flower! In December? Who says that the climate is not changing? It bloody well is!!!
We looped round through Taunton, picked up the old A38 and delivered G back home near Tiverton just as it was starting to get dark.
As we said our farewells, G was tired, but very happy. “I needed that mate!” he grinned at me.
I smiled and rode on alone into the dark as the rain began to fall.
By the time I got home I had clocked 280 miles and the weather was filthy.
Mrs Dookes was in the kitchen, “Good ride?” she asked.
“Just a small ride to get some fresh air.” I grinned.
Riding, The Best Medicine.
Have a Happy New Year everyone. . . Oh, “G” – get well soon mate!