OK lets face it, mild, wet winters are, as a good friend of mine says, rubbish!
It’s not like you can get out and enjoy the crispness of a beautiful frosty day or have fun fooling around in the snow, no, everything is wet, slippery and squishy! Walking around the grounds Dookes H.Q. is like taking on the mud of the Western Front, trying to do the winter garden maintenance is becoming very, well, trying!
We’ve got a quite few trees that need serious pruning and in a couple of cases felling. I’ve managed to tackle some of the work, but the underfoot conditions are certainly limiting productivity. It’s enough to drive you to tears. Talking of which, take a look at this photo of the end of a branch that I cut off a large pine tree, I swear that the tree is shedding a tear! Can you see it?
Anyway, enough of this moaning stuff!
At least with no ice on the roads I have been out and about quite a lot on two wheels and I’m pleased to report the effectiveness of my gear at keeping out the water! I’ve banged on previously about how important quality protective equipment is on a motorbike, it’s certainly something I never skimp on and I feel that approach repays me many times over.
I also believe in good training and as regular blogonaughts may recall, I am qualified as an “Advanced” motorcyclist. One of the great things, or maybe not, about this is that every few years I have to go through an “Assessment Ride,” with a qualified examiner, just to check that I’m up to standard and behaving myself! Now the great thing about riding with my mate ‘G’ is that he’s a qualified Police trained advanced instructor and is great at giving constructive feedback, even so, when I had to do my assessment the other week I was still a little nervous and that’s probably no bad thing.
The weather was, predictably awful; strong winds, driving rain, the odd bit of hail and part way through a burst of bright sunshine that shone straight in my face and reflected off the road like a laser beam! Oh yeah, then more rain!
Because I wanted to feel really comfortable I took ‘Harls,’ yes I know ‘Baby’ has better fairing protection, but she’s big and heavy and ‘Harls’ fits me like a glove, I wanted to concentrate on the ride and not the bike! “Baby” and I have done quite a few thousand miles in the ten months that I’ve owned her, but nothing like the tens of thousands that “Harls” and I have shared!
The ride took in a variety of different roads and traffic levels, all fiendishly structured to put me through my paces and check out different facets of my riding. I didn’t know where we were going and had to watch out for my examiners traffic signals in my rear-view mirror to tell me which way to go, just an additional little pressure!
Anyway all went well and sixty or so miles later my examiner was happy to sign me off as still competent. ‘G’ says that he would have kicked my backside if not!!! Even better, no rain leaked into any of my riding clothing or helmet, happiness all round!
There’ll be even more happiness when the better weather arrives, but in the meantime I’ll content myself with pictures of warmer days and get on with planning the next few trips!
Catch you all soon!
“Go forth and have no fear, come close and lend an ear.”