It’s late evening at Dookes H.Q..
Outside, gentle Spring drizzle is gently settling as the light softly dwindles towards night. There is a chill in the air, so the mellow heat of our log fire is comforting as much as it is warming.
I have just returned from a long ride to have lunch with my old friend Mel, who I haven’t seen for a long time; too long in fact.
Just before I set out this morning I heard from my friend G, who is battling Cancer. He is back in hospital again and having a rough time of it; G was on my mind a lot as I headed East to meet Mel in the heart of Dorset. Mel himself has also had more than his fair share of problems in the last year and I’ve been trying to give him whatever sort of clumsy/inept support I can. These are two good guys who really don’t deserve the different situations that they find themselves in.
It’s at times like this that I find riding a motorbike is such a good way of finding some sort of peace to deal with the crap that life throws around from time to time! Now don’t get me wrong, the old Dookes brain was firmly on the road and the job on hand, but other cogs were turning trying to make sense of things. That’s how it started out as I eased “Baby” onto the A30 this morning and headed East.
Then other matters came into play, like that we were travelling through some of the most gorgeous scenery in Southern England.
Living in Cornwall, I sometimes find I can get a bit parochial, it’s so removed from the rest of the UK that it’s often easy to forget that there is more out there across the River Tamar and the County boundary!
This morning our neighbouring county of Devon was as verdant and lush as I’ve ever seen. Billowing white clouds drifted across an azure sky and the red earth of ploughed fields absorbed the bright sunlight. Rolling into Dorset, the scenery becomes magnificent around the Jurassic Coast between Lyme Regis and Weymouth. Excellent on a motorbike, the roads curve around steep hills and deep valleys…just a shame that at times the other traffic gets in the way, but hey on two wheels it’s still fun dealing with that as well!
The round trip was nearly 300 miles, hard miles at that! It was worth every inch of it though. Not only did I get to see my old friend again and enjoy a super lunch with him, ! got there and back on a Harley Davidson.
Now at home with my computer, the humming of the engine is still ringing in my ears; actually it’s more like I have a steam engine whistle sounding continually in my head!
I’m sitting here trying to make sense of life, the universe and everything; but my eye keeps being drawn to a couple of bottles of rather splendid French claret that are in the rack to my left. You know good friends are really very like a bottle of good wine; the bottle will sit there on the rack, you know where it is when you want it and over time, so long as you take care, it will only get better.
When things get better for both of my mates, I’m going to uncork those bottles with them, let it breathe, then share and savour that wine in fine crystal glasses; it’s the least that my friends deserve.
Friendship, you can’t put a value on that; G & Mel, here’s to you and the day we uncork those bottles!
“Old red wine, well past it’s prime, may have to finish it after crossing the line.”
Catch you all soon.