Golden Days

The first storm of the Autumn set in over Cornwall yesterday. Winds along the North coast peaked at gale force eight, that’s around 46mph/74kph. Rain was pretty relentless and quite unpleasant.

It’s been a couple of weeks since we returned from Brittany and I suppose we’ve been spoilt as the weather has generally been pretty fair. This year the golden colours of the season have been stunning; so many people have been talking about it that I’m sure it’s not just my imagination. – Well Mrs Dookes says so anyway!

When Monday dawned bright and sunny it occurred to me that if I was to believe the forecast I really needed or get out, ride and simply enjoy. In other words, a typical Dookes day on two wheels, all legitimised by Mrs D asking me to pick up some shopping!

First stop was the ancient market town of Launceston, which really deserves a post all of its own one day. Once provisions were purchased it was time to gently hit the road.

I say “gently” because it was that sort of day; soft golden light, a slight chill in the clean air, azure blue sky and golden leaves all around. No need to rush this ride, just sit back and enjoy.image

I have a bit of a love affair with the old “London Turnpike” road out of Cornwall. It has been one of the most important British roads since the 17th century, when it was a major coaching route. It’s a road that’s seen plenty of history over the centuries, in 1805 the news of Admiral Nelson’s victory and death at Trafalgar was conveyed by carriage along it’s 284miles. In 1923 the road was given the grand title of “A30” and official recognition of it’s status as the major trunk route from London to Penzance. Then, when traffic became too heavy for it’s cart-horse based civil engineering, it was replaced by it’s modern dual carriageway namesake. Today the old road is classed as a minor route and certainly the lack of traffic reinforces this, it’s been given the delightful title of “The West Devon Ride” and what a lovely ride it is on two wheels!image

With the sun on my back I let “Baby Blue” purr along at around 55mph, like I said I wasn’t rushing around at all. Mostly the road lay dry in front of us, but in places, where the shade was deep, damp leaves lay lurking ready to lubricate the road as good as any oil slick…oh the joys of Autumn motorcycling!image

We looped through the small village of Bridestowe, which lies right on the edge of Dartmoor and paused by the old railway station. It’s amazing how many places in Britain have a “Station Road,” but sadly these days, no railway. Bridestowe’s station closed in 1968 and today is a private house shielded by high conifer trees. The old line is happily seeing use as a footpath and cycle trail allowing access to stunning scenery on gentle gradients; Cool eh?image

Our trundle back home was directly into the bright setting sun, tricky stuff on a winding road, so my Schuberth helmet’s integral sun visor was very much appreciated; having the right equipment pays-off you know!image

So, OK a fifty-one mile trundle is by my standards pretty small beer, but you know it’s not about how far or how fast you ride it’s all about the journey and what a Golden Day we had.

Baby Blue rests in Golden Shadows. Heaven on two wheels!

Baby Blue rests in Golden Shadows. Heaven on two wheels!

“May the good Lord shine a light on you
Make every song you sing your favorite tune
May the good Lord shine a light on you
Warm like the evening sun.”

Catch you soon.


Ageing Gracefully My Ass

Yesterday, whilst undertaking my latest Blogging University Assignment, I stumbled onto an hilarious and cathartic website that tackles, with some relish, the thorny issue of ageing!

Titled “Aging Gracefully My Ass” (sic), I knew it looked promising from the start…

Then I found this post and my day changed totally! First howls of laughter, but as I began to type a reply I also started to reflect on the deeper message in the post.

Ageing is something that many of us in the “developed nations” sort of take for granted, almost an assumed ‘Right’ if you like. Looking at the World Health Organisation statistics for 2012, the gulf between the top male life expectancy, Japan 84.6 years, and the lowest, Sierra Leone 38, is simply mind-blowing. I was interested to see that Andorra, where I passed through last summer, is actually second best in the list at 84.2 and top for women at 87.6; maybe I should have enquired about staying!

As part of the whole ‘taking it for granted’ thing, perhaps that is why we are always so shocked, almost affronted, when someone is denied that right of attaining the basic ‘three score and ten’; either by illness, natural disasters, war etc.. Certainly my visit to the War Graves in Northern France last spring underlined the horrific numbers there that were denied that ‘right’. Hey though this is getting a bit too heavy…

What I love about my new blogging friend’s site is the optimism conveyed to the reader. True it does address the problem of friends and contemporaries snuffing it; check out my own posts for evidence of that, but not in a morbid way. This is not a self-pity tome but more a celebration of life and living that life to the full, every day! Isn’t that what life should be about anyway?

By today that one post has attracted over forty comments, which is fantastic, clearly a chord has been struck amongst us Baby Boomers! In fact my new blog chum has pointed out that I really need to modify my own blog tag to incorporate one of my comments; thanks AGMA I will!

These days I like to follow the mantra that Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones once said when someone asked him how he was; “Oh, just glad to be!”

The main thing to remember is that tomorrow the sun will rise: Aim to be there to see it.

Catch you all tomorrow, at dawn!