Wednesday 16 September 2009

My hero

We live at the top of a hill. Quite a high hill actually. And the tube station is a at the bottom of it, about twenty minutes walk away.

Last night I had to take the tube home because SOMEONE had broken my scooter so it's spending a few days at the garage. I didn't want to go hime in my biker gear, so changed into the linen suit I keep at the office. As the tube got closer and closer to home, the rain got heavier and heavier. Monsoon is an understatement. I had no umbrella, and taxis are few and far between in our neck of the woods.

The boy rang (our tube line is above ground) to see how I was getting on....and without hesitation offered to walk down to the station with an umbrella for me.

How cool is that? He is my superhero.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Crash bang wallop

I've always puzzled at why people smoke, in the full knowledge that it's likely to finish you off early in a nasty way. I guess that at heart we're all gamblers. But I don't smoke.

On the road, I ride either my gorgeous Vespa or my staggeringly scary KTM (MLC - AG). I love the freedom and fresh air and seeing the tarmac disappear beneath the bike. In London, the Vespa is really the only way to get around - I can weave in and out of traffic jams and get from a to b in half the time of any other mode of transport...apart from the cycle. It's a lot of fun, but I'm pretty careful and get left in the dust by teenage tearaways who've just discovered the freedom that two wheels bolted to an engine can give you.

But there is an inevitability with bikes. At some stage, sooner or later you will come off. No matter how careful you are, it's as certain as bears pooing in the woods...

So I've never understood why anyone would ride without appropriate protective clothing. I suspect for boys/men a scar is proof positive of their a big tattoo, but more painful to acquire. But it quite breaks my heart to see women/girls on the back of their boyfriend's bike with nothing more than a t-shirt and short-skirt to protect their modesty. I have a pair of motorcycle trousers and the label says, "Helps prevent muscle stripping." That's a powerful visual phrase. A friend told me that if you come off at 30 mph, it takes 0.3 seconds to go from skin to bone. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Sheer agony. And effectively irreperable. Not a good look in a bikini.

I've had three significant tumbles on the Vespa in the last seven years - the first was when I used to take the boy to school on the back. We skidded on gravel at the traffic lights and both tumbled off. I was completely unscathed, he broke his foot. He's forgiven me; I haven't. The second was at the bottom of the Lane, a car hurtled round the corner leaving me to slip on a wet drain cover into the bushes. I carried on to work, had lunch with a client and then went to hospital...and got my broken arm strapped up. No wonder I'd been sweating all morning. Today, I rounded a bend I've been on a thousand times. The wheels just skipped away from me as I crossed some gravel and I tumbled to the floor. I've severely broken my over-inflated ego, but apart from that the only injury is a bruised thigh. The bike is scratched and dented; it'll cost a pretty penny to fix (but not worth claiming on the insurance). My kevlar-reinforced jeans are scuffed, but fine. Hurrah. And the little widget for my phone is dented....deeply upsetting as I dislike my phone, so it would have been a good thing for it to have been flattened. The real peculiarity is that my shirt is ripped to shreds on the left shoulder, even though the jacket was unscathed. Odd.

Oh and sorry, Grandma in Cyprus, I know you don't like reading about these things

Monday 14 September 2009


Peter Mandelson today said added that Labour should have "the mindset of insurgents who are restless with the status quo, not incumbents".

Well that's alright then - insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan are simply restless with the status quo. And it's ok to blow up British soldiers.