I have had a brilliant career, or as I’m now retired, perhaps I should just say I had a brilliant career!
No, I’m not bragging, I’m just one of those incredibly lucky people who have been fortunate enough to do things that didn’t seem like work and as a bonus I got paid for doing them!
When I was younger, one thing that I remember happening fairly frequently was bumping into colleagues who had retired and hearing them extolling the virtues of retired life.
“I’m so busy, I don’t know how I ever had time to go to work!”
That was a line that I heard often and which normally caused me to turn a quiet smile and gently shake my head…but guess what?
Those old fellas were right!!!
Retirement is a funny thing and I guess is different for different people, but for me it’s, well, hectic! From time to time I do some voluntary stuff, try to sneak in a few motorcycle rides, attempt to keep on top of the acres and trees here at Dookes H.Q., maintain the 300year old pile that is Dookes H.Q. and goodness knows do a host of other things that frequently leave me wondering where the days and weeks have evaporated away to!
Which is a round about way of explaining why Dookes has been “Off the Air” blog-wise yet again!
Keeping a Promise
Our nephew Christopher (Chris) is a super chap, I’ve written about him previously.
He’s one of the folks that life has dealt a pretty rough deal, but with the love and support of his family he has ploughed a pretty good furrow, despite a number of medical issues.
He works as a mechanic in his other Uncle’s garage and specialises in off-road motorcycles. To have some independence Chris lives in a chalet in the grounds of his parent’s home, whilst still conveniently in reach should he need help.
Because of Christopher’s medical situation the authorities won’t allow him to have a car driving licence, but will let him ride restricted motorbikes, which is just as well, because he’s pretty good at it!
Here in the UK we have a thing called a CBT, Compulsory Bike Training. It’s normally for people just setting out into the world of two-wheeled transport, or those who really only want a machine up to 125cc for a bit of local commuting and travel. No pillions are allowed for a CBT rider and the bike has to display red ‘L’ plates (for “Learner”). Once completed the CBT certificate lasts for two years, then either the rider has to do the course again or go pass the proper motorbike test.
For Chris, the CBT is ideal. He only needs a small bike for the distances that he normally travels and with a review every two years it means that he gets a regular independent assessment of his riding.
The great thing for Chris is that he is surrounded by motorcycling relatives; his cousins ride, as do two of his Uncles, so we all keep an eye on him!
I make a point to ride out with Chris every now and then, partly to see how he is getting on, but mostly because I enjoy spending time in his company, I think that’s how it should be with nephews and nieces.
Earlier this year Chris visited us at Dookes H.Q.. He really was desperate to ride his bike to us, it would have been his longest trip ever, about 70 miles and he wanted me to ride shotgun alongside him. As it was then in the height of summer and our Cornish roads get stupidly busy with visitors, I didn’t think it was such a great idea, so I put him off until the autumn.
Now the thing about Chris is that he doesn’t forget…so a few weeks back he reminded me of my promise and we rearranged things. That’s how a couple of Saturdays ago I found myself setting off at the crack of dawn to go and collect him.
Needless to say, he was raring to go when I arrived. He greeted me with a big grin and proudly told me that he’d washed his bike especially for the occasion! We packed his bags into Baby Blue’s ample top box and panniers, then hit the road; he takes after his Aunt, Mrs Dookes, just how much stuff do you need for a weekend away?
As his Yamaha 125 will only just about hit 50mph (downhill with a good tailwind) I chose a route that avoided the main trunk roads and settled in for a leisurely trundle, thank goodness that my big touring bike has a rather good music system.
Just over halfway we stopped to enjoy a sandwich and cup of coffee; Chris was worried that he needed petrol so we topped up the bikes, his took just under two litres… talk about economic riding! My Harley needed about ten times that amount!
Eventually, after nearly three hours, we arrived safely at Dookes H.Q..
Then next day we did it all again, but in reverse.
True this wasn’t the most taxing thing I’ve ever done on a motorbike, but just to see the look on my nephew’s face after he completed the two rides it was undoubtedly one of my most fulfilling.
Riding motorcycles is a bit like life.
It isn’t always about how far or fast you go, sometimes it’s about sharing the journey with someone else and watching them enjoy the ride!
Thanks Chris, for sharing some of your journey with your old Uncle; lets ride again soon.
“Those are the memories that made me a wealthy soul”
Catch you soon.