Have been so busy with illustrations and book cover designs lately that I have hardly been out and away from the house for a couple of months. So today a very good friend took me out for a spin on the back of his motorbike. I grew up on bikes and am a born pillion. I have no need to hold on at anything below about 40mph, and have learnt how to become a dead weight – to lean seamlessly with the rider. It’s an amazing feeling to make yourself as small as possible and get so close to the rider that your chin rests on their shoulder blades… that’s at the top speeds, where I’d literally be blown off if I sat up just a little. Sometimes I can steal a glance over their shoulder to see what turns are coming, and which way we will be leaning next, and sometimes there is simply no angle to be able to tell what’s ahead, and so you just relax and go with it.
This is Simon. What he don’t know about bikes and engines ain’t worth knowing. Got the reflexes of a cobra too. Here he is making sure my bike is still in good working order. Can’t ride it yet as I don’t have a licence.
Whilst whizzing along at break-neck speeds I couldn’t help but get ideas for a poem of some kind to try and convey the sensation. I don’t think I succeeded but here goes anyway.
I sit hiding within your shadow.
Partially sighted I have faith.
Relax now… you’re going nowhere… fast.
The world blurs by at an acute angle.
I lean with you – over we go – almost lying –
Home is always one second away.
And now we’re gone.
Once at Southwold we headed straight for the pier. It was destroyed a few years back, and as is often the way, it was down to an individual to rescue it. And an amazing job he did too!
This is the crazy water clock on the theme of recycling. It’s very funny when it ‘performs’ on the hour and at the half past.
The view back to the beach
This is where Southwold is in the UK: https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&q=southwold&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x47da1f58df5c221d:0x8e48e33cf4ebca24,Southwold,+Suffolk&gl=uk&ei=j5ZFUq7qMa2a1AXE6YGIBg&ved=0CJQCELYD
The pier has an amusements arcade… two in fact… and it was a real moment of nostalgia hearing the noises coming from the games and machines. Some were very modern in their theme, but totally traditional in their quality of tattiness and bizarreness.
Here’s a video of Simon looking like he’s attempting to break one of the machines: Pet or Meat
I really don’t think he was supposed to wind it quite that much.
I put some 2 pence pieces into one of those machines that has shelves full of 2p’s that you simply add to in the hope of pushing some off. I got a prize with mine! – A dolphin keyring. Could have stayed there for hours, as the 2p’s keep coming and it is strangely hypnotic. Luckily we were out in about 5 minutes. Phew!
After the pier we had a quick pint and some pork scratchings before getting back on the bike and taking the scenic route home. At one point we were going so fast that I actually felt myself start to be lifted out of the seat. I held on like I’ve never held on before. The man can ride!
Really wish I had some pics or video of the bike ride, but that will have to be for another time.
That night, in bed, at about 1am… I was still on that bike. Eventually I got up and went out and looked at the stars for a bit. It was a beautifully clear sky. The Big Dipper was very low, just above the horizon, and all the constellations began to announce themselves as my pupils dilated.
What do you do when you feel the walls are closing in? Do have a favourite place that always does the trick? For me it’s always the coast. 5 minutes looking at the sea and I’m re-born. Failing that any area of natural habitat and I’m a happy bunny.
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Have a fantastic weekend!