My writing comes from my experiences. When the experiences are limited, then so is the writing. I am reminded of this while browsing my posts over the last year, or rather lack of.
To further reinforce this I stumbled upon a stub of text that I wrote back in November 2019.
I was barely home a week from the alps trip, and I found myself with Nick in the Motorrad dealer looking once again at the new BMW R1250 GSA. A few days later a financial proposal landed in my inbox and by the weekend we were out taking a test ride.
I didn’t need the test. For me it was a foregone conclusion. My current finance was up at the end of the year, and I was recommended to switch while I still had a healthy residual. Nick had made up his mind on the previous trip when he had been bike hopping and slowly deciding that the XR was no longer the bike he wanted. The GS would be much more suited to his needs and riding style.
On the first day of September I rode out on the R1200GS Triple Black and returned with an R1250GS Adventure in HP colours.
It had been a poignant moment prior to returning the Triple Black as I took off as many stickers from the panniers and stuck those that had any adhesive property left to the garage door. These reflected the travels that I had done to date, and while it did feel like I had a blank slate, I felt that the previous trips were being despatched to the archive. A great big garage door of memories.
I soon shook off any regrets as I went about kitting the bike out to my liking. I relished the thoughts of getting back on the road and acknowledging my future travels with new stickers for the currently empty silver surfaces of the luggage. I did start to wonder if this process would be repeated in the future. Maybe this bike would be the one? Maybe there would be not repeat of the sticker removal. Could it be that this was the bike that got me off the financial gravy train? Perhaps this is now the bike for life. The aging mechanical companion that could carry me on that around the world trip, disappearing into the sunset in a cloud of dust.
Now wasn’t the time for the dreams, now was a time to start planning the next trip. The one that work, and family commitments would allow.
Perhaps I intended this to be the intro to another book. Whatever my intentions the next paragraph should start with a single word, in caps, in bold. PANDEMIC
Living through a global pandemic
To be fair, I rode out the pandemic and its resulting lockdowns and social restrictions without too much of a problem. I could easily work from home and what I had on screen is exactly what I would have had on screen in an office. While many people suffered anxiety, depression, stress and loneliness, I used it as a period of peaceful reflection.
It was not until the final months of 2021 that things took a downward turn. In September my father had a fall and was taken into hospital for investigation. It was a difficult time and there were strict rules on visiting. Only one person was permitted to visit in one of three visiting windows and for only thirty minutes in full PPE.
I visited as often as I could until I fell ill. Not with Covid (according to the lateral flow test) but with the Super Cold. It wiped me out and was relentless in the way the symptoms changed and came back at me. During this time I was unable to visit.
I had barely recovered when our much loved cat Dylan came home barely able to walk. We made him comfortable and took him to the vet when they opened the following morning. The prognosis was that he had been struck by a car and that he had a dislocated/fractured pelvis. He was transferred to an emergency animal hospital with the aim to monitor and consider surgery. By the evening we took a call that he had organ damage and was going down hill. We made the hard decision to have him put to sleep. I regret that this all happened over the phone and I didn’t take the opportunity to be there.
The following weeks were tough and I knew I was suffering a period of depression. This was all the more difficult when you have had the training but felt helpless and unable to apply it to yourself. I was desperately unhappy but I was able to visit my father again. But this was to be a brief opportunity as a covid outbreak meant the hospital was closed and isolated for a fortnight. I was helpless to do anything but this didn’t help the feeling of guilt at not being by his bedside.
The hospital was barely out of quarantine when I was informed that while asymptomatic my father had tested positive and had been moved to a covid ward. There was strictly no visiting until I got the call to say that due to his condition family visits were possible. This could be at any time but only two people allowed in. I remember the call from the doctor it was so vague and lacking in detail, but the reality was stark. They were removing all clinical treatment and only providing end of life care.
He remained in this state for a couple of weeks and we visited daily despite the covid risks of being on the ward. Then one afternoon I took a call to say that we should be by his bed. I went in and stayed with him for an hour or so. He didn’t seem much different than he had been on previous days and with no real feedback from the nurses I felt it best to go home and return the following morning. A coupe of hours later I had a call to say that I should return then five minutes later as I was heading for the door I took another call to say that he had passed away.
We waited until after Christmas and New Year to hold the funeral. We didn’t want to dampen other peoples festivities with such a somber occasion. Christmas was hard not only because of the death of my father but also the events that led up to his passing. We also had the unwelcome threat of possible restrictions that could have impacted on the funeral arrangements.
The funeral and celebration
On a bright crisp January morning we held a church service. We entered to the sound of Bach Toccata and Fugue and exiting to an instrumental rendition of Wild Rover. He left no instructions or wishes for his funeral but I think it’s what he would have wanted. A wake was held at my local pub after where we continued the musical theme with an Irish two piece band who played all of his favourites such as The Fields of Athenry.
So here I find myself. A melancholy feeling of a fresh start, looking to plan future motorcycle adventures but in a world without the person who has been the biggest influence in my life.