Blood, water and piss

I have thought about this for a quite a few weeks now and now I think that I am ready to try and rationalise it.

A friend of mine, worried about me, sent me a message saying that they had I seen a FB post by a certain someone and asked if I am OK. I hadn’t as I am blocked. However it was clearly aimed at me. They were not the only ones who have passed comment about the unsubtle digs at me; there have been a few.

A couple of friends have refrained from commenting, so far. I hope that they don’t, however they are upset by it.

The post described, in their opinion, how water is thicker than blood.

The irony being, I had supported said poster (who is blood BTW), when they needed it most. Desperate in fact. I put myself in a position that was to my detriment and also at significant cost to me, which I couldn’t really afford.

The words of gratitude were hollow as social media posts thanked everyone but me. Thanking people who had previously not demonstrated their support, which initially created a division between them. The abuse of my generosity became clear. No empathy for my situation but trying to keep others happy or not upsetting them. The details are complex and not for here.

Clearly related parties condone such attacks which is sad, especially given my encouragement to reconcile between the divided parties.

I was angry. I was accused of the exact opposite of what I was demonstrating. Certain things were revealed around that time that massively angered me. That added fuel to the fire.

Would my efforts have extended beyond blood? They did as well. Again, no  consideration for my difficult situation, however as it supported others it seemed the right thing to do. However, when their (water) wants and needs were highlighted as a main consideration, I knew that the piss was being taken or they had little self awareness.

The undertones of the comparison of blood and water was emotive. I have adopted siblings. I have parents that have blood so thick that it is literally glue.

Are the attempts to portray others as more dear to them just an act of using them to try and unsettle me? I really hope not. I hope it is 100% genuine. Having supportive people in your life is so important.

Empathy. Said poster were themselves in a difficult situation and I fully appreciate their position. Uncertainty, money worries and family stresses. I have dropped everything and picked them up so many times. A few basic things were asked of them, however they were defiant. Ignoring my difficulties.

In more recent events when blood related issues arose, the concern for their blood relatives took a back seat to attacks and vitriol towards me. Not just them either.  Maybe the loyalty to blood is not just aimed at me.

I was also in a situation of being provoked into reacting. Maybe they didn’t know the whole truth, or just wanting to stick another knife in. I was already upset and stressed, which they clearly didn’t appreciate. I didn’t react.

Maybe, coming from a very broken place (again no empathy for this) to rebuilding with the knowledge of experience on your side makes a much stronger self.

Money, possessions, ego, opinions of those that do not matter … Nah … Happiness and peace of mind.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation…

I have already forgiven. Friends have said that the attacks are coming from a young, naive and angry place. I agree. However, is an attack even an attack when it is bothering the attacker more than the target? Quite frankly I feel sympathy, concern and sadness for them, not like I am being attacked.

Reconciliation will not happen yet. The continued attacks and lack of awareness of the bigger picture indicates that they are far from ready. They have their own issues to address and difficult times ahead. Dust is  a whirlwind for them at the moment, literally, so unlikely to settle anytime soon. It may never happen. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

As difficult as it is, all I can do is be grateful that I am not angry and wanting to attack.  It is not good for your soul. Life is very short. Time is precious.

To find solace in music… Hard times – Paramore, Better Days – Jimi Polo and many more.

Old photos…

I went through a pile of old photographs last night. Sat on my own, in the cold, with not a soul to share them with. It was really lovely.

The ones of my mum and dad with my children bought a tear to my eye. For so many reasons. I wasn’t sad. I was happy for those times.

I saw my parents today and they are great. Lovely lovely people. My dad trying to give me anything that he can (food, plants, tools). Very generous. My dad would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it, and would want nothing in return, just knowing that he had helped would be enough.

I am so grateful for them.

It is odd how you get older and forget how you used to look. How your children looked. Completely forgetting names of old mates etc. Life is short. 

Photos of mates who I am lucky enough to still see, John, people no longer in my life, are all very valued items that I may not look at again for a long time, however they are something that money cannot buy.

Not forgetting that this blog is supposed to be motorcycle related blog I found some old bike photos too.

My MTX80, with me sat on it with my self customised crash helmet (DIY paint job with my name of the back … What a tosser I was 🤣).

My KMX200. Absolutely loved that bike. Maybe my favourite bike ever. Utter hooligan tool. It was so quick around town. Full engine rebuild, with minimal tools, in the kitchen of my student house. Sold it to buy a Fiat Uno …

Photos of my house mates from said house who I have not seen in 20 plus years. Happy days.

My crashed Austin Mini … What a mess. Funny however.

My 18th birthday… So drunk. I really looked it too. Pub crawl with a handful of mates.

I love old photographs. Something that in today’s world of digital photography we don’t really get. Too many photos. Nothing to touch or really cherish. It is nice to escape your troubles for a few hours and remember days gone by.

Awake…

For the first time in a while I feel mentally awake (I could still sleep like a baby at any point in time however). 2 weeks of relaxing and switching off from almost everything has been just what we needed. You do not realise how much chatter goes on between your ears until you have the opportunity to dial back the volume to zero.

It was not that we lay around sunbathing doing nothing, far from it. Most days we were out and about absorbing the sights. It was lovely.

Spending time in a very different place is amazing. The average wage is atleast 10 times lower than the UK. The cost of living obviously lower but not to the same extent.  The most interesting thing is how happy and relaxed the locals seem to be. Why? Religion? Expectation? Living in a beautiful place? They seem to have something sorted.

The only thing that concerned me was the driving. Scooters were everywhere (cheap transport). They were inches from each other and cars, overtaking, undertaking, riding on pavements, sometimes a whole family on one bike, ignoring any sense of a driving code. Scary. Yet they all seemed happy to roll the dice and make a simple journey into some crazy challenge of getting from A to B slightly faster than the next guy.

Seeing monkeys roaming the streets, full of mischief was incredible, if not a little surreal. Waiting for an opportunity to steal food or just wind people up 😁

Back to reality and work, house renovation etc. have started to fill my mind. However a sense of calm and peacefulness are prevalent and although the future is somewhat of a mystery at the moment I am not phased by anything that may occur.

I would not be honest if I didn’t say that I wish some things were different, however many things are out of my control.

A family member, who I spent lots of time with as a youngster, has just discovered that he has cancer, again. He cannot work and has a family to support. The response from all that know him has been heartwarming. My Mum is struggling more and more with health issues. She never complains or looks for sympathy however.

This puts many other issues into perspective. Life is very short, can be very difficult, happiness can be fleeting and can change at the drop of a hat. All I can do is enjoy the now and look forward with a sense of positivity, which is exactly what I am doing.

Two wheels heal …

A few weeks ago (this was written in early September but I forgot to publish it 🙄) I took my partner out on my bike. She enjoyed it, I think. I loved it although I was quite nervous. Time is short at the moment, however a few hours focusing on staying upright and making sure that my very precious pillion is ok and safe, is a great way to focus the mind. Switch off from all the drama and chaos.

So where does it go from here?

I have no cash. However I need a different bike. A cb650 is a good bike, but not the best for 2 up riding. Screaming the motor as it has nothing low down. The obvious choices, something with some torque and more comfortable for my wingman, are sports tourers. VFR1200, BMW KT, kwak gtr 1400… Shafties with grunt, and a relatively low seat height. 2 up is tricky at low speed and my inside leg measurement is lacking in that sense 🙄.

It will have to be older and basically a straight swap cash wise for my current bike. There is no rush however and the weather is not bike friendly right now.

A bit of research required and maybe some test rides. In saying all that my car is showing signs of needing to retire… Priorities need to be considered. Clearly bikes win that one 😁

My house is in desperate need of some TLC. I have a functional bedroom once again and a bathroom that is free from risk of dysentery. Another bedroom next so my children can stay over. Hopefully not too demanding although wiring etc. Needs to be sorted.

Thereafter the down stairs hall, dining room and kitchen. The flooring was going to be replaced, however, my interior décor advisor has suggested a renovation job, I think she is right. A bit of work and it could look great.

The kitchen is tiny, however I don’t need a big kitchen. My culinary skills are from needing much more, and kitchen discos can migrate to the dining room.

A bit of gardening over the winter and it should be good for next year.

Exciting times… If not hectic.

The real exciting thing is a holiday. 10 days, with my favourite person and no work.

12 months…

Just over 12 months ago I started to get to know someone new. Initially it was just text chat. I was so intrigued. She was so funny, easy to talk to and she fascinated me.

After a few weeks or more we decided to meet. I was so nervous, yet I knew that I would regret it forever if I didn’t.

On the first date, the first time that I saw her, heard her voice, watched her magical smile and amazing eyes… I knew. I remember saying prior that if it was not to be, could we remain friends.

At the end of the night after talking for what seemed like ages, I thought to myself, what would this very beautiful, intelligent lady see in me?

“I would like to see you again…” came the words ( her gorgeous voice). I was absolutely buzzing. I whooped and smiled all the way home, hardly slept.

Things progressed and we saw more and more of each other. Lovely date nights and adventures.

We have met each others friends and family etc. As one would expect, they are lovely people.

In the last 12 months we have had some fantastic times, however, also some very difficult issues to deal with. The ‘we’ is important. At no point has she never supported me. Always willing to talk things through, say the things that needed saying, regardless of how difficult, and always with a calm and rational mind. Our issues are shared.

We do not always agree. That is ok. We respect each others views. I massively value her opinion.

I get overwhelmed by how fantastic she is. So considerate and understanding. A truly beautiful soul. So easy to get along with. Not at all precious or vain, yet incredibly attractive.

I catch myself observing her and smiling. How she walks, her concentrating face, her low level acceptance of bullshit, her eyes…

The future is not guaranteed, that past cannot be changed, however the now is amazing. Absolutely amazing, regardless of the chaos. I count my blessings everyday. Love you TK ❤️

Deep breaths… If only

Sometimes you are faced with situations and exposed to information that makes you question many many things. Your initial reaction is to want to scream and kick out. Mine certainly was.

However, with the calming words of those that you value more than anything and some internal mental wrestling you can see the situation from a more rational place. Gain comfort in knowing that doing the right and proper thing is not always the easiest, although ultimately the best thing to do, regardless of how some, who have no real idea of the situation, might perceive it.

One man captured this very well…

If—

Rudyard Kipling – 1865-1936

If you can keep your head when all about you
   Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
   But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
   Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
   And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
   If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
   And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
   Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
   And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
   And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
   And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
   To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
   Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
   Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
   If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run—
   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

I am far from the man portrayed in this poem, however I am trying and learning.

22 years is even longer…

22 years ago today I heard the news on the radio that Joey Dunlop had been killed racing in Estonia. I was away in Devon.

If you do nothing else after reading this Google Joey Dunlop if you are unaware. He was an incredible man. Road racing legend and very much loved by all who met him.

He apparently never signed contracts, a handshake was enough. He worked on his own bikes… He was a world champion and 26 times TT winner, with works mechanics at his disposal, yet he got his hands dirty and his understanding of motorcycles was incredible. A different breed.

When it came to drinking the black stuff … For a wee fella apparently he had an insane ability to drink lots and show few signs of the affects.

He hated human suffering and would drive alone in a big van, full of donated clothes, to eastern Europe to orphanages that were in desperate need. He would sleep in freezing temperatures in his van. Not one for creature comforts.

I remember shedding a little tear at the time, yet so pleased that he lived his life to the fullest. He was my TT hero and still is.

Godspeed William Joseph Dunlop!!!

2 years is a very long time – from despair to a happy place

Only a handful of people know this and writing it has been difficult, however when I realised the date today I felt compelled –

After the back of a great solo motorcycle trip we were forced in to a covid induced lock down. Lock down was hard for many, my family included. My son went AWOL, work life changed for all my team and myself. It was a scary and difficult time.

The continued stress of a long standing tax dispute, work, marital issues etc. It all got a bit much for me. 2 years to the day, Saturday 20th June 2020, after another argument with my wife, I told her my state of mind and I went, desperate for an exit from my overwhelming situation, or my perception thereof.

In the event of my death, with pension and life insurance etc. I figured, in my irrational mind, that they would be ok. This option ticked a lot of boxes. I was fucking done. Never felt so hopeless.

I didn’t want to die, I just couldn’t carry on. I was trying so hard, working all hours, looking after others, doing what I could to keep it all together.

I sat under a tree. Head in my hands, phone buzzing away. I was planning my next move. 2 lads, probably 18 or so, saw me and started mouthing off, sensing my weakness I would guess. I told them to leave me alone. Relentlessly they carried on, one mentioned he had a knife. I didn’t believe him and I didn’t really care. I stood to up to go and one squared up to me. I didn’t want this, I was all out of energy.

I got my phone out to video them, saying I will report them and they should leave me alone. One of them then punched me in the face, my right eye. Blood all over the place. Not a bad punch, but nothing that was going to floor me.

I just stared at him, as to say is that your best. I had nothing. Ordinarily I would have retaliated in a big way. I tried to clench a fist. I was weak. Drained. I wiped the blood from my face and looked at it. I smiled a sad grin and stared back at him.

He looked less confident now, probably realising what he had done. They walked around me and then once a distance away started to shout back at me.

I slowly walked home amongst picnicking families on the open grass land and down my street. Neighbours stood opened mouthed. My daughter screaming from the drive. Seconds later the police arrived. They had been called prior. They interviewed me. I had to tell my family to leave the room. I needed to spill without distraction. An ambulance then came as they were concerned about eye socket fractures or a detached retina. I assured them that I was fine, they wouldn’t listen. The ambulance dropped me at A & E.

I sat in A & E on my own for what seemed like an age. Covid in full flow. I was on empty. I got my eye checked and then they went into the full on mental health analysis. Was it just today that I had ideations etc.? No, if I was honest. Probably a few months of thinking what if … Everyone was struggling, I was not going to burden anyone else with my issues. I should have. I really should have.

Those 2 delinquent little shits may have saved my life. The A500 and HGVs was top of my list but I didn’t want to hurt anyone else, the train line not far from that as another option. I needed a quick ending. I was calm. I thought I was helping everyone else in the long run. Wrong.

With a perfectly rational mind, I know my children, parents and close friends would have been massively impacted and not at all feeling free from burden.

I have lost people to suicide and I should have known. Trust me when the walls close in, like never before, which the “suicide is selfish” brigade clearly never will understand, your thoughts are that you are doing the world a favour. Nothing selfish. In fact sacrificing your tomorrows for the sake of others. That was my headspace anyway.

I got my head together pretty quick. Spoke to a mental health crisis team on the Sunday. Spoke to my parents. I went to work on the Monday as normal. Said nothing to anyone. Told a lie about my very back eye and carried on. I could not afford to not work. Main bread winner and all.

I spoke to some very close friends, who I owe so much to, and MH professionals.

2 weeks later after another argument, my wife and I agreed that we were done. I started thinking about what I should do. Work was rubbish and I didn’t know where a potential job move would take me. If it was not for covid, I was packing a bag and riding my bike in search of myself. Eventually, once I was sure my job had a bit of a runway I put an offer in on a doer upper. In the village that I grew up in. I am sure psychologists would have a field day with that decision.

After 11 months of sleeping on the sofa I got the house. In that time my daughter fell pregnant and Darcie Doo was born a month after I moved in to my house.

It was tough at first. However my head was in a much better place. I had got my fight back. I was content in my knackered house. It was my sanctuary. I could do whatever I wanted. Mostly DIY. The future was not even on my radar. I still don’t plan or imagine too far ahead.

I was certainly not thinking about relationships. On a night out in Whitby talking to a very good friend he said that I would find someone one day. I laughed and said I am ok as I am thank you.

However only a month later I was on a first date … The rest is not for here. However fate had dealt me a very very good card in this instance, and my god I am so grateful for my life now.

Don’t ever, ever think that there is no light at the end of your dark tunnel. I found glorious sunshine and someone to share it with.

Sunshine and smiles, mostly…

Summer is coming!!!

I have secured the lockup mini garage for my bike as previously mentioned. Got a solar trickle charger and some 12v lights. Security is as good as it will ever be. Got a ground anchor just for extra measure however. Just need time to sort it all out and move my bike from its current stable.

To get out for an hour or so and scratch around the peaks, and get in the zone will be great.

3 days, 2 nights at the iomtt is less than a few weeks away… Time going fast in some regards, in others, much slower. It has been postponed for a while due to covid. Looking forward to it, although I am so glad it is a short stay and not the 9 days originally planned.

I was, in my mind at the time, destined to be single forever more and would not be thinking about leaving someone for a week or so. I still make excuses in mind to why I should cancel going… Last night it was the weather.

I need to find all my camping gear and essentials. I have no idea where some stuff is due to house move etc. The day of my return (midnight ferry arrival) my granddaughter will be 12 months old!!!

The last 12 months have been crazy. Yet amongst the madness and chaos I have found something truly wonderful – myself

Sitting in a dirty old house for the first night, alone, fearful and distraught, with your (very few) possessions surrounding you, makes you realise a few things. Nobody is coming to sort your mess out. It all rests on your own shoulders. Dig in. Change is the only constant in life.

A the risk of descending into some virtual signalling nonsense… I will refrain. This is not a motivational, ego massaging blog. However, life can be hard and emotions can be intense.

Having someone to listen to you is an absolute blessing. Some things are very difficult to discuss, however best out on the table regardless. I did not realise the value of this 12 months ago and the connection it ultimately provides.

We have planned a walking holiday later in the year. Never done this kind of thing before and I am so excited. Over 20 miles walking in a day somedays. I have no idea why I am so excited 😉

Opportunity to get fit and kick start some better lifestyle habits. Not as though regular pub visits and a temporary relapse into tobacco is a bad thing at all, especially the former.

I am sure after 7 days and hours of walking and listening to my inane ramblings, ‘T’ will be ready to push me from a large height 😁.

Bessy Boo

It dawned on me today that after some devastating news that I have never mentioned my k9 soul mate Bess in my blog.

Bess is a 16 year old border collie. She is not in good health and has struggled on for the last 3 or months. In 8 hours time she will be free from her pain and torment.

A dog who was so full of life and joy, recently reduced to the indignity of not being able to hold her bladder due to advanced kidney failure.

She stayed at the family home when I left 9 months ago. It was the best place for her and she was surrounded by love and care.

We got Bess as a very frightened rescue dog when she was about 12 months old. She had not had the best start and I very strongly suspect was mistreated. She would jump a mile if I moved my feet quickly. Someone had kicked her in the past, I have no doubt.

She soon acclimatised to being loved and being the centre of attention.

She was the best dog that I have ever known. Fearless yet so loving and needy at the same time. So smart too.

She has dodged a few bullets. Injuries, cancer and tumors. She never complained. Always up for a walk as soon as she could.

When I was living in the same house I would walk her everyday, often twice. No matter the weather. We would often be the only dog walkers out. Howling winds and torrential rain.

Our morning chats would sort me out. I would talk to her. Squat down and cuddle her. If I was not happy she would stay and press against me. If I was happy she would run off and dig a hole or just play.

She could run for miles. A 3 mile weekend walk for me would be a 10 mile walk for Bess. She would run so far ahead and then run back to me and off again. Always exploring.

I often claim to have no regrets in life … Utter bollocks. One regret is not buying a motorcycle and sidecar so that I could take her with me on a ride out.

Tonight I got the call that I had been dreading for a while. I went straight to her and cuddled her. Told her how much I loved her and would miss her. She knew.

Goodbye my beautiful girl. Thank you for being amazing and giving so many such joy.