Wednesday, 15 August 2012

First love..... a red Fastback.

The Red Fastback

Some women never leave you, and nor do some bikes. The memories that come flooding back when I look at a Norton Commando, are real powerful........ so much that they sometimes shock me.

I saw a Red 750cc Norton Commando Fastback parked up the other day, and I was in a right old nostalgic state...... couldn't leave it, and kept walking back to it. A bright red Fastback .... she was one of my young life’s “Firsts”.

I wanted to take it home sooooo much. Wanted to feel her under me again, wanted to touch her, feel her throbbing between my legs, like only a Norton Commando can. Wanted to run my hands over her polished alloy timing chest… trace the word ‘Norton’ so beautifully cast into the alloy, like I used to do when I was polishing my old Fastback.

I wanted to get on her again, and feel that precious moment again, when I bought mine from Bridge Garage, in Exeter. It too was a red Fastback. A beautiful, gleaming red Fastback, and I fell for her the first time I saw her, crammed amongst all the other second-hand bikes in their showroom;… all looking like abandoned and forgotten souls wanting to be loved again.

I bought her without a second thought.

I was barely twenty, been riding like living was going out of fashion since sixteen, but was still pretty raw to ride a bike like her as she was the biggest, most powerful bike I’d ever ridden.

I rode her away from Bridge Garage, up onto the busy flyover roundabout, stopped her and just sat there tight to the curb with the traffic going by. Her engine was patiently ticking over, heaving and shuddering on the rubber mountings in that lovely Commando "rubbery" way, and it was a moment I’ve never forgotten. She was quietly waiting for me to do what I wanted to her, anyhow, anywhere, any time, any place. Quietly twittering away in that uniquely way those Commandos did through her kicked-up twin peashooter silencers, and seeming to say;

"I’m ready when you are, sonny boy, take your time".

She was so latently mighty, so brutal, and I felt afraid of her but somehow not at the same time. I can remember saying to myself... "What have I bought? What have I done?"... I’d just exchanged a nearly new Bonnie, [650cc Triumph Bonneville], for her, but compared to the Bonnie this thing felt like I'd moved up into the Big Boys league ......... Like , REALLY moved in with them, and I wondered if I was up to it right that moment. I was a nutter and I was good, bloody good, but was I good enough for this? Sitting there on that flyover, I wasn't so sure.

She felt like such a handful She was so tall, splayed my legs so wide, was heavy, solid and just exuded pure badness, the likes of which I'd never felt under me before. She made me want to scowl at the world. She was like the sort of girl you wouldn't want your dear old Mum to see you out with. She was going to do some real BAAAAD stuff with me. She knew it, and so did I. She also seemed to know it was my first time in the big league, and that I was sitting there, unsure of myself and not knowing quite what to do with her. I could sense that she just wanted me to let her clutch out again and ride her, and somehow I just knew she’d show me the way.

I can remember how she felt as I thought to myself, “OK, no way to back out of this thing now,” and gingerly eased the clutch lever out. She just grunted as the revs dropped, I felt her trying to stall, but refusing to at the same time. I automatically gave her a touch more throttle and she grunted softly dug deep and unexpectedly lunged forward. I snatched the clutch in again and slipped it a bit longer the next time.

I rode her through the heavy and slow Exeter traffic, and it was a very steep learning curve. Lots of lunging forward every time I let that clutch right in and a good bit untidy until I got the measure of her gearing. She was so high geared compared to the Bonnie, that you just had to slip the clutch all the time and daren't let your hand off it once it was really in. She would run away with you if you didn’t snatch that clutch in quickly enough when the traffic slowed. She'd run you into the back of the car in front, all too easily. As soon as the clutch bit, she just surged forward grumpily with hardly any revs on. She was saying "If you think THIS is trouble, wait until you really let me loose", just like the Bad Girl she was. I couldn’t wait to get out of town and get some room around us.

Finally, we got out onto the lovely open roads, and in a few miles I was giving her all the beef she could feed on and trying for all I was worth not to wind up throwing her down the road. Sure, I was overcooking it all over the place and had some real near misses, but I just didn't care, in the way you don’t when you’re so young and invincible. I was laughing at her way of being so fast without trying at all.

I remember that the most clearly of all; feeling so damn happy and laughing aloud so much as I rode her non-stop all that hot and glorious sunny afternoon.

This was different from the Bonnie. That was fast for it's day, but this girl was REALLY fast, mean as hell and took no prisoners. This was what I'd always wanted for as long as I could remember. I'd always thought it would be somthing like this in all the hours I'd spent as a kid sitting on Dad's old 1952 BSA B31, wearing his leather flying helmet and goggles and dreaming of riding like a God. Now here I was, doing it for real on a top-end bike. She was a Superbike of her day, and I knew nothing was going to be the same again. One of those moments in life, and as sweet, timeless and memorable as making love to a girl for the first time; when everything changes, and an innocence is lost forever.

It was such a perfect time, that first ride on her back and I think it was the first time I ever felt a bike really looking after me. No matter what I did wrong, she seemed to just show me how to get out of it. Like an experienced woman making love to a young boy, she gently showed me the way to please her, and the more I pleased her the better it got. She'd been around the block a few times, and there was a soft power in the way she handled under me. I loved her from those first few miles, and I never, ever, stopped loving her. She made me feel just so proud to be on her back and I rode her all the rest of that day and deep into the dusky moonlit darkness. I just couldn't stop. I laughed a lot that afternoon and I never felt prouder when I finally parked her up, so tired and so happy that I'd found something so very special.

When I went to bed that night, everything felt like it had changed. I was different from who I was when I'd woken that morning. I was finally the Greaser I always wanted to be. Head to toe in creaking black leather, a white silk scarf made from genuine coffin liner and walking so tall. No one was going to mess with me now, I thought, and y'know, no one has ever since.

Anytime I want to, I can conjure up that first hesitant moment when I had paused in wonder, sitting quietly on the flyover there on the cusp of something so new. Listening to her ticking over patiently, blipping the throttle and feeling the huge shudder under me from that lovely big-twin motor spinning itself up.

Seeing that pretty Red Fastback the other day, took my breath away and threw the passing years  aside. Like turning a corner, suddenly seeing a first love again and feeling the trembling, breathless surprise of her,.... and it being the first time you saw her all over again.

© Kevin Udy 23/03/05

Sunday, 15 April 2012

On cat crapping.......... {:of

Fucking next door neighbour's three-legged cat has just crapped on the grass.

Smug little bastard.

Wouldn't mind so much if he were to give me the time of day and be friendly in a purry-scratch-me-love-me way, but no; the bugger just runs off,,.... hobbles off... if I as much as put in an appearance outside.

Little shit was looking straight at me while he was doing it too. Well, it was less of a ‘look' as more of an unfocused, slightly boss-eyed, thousand-yard, Fuck-Me-I’ll-Never-Get-This-One-Out stare as he heaved and squeezed.

He also had a silently panicked expression, like the countdown to launch had already started and missiles were heading his way any second. Y'know the expression….. The one with the whiskers well forward on Full Alert, fur slightly bristled and flanks heaving repeatedly from the effort.

I think he did just the one.

Seemed like a long one.....

Might have been split in two for ease of delivery. Y'know, so he could take another breath. I couldn't tell from here.

All I know is he had to stumble forward to lay it out, on account of it was that long. Kinda awkward move to make with just the one front leg. He must be developing a new technique, because usually he rotates and gradually elevates his ass to spiral it.... It's kinda mesmerising to watch in a way that takes some explaining. You gotta be there to see it really.

I ought to charge admission.

Put a placard up on the road.

Serve bleddy tea and soddin' yeast buns........

Anyway.... Finally, all finished and rising from The Assumed Position with a flank-quivering finale, as he clipped free the last squidgin that may have been dangling. Whiskers back into neutral position again and with eyes now fully functioning, he looked straight at me as if to say "Wot?".

I’ll give you bleddy “Wot?”, you little sod. Just you stay there for a minute and let me find a bleddy rock.

After the awkward moment had passed between us, he hopped off with his hoppy gait, adding insult to injury by glancing down during the turn and giving his efforts a lingering backward look, as if hoping the points awarded were going to be worth the strain to his precious pencil sharpener.

I’ll give the little shit some points…..

Better go out and scrape it up before I forget it's there and tread in it, I usually do.

Have to do that walking-on-heels- thing then, or the sides-of -shoe thing...... or on tiptoes, all depending on the Area of Spread, to a suitable spot to be able to go to Boots-Off Mode. Then make with a twig to dig it out from the tread, (WHY can you never find a nice strong twig when you bleddy want one?), and finish off with the old water and scrubbing brush routine.

Cheers me up no end, it does. Oh joy, is me.

Still, I guess it could be worse.

Mustn’t grumble, eh? {:oI

It could be a ‘she’ I guess, but I prefer to think of it as a 'he' since I'm pissed at it…… If it was all purry-scratch-me-love-me then it would be different.

In that case, it would be better then, if 'he' was a ‘she’.......I could call it ‘darlin’ and stuff.

Well, I would anyway, but, ....y'know,.... it gets kinda complicated..... affection between males and all that. It's different for we Boys.

I just pretended with my buddy, Lomax, .....the little darlin'.

I still wonder where he got to, y'know..... {:oi
K. {:o)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Life changed...... in a heartbeat..........

Well, it finally happened………..

I've had a bleddy heart attack.

Yup, happened at 01:00am in the morning on Wednesday 7th December just gone (2011). It was a bit unexpected, to say the least. I'd thought it was wind or indigestion (or something) and ended up ringing the out of hours doctor (I was buggered if I was going to dial 999), after writhing around in unbearable pain for nearly an hour waiting for Ibuprofen and Paracetamol I'd taken to fix it to get a grip..... which of course, it never did.

Cut a long story short, she (the doc, bless her) insisted on calling out an ambulance .....once you mention 'chest pain', you kinda know you've pushed it over the edge. They ran some tests in the ambulance, and decided I needed taking in. I protested greatly, but I wound up being admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit when blood tests showed I’d had a heart attack, so I guess it was just as well.

So much for being invincible. {:o(

The pain had eased off a bit by the time I'd got to talk to her (the doc on the phone), and if it had eased off a bit earlier I most likely wouldn't have rung her at all. I told the cardiac consultant and he doubted I'd have been alive by the morning. Trouble is with living alone; had I arrested, it would've been 'Lights Out' and so I would have been unable to ring anyone. I guess I was lucky.

I had an Angioplasty on Thursday, late morning. Naturally it went tit's up (Wouldn’t you just bleddy KNOW it???!!!) when the stents were being put in, as one was put in the wrong place. It meant three needed to be put into the coronary arteries instead of just the two. The Cardiac Consultant doing it got the ‘markers’ mixed up and put it in the wrong place. In case you don't know it, it's all done under a local anaesthetic via an artery in either the groin or the wrist. I had it done via the Radial artery in my wrist and was watching it on the screen he was using. It was bloody fascinating. I don’t hold it against him… he was doing his best, and believe me, it looked to be amazing he could do it at all. He was a nice guy.... just one of those things.

No, I’m just pissed at my luck yet again, in the same way I am when I buy the only dodgy TV on the shelf…… only a bit worse I guess.

Anyway, …… the dodgy stent is sticking out into the Aorta (artery) like a car sticking out of a junction, so the blood flow has to go through the mesh from the side instead of flowing through the unobstructed open tube if it was ‘in line’ with the blood flow. It means I'm now on 'platelet' medication (prevents the blood platelets from being as 'sticky') for the rest of my life instead of just a year.

I ‘arrested’ on the table too and it took two defibrillating shocks to get my heart going again. It happens from time to time, so not that big a deal really and they kinda anticipate it happening. They have to cut all the heart’s blood supply off for a short while, and the heart stops, or ‘fibrillates’, sometimes as a result. He warned me that I would pass out for a while. My last words on this earth were very nearly ...'Oh, Ok' (Always thought it'd be 'FUUUUCK!'..... maybe it still will be... LOL) Had a nice burn to my chest…… you wouldn’t believe how sore a burnt nipple can be. Man, that is real serious voltage. I laughed to think that I've been saying for years .....

 'Baby, let me tall ya, this boy has absorbed a lotta voltage'

You gotta laugh, haven't you? {:o)

They had found that one cardiac artery….. one of three supplying blood to the heart muscle, (a third of my heart’s blood supply), had been blocked for ‘some time’. They unblocked it and inserted the first stent there, but can’t be sure if I will benefit from the restored blood supply…. depends on how bad the damage to the heart muscle has been. If it’s ‘dead’ it won’t recover. The second stent was put in to open another artery which was almost blocked, and this was the one which was put in the wrong place, so another was put in do do the job, and that one was ok.

Still, being positive for a rare moment… my heart is in better shape now and I’m not getting the chest pain that I was getting so often that I had been ignoring it. I'd thought it was either the usual ‘stress’ and anxiety pain courtesy of that fucking job and/or that of just being so unfit. It was actually angina, not just an anxiety ‘stress’ pain; to think I’ve been having angina pain for years and thinking it was stress and anxiety and when it got real bad, a ‘panic attack’ pain. Sometimes it would happen when I wasn’t feeling particularly stressed and I always thought that was real odd……

Those bastards at work over the years have a lot to answer for..... Yes, you fucking soulless, yellow-livered, weenie bastards.... you know full well who you are.

Sorry, to the rest of you...........

I was only in there for three days, and when I was back here, sat alone after Maggie had dropped me off and had a cuppa with me, I looked around and thought how quiet and empty this place would be if I wasn't here any more. How everything here would mean nothing to whoever cleared it all out and dumped it.

Trouble is, in many ways, it also felt like I'd just been to the dentist or something trivial like that.

Kinda weird, man.

The last thing on my mind was Christmas and like last year, I pretty much didn't bother with it. Sent off the cards again, and that was pretty much it really. Had an ok day though.... No Problem Pete called in for a natter and a cuppa late morning, and I took the little 350 Guzzi out for a spin to visit a couple of people in the afternoon. If you have nothing else, you have your mo'sickle, and she sure was a tonic to ride on Christmas Day. Took her for a thrash along some twisty roads on the way out. Got soaked on the way home in the rain.

Been finally getting off my ass and doing some exercise this week. Been out on the bicycle every day for the last five days and have worked up from going hard at it for three miles on the first day to doing sixteen and a half miles on it yesterday. (Yeah, I know, I know, but I’m an all or nothing personality, y’see…) Legs and backside, (especially my backside), don’t like it much, but, hey, no chest pain, that’s good then. {:o)

Amazing what they can do so quickly now, …….even with a balls-up. {:o)

It's late, I know, ......but Happy New Year to y'all
K. {:o)