If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 16 September 2010


Got back last night after a great two days. I drove over the the East of England on Tuesday, through torrential rain in South Wales and Gloucestershire, and got stuck in a huge tailback at some road improvements near Newark. But I got there in the end, and we all had a great evening sat around a grand Indian takeaway and a few bottles of something nice. DN2 was understandably a bit emotional: she had lived with Mum and partner since leaving Uni, and the thought of moving to a new city, knowing no-one there, was a bit daunting. But she was brave.

She was already packed when I got there, and the boxes and cases filled the front room. I was beginning to wish I had fixed the trailer and brought that with me. But no; the Mondeo, for all its boringness, is cavernous and we got everything in easily. We drove to the new place, and after getting the keys we bust a gut getting everything up three flights of stairs. We then went out for a meal, had a walk round the University places where she will be studying, and I drove home.

DN2 is now 22 and great company. Her Mum and I split when she was quite young, so I share less of her childhood than I do with DN1, and this has meant that we haven't been as close. This is something I bitterly regret. However, as she has got older, we have become closer, and over the last two days I feel we have really clicked. She was a bit of a wild child in her teens, but now you couldn't wish for a more rational and sensible young woman. She's pretty, she's clever and she's kind.

On the long drive to the new accommodation, we got into long conversations on various topics. She spoke of her rather vague travel plans, and I mentioned my trip to Denmark, observing that I wanted to do something similar, and perhaps further afield, next year. To my complete and utter astonishment, she said she would love to come with me. We spent the next hundred miles talking it over. She really is serious about it, and we talked about possible destinations, riding gear and the great camping/pension debate. We ended up agreeing that it was feasible, and both of us keen to do it, so we'll have a think and make further plans later.

As the idea of such a holiday with Anna is now out of consideration, at least for the near future, this would delight me more than I can say. It will be a thought to hold close when the rains come and the winter bites.

You could say I was pleased with the last couple of days.


  1. So you are going to buy another Pan?

  2. Funnily enough, that crossed my mind this morning. I can't possibly afford it, so the question is irrelevant, but I must say the thought of a bike that will carry any load, do any speed, and shrug off anthing you could throw at it is very appealing. The Bonnie isn't built as a two-up tourer, but it would certainly be capable of it. Just a bit slower and perhaps she'd have to leave some of the shoes at home.

    But buying back into Pan territory for this would be like buying a vintage Rolls for one wedding - what would I do with it afterwards? Buy another Bonnie? No, we'll make do with what we've got, I think.

  3. I have a very nice BMW K75 available for around £2k or so!

  4. If I wasn't skint, I'd be tempted. Seriously.

  5. Now that's nice to hear. The touring thing, rather than the skintness, I hasten to add.

    The Bonnie'd do it for sure. Might even be a better experience than Pan-style magic carpetry*, in all honesty. Hope it all comes together for you.

    * Cheap hotels, though - camping, non! Reckon you'll be needing to sleep well!

  6. Heh - I read that first as 'magic carpentry', which is a delightful idea.

    Thanks for the good wishes - yes, I hope it comes together. I'm sure the Bonnie would cope: I am not the smallest of persons, but the girl is quite petite and wouldn't trouble the suspension too badly. I did explain to her that camping would probably be out, owing to weight and space considerations. She sounded quite relieved. I was thinking cheap hotels, but she mentioned hostels - oo-er. That takes me back a bit. I also said that I had two panniers, and that she could have one, and the bike and I would share the other. I waved my hands to indicate the rough size, and her face fell a bit. Given that we were carrying enough shoes in the back of the car to start a street market, I know what she was thinking.

  7. Richard

    I'm skint too!

    I could rent it to you.....


    PS my wife has always been a member of the Youth Hosteling International organisation and swears by it - now that we are married I've been given a card too! Worth checking out. We are in the family/27+ category by the way (just in case you were concerned about the definition of youth).

  8. Yes, the 'youth' in the hostelling bit could put you off. I remember hostelling in the UK when you didn't have to be young, but you had to have travelled there under your own steam. Now I hear that they have relaxed it, and car drivers and bikers are welcome. That seems a bit of a shame to me, but I guess it was commercial pressures.

    I'll look into that, though, as I've heard it is a very cost-effective way of travelling. As to the K75 - penny a week?


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