The Motorcycle

Once upon a time there was a father whose wife had wandered off overseas to visit family, naively leaving him in charge with two modes of transport to choose from. Being a sunny morning and feeling slightly adventurous he asked his eldest child if she felt like using the two wheeled form of transport. She being a bit crazy (taking after her father I think) jumped at the idea. The youngest took a while to make up his mind and decided yes this one time it could make sense as he would get to his place of learning a little sooner. (Takes after his mother I think) At least so his reasoning went. Despite his parents in his youth telling him of all the horrible things that happened to people on bikes he still risked it.

The door was duly opened and all assisted in getting the magnificent black two wheeled device of joy out onto the tarmac. Things were looking good. The first born took a while to get into the gear while the youngest had already collected all required items for the trip. It was mentioned to the youngest that if he desired he could walk the short distance to his place of learning. He scrunched up his face in careful thought and decided it was a bit early and he would wait for the transport to arrive swiftly back.

The journey started. All was well. The mini roundabout was clear of vehicles and the large round about presented no problems. Soon the cold morning air was blowing and cars were left behind at the twist of a hand. All was proceeding according to plan. Traffic was almost non-existent and soon the eldest was dropped off at her prison gates. Young boys ogled the site but she calmly removed her gear and it was stowed. After a hug from the eldest the next phase of the trip commenced.

All was going well. Traffic was a bit heavier but nothing to be concerned about. Soon the large roundabout of traffic madness was being approached. Groans were uttered, not good, lots of cars backed up. Never mind the journey would take a bit longer. Traffic was really slooooooowwwwww. Stop, start. Stop, start all the way. Suddenly when pulling away the magnificent machine died!!!!!! The horror!!! It seemed to stall and just give up. Not being one to panic, the starter was pushed to restart. Nothing!!!! Gears were checked. The side stand was checked. Nothing. Eventually the realisation dawned. The perfect machine was not going to start. Something was horribly wrong. The starter motor did not even turn over!! It was, it was??. It was DEAD. AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG

Cars meanwhile were getting edgy as is their way on the Island of the rude. What else could he do? The poor picked upon biker pushed his motorcycle over to the right hand side so that the cars could pass and started to re-check all the obvious things. The bike was switched on and off, the side stand switch was checked, the brakes, etc. After what seemed like 3 days (about 5 minutes) an ambulance in the left lane stopped and said ”I think you should push your bike across to the left side of the road Mate, it’s not safe there” . A wise sentiment thought the poor unloved father of two. So he pushed the dead iron beast across two lanes of irate traffic uphill carefully whilst the ambulance kept the traffic back.

The cars seemed pleased and started to go by faster. After a while the father managed to manhandle his sick steed over the curb and got it on it’s side stand. He started checking wiring. Was something loose? He knew he had forgotten something that morning and now realised it was his phone. Also upon checking he found that the book of all ailments for the iron beast was not with him neither. He realised that things were not good. At home he had a trusting Son who had put his faith in his only remaining parent (On the Island) to get him to school on time. He started thinking, “what will I do? “Should I leave the pile of iron junk here and walk home?” “Should I start a small fire and walk home?” “Why has this useless pile of junk left me here” “Has it overheated?” He had noticed a burning smell emanating from it but discovered some careless person had put plastic on the road that got stuck on the exhaust.

After what seemed like a mini lifetime he took off his helmet and gloves. The cool air was very refreshing. Cars in both lanes were starting to clear. He started checking every thing again. As the starter motor would not turn he started to wonder would it start if he push started it? No probably not, besides it was uphill and the horrible machine was heavy. His mind wandered and he started thinking of his training and what had the instructors said. A particular shrill instructor had shouted at all and sundry, treating them as children, although to be fair some of them were and should not have been given roller skates. A second instructor had the patience of a saint and when mentioning the differences in style he said “Just picture her in a straw hat with nothing else on, how frightening can she be then?”. After this horrible thought of a straw hat it hit him, he glanced down at the handle bars and saw what the problem was. Some stupid, nincompoop, fool, lower life form, had hit the cut-off switch. Just as well the helmet was off otherwise it may have fused to his head as his face glowed in embarrassment.

The switch was flipped and the starter button pressed. The magnificent black two wheeled device of joy was alive!!!!!! The journey commenced.

The youngest was waiting. With a bit of a glare and a worried expression he raced to his father and climbed aboard with a “your late”. The journey commenced and the youngest was dropped off with 10 minutes to spare before he was required. He was off the faithful steed before it had properly stopped and the helmet was ripped and handed across. He proceeded to disappear before his father was off the vehicle to store the helmet.

Pastry and puddings

I thought that it might be nice to do something different. As I love food I decided maybe a baking course but that turned out to be fully booked. So what options available… Turns out we have a great semi-local cooking school at Ashburton in the UK. So being my normal impulsive self on Friday I called them and booked a weekend of pastry and puddings starting the next day. Of course I had to drag my long suffering wife with.

It was a blast!! I got to play with lots of dough, chocolate, knives and lots of other things…. just like my childhood just less screaming.. sort of… Our chef instructor was brilliant and we didn’t have to wash anything or even measure ingredients. They prepared it all and washed it all. We got to mix, bake and have fun. So you ask what things did you make.

Shortcrust pastry, Sweet pastry, Creme Patisserie, Spelt bread, Lemon Posset, Panna Cotta, Chocolate Fondant Puddings, Pecan Shortbread, Chocolate Chip cookies, Roasted Vegetables & Goats cheese tart, Choux Pastry, Pizza, Foccacia bread, Fruit tartlets, Sticky toffee pudding, Profiteroles, Eclairs and Chocolate sauce. Pictures to prove it actually happened: