29 November 2011

Taking me back down the road that leads back to you, 29 Palms - I feel the heat of your desert heart

As most of you will know, I crawled home (not quite literally, although it was close) just before lunchtime with a crippling migraine. Half of me was sad that John wasn't here, because it's nice to be with him and he'd have been all lovely and caring to me. But half of me was glad that for once the flat was empty and quiet and I could be pathetic in private.

Anyway, feel a lot better now.

So, as none of you have fessed up and asked a question on Lestallion's Upstanding Column of Knowledge, I'll have to talk about the next best thing to sex. Bikes.

Rider asked:

What was your first bike Lestrade?




And as I made a half-hearted attempt to put some of my things away whilst loafing about in the bedroom earlier (moved in does not mean unpacked), and happen to know where my photos are, you can see the answers.


My first ever bike was...well, it didn't really have a name. And I didn't buy it, I worked for it. It was dumped in the corner of a farmyard, so I did jobs and one of the farmer's sons helped me to make it go. It was never going to be the most amazing machine on the planet, but when we'd finished it was mine, and it ran, and it was brilliant.

Mum went absolutely ballistic. Threw a saucepan at me when she found out I'd taken it instead of money.


The picture isn't great. But probably makes the bike look better than it was. It was great - I went off road on it, blasted around the countryside, had the most amazing time.

My second bike was when I moved to London. I couldn't take that one because it wasn't exactly roadworthy - I mean, it went, but that was about it. And because technically, I was still too young to ride it. But the day I was old enough, I got my next bike.

This one was next. A 100cc Yamaha LT2, 1972. Obviously I didn't get it in 72...I'd've been 7. But it was a great bike. I mean, hated the rain, the cold, the damp or getting too hot...but a great bike! The amazing paint job was me - it was yellow when I got it. Yellow didn't quite say 'rock'n'roll', so I painted it black. It looked terrible. I like to think it put anyone off stealing it.






I've got pictures of all these because I always sent a picture to Nicky whenever I got a new bike - whether she wanted them or not.

And now, this one...this was the first bike I ever bought new. Well, I say bought. I got it on tick. It really was brilliant. I saved up all my pay until I had enough to put down the deposit, and then, because I had a 'proper job' - having joined up - I could get it. I loved it.

It look sort of clunky and chunky now, but then...well, it was just the best thing ever. Everyone wanted one. Someone wanted on enough to steal mine, in the end. Must have lifted the whole thing, chain and all. I hadn't even finished paying for it. Which is why I'm very grateful to Mrs Holmes for getting a proper bike bay put in for me now. But still, nicked or not, it was still my first new bike, and it was still amazing.

40 comments:

Rider said...

I love the first bike! You must have learned heaps getting that back together.

As I say mine was an old Yammie 2 stroke. I was given it by the previous owner who had parked it when it didn't start and left it.

It didn't quite just need a new battery, what it needed was the cylinders freed up because they had stuck there over the months it had been sitting.... Some oil in the bores and a lot of leaning on the kickstart and hoicking the back wheel finally freed it up, then a clean of the fuel system and the car battery and vrrooom!

(I didn't work it out on my own, I had a lot of help)

I discovered it needed new plug leads the hard way: I was in a massive downpour and it started using only one cylinder. I had miles to go and it was at night I didn't wnt to be stranded so I leant down while riding, poked at the dead side... and the bike went back to 2 at the same time I got an electric shock from the plug!

So being young and stupid I rode home with my hand on the plug as long as I could stand the shocks, then took my hand off for a bit, back to one pot and drop speed to half, hand back, speed back, shocks back...

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I had a lot of help putting it back together. It wasn't even all one bike to start with, it was a mongrel of parts. And, obviously, the front end wasn't exactly...healthy. Luckily the bloke who helped me had a lot of half-broken bikes - they used some of their land as a motocross track, of sorts, so we got there, Frankenbike, it should have been called.

And oh, the days of breaking down out in the wilds...don't miss them. Quite happy with my AA cover now!

piplover said...

Lovely bikes, Lestrade! I don't know anything about them, but I can tell that you really loved them.

Here's a question, though not quite for your sex column I don't think.

If, when they're older, and they asked, you could give one piece of advise to the boys on sex, what would it be? Not necessarily based on your own experience, but something you wish you had known, or someone had told you when you were younger.

RIder said...

I admit I like touring on my nice modern bike where I don't have to carry heaps of tools and spares Just In Case.

(Not that I ever used them on the old bikes except to help people. The only time I got stranded was on a relatively new Japanese bike, so go figure!)

I have no idea what I'd do if my current bike goes titsup as while it is a Guzzi and therefore a glorified ditchpump it's a fuel injected twinplugged ditchpump... AA type membership here costs too much and they are bloody hopeless outside the main cities.

So here's hoping it does the next 50,000 as easily and reliably as the last 50,000

Anonymous said...

Huh. If you really do want questions for Lestallion's Column of Love, then here:

How do you tell your esteemed other half of many years that you might want to try something really very new and different in the bedroom - something that you've never even talked about before?

(I'm totally going anon for this one, and if you think you know who this is, do me a favor and don't guess!)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Yeah, luckily the AA here is cheapish and pretty good - and you don't cover the vehicle, you cover yourself, so if I'm out in one of Anthea's 4x4 monsters, or if we hire a car or whatever, it's all covered.

I used to get stranded fairly often, trying to get home from pubs/gigs. But never so far from civilisation that it was too terrible. And a lot of people are kind enough to stop when they see you trudging along, clutching a useless bike helmet.

John H. D. Watson said...

Is the last one the same one you had that accident on?

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

which accident is 'that' accident?

John H. D. Watson said...

The one after which you gave up riding for a while. Although I think you said the bike was done for so it must have been a different one.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Ah, no, that was a few bikes later. And yeah, it was a bit more broken than I was. They could put me back together. It got scrapped.

John H. D. Watson said...

'A few'...heh. So which have you had more of, bikes or boyfriends?

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Ah, what a question!

Um...I've had more serious relationships with bikes than I have boys.

But I've...test driven more boys than bikes.

Which probably doesn't make me sound particularly good.

Anon Without A Name said...

I dunno Lestrade; sounds like a fair balance to me :-p

And you can't complain about a lack of questions when you ignore the one I asked about virginity and the loss thereof. Mind you, you've answered more than my fair share of questions so far, and you've only got one day left, so it really is someone else's turn.

John H. D. Watson said...

But I've...test driven more boys than bikes.

Ha! Fair enough. Sounds very wise, really. Boys last longer, so you'd want to be sure you pick the right one.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

You asked about innocence - I've never been innocent ;)

I...think I might have touched on that story before, anyway. It wasn't exactly brilliant. Which isn't to say it was bad. Just that I thought I was ready before I probably was. Which would definitely form part of the answer to Piplover's question, above.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Danger - yes, except both my bike and my boy at the moment were at least lust at first sight, if not love...

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

(Which I shall put down to having far more discerning taste now than in the old days)

REReader said...

I have nothing intelligent to say about either bikes or cars, so I'm not going to try. Although I'm sure that your first bike also represented freedom to you, and was that much more important to you.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

It did, RR. Although, given my career now I'm lucky no one ever felt my collar for being a young hooligan on the roads, with no licence, insurance, MOT, tax or anything to make it the slightest bit legal.

REReader said...

Hmm, yes. *winces*

I'm afraid that growing up in Manhattan, I totally missed out on the thrill of wheels--very, very few of my friends had actual access to cars, much less motorcycles, because back then if you lived in Manhattan you probably didn't have a car. And a motorcycle is not precisely a family vehicle, so, that wasn't part of my universe either.

Anon Without A Name said...

Hmm. You're right, I did, didn't I? That'll teach me to be euphemistic :-p And yeah, first times can have a habit of being a bit like that, can't they?

Desert Wanderer said...

Oh, I'm glad I got to see this post on my laptop. The pictures on a mobile don't do them justice. Especially the first one. Goes to show you that even the oldest and most worn down of things can be repaired with a little bit of love.

REReader said...

I most sincerely hope you're having a little lie in this morning, Lestrade--and that you feel considerably better this morning.

Are you being extra quiet this morning, Sherlock, so that Lestrade can get a little extra sleep today after feeling so horrid yesterday?

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

I had an extra ten mins.... but do indeed feel a lot better.

REReader said...

Ten minutes doesn't seem like enough, but I'm glad you're feeling more like yourself. :)

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Ten mins with Danger is never enough. I'm just a bit fuzzy around the edges now though, mainly fine.

REReader said...

:)

Hope you have an easy day, anyway, to let the migraine hangover dissipate.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Given that half the country is on strike today, I fear that won't be the case.

We're lucky that Sherlock's school is open.

REReader said...

*startled*

I had the idea it was just the airport workers. (Which would have been disruptive enough, internationally.) I wonder where I got that idea?

Good luck, it sounds like you'll need it.

Anon Without A Name said...

RR - it's public sector workers - civil servants, teachers, hospital staff, some civilian staff working with the police, local government staff, etc. About two million people on strike today.

The airports thing is because staff at the UK Border Agency are on strike, and immigration is one of those dog-whistle issues that get everyone waving their arms about and flailing. Plus other public sector workers were asked to cover UKBA staff, and covering for striking workings is considered... rude. As is asking staff to do so.

Small Hobbit said...

I have a question L, although a bit late in the day and again feel free not to answer because of the nature of the question. You're obviously very good with children - have you ever wished you had a child of your own?

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

No questions too late! I don't kind answering them anytime. Gives me something to write about that isn't all doom and gloom, as my job sometimes threatens to be.

Nameless - thanks for explaining! So far I'm only missing a few officers, all of whom are having childcare woes, I think. (my phone claims I'm kissing them. I promise I'm not, Danger, just missing them)

REReader said...

Good heavens, Nameless, that sounds quite...comprehensive. Is that all one union? I don't think they are here--and I know most of our unions are local, so strikes tend to be local, not national, affairs. (There are some exceptions, of course, but not many.), I did live through a couple of looong NY public transit strikes, and in a city that relies so heavily on the subways... Well, it was no fun, I can tell you!

Best of luck weathering the storm, all of you in the UK! Is it likely to go on long?

mazarin221b said...

Wow. I'm a public worker, and it's illegal for me to strike here in the good 'ol USA, land of the free and whatnot *eyeroll* What's the reason behind the strike?

Also, L, those bikes, man. The first one reminds me of my brother's bright yellow Yamaha dirt bike he had in...oh, 1981, 1982ish? My dad absolutely forbid my brother taking me rides on it. He was 16, I was 6, I see now why but I cried with the injustice of it all back then. Sort of like a certain small fry does with you :D

REReader said...

(Not that strikes being illegal for public workers always stops them from striking--the union leaders sometimes figure the fines are a cost of bargaining.)

The hospital staffers worry me most, actually, of the ones Nameless listed. (Although my predictive text insists on"lusted", which is several kinds of wrong!)

mazarin221b said...

Well, RR, we're not in a union, so we'd all just get fired! I think even for those that were, they could be legally fired, too. I think.

piplover said...

I used to work for a place like that, Mazarin221b, where they told us point blank if we went on strike we would all be fired.

It's sad, really. America is supposed to be a lot better than that.

Greg 'Orio' M F Lestrade said...

Yeah, we're not allowed to strike either. Not that I would want to, if you see what I mean. Not because I don't think the issues are important, but because every second counts on investigations and it would be difficult.

And RR, it's lots of national and local unions coming out in support of each other, not one massive one.

REReader said...

Ah, that makes more sense.

We don't have a lot of national unions here--well, it IS a big country--and it's been...oh, decades since any unions came out in support of each other. (At the peak of the labor movement here it would sometimes happen.) A general strike, though...never.

And yeah, some sorts of workers really can't be allowed to strike because the results can be serious and irreversible. And I say that as a staunch union supporter--my grandmother was a member of the Garment Workers Union and very important they were in the history of US labor law, and at no small sacrifice. People today in the US have NO idea how much they owe to the labor movement, and are all too ready to try to dismantle unions altogether.

Anon Without A Name said...

RR et al, yeah, 30 unions on strike today, including some who never strike (one union has never even balloted on strike action until now). It's a one day strike (we had a smaller on, with about 5 unions and 400000 people on strike, in June). Unions whose members provide health services tend to ensure that critical cover is provided. So some non-urgent operations were postponed, but A&E departments (emergency rooms) would still have been open.

(Lestrade - sorry for getting political on your blog; will try to keep this as factual as possible) The issue is primarily around pensions, but fuelled by changes to terms and conditions generally. The public sector is in the middle of a government-mandated two-year pay freeze, and pension changes will mean that people have to work longer and pay more for their pensions (to get less, the unions say). The unions feel that the changes are being bulldozed through, without meaningful negotiation to try to reach acceptable solutions. Government rhetoric in recent days has been... unhelpful, I think.

As Lestrade says, some parts of the public sector are not allowed to strike, the police being the main one.

Unions here aren't allowed to call a general strike, but are able to coordinate separate strike action to take place on the same day. Well, for now; I think the Government is going to try to introduce more legislation to make it more difficult for unions to actually call and take strike action.

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