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Paul Revere

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I have never been as wet as I was on Friday night.

I wasn’t particularly well on Friday, and had a rough ride in to work on the scooter. There were a couple of hairy moments, but I made it safe and sound to work in order to sit quietly at my desk and be generally unwell and unfriendly for eight hours, like a bear with piles at a cold rock festival. Still, miraculously I made it through the day. I considered several times asking to leave work an hour and a half early in order to travel back in the light, but stupidly I just kept schtum and sat it out. This meant that at 5pm, I was eight hours more tired than I was on my hair-raising ride to work, and slightly sloshy-unwell and wired due to the massive amounts of coffee I’d consumed. And now I had to do the return journey in the dark.

Yay.

So I pack up the laptop into the special laptop-rucksack I bought for scooter transport. I put on my scarf and wind it around covering my chin to prevent the chill. (When I don’t do this, the cold on my throat makes me sound like I have laryngitis for half an hour after I arrive.) I donned my biker’s leather. I put on my reflective waistcoat on top. I donned the rucksack and finally, looking like a cross between a turtle and a one-man-band, I reached the scooter, adding gloves and helmet to the ensemble. I kick-started the thing, missing the metal and battering my shin quite severely. Kick-started the thing again and finally got going.

At this point I remembered that I had to get a couple of things from the supermarket, so headed into town, parked up on the market square and began the rigmarole of unburdening myself of half the gear. For some reason if you go into a shop wearing a leather jacket, a motorcycle helmet and carrying a bag, people eye you suspiciously, waiting for you to produce a machete and demand a large amount of cash in small bills. I eventually get into the supermarket, buy three items and then head out back to the scooter. I put them in the top box and go through the suiting-up routine yet again. I just get to the point of lowering the visor and my phone rings. In a mad flurry I de-helmet and check my missed call to discover it was Mrs Moosehunter. I called her back and she said:

“I was worrying about you coming back tonight. Do you want me to come pick you up, or I could come over and drive behind you for safety.”

I was a little confused, but pleased with my wife’s concern for my safety. Ok, I was tired, wired and confused, but it was only dark and even with my scooter’s 3-candle-power headlight, I could still make it fairly safely home. Certainly not enough to give Mrs M a 15-mile detour on her way home anyway.

“I’ll be fine hon, but thanks,” replied I.

“Well be careful. It’s dreadful.”

Hmm. I looked around the crowded square. “Well it’s no darker than usual.”

“No, no, no” she replied. “I meant the rain.”

“What rain?”

“Haven’t you got this?” she asked. “It’s absolutely sheeting down. You can’t see a thing. It’s bouncing five feet back off the road. I had to wade through a lake to get to the car.”

I looked up at the starry sky (as starry as it gets in a small city of sodium haze.) “Well it may be pouring down in Northallerton, but it’s lovely here.”

“Oh. Ok then. I’ll see you at home.” We exchange pleasantries and she rings off.

Once more I en-helmet, miss the kick-start and abrade my shin. Honestly, my right leg is staring to look like a relief map of the Cairngorms with the multiple kick-start wounds.

And we’re off. I zoom, zoom, zoom out of Ripon and head for the village. It’s lovely. There are hardly any cars on the little village roads. One of the nicest rides home I’ve had.

And then, half way home, as I enter one of the villages, I rode through a wall of water. It was truly impressive. I was dry and then half a second later I was soaked to the skin. The tropical storm that Mrs. M had experienced had finally reached me. And she was absolutely right about the severity. I was forced to ride the last four miles mostly at 5 miles per hour. You do the math and see how long I was out in that. I finally reached the house and put the scooter away, walked up to the back door, trod in dog-poop and slid seven feet to the back door in an oil slick of water and poo. I think you can imagine my state of mind at this point. Even my back was wet and that had been beneath a shirt, a leather jacket, a reflective waistcoat and a rucksack. My shoes were full of water and coated with poop. And worst of all…

On a scooter, with a leg on each side, you tend to catch the rain as you move and the legs act as a sort of funnel, channelling gallon after gallon of freezing water directly into the crotch. I couldn’t pee for about three hours until the equipment had defrosted. So on top of the cold and wet and poo-foot, I had the Sargasso sea in my shorts.

I was, in a word: uncomfortable.

I gradually recovered over the weekend, but I hope to God never to have to ride in that kind of weather again.

Only winter is just about here, with its squalls and downpours and snow and ice and hundred-mile-per-hour winds.

I think I may be in for an eventful season.

Moosey.

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Written by SJAT

January 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm

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