Sunday, August 10, 2008

Motorbike Blog

Aish, so I just got back from the long weekend, spent in Zanzibar. Heh heh.  I dashed off the below blog just before I left but then the power went off and didn’t come back before I had to leave for the airport, the spiteful thing, so here is what should have been on your screens on Thursday. Agh. Zanzibar gloating coming up next blog…..


I have new wheels! No more ‘school run’ having to drop M off at work every morning and pick him up every evening. Whoopie!! I am soooooo lucky.

So yesterday went to pick up the bike. Ah. It is a gorgeous creature. Also saw 12 tiny tiny eyes-just-opening-ears still-stuck-to-their-heads tiny baby ridgebacks. And managed to resist pulling one - its warm puppy smelling softness  - off its mothers teet and slipping it into my jacket. Ah. Sweeeeet. I love baby things. My cat, Clever Bollocks started her new life this way. A bunch of kids, in Zambia, were dismantling an old brick kiln and out exploded a riot of little kittens, running in all different directions. And a teeny tiny little black one headed straight for me. “I don’t want a kitten” I said (as a child, living in the bush, I had an array of different pets and a love/hate relationship with Fang the cunning and street smart, bush wise cat. Fang was Houdini and managed to spirit any number of mice, birds, squirrel pets out of their cages and into his tummy. So I used to keep the mice, genets, squirrels in my tucked in t-shirt. And he’d STILL get them. Only the elephant, porcupine, civet and other bigger creatures were safe.) Anyway, so I looked at this little kitten and said, “I don’t want a kitten”, picked her up, tickled her under the chin and said “I don’t want a kitten” Tucked my t-shirt in, popped her saying “I don’t want a kitten”. Jumped on my motorbike, all the while saying “I don’t want a kitten”. Who was I kidding? So I took her home and called her Clever Bollocks. Until we realised that she was a girl cat, not a boy cat, but what the heck. Clever Bollocks has stuck.

So back to my new bike. I haven’t got many pics yet but J took some yesterday Ernest, still haven’t got the linking thing…It’s not you, its me!). I said to the lady I picked the bike up from “I’m going to go the back way to Janelle’s” “Do you know the way” she asked. “Oh, I’m sure I’ll figure it out.” She looked seriously dubious and I soon realised why. Its basically just a veined mass of cattle paths and karongas (big old rocky gashes in the earth) and you think oh this is the way, no that’s the way, etc. So got pretty lost but it was FUN and found all sorts of new places to explore. Can’t wait. Half of the problem was that my mother was in the car and I zoomed off, waited for her, realised she wasn’t behind me, went back saw that she’d taken a different road, went off looking her her, while she was looking for me. Very comical, really! Eventually got up the hill to J’s in time for tea and choccy cake. What more could one ask for?

Ah, I was going to write a whole post on bikes but I realise that I have too many stories for one blog. Aish. Okay, a few quick tales, I’ll try not to get sidetracked:

I first learned to ride a motorbike when I was about 12. (see terrible 

white trash 1980's picture of whole family on bikes) I inherited my mothers old Suzuki 185 (when she got a bigger bike) which I looked after and tended to like it was a living creature. It was held together with bits of wire and leggen (inner tube – magic stuff) but ran like a dream. Bloody noisy though. My mother had previously painted the tank with gold hippy flowers. I painted the tank black with lumo pink stripes down the sides (oh dear. It was the 80’s okay?). Then one night I had a dream that I worked in a library to earn enough money to buy myself a new bike. I told my dream over breakfast in the morning (a family tradition, dream telling at breakfast). A year or so later my father had a good year and sold a massive painting. A series of them actually (he’s an artist too). Now we’ve never really done presents massively in our family and this one was enough to last for six lifetimes. Its Christmas and my birthday (they’re close together) or thereabouts and my dad hands me an envelope. In it are some instructions to go to my sister’s pottery shed and sort all the books in alphabetical order. In the last book, on page 115 will be my next instructions. So I sort through all the books. The last one is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (I am still clueless). Page 115. Go to the kitchen and look in the drawer. In the kitchen drawer is a key. Find which house this key fits (we live in a ‘village’ type set up where there are lots of small houses scattered about). I try each door carefully. Ah ha! It fits the guest cottage. I open the door and inside is a brand spanking new Honda xr 200. “Wow!” I say “Nice BIKE” and start looking under the bed for my present. Ha ha!! “No, that’s it”, says my dad. “The bike. It's yours”. Am I not the luckiest girl alive? Seriously? I am 16 and from that moment on cannot be parted from it.

When I think back now of the things I used to do on that bike and the places I used to go, I’m surprised I’m still alive.I'm serious.  Okay, there are more elephants around these days than when I was a teenager but still. Now I would NEVER go the short cut across the island to Flatdogs or the Croc Farm. I just wouldn’t. Its too bloody dangerous. But I did this almost every day as a kid. Bloody hell. The croc farm had ice cream then. Maybe that’s why. What a treat. This was when Luangwa was really really really bush and I have no idea how they managed to get ice cream at the croc farm but they did. Ah. Happy memories! Getting sidetracked….


Then there’s the time that my two friends from school and I went off into the bush on the bikes for a picnic (our picnics only ever consisted of a tin of condensed milk each. These days I’ll pack other things too but in my mind no picnic is ever complete without a tin of condensed milk. Doncha think?). Poor Nicky dropped the bike on her foot (she was on my sister’s bike) and split her toe open. So I had to put her on the back of my bike (and drive her the 30km thru the bush to get her toe sewn by the nurse in camp) and leave poor old Laura in the middle of the bush with her tin of condensed milk and the two bikes with elephants in the distance. 


The first time I went to Zanzibar, with M, we hired a bike for a couple of weeks and zoomed around the island checking out all the fab places to hang out. Great trip. Now I am a ditzy person at times (remember the post about my passport? I won’t link it, I’m bored of that game) and I dropped the key in the sand. We had just walked about 10km along the beach and when we got back to the bike I said to M, “Do you have the key?” “Why would I have the key? You’re the driver” Oh. So we walked ALL the way back to the furthest point we’d reached (in mad dog and Englishman time of day), and then ALL the way back again. No key. Just as we got back to the bike a nice old man came out with the key and said, “are you looking for this? I just found it on the beach” Haha!!


Which brings me smoothly to my next point. M and I are going to Zanzibar (sans bike) today for the long weekend. WHOOPIE. I told you I was the luckiest girl alive.


Oh dear, I hope I haven’t turned into a nostalgic When-We telling stories that are only interesting to me? Ah well, no matter! Be that as it may, I’m still the luckiest person alive….


Have a good weekend. I know I will. 


fush&chips said...

Aaah... bikes. I grew up with them in the Transkei. At 14 I was given a Honda 200R 4-stroke. I spent days riding in the forest behind our farm, including a 5-day trek through Zululand on it. It was the best thing I've ever had, and my regular crashes put my chiropractor's daughter's through private school.

tam said...

AAAArgh! You ARE the luckiest girl alive! Damn. I wish I'd never sold mine to that mad ex of yours. It lasted about 12 minutes in his care. You're right, though, we did take some crazy assed chances on our bikes in that valley. My best 2 memories of bikes from then are: 1. Riding with Janelle to Nkwali camp early one New YEars morning after being up all night and insisting on bacon & eggs from hungover camp staff and 2. riding alongside a herd of roan on the Nyamaluma road for absolute ever, all alone... neither of those things are possible any more. Oh come on, a bit of a when-we now and then never hurt...

Mud in the City said...

You have a cat called Clever Bollocks? That is quite possibly the best cat name I have ever heard!

And yes, you are also the luckiest girl in the world.


Ernest de Cugnac said...

Lucky you!! BTW I loved Zen and the Art of MC Maintenance. I had a Honda 550 at the time. Just four wheeled stuff now. Maybe in a while?

Miranda said...

Tim - Ah, they're the best no? Your trek thru Zululand sounds cool.

Tam - yes, sorry about yours. But you couldn't ride one in Joburg anyway. I am forbidden to ride the bike in town. Too bloody scary this traffic. One day you will be able to ride with the roan again. Not sure where. Haven't seen one for YEARS.

Mud - yes my cat is called Clever Bollocks...and she is way cool! She stayed in Zambia though when we moved. I do miss her but we get to jump about and dance when I go back home and see her.

Miranda said...

And ernest - somehow missed your comment. Must have been on and writing at the same time. oooh spoooky! Indeed. Motobikes rock.

motorcycle insurance said...

BBrilliant post Miranda. It's definitely the first time I have ever read about kittens, crocs and karongas in a motorcycle blog.
My own bike riding seems a little tame in comparison but we can't all live near crocs and pop across to Zanzibar.
Of course, the great thing about riding a motorbike is that you feel part of a bigger community regardless of where you do it. My old bike got written off so once the motorcycle insurance pays out I'll be back on the road again and looking for adventureoad again