Endings and Beginnings.

There’s more. So ,much more

Before we get to the riveting topic of holiday packing, I first need to share how our Cappuccino ownership ended. If you imagine a deleted scene from a budget parody of ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels‘ you’d have about 90{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} of the content right there. In no particular order, the frame would be filled with a horse box, a woman touting a shotgun, a confused looking foreign gentleman, an envelope full of used notes, a man slumped – apparently dead – in his car and the comedic unroofing of the Suzuki by two people who showed no sign or aptitude of ever doing it before.

The shotgun was carried by the lovely Annabel who isfrom Liverpool. My brief yettraumatic experience of that city left me in no doubt that running round fully armed – potentially with some kind of Chuck Norris Backup – would be the only way to survive a day. However at 4pm in a windswept lay-by at the arse end of Herefordshire, my working assumption is Carol and I were soon to be bloodied bodies hidden in the horse box before being dumped into the uncaring Atlantic later that evening.

Explanations abounded for these strange circumstances, none of which made much sense to me but soon thethe envelope we’d marked ‘Canada Holiday Cash’ was handed over in return for keys, logbooks and a long explanation of the three card trick required to disarm the immobiliser. We left them attempting some kind of tiny-car feng shui – arranging shotguns, handbags and the confused looking fella into a space about the size of a well appointed bathroom cabinet. Not heard from them since – so either all is well or they’ve robbed the takings from Keele Servicesand are nowon the run in a Thelma and Louise style.

The unmoving fella in the car? Never got to the bottom of that. Annabel promised me she hadn’t shot him and since she was pretty well tooled up, I didn’t feel it was the right time to question her honesty šŸ˜‰

Moving on and soon to be moving out. The random collection of detritus that’s fallen out of my bike gear store is definitely sending mixed messages. There’s lightweight summer tops buried under a collection of waterproof gear whichspeaks of a man unreconciled with alpine summers after last year. The glove collection is particularly telling – three meshed pairs designed for maximum ventilation rubbing fingers against full on winter gloves, coated with water repelling substances and designed specifically to retain all that lovely user created heat.

I’ve packed winter base layers, waterproof socks, three – THREE – waterproof jackets one of which can easily repel rain, snow and probably borders. I may be over-reacting to nearly freezing to death last year but would rather just put it down to experience. There’s a theme emerging as we segue into the extensive spares collection piling up in the back of Matt’s van. A van which is taking on more of an ‘A-Team’ motif every day with forks, brakes, wheels – so many wheels – tyres, chainsets, shifters and saddles, augmented by every tool known to man and some clearly stolen from aliens, more fluids than an A&E ward and strangely shaped objects the purpose of which entirely baffle me. Maybe it’s another shotgun.

It’ll probably all go in a bag. And maybe then fit into the back of the van. If not Matt’s got a tow bar and I’ve got a trailer. As for the pilot, well he’s reasonably fit for a specimen of such antiquity, and mostly uninjured. That was pretty much my plan on riding out the first day of 2014 and I’ve made good on promises to slog through many, many miles of shit and drudgery to get my withered body into the kind of state that might survive a week throwing it at mountains.

Preferably on the bike. If not, hidden in that clothing bundle, are knee pads, elbow pads and an armoured shirt best thought of as resembling a geeky man attending a TRON revival convention. All this pre-alps non-crash rhetoric failed to stop me wheeling the bike out for one more ride before our Tuesday departure. Longest day and all that* with the kind of perfect conditions entirleymissing for the last six weeks.

See that? It’s dust.

60{45ac9c3234d371044e23e276755ef3a4dde8f1068375defba7d385ca3cd4deb2} commitment on velcro-grippy trails passed a pleasant couple of hours and the Alps bike is running beautifully. I rode all the jumps and drops because it’s so damn good rocking off stumps and landing with barely a trail caress. And this is with me riding it. The man whose jumping technique was once memorably described as ‘drops like a feather…. attached to a rhino

Today I remembered my family might miss me a bit so we did lots of all that kind of stuff which probably fills the diary of those fathers not quite so obsessed, nowhere near as selfish and not desperately clinging onto something that’s probably long gone. Still as we’ve said many times before, no point dying wondering.

I am going out. I may be some Alp.

* That’s all I’m saying. If I even mention in our house ‘bah, the nights are drawing in already‘, my future existence hinges entirely on an abilityto dodge an angrily flailed rolling pin.

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