When you’re young, immortal and invulnerable, as we all were at some point, you embark on adventures that in the rear view mirror of several decades later look rather foolhardy. As a kid, I specialised in doing such things, and because I was clear of eye and straight of back with nothing much to lose, I tended to get out of a few near misses with not a lot of carnage. I still like that kid.

I decided to combine my twin passions of motorbiking and fly fishing by visiting my brother who lived half way up a mountain that had a great river running down it with marvelous fighting trout and because it was a difficult river to work, nobody fished it and that was their loss. So, armed with nothing more than a rod over my back, a toolbag strapped to the top of the tank and a great motorbike between my legs, I set off.

Locked, loaded and hot to trot.

It was a beast of a machine. A Honda XL, 4-stroke, single cylinder, OHC, a thumper you could ride up the Spanish Steps and leave a lot of wasted Christians in your wake. A bit too heavy, but the low end torque was out of this world. Popping a wheelie on that bitch was way too easy. The engine growl on it left all the boy racers on their noisy 125s two-strokers with a limp dick. A relative of mine who was a nurse said they’d a ward they called the Honda ward, so that made it even more exciting to flirt with such danger.

Anyway, I set off to the port to catch the ferry.

It started to rain and by God, it never stopped for the next three or four hours. This was back in the day when crash helmets were an optional accessory, men were men and women were glad of it as the old joke goes, but believe you me, it still hurts to be hit in the mush by a raindrop when you’re travelling at 60 mph. Every mad trucker drenched me as they hauled past me and I gradually became covered in mud.

Give up or just grit your teeth and be determined to get there. It gets personal, but I finally made it to the ferry port. Pretty sure I was the very last person to get on that ferry. Some wank with a clipboard made advances towards me to check if I’d a ticket to get on board, but one glance at the crazed biker heading at him and he backed off sharpish.

By the time I got to Phoenix, I’ve never been wetter or colder in my entire life.

I’d enough strength left in me to lash the bike to the side wall of the ferry with some rope, just take the eminently nickable toolbag off the top of the tank and head upstairs to some warmth. I got there and just collapsed into a seat and slept with the toolbag clutched to my chest for comfort and screw taking the helmet off your noggin. I vaguely recall a toddler wanted me to play with him but his Mum pulled him back. This bandito you leave well alone.

Anyway, the ferry chugged through the night and I woke up as it bumped against the dock. I’d dried out and all the mud I was covered in crackled as I stirred. It was like losing a layer of skin. I wasn’t in any damn hurry, so I stood pat on that hand. Once they’d all rugby scrummed out through the sally ports, I went downstairs and started untying the beast.

Still in the middle of the night and wouldn’t you know it, still pissing down. Some days are just heavy, so you have to shoulder lean into them and do the tough guy thing. Down the exit ramp for another drenching just to get the remains of the dried mud off you. I kinda knew I should have taken the expensive option of a Dublin ferry rather than the cheapo Wexford option I’d gone for.

Once more unto the breach dear Pointy. What reserves of energy you’ve got start to run out of reserves, but miracle of miracles, you see a shop with a light on in a village. It’s the pre-dawn old woman doing the marking up of the newspapers for the paper boys to deliver. It’s an oasis of light. She is a kind soul. Can I help you?

A bar of chocolate and some smokes.

I seriously needed the sugar rush by that stage.

What brand?

Whatever you’ve got.

I gobble half the bar and light up that fresh smoke from the pack. Gawd, it’s Heaven.

Back on the bike and keep heading northwards. Only 50 more miles to do and you’ve made it, but you’ve started to lose the contact with your hands, which is very bad if you’re a biker. You’ve got to stop and think about giving up on this one. The rain is still coming down in sheets but you dig out that pack of smokes, but it’s pretty much mash, disintegrating pulp.

On your hunkers but you peel it apart and find a single one that looks good to go, so you lay it down on the exhaust of your trusty steed and give it a few revs to dry it out. It’s not the best smoke you’ve ever had, but it’s good enough to get you back up on that hoss. Tender mercies. An old horse soldier’s saying comes to mind – first you tend to the horse and second you tend to the man. Very true. A horse soldier without a mount is not much use to anybody.

You eventually get into the vicinity of your brother’s mountain but some places on Earth don’t have a post code, so you end up in the area driving up and down beeping the horn into the darkness until some old farmer comes out to help you. He recognises a desperate man well at the tail end of desperation and has a Christian soul. He points you in the right direction.

Some bikes you don’t forget.


3 Responses to “Travels.”
  1. Blackswan says:

    Sheesh Pointy!

    That’s like offering me a glass of single malt whiskey then handing me a glass of ginger ale. There’s gotta be more to that story.


    • Pointman says:

      There is. I think describing the outbound journey exhausted my story telling energies. The other half is a lot more light hearted. I’ll crank it out sometime – promise.



  2. NoFixedAddress says:

    Gahhh! The cold hands going numb whilst riding… bloomin’ heck Pointman.

    I like the story of your trip though.

    I have never eaten a fresh caught decent tasting trout here in Australia although there are a variety of places where you can get the good ones.

    Blackswan would know better than I.

    Where I came from in SW New South Wales the best freshwater eating fish we used to catch was what we called redfin and is/was one of the English Perch variety.

    But the rivers carried too much silt and consequently the fish flesh had a muddy taste so you had to clean them out in some clear water.

    LOL. I didn’t say this but drum nets were the go.

    Now sea fish I like.


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