Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Being wet isn't always a good thing!

An interesting day. Spent the working part of it in Edinburgh on an Intermediate Excel course, having previously been on 3 different Advanced Excel courses at a different establishment. Today was good because it was geared up towards using the sort of data I actually use Excel for so I took a lot more from it than I thought I might. Previously I have left the courses knowing how to work out the depreciation of a car loan over 5 years, but wondering what the fuck it had to do with what I use Excel for (which is completely different).

Anyway, this morning was nice so I decided to leave the car in the lockup and take the bike on the 50 mile trip to Edinburgh. That's of course having packed my suit etc into the topbox in such a fashion that it wasn't crumpled like fuck when I eventually put it on! Finished the course about half past three and by that time it was chucking it down with rain. By the time I'd reached the western outskirts of Edinburgh it was chucking it down even more, and by the time I joined the slow moving traffic on the westbound M8 it was very chucking it down. So much in fact that I decided to forego the special lane on roads known as the "courier lane" which is denoted by a white line dividing two car sized lanes and which is used by motorcyclists to filter between slow moving or stationary traffic. So I found myself taking over an hour to get to the outskirts of Glasgow, by which time I was soaking wet and freezing cold.

Then the bike decided to give up the ghost!

In the middle lane of the M8 at a little after half past five in the evening the engine just simply stopped. Fortunately I was quick enough onto the clutch and left indicator, and even more fortunately the car driver on my left allowed me to cut in, so I coasted across lane 1 and onto the hard shoulder (just where the M80 joins the M8 if you know the road). Again fortunately I was able to push the bike a few feet further on and onto the start of the ramp to a "police patrol vehicles only" area. So there I am, soaking wet, freezing cold with no way of starting the bike and getting home, so out came the mobile phone (wonderful things mobiles) and I called the RAC. They said I'd be made a high priority because I was stopped in a potentially dangerous place (I wasn't, I was safely off the hard shoulder partially up the ramp to the police bit) and that a patrol would be with me in about half an hour. I don't know if you've ever broken down in the pouring rain before, but it's not that nice sitting in a broken down car at the side of the road. Let me reassure you it is even less wonderful standing near a broken down bike where there is no shelter from the driving wind and rain.

I was cold. No, I was FUCKING COLD. I was actually shaking.

After about 40 minutes the patrolman, Tam, arrived. He immediately diagnosed the fact that it was probably the rain getting into the electrics (no shit Sherlock?) and confessed the bleeding obvious that there was no realistic way he was going to be able to repair it at the side of the road in the dark in the torrential rain (no shit Sherlock?) so the best we could do was to recover me and the bike to a destination of our choice (i.e. home). I am doing Tam a disservice really. He was a really nice guy and was exceptionally helpful. He offered to wait with me until the removal truck arrived so I managed to thaw out in his van on the hard shoulder for an hour and a half until then. Once the removal lorry arrived the three of us manhandled the bike onto the back and Tam departed. To cut an increasingly long story shorter the bike is now back in the lockup drying out and I am sitting waiting for some food to heat up and then I am off for a long hot bath to try to get warm again!

I'm off to Kincardine tomorrow for a conference. I will be travelling by Ford Fiesta!

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