I did something useful this evening. No, in fact I did two useful things.
Firstly, and perhaps more urgently, I made contact with a motorcycle mechanic who is willing to look after the smooth running of my bike, so it's booked for the first weekend of August for a service. Hopefully the MOT next week won't throw up anything needing done too urgently.
The more exciting useful thing I did though was something I've been talking about for the best part of twenty five years without actually ever doing anything about it. I contacted the Institute of Advanced Motorists and took the first steps towards sitting my advanced tests on the bike and in the car.
Next Wednesday evening, weather and mood permitting, I will turn up at my first weekly meeting of the bike section and I will be accompanied/followed on a ride, maybe 60 miles or so apparently, by an observer who will analyse and criticise my riding. This will be repeated weekly for a time and will lead up to me sitting my advanced test some time later in the year, hopefully. I have also put my name forward for one of the limited places on the car course which starts in September.
I have to say I'm really looking forward to it all. I'm slightly nervous about the bike bit because I still feel like a newcomer to motorcycling, but when I think about it, I passed my motorcycle test almost eleven years ago and even though I haven't had a bike throughout all of that time, prior to owning my current one each bike I have had has been my sole means of transport and for a year I worked as a motorcycle courier riding about a thousand miles a week in all weathers so I have a lot of experience under my belt in comparison with someone who has been riding for longer but only for pleasure and in fair weather.
Car driving? No problems whatsoever. I've been driving for over 27 years and have experience in cars with and without trailers, vans and 7.5 tonne goods vehicles, and for a time I often moved and reversed a 40 foot articulated lorry round a fairly small yard. I have a lot of driving experience.
The news on BBC1 is just carrying an article on the Queen visiting Tyne Cot cemetery in Belgium today, the 90th anniversary of the start of the battle of Passchendaele. I visited, and Blogged about, Tyne Cot earlier this year. A very moving place. The BBC Scotland news has just followed up with news that the First Minister of the Mickey Mouse Parliament in Edinburgh is also visiting Tyne Cot while he's in Belgium boring Brussels with jumped up claims about Scotland's standing in Europe. I won't bore you with the details. It's all connected to fish.