Monday, March 20, 2006

To cut an involved story short I bought a new bike.

So, now that I had my hands on the most ‘high tech’ cruiser, with off road ability, I needed to release to our parameters. But where? The biking season was shutting down quickly. And having done Lands End and Johonno already in this first year as a biker. Where? Well, it became very clear. The most westerly town in Europe to begin and then next year the most Easterly….. a good long term plan. In addition, the Media, which I do not take easily for truth, said in March this year Ireland had reached the highest level of political correctness (PC) by banning, totally, smoking from public places and it was working…… We were going to confirm the Truth here or at least understand some of the components of how such a fun loving, ‘up front’, open race, with historically one of the most strong spirits for freedom, came to PC themselves.
The Quest
The 1st dawn…the dream did not stop.
The comfort was going to be the Seafood I hoped. Unlike the Scots this blood knew the value of seafood. This pub had a separate alter for this mother’s bounty and it was to my instant relief, after 25 odd years of not being in Southern Ireland, this had not changed.

The farthest point of the Quest was to get to County Connemara in the middle of the west coast where I had been told was least populated still, this due to its harsh terrain, and thus was the most likely place to be still pure. But that had to be done by a swing up from the south and via the most westerly town in the EU.

So quickly onto Waterford having landed in Wexford the evening before.
The Waterford Crystal visitor centre.
The most cringing thing of the trip. I saw here tourists being photographed with a backdrop of the famed crystals. For heavens sake you could do that yourself in Harrods. But, ok, it is a matter of taste. I entered into the spirit of things.

Then on for Kinsela (Kinsail) where all Ireland is proud of the Restaurants. A town now in raw colours….. but here they where tasteful and fitting. Apparently a couple of brothers had a go at making this place a Mecca for dinning. Feeding the yellow welly crowd as they moored in near by creeks and new harbours. A huge success but I had to move on without tasting.

One of the main food streets.

Then the Blarney stone had to be done.

You bend backwards to kiss it at the point of the arch.
This was urgent to change my luck. But faith is required as it was a Witch that identified it as the lost stone, now in the ramparts (just above the apex of the arch on the other side of the wall), given to Ireland by the Scots for helping in the wars against England. The Stone Scottish Kings were crowned over.

I decided Dingle, where I stayed for 3 weeks as a teenager on hols with my dad, was on. The weather was due to close in but I felt we could make it dry.

I took a break at a bridge and switched on my warning lights to do everything I could to help these mad drivers see me. Half into my warm drink I heard behind the crunching of a ‘White Panel Van’ in a sudden stop. He reversed and I thought it was sweet. ‘I’m OK’ I said ‘Just got the lights on for visibility and not help.’ But he said. ‘That is the new 1200 yes?’ I nodded. He said ‘Me and a mate are going on tour next year and are thinking of those. I’m meeting him in the pub up the road. Can we see it?’
Liam Lines is his name. Frequenter of the Anvil Pub. Aughils Co Kerry.

He and his mate turned out to be Biker men when they went on holiday together. They knew the 1200 well but had not seen one. I had to press on and rudely declined to join them in the pub.
The Fishing Harbour at Dingle. And, yes, it was seafood every nite for dinner accept one where it was a bleeding steak.
When I got to Dingle the first sight was so familiar. The ‘Skellig Hotel’ where my time was before. It seemed un-changed, but it was, and memory could not tell the difference from the outside. I asked the rate and went to find better. The B & Bs in Ireland, I feel, sell up with the organisation of a controlled market! Against the EU rules. I bedded at the Skellig in the end on a 2 nite deal. Hotels I found in Ireland did the better deals off-season.

The pic had to be done with Fungi in statue (a gift from California) though not dead yet. The most westerly town has been done on a bike.
But what is that on my head? A bandanna as in Harley? You may ask. Well I was steaming that morning. When I entered the new indoor pool for a dip. I got ‘Have you got a Cap?’ ‘No matter here is one.’ So when it came to drying off in the changing room I was even more upset when my towel had been moved… Probably being checked for puss! I was loud with it. Then this nice elder man came from the shower to hear ‘someone has taken my towel and this gets me…..’ ‘They made me wear a Cap to swim!’ ‘I would expect a cap wherever I go in Ireland.’ He said. ‘And where are you from?’ demanding I. ‘I am from Dublin and been visiting here many years.’ ‘That does not surprise me.’ ‘WHY?’ ‘Well you guys are responsible for all this PC everywhere in Ireland.’ ‘What do you mean?’ ‘You know what I mean.’ But in this confrontation, I needed, he had the Grace to stay with it. ‘That is just the way it is …… but tell me are you enjoying your visit?’ I had to melt with this charm. ‘I was a Biker once so what bike do you have?’ I told him. ‘No no what cc is it?’ I told him and he expressioned. To mitigate myself I said ‘It is air cooled.’ ‘ They are all air cooled.’ At that point he showed his ignorance and confirmed the Babylon that is Dublin to me.

But the Enduro man in me now beckoned. Liam in exchange for my time the previous day had advised ‘No don’t do the Ring of Kerry. It’s nice, but not the Bikers route. Do this not on the guides…!’ So we now headed for it and as we did we passed this.
It’s smooth isn’t it?
There were cars parked on this beach. I wanted my first go off road with the famed GS. The first go on 2 wheels off road so I remembered my 4x4 rules. ‘Don’t do it when other people are about. OK, some but not out there. Never go off road alone I was alone …. A fact … So? Never do a stretch unless you have walked it first I walked some but wasn’t going to walk the mile long beach!. Seek local knowledge I asked ‘is the tide coming in’ to a few tourists. Never go above 20mph…ooops.

Off we went and the dream was delivered immediately. The sand was hard. We got into the surf and I noted mentally I should write to BMW to add additional fairings to stop my boots getting wet. I nodded to a couple playing with their power kite in the surf. Then I stood up as I had seen Enduro bikers do in the photos and the dream popped away.

There was sea to our right but there was now sea in front of us! ‘Don’t stop you will sink’. We headed for the dry having dismissed riding through the ‘rip’ ahead as too risky. But this ‘rip’ going out had left loads of uneven sand and in we went. Riding the bumps and remembering the chap who sold me the bike ‘keep your speed up if you get into trouble.’ Onwards we bounced till finally one dip was too much and the bike had to do its first duty and get me clear. I departed through the right mirror breaking it. I landed heavy on my upper thigh on a mound in the humpy sand and immediately heard my top box land next to me having done the designed BMW stress release.

I lay still in pain. But I remembered my training at the Edge. Don’t move till you know you are OK ….. good words Harley D. Motionless still but now hearing the engine on the bike still running. It carried on and then it beeped and shut down…… I wondered if Berlin had over designed the craft not to shut down immediately in the horizontal just in case it was still being ridden.

As the pain decreased I became aware my helmet was floating in a sea puddle. The time came to test the bones with some muscle activity…… I was sore but fine.

Our top box I immediately retrieved from another puddle along with some bits that had left the bike as they stood proud in the clean sand. I got all our bits, as it turned out, standing out from this purity. Now, for the bike itself.

A video I saw in the showroom, advertising the course I should have gone on before trying this, was the key. I got the bike upright, as this is the first pride of a biker. I got on and the engine kicked in sure as only a German can do. But we did not move except down as the rear wheel berried itself in the quick sand.

The water inching towards us. It occurred to me to grab the camera just in case I never saw the bike again. But the ‘Divine Feminine’ and her mate where already nearing at this time.

‘Where did all this sea come from?’ I said to myself. It’s a beach you fool! I cell phoned my dealer for advice and to connect me to the recovery service quick. ‘How long have you got?’ that Duncan said. ‘An hour for the tide but the Rip will get me within 30mins.’ ‘Get some help, David, the only way is to manually lift the bike out. You can’t do it yourself!’ Duncan, I would go to war with as he is that sort of bloke, but I don’t think he really knew the plight we were in then.

At this point the Divine Feminine said ‘His bike is up but I think he is in trouble.’ As they had enough of their kite in the surf they returned to their car on the dry sands. By this time Duncan had done enough. I did the extended wave at the two and they walked from their car to me.

Introductions were minimal that is why I can’t remember the names of these heroes from Kent. She and her chosen man just got down and dug with bear hands. Squatted down in her digging she said ‘We’re off road bikers, by the way, and used to this.’ I did contribute with the lifting of 200kg but they freed the beast. The disc brakes now completely locked the wheels with the sand and hence pushing nor propulsion mattered. They washed the brakes with the sea. Then we pushed the miss treated perfection out of the quick sand.

The Catholic, that is me, now expected forgiveness after punishment. The Devine Feminine now gave the later. Her man rode the bike to safety and without her help I carried the top box, helmet and bits myself the quarter of a mile at her divine pace to their car.

The Mystery Motorrad not on the system nor web.
The BMW rescue service in Germany then contacted when I was on semi tarmac to say they did not know where I was. I told them. They said Dublin is the nearest dealer. I wasn’t going there! But I insisted there was one in Cork, much nearer, and I was sure as I visited just yesterday.

I rode the bike back to Dingle slowly and spent an unexpectedly therapeutic couple of hours Jet Washing the Beauty. Sand had got everywhere…. Even under the seat…. And after we had 4 jet washes, and again one at the Motorrad, sand kept appearing for the rest of the Quest.

The idea came to me this would be an ideal place to keep live bait for sea fishing . Just to extend that Enduro Experience.

Something more amazing happened now. I used the tool set to do some repairs. I reset the right mirror arm but the glass would have to be replaced when we got home along with the lock to the top box and a windscreen retainer. O’Leary’s would strip the breaks so they fully retracted and didn’t burn on the disc. They also gave me another indicator light from their demo and checked the whole piece of stunning engineering was OK oh, along with fixing the grip shield’s pressure release. There were now some fine scratches to the Silver Tank, Grey Faring and Yellow beak. ‘Do you want them replaced?’ ‘Certainly not.’ A Harley is inspected, by fellow bikers, for the additional chrome and customizing – I suspected a GS is distinguished by the battle scares. Those admiring Plods at Newlands Corner are sure to ask about those and so will the owners club.

Look at that fine piece of Enduro skill. Mending the grip shield with elastic bands. An Irish passer bye had said back at the Jet Wash ‘That is the beach a Porsche 911 was stranded on for 2 years.’ (Well he was a fool that didn’t know what he was doing.
When I was knocked off my first bike I thought I was together and with it. But that proved wrong as I later came to realize in exchanging details I had given half my old address. So now I took the rest of the afternoon off readying myself for the trip to the Motorrad some 100mls back in Cork.

In this time I started the book that mad Old Boy from Worth suggested I read (strange people are to be found in IT). Him brought up by Monks and I by Jesuits (him also Irish blood). The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Another Quest for the Holy Grail and it proved a big distraction to my quest for the modern Irish Truth. The book had also prophesied the intervention of the Devine Feminine on the beach……. I was hooked. Instead of mixing at bars I was in my room from then on. But being on a bike you meet more people then in a car. Not only are you nearer them they also approach you.

That last night the Skellig (means fishing boat) hotel restaurant was near empty. Thus I got one of the tables over looking the entrance of Dingle Bay were Fungi played with the fishermen and divers who now team up to look after the aging dolphin. That night, also, the Kerry Irish Football team were having their team dinner having won the cup yet again. I’d seen some of it on the TV on the first night. As one fan put it ‘We are the equivalent of Man United in this form of the sport.’ he should have said ‘Arsenal’ but I held to a rare moment of diplomacy. ‘The team eat here and then take the Cup for the Crack at the captain’s village. ‘Good’. I thought. I can rest my sores in the thigh, forearm and some ribs.

The Skellig Hotel as seen from the Jet Wash. The swim cap hanging on the wall. They could have given it to me, maybe, because it is only used once!
In Cork I spent the afternoon waiting for my charge by walking the town. Connemara and the purchase of a famed woolly had to be aborted. With the bad roads Ireland is made big, and in my weakened state, I felt it would be too much of a push. Besides big rain was coming and my sores, although benefiting from the exercise, were restricting.

Watching women in Ireland walk is funny even with or without gym kit. They practice a fast walk. Ireland has become very health conscious. Infact I would say on the smoking front, it seemed, only 20% indulged. So the decision to totally ban smoking from public places was democratic? ‘Who were the politicians that got the bill through?’ I would ask. I just got replies to say it was just the Health Minister whom announced it. ‘What is his name?’ and those that were asked could not tell me. Just as with a quest for the Grail… as soon as I got close to the truth it got away.

These shops were even in the smallest towns. I can think of one estranged Irishmen, with an addiction for it, that needs to stay away from his homeland for his own good.
When practicing another Irish pastime….. watching others fish with binoculars. I learnt that Cork claims that it is the rightful capital of Ireland. The place were the Irish chose and not the English. I entertained thoughts I could offer myself to be called on should Cork move on Dublin. A good dream. But that dream was cancelled that afternoon as I stiff walked Cork.
people tipped into the river. There were loads of huge Chub in these waters and they did this to them Cork was a mess. The old and the new buildings clashed. Clearly the people of Cork had no style and seemed unable to organise themselves democratically. The mess was proof.

This is a treasure unearth at one building site. Building was continuing but where were the Archaeologists? It was lunchtime so I presume the Pub. No one challenged me when I got this close.

Ireland was really pressing hard to elevate her international prestige with their smoking ban. One of the Dublin scandals when I was there was the scrapped web based voting system which had encountered a €50m cost. I couldn’t imagine more then 50% of the people outside Dublin being on the net. It would have been another first, though, instead of good roads, clean rivers and I was going to say education. The last would be untrue. The Irish I met were sharp. ‘Policing’ would be a better word instead.

Before the smoking ban the lack of investment in good roads and pavements by Dublin was deflected back onto the People. Dublin went heavy on the mad drivers. ‘It wasn’t always like this.’ an ex-biker said frankly to me. ‘When you were last here I used to have a van that did no more then 50mph. I used to be able to do lots of overtaking then. Can’t now with the car.’ After a year of the clamping down road causalities did fall dramatically. But by now drivers had become frustrated and also realised the lack of enforcement. ‘We have no 20kph speed limits in Ireland (just over 10mph).’ One woman was being quiet firm with me. I slipped out ‘you are obviously not looking at the signs Madam.’ There are 20kph signs on main roads outside schools. These on main roads and for long stretches. Obviously Dublin thought the more they legislated the more the problem would be solved. No, No Dublin you just became ridiculous and not worthy of the following on this issue. You frustrated the drivers. I came to expect being overtaken in these 10mph stretches. I could depend on it. I could also depend on having a vehicle close to my rear as I complied to other speed restrictions….. people just drive too close here now. Men drive far to fast for the road conditions and women seemed to have a problem keeping out of the white boxes and crossing double white lines. And, yes, this is a biker writing…we do look into the cars in the hope for a mind to read.

Ireland has given up the Mile and gone for the Kilometre. But poor Ireland is not sure what they read on their dreadfully unhelpful road signs. An Ex-pat joked with me when you ask directions one is never sure of the reply. When they (the Irish) say miles do they mean kilometres? Some still think the number on the sign is still miles and others say there is no difference. Pardon me if I didn’t rate this high enough on my ‘to do’ list and test. And this is why my distances are a little vague here as the uncertainty rubbed off on me.

A great place in Youghal by the sea. Note the smoking accommodation round the back. Still a public place but no windows. They have got away with it so far!

When I got the bike back it was getting dark quick and raining. We were very wet leaving Cork heading back toward Wexford, where we landed, and then planned on towards Dublin, but not there, but the Wicklow Hills some 150 miles away. But we needed to bed down quick. We encountered the same problem as we did in Scotland when it is late and wet. Vacancies disappear when you stop and knock. One chap had a village of cottages under a B and B vacancy sign. Even though at this dark hour with no lights on within them he said ‘no vacancies’. I don’t get disheartened by this as I feel I’m being guided to my Grail. For those worthy of it the Grail comes to you. And so it did. A rather good looking bar person (another divine feminine) stopped serving her customers and pointed me to a special place. It turned out to be run by divine feminists accept for the chief (well men are the better cooks) and a male bar person for his persona. These divine feminists were angles as they should be from legend. They sorted me a room I could watch out for the bike and said ‘if you are with us at the bar a 11 we do a check and then you can smoke and drink with us.’ I just made this up of course. I wouldn’t want this ‘ranting’ to get this Priory into trouble. The ‘Rose Line’ to the Holy Grail would be weakened by that! (note a good double here). You see there are now also ‘Smoking Police’ in plain clothes. I did not have to catch one to prove it. The people’s knowledge that they are being watched by big brother is enough. In March when this ban took affect the smoking police singled out for harshness 2 pubs in Dublin (good to see you are not all bad) and one in the sticks. The underground shared some funnies with me about Ireland’s adjustment to no smoking. Night Clubs have had a problem with body odour from the dance floor, Pubs the smell of smelly patrons in the toilets and pavements are now clogged with butts where there were none. Then there is the publican who welcomed the ban ‘now we can wait for the good customers who have stayed at home because of the smoke.’ As he faces bankruptcy he wonders where they are. Another whisper said ‘you can be talking with your mates as a group and then you find half of them have gone outside.’ I did raise a smile as I took coffee in a lounge after a late dinner. A wife who’s husband had retired early for the night said ‘there is more life up in the bedrooms then here.’ The Americans I met were weary of strangers understandably and probably grateful for being in some bars alone.

This is serious stuff.
I was following a police car on route for the Wicklow Hills just 30 odd miles south of Dublin. Then suddenly, in a violent move, the Garda veered left leaving me going straight on trapped within bollards sign posted for the last day of the ‘National Ploughing Contest’. I’d also seen it on the TV so why not? The route was long and through narrow country lanes. Keeping the safe distance from the car in front just offered the lady behind the motivation to overtake in her 4x4. Ok, it was dangerous for me and not the divine her. But why overtake as she could not make further progress up the line of cars in their defensive bumper to bumper configuration like a train through the country side. A Garda waived us into a muddy field with a gradient. The rear slipped and I immediately turned us round. I hope the Enduros don’t mock my decision here. But an idea occurred to me I could get in free. I kept asking the Garda for the safest place to park the bike and they just kept pointing me nearer and nearer the showground. I was preying on the fact we were a lone bike and had special needs – sounds familiar. And sure enough we got to the final ‘keystone’ when this official stood infront of us and said in an aggressive voice ‘where are you going?’ ‘to get my bike safely parked.’ ‘you can park for sure up there safely but I’ll have to take money off you now.’ There we were in the mud on a gradient and this git hurried me to get my gloves off and get my wallet out. We could have fallen and I was causing delay… exactly why they don’t charge bikers at tolls. ‘Where are you from originally.’ I asked. ‘Lincolnshire, the accent is damn affective when I have to get aggressive.’ I smiled and said to myself ‘Well, I’ve got a posh accent but I’m partial to the odd nutting.’ I found loads of Brits and Welsh living in Ireland….. could they be the source of this PC infection?

Talking about infection. Here is a sewage truck next to the toilets at the show.
I watched some ploughing in competition and asked a true Irish farmer the rules. He did nothing but nod to my questions. One of which was ‘you mean all they have to do is get it straight and even?’ he nodded again and moved off. At the time I said to myself ‘Well done, you didn’t take the Lure.’ But on reflection another possibility dawned on me. He wasn’t dumb as I saw him later in safe company. There was the possibility…. just as I would have to take several repeats at the twangs from the Irish there was the possibility some Irish could not take my twang. Back in Dingle the receptionist broke into something like French or maybe Gaelic with a colleague. She insisted it was English with the Kerry twang….. ‘Kerry wares on me. When someone comes at me, Kerry, my accent returns.’ A true blood bond indeed… watch out Dublin. I left the show that was started and is now owned by a rich mother and daughter. Twined Supreme Chalices.

We now were entering the Wickow Hills…. Sorry I meant Mountains. A National Park. ‘We should have more of these.’ Another informant was telling me. ‘Do you know so long as you have an acre of land you can build what you like? Round Dublin this practice was intense. Farmers were turning fields into housing estates independently over night.’ If only they could do that with the roads!

This was the scene of my accident investigation. For the life in me I could not see the damage that was caused by this car coming off the road, or bridge, to lie there. There were no signs of flooding and the windscreen was intact. The same for the upstream side of the bridge where there are also rapids frustrating the possibility of the car having come from there. Another mystery perhaps?

There are some possible clues, however, to be had with this car elsewhere. You see in Ireland dumping is commonplace. Public Bins are guarded or removed rapidly. My informant continued. ‘you see them on Sunday walking out with bags of rubbish.’ Then Dublin clears it up for them? Some bright spark in Dublin, whom like all PC gits remains anonymous, had a notion to charge for ‘wheelie bins’. This additional direct cost was to encourage re-cycling as that is free. ‘And, boy, are we good at re-cycling.’ The confession continued. But €50m collects a lot of rubbish! I thought. ‘The funny thing is we now have a lot more fires burning rubbish DIY and harming more the air and it is even more funny when I tell you it is evident those with wheelie bins don’t pay their bills.’ My informant got a long laugh from me. It hurt.

The Wicklow Gap in the heart of these mountain ranges. A very Scottish lowland feel here.

It is amazing how un-spoilt these hills are being so close to Dublin. And as I got rejected from one B and B to the next I knew I was being guided. And, sure, I was, again.

The Glandalough Lodge in what proved to be a major hill walking area. We had 2 nites here amongst divine feminines in charge.

As it was forecast to be heavy rain all the next day (Friday) the plan was to ‘tuck in’ with my book and re-charge for the journey home. That was to be Sunday after the week of truth seeking… home beckoned now. The book was great but the sky stopped leaking in the afternoon. ‘Don’t pay any attention to the forecast … it is only right for Dublin.’ This was offered, without prompting, to me I must add. So in the clear sky we explored the Wicks some more. We found a fishery in a large Village. So I stopped to watch the fishermen again. OK, I was disgusted at the practice of floot fishing for trout with worms. This fishery rented out rods and stocked nothing but rainbows and the people (kids too) wanted fish to take home to eat. Get this. These fisheries (note the plural) are funded and regulated my Dublin. Staffed with people just out of prison or out of work as an intermediate zone to plan the next phase of life. Can you see how life is truer on a bike? “Dublin I am embarrassed and humble to you.” If you can make decisions like this you go ahead and make wrong ones too. Just one point, to improve on this insight more Capitals should follow. An innocent oversight I am sure. I know you want to protect our natural brown trout by making a season for them to breed in peace. But to extend this to even private waters means fisheries only stock the more economic to farm and more aggressive foreign Rainbows. This means for the fisheries to remain open all year round they don’t stock our noble Browns which are better to eat and where you have to be worthy to catch one (‘properly’ I might add). There is no fuss with fishing or Fox hunting in Ireland.

I obeyed all the off road rules with this river crossing.

I learnt about this river crossing situated at the end of our valley during the Lodge breakfast. That Irish country gent loved it here and often came down from Waterford to walk. ‘It leads to the Artillery target area where it ends. Dublin men on Friday nites come up and practice aiming there.’ I am with you sirs. You are bigger then me. I could not defend those sinners that make mischief with long standing democracy and freedom ideals.’ I later said to myself. This Irish gent holds another Key to truth. He had no sense of humour and was utterly ridged in all his views. He even went onto make the most ridiculous statement on the Quest. ‘We don’t have footpaths to the highest mountains here like you. This is so as it keeps the inexperienced walker safe from bad weather. They are safe if they stay on the paths.’ Don’t rise to it, David, it is a lure…I did not. So here you have it. A non-Dubliner, who hates Dublin, but had to elevate his perceived high civilization through PC. The small soul had to fall back on PC to get his international self-esteem with me! Little did he know my colours as he just wanted to tell me what is what. You see the ‘key’ here is one has to remember…. for Ireland to have retained its destructive religious views on abortion and birth control for so long there had to be a lot of crabs like this one voting. Now losing traditional channels to piety they prey on with PC for a bible!

On route to Rosslare, and the Sunday morning ferry the next day, we came upon the only Tribute to Our Lady. She is not needed anymore with the extensive social services from Dublin providing the most necessary comforts. In the end she was true to her prayers.
The last day proved to be unexpectedly memorable. The Wicklow coast is full of the most amazing sandy beaches. And the town of Rosslare much better then you would think from a ferry port (low standards set here by the likes of Dover and Calais). One thing remained to be done. ‘Oysters and Stout’. These were provided at a place called the Lobster Pot that evening.

I ran out of film here… Relief, at last, is coming for the reader.

The last keystone I found is this. Make sure you are sitting down. The people betray Dublin’s trust. Dublin allows them the easiest access to the road. An essential basic freedom given easily. To drive a car all the Irish have to do is drive one with an L plate paying a higher rate of insurance till they pass their test. They can drive alone while learning. The shame of Ireland rarely show an L or even go on to take the Test.

As I settled on the Ferry the Captain announced ‘the sea is calm but by the evening winds are expected to rise to Gale force.’ We got into Fishgard at noon but the winds and rain were now relentless. So ‘Inch’ and I ‘holed up’ in a Travelodge before we got to Swansea. Still 250mls from home. This wise move was affirmed by the weather reports I watched after I finished my book.

Oh, sorry, did I say ‘Inch’. Of course I did. The bike was not happy at the first name Donald. I was pulling his leg about his duck like beak. We discussed the matter often. He then pulled a ‘fast one’ by claiming to be female. Of course you are divine my sweetie. A good tactic because, after all, we were heading into the bastion of ‘PC Ireland.’ But sadly for ‘Donna’, at this point, the divine feminine in Ireland don’t do gender politics. There are many of them in high business and self confident without PC. As for most married men out there; husbands are helpless in day to day life and direction without the wife. Thankfully, some of my English buddies have settled down and accepted that too!

At ‘Inch beach’ the bike and me bonded. The bike wants to be known as Inch as it means how we will go on…. Fun adventures and Facing down adversity. But most of all seeking to be worthy to each other at the end of time. Sent onto that beach that day were a Chalice and a Sword from Kent to save us as a sign of this coming. Inch and I will make meaning of that special moment in time. Note yet another double here.

The book also had a big affect on us. Some references from it are in this tale and thus make it also a tale of the Holy Grail, perhaps. The book also said the signs and influence of the Grail are everywhere in life if we only could see them. Well, the first test came when I needed the loo at a beach. In front of me was a latrine block with no markings, and why not? These remain Ireland’s possibilities. Which way do I go? Well, the Swords are on the right so I went to the right. And very spooky indeed.

What of the true mystery of the Irish we set out to find?…… We remain Inch’s, just Inches, away from the Truth.