The Urinal needed fuel this morning. I don’t like to run her below 150km to a tank just to give me a bit of margin. So, as ever, it’s an excuse to take the longer route to the office. That’s a splendid, winding road across the flats of West Oxfordshire up to Faringdon. The garage isn’t really on the way to work, but I can kid myself it is.
So, I head out through Clanfield and past the Clanfield Tavern, through Radcot and up the hill to Faringdon. Then fill. Then brave the “traffic-calmed” hell that is the Lechlade Road out of Faringdon. The local council are clearly preparing for an invasion. They’ve strewn the road with tank-traps that rattle the Urinal’s sidecar, half snap my neck and create lots of lovely noise for the residents.
But then there’s the joy of the A417 Faringdon-Lechlade road. Oh my. Up past Buscot House and on through Buscot village and parallel to the Thames as it winds into Lechlade. If you haven’t, you should.
Then. coming out of Lechlade I have to pass Tink’s chuck-wagon on the A361. I say ‘pass’. I can’t usually manage that level of self-discipline. And, this morning, with an Enfield Bullet parked up, its owner face down in an early burger, I certainly wasn’t passing.
After the obligatory bacon, egg and abuse bap from Tink, I sat down next to John (as I discovered he was called) and we started chatting. He’d been a railway electrician who’d moved to Swindon in the 1960s to work in the loco yards. Now 70 and retired, he was spending his days in the saddle of his immaculate Enfield.
He was at Tink’s waiting for a pal of his – another retired engineer. Clearly an engineer with ‘issues’ as he drives a Dnepr outfit. I mean, outfit drivers are definitely on the dark side. Urallists are pretty well in the darker end of the dark side. Dnepr drivers simply exist in a different universe from the rest of humanity.
I asked John where he was riding today.
“Planning on heading up to Lincoln,” he said. I asked if he had friends or family up there.
“Nah,” he replied, “just fancied the ride.”