Thursday, 18 September 2014

What the hell happened to the Summer of 2014?

Well, where do I start?

These last few months have been absolutely unbelievable! 

The track day at Oulton Park was quickly followed by the HUBB UK meeting at Donnington Farm. Then out of nowhere Pobsey became very, very ill resulting in a 6 week hospital stay and finally I made the command decision to say farewell to the Blade after riding just 5000 miles in the 10 months of ownership. 

So in an attempt to bring the Wandering Walton’s Blog bang up to date, please read on, it makes  for interesting reading, if I do say so myself.

After attending the brilliant track day at Oulton Park with Lefty and Lee back at the start of June life in the Walton household went a little mad to say the least.

On the 21st of June I rode down to Donnington on the Blade to attend the HUBB UK 2014 Overlanders Meeting with just my Boblbee Rucksack on my back. To say I got one or two strange looks on arrival was an understatement. Well when you consider last years arrival was on a full blown Super Tenere XT1200Z with every conceivable extra thrown at it plus a drive in tent, what should I expect? I couldn't believe it when I pulled onto the campsite to find the exact same camping spot that I used last year had just been vacated and so I parked up and set up camp. 

Great people, great weather, great time's

Keep it simple, keep it safe

Now that's what I call packed!

I was soon welcomed into the fold by the people Ben and I had camped with last year who were also amazingly in exactly the same places as last year too. How mad is that?

This year I could only attend on the Saturday and Sunday but what a fantastic time I had renewing old acquaintances and make new ones. I wrote a short article for the Devitt Insurance Blog called “The only borders are in your mind’ the title being taken from the back of the t-shirt I bought at the meeting, which strangely got changed. Sadly it feels so long ago now I’ve just had to look at the family diary to check the dates as so much as happened since then. Next year I promise I will write a full account of the HUBB 2015 meeting.

Now I don't write about family matters here because as you know this is a blog about all things bike! However as this summer was spent in Manchester Children's Hospital at Pobsey bedside I just have to say that when your severely disabled daughter is suddenly unable to eat and her stomach distends to the size of a rugby ball, you know you're in trouble. Luckily after two operations and 4 weeks on a life saving intravenous drip Pobsey pulled through. After a further 2 weeks of Pobsey putting on weight we were able to bring her home. That was July Gone! 6 weeks of 24 hour alternate shifts at your child's bedside shared with my dear wife Jeannie, really took its toll. Jeannie was right ‘not’ to tell me that 1 in 3 children don't survive what Pobsey had  just gone through until almost a month later over a quiet pint in our local pub’s beer garden.

One very poorly Pobsey

5 weeks later & Pobseys back!

As ever whilst Pobsey was otherwise engaged, life was running away with itself as building work on Casa de LilieRosa was in full swing and the removals men came and went. Being harassed for final payment by the removals firm whilst driving to the hospital 3 days into our ordeal has to be emotionally the lowest I have ever felt in my life. Driving home with Pobsey, Ben and Jeannie 5 and half weeks later, the highest! Talk about a roller coaster of a summer!

With Casa de LilieRosa finally finished Jeannie was determined to salvage something from the children's school holiday and so I booked us onto the Portsmouth to Santander ferry, due to sail a week later for 10 days in the sun.

The Wandering Walton's back together at last

Not to let the grass grow under my feet I headed out on the 8th of August to have a ‘look’ at a couple of bikes that I'd been researching whilst at the hospital, and for some time previously (if the truth be known). 

You see as great as I’d found riding the CBR1000RR Fireblade, there was always something missing, my pillion! Jeannie never sat on the Blade and Ben had been on the back just once, way back in January when we attended the IBA UK January RTE (ride to eat). To cut straight to the point, I've missed having my pillions with me. So I made the command decision, the Blade had to go. I wanted something a little more ‘Wandering Walton’ friendly and as most of you who know me already know there was only ever one true contender!

Meet our new stead the incredible 2012 Honda Goldwing GL1800 which is as close to ‘Wandering Nervana' as physically possible, in my opinion that is! 

Come rain or shine, she looks 'Stunning'

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