July update

As it seems that I’m only getting to update monthly (at best!), the title seemed appropriate… Been a bit happening around these parts, as well as a lot of filthy weather. Summer? I want my money back! Cue lots of funny e-mails about missing sunshine and global “warming”…

Latest news is that I’ve taken possession of a new two-wheeled wonder – and what a wonder it is: a beautiful blue Suzuki SV650, barely two years old and with less than 3000km on the clock. Until I grabbed it and rode it back to Dartford from Bergerac, that is! So now it’s got a few extra km on it, and it’s ensconced in my garage while I take care of the tedious registration particulars.

I don’t know if any of my readership have ever imported a vehicle into the UK, but the paperwork is frightening. At least I don’t have to pay any VAT on it, ‘cos that’d be more paperwork. And more money. Don’t get me started!

It’s not an expensive endeavour, really. £38 for a new registration, plus whatever tax I decide to put on it – but the shocker came when I rang Suzuki GB for a Certificate of Conformity for the bike. They sent me a form to fill out the particulars and send back – with a cheque for £75! Administration fee, they say, but I get the feeling they’re unhappy about me importing the bike all by myself. Bandits…

The journey from Bergerac to Calais was an interesting one. The SV is not the most comfortable machine for long distances, as I found – so I was quite relieved to be stopping frequently for fuel top-ups. But the stops took their toll on the journey time, so I found myself upping the pace as I forged northward – which is why I managed to miss my first turnoff as I pelted past it at 160kph in the fast lane. Bugger… So I resigned myself to having to face the Peripherique around Paris (which Howard terms the ‘Horrifique‘, for reasons that became clear), which is why I then missed a turnoff for Rouen which would have saved me the aggro!

Anyone who’s done the Peripherique will know what I’m talking about when I say: never again. I was thinking M25 style circular motorway; what I actually got was a twisting warren of interconnected autoroutes jammed to the gills with impatient traffic and psychotic French bikers, on what then turned out to be quite a warm afternoon. Lovely. So I wasn’t a happy bunny by the time I broke out of it onto the northbound autoroute headed for Lille and Calais.

Then Calais. And the roadworks that force motorists into a demented loop to get to the Eurotunnel terminal. Which I had to do *twice*, as I missed the turnoff first time round (kind of a day for missing turns, really). I took that as evidence of my weariness at this point, as it was comprehensively signposted! Late for my booked crossing, I managed to get the next one and got back to Dartford about 9pm. A trip and a half, for sure – and not one I’d do on the SV again. Maybe a VFR800, or a Pan European, or a Gold Wing – but not the SV. To say that I ached is a massive understatement!

More on the SV as I get on with the business of owning it day-to-day, but suffice it to say that it’s a gorgeous bike, and plenty quick enough for suburban hell-raising… 😀

Anyway, back to the real world. I mentioned a planned climb of Scafell Pike in my last post – that didn’t work out, as I was a little under the weather. Pete went anyway, with girlfriend Delorise, and enjoyed himself immensely. I’ll do it again, don’t worry. And I might even get a picture or three…

Not a lot else to say, apart from a big birthday shout to Howard in Bergerac for this Friday. And cheers for the excellent hospitality when I was picking the bike up – always a pleasure. See ya again soon, mate!

Better get on with the ‘important’ stuff – catch you later!