Thursday, 7 March 2013

10 Reasons Why

I feel I should explain some context around this madventure, which whilst potentially appearing somewhat lightweight to the seasoned gap year traveller of today, is actually an enormous challenge to a personage of my calibre and vintage:

10 Reasons Why

1) I have been a Mum for 26 years. This type of thing has not been possible for my whole adult life. Children are funny about being made to cycle 800 miles. It wears their stabilisers out.

2) My youngest off-spring has reached an age where he can be left unattended, although the last time I did this he got arrested, so maybe scrap that as a reason.

3) I am too old to know what a gap year is. We just left school and signed on for forever and no one made us do a 'Back to Work' course. Ha! I didn't go on a plane until I was 16. We didn't have a phone in our house until I was 14. New music was only available by going to the phone box, queuing up (there was always a queue) and dialling 160 for Dial-A-Disc to hear one song a day. If you rang again in the same day, you got the same song. For the whole day. We only had to hope that Disco 45 (magazine) had the words of the chosen song that week, or we were fucked for singing along. In the phone box. Several kids with ears glued to one receiver. I have gone too far with the 'In my day...' thing...

4) I have always wanted to be an elite athlete. I am delusionally convinced that I will return from this trip as an Olympic hopeful. Many things have prevented this ambition from coming to fruition, including dodgy Achilles tendons and a general lack of long-term commitment to pretty much anything that involves physical effort. My daughter used to tell her teacher that her Mum had been in the Olympics. I'm not sure the teacher ever bought that one. Shot putt would have been my best hope.

5) I am a weed. I still check under my bed. And behind the shower curtain. And sometimes in my shoes.

6) 12 years ago something happened in Barcelona that made me an even bigger weed. I came home with not just a silhouette of a bull sticker, but a fairly debilitating anxiety disorder. That's why I'm going to Barcelona. To take it back; I've still got the receipt.

7) I went to a Henry Rollins gig (twice) last year. He said: 'Every morning I say to myself: 'What can I do that will scare the shit out of myself today?'' I thought: 'Fucking hell, yeah', then had a panic attack about the queue at the bar. Henry also said the word 'intense' 17 times.

8) I went to The Adventure Travel Film Festival (go, its a cracking weekend full of testosterone and slightly damaged, but very friendly, people) and saw a film about a man who canoed solo 3000 miles down the Congo. When asked why he had done it, he said 'Because I was scared'. I thought: 'Fucking hell, yeah', then made Keith check the inside of my sleeping bag for spiders.

9) I have never been anywhere on my own (see 2) apart from 2 days in Paris where I went a bit strange. I've certainly never camped by myself, not even indoors.

10) I needed an idea for an Edinburgh show.

11) I want Henry Rollins to think I am cool.

There's probably more reasons, but they'll do for now...

Bike update: Bike shop man says bike gears cannot be sorted without special 1980s French bike spanner/tool/thing. Lesson from this: there's a reason why old bikes are cheap on ebay.

Bike dilemma remains unsolved. Anyone out there with a spanner suitable for a Maillard freewheel: I love you. Please can I borrow it?

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