Please read my last licence update post before reading on ….

Red Arrows perform at Silverstone F1 GP

Great photo I took of the Red Arrows

Won’t take long and it will give context to this post.

Now, on with the latest licence update.

The letter was pretty simple really and included the following:

1. We’ve received your application.

2. We will write to your Neuro Surgeon

3. It could take up to six weeks to receive his reply

4. Don’t bother chasing us up to see how things are progressing

5. Just leave it to us – we’ll let you know when we make a decision.

Short and sweet but that’s ok. Excessive waffle doesn’t change the reality. I still don’t have my licence. I’m sort of not expecting to get it back soon either. My Neuro Surgeon warned me the DVLA medical panel would likely want me to wait another year.

So the best UK summer I’ve experienced since moving here will probably be motorcycle free.

I’m so used to not riding now I can almost accept this reality. Bad luck if I can’t though as there isn’t one thing I can do about it. I’ve trained my mind to accept the disappointment that will surely be formalised some time in August.

And I bet this time next year I’ll be steeling myself for the same disappointment. Next year will be harder though, so I’m allowing myself to be a little optimistic about my prospects then.

But hey, look on the bright side. Another year with no mileage being racked up on the Family Truckster, no services, no exorbitant London fully comprehensive insurance policy, no knowing what the price of petrol is. I could go on and on.

I have found substitutes for getting around to see the sights. I’ve caught more trains, buses and even a boat in the last 12 months than probably all the years before then when I had a drivers licence. I’ve learned to survive. The UK and Europe are pretty easy.

Trains and buses are good. Especially the trains. And the place is so small it doesn’t take too long to get anywhere.

Not like Australia. I’ve been there twice now since surrendering my licence – boy it’s a long way from the UK. It never seemed so far away when I lived there. But then again I didn’t know better, Australians always have to travel a long way to get anywhere. You just accept it when you live there.

In the UK my lack of licence has been manageable. In the few weeks I spent in Australia not so. The public transport infrastructure doesn’t exist to the same extent. My friends and family were magnificent – chauffeuring me wherever and whenever. But I did feel a loss of independence that I’ve not experienced in the UK.

Let me give you an example.

Like most guys, I like sport and as you know I like travelling. Since surrendering my licence in late March 2012 I’ve made the following trips:

a. Wells Classic Motorcycle Show (April 2012) in Stafford, UK West Midlands (late April 2012) – up and back in the day on a train plus a taxi to and from the show grounds – I remember the day well as it was absolutely freezing.

Wells Classic Motorcycle Show 2012

Plenty of spares for sale at the Wells Classic Motorcycle Show 2012

b. Le Mans MotoGP (May 2012) – always great to take the EuroStar from London to Paris where I stayed for the duration of the Moto GP, commuting from Paris to Le Mans on the train followed by a short tram ride to the track, every day of the race meeting. The day of the race itself was very cold and I sought shelter in the car museum for several hours taking in some of the classic cars that have seen action at the legendary 24 hour event over the race’s long history.

Casey Stoner at Le mans moto GP 2012

Casey Stoner during free practice at Le Mans moto GP 2012

c. Goodwood Festival of Speed (June 2012) – train to Brighton where I stayed with my wonderful UK relatives, catching the train and a bus from Brighton to and from Goodwood each day of the event.  Great racing cars, super cars, motorcycles, everything for the motor racing enthusiast and well worth attending.

Goodwood Festival of Speed June 2012

Vincent motorcycle at Goodwood Festival of Speed June 2012

d. Venice (October 2012) – by plane to meet my parents who were catching a cruise from there (no, not on the Costa Concordia!). Wonderful city that I like to think of as Disneyland for OAP’s given the large number of cruise ships that make port there.

Venice Gondolas

Gondolas in Vencice

e. Samford Valley, near Brisbane, Australia (November 2012) – for meetings with my business partner Brian and go for a ride in his superb Fiat X-19.  Looks great in Brian’s lush back yard but at its best when driven the way a Fiat is meant to be!

Fiat X-19

Handles like a go-kart, Brian’s Fiat X-19

f. Wilderness, Eastern Cape of South Africa (February 2013) – plane to Johannesburg (my least favourite city of all those I’ve ever visited) and then strait on another plane to George where my mate Jeremy picked me up and drove me to his superb luxury B&B/guesthouse. I stayed with Jeremy and Bernice for a few days and even got so see the Map of Africa! True but it’s nothing like the Map of Tasmania.  Followed up by a drive along the Garden Route to East London before planing it back to London via J’burg.

Map of Africa

The Map of Africa, Wilderness, South Africa

g. Sydney, Brisbane, Samford Valley and The Gold Coast, Australia (March 2013) – planes, taxis, ferries, busses, trains and cars.  Managed to fit in another ride in Brian’s Fiat and spent quality time with family and friends who I don’t get to see so much these days.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Sydney, great view from from the ferry headed west up the Paramatta River

h. Fort William, West Coast of Scotland (June 2013) – overnight via edinburgh and Glasgow on the Caledonian Sleeper train from London then a short cruise on Orlick (a converted fishing trawler, possibly the best B&B ever thanks to Michael and Lorna) to Ardfern via Oban where I had a sumptuous fresh seafood platter (the best seafood I’ve had in Europe) at the Seafood Temple (make sure you book – only small due to it being in an old public toilet).  Two buses to get back to Fort William and then the sleeper train overnight back to London.

Cruising on Orlick

Orlick moored for the evening (11pm) at Oban, Scotland

i. British F1 GP at Silverstone (June 2013) – caught a bus from Victoria Coach station (London) there and back on the day of the race (was stinking hot – no wonder all those tyres failed).

British Grand Prix at Silverstone 2013

2013 British F1 GP at Silversone

j. Muirfield, Scotland (July 2013) – to watch the final round of The Open (ie golf) Championship. Caught an overnight sleeper bus up and back, left Saturday evening late and back home again early Monday morning for a weary, slow but very hot day.

The Open 2013

Tiger Woods and Adam Scott on the 3rd Hole, The Open at Muirfield, 2013

See, no holding back and always with tech to document my travels.  I’m not sure how many of these trips I would have made had my motorcycle been available to me.  But surely I would have no doubt had a few adventures to the continent – probably northern Spain or Germany’s Black Forest (the B500 is a magnificent road that I will return for another visit at the soonest opportunity).

Maybe I need to change the name of this blog to Public Transport with Tech?

Doesn’t really work though.  Especially not for me.

I yearn to ride The Family Truckster. In my desperation for a substitute I have turned to singing lessons and bicycle riding in the countryside just north of London. I enjoy both these pasties immensely and have even been known to sing when I ride .

Sadly neither is a true substitute.

How sad my motorcycle looks in the garage awaiting a new battery. Lucky it can’t see or feel the great weather London has experienced over the past two weeks. But I see it and feel it.

Twelve more months I can do. A summer like this next year with no licence will be problematic.

So,to all you that have a passion for something, please don’t take it for granted. Get out there this weekend and indulge because maybe one day it may be taken away from you.

Safe travels, keep teching!