Heathrow is just as gloomy as when I left it. Down in the tube station before midnight, one operational ticket machine that’s not giving change and one open window that is. A long queue for a ticket. Frustrated would-be travellers standing in line. Trains enter and leave the station. I shuffle forward. The third Piccadilly Line train enters the station. A girl in front of me, the last barrier between me and the barrier. She’s heading abroad, she’s impatient. She scolds the minimum wage ticket seller for being slow. She’s been standing in the queue for more than twenty-five minutes. If he doesn’t hurry up, she’s going to miss her flight. She wants a refund for the remaining credit on her Oyster Card …. £1:09.
At Braintree railway station, I open the door to the first taxi on the rank. ''Can you take me to ....... ''. I don't get to finish my sentence, ''Coldnailhurst Avenue'' the driver says. ''How did you know where I was going?'' I'm confused. ''I picked you up from there and dropped you off here on the day that you left''. I was impressed, the guy had a really good memory, and I told him so. He seemed to find that quite amusing ........ ''Besides which ...... you've been my next-door-neighbour for more than a year'' .... mai pen rai
For some reason best known to Triumph, the Tiger fires into life on the first push of the button. It’s stood outside in a garden, unused since the 7th of February. It’s now the 12th of May. It’s a little smoky and the fuel pump whines, but it settles down onto tickover and it’s almost as if we’ve never been apart. Unfortunately, the spring rain and sunshine has done wonders for the weeds and it’s a daring ride through brambles and nettles to reach the back gate. If only corn grew as fast as nettles, then the world would never be hungry … mai pen rai
Down to Silverex Engineering in Braintree, the tiger needs an MOT. Bloody hell, it’s a lot heavier than a Honda Wave and the gears are upside down. The front brakes are binding but a few alternating pumps and kicks seem to sort the problem out. Twenty minutes later, I’ve got a new MOT and not a single ’Advisory Note’. Same as last year.