Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Don’t Go Near His Pool....


If you read someone’s blog for long enough, you get a sense of what a person is like. Over time, you begin to understand the way they write, what they like to do, who they hang around with and what they like to do.

Very occasionally, you get to meet someone whose blog you read and you immediately feel comfortable with them, because it feels like you have known them for a considerable time. You haven’t of course, but you FEEL as if you have.

On Sunday, I met fellow blogger, Rogey, who lives in Auckland. A broad, grinning face beamed out at me as we met and it was as if we had been friends for a long time. Roger had collected me from the centre of the city and with Taylor, his very cheerful and pleasant daughter in the back of the car, we made our way out to his house.

After meeting his partner, Fay, an exchange of gifts from two different sides of our planet, Roger did what just what I hoped he would, when he said “Wanna go for a ride, mate?” You bet I did!

Luckily, a helmet fitted and very soon the two of us were riding through Auckland suburbs with me on Roger’s BMW G650GS that he once described as “a bloody hoot.” He was right – it was easy to ride and great fun.

Roger lead the way on his Triumph Sprint and it was easy to tell that he was a terrific and confident rider. His IAM training and road-craft were good to witness from behind, as he always seemed to have lots of time, was always in the right position on the road and took great care when approaching potential hazards.

On the other hand, I was trying to get used to riding a new bike and kept forgetting to cancel the turn signals (why can’t all bikes have self-cancelling indicators like my Harleys?)

We swapped bikes and I took my chance to ride the Triumph. I wasn’t used to the forward-leaning position and found it unusual and slightly awkward at first. I am used to big foot controls and wide mirrors and the Sprint has neither, so my feet seemed to struggle to find the tiny gear change lever and I kept having to bring my elbows in to see anything behind.

The power and the brakes were (much) better than my Harley, but after a few minutes of riding I began to get used to the bike.

Roger led us to a beach on what I took to be a large lake, but was in fact the sea, surrounded on most sides by land.



Lunch and the continued ride followed before we returned to Rogers house. I became much more use to riding the Triumph and was able to relax more and enjoy the ride. The further I rode it, the easier it got, but I just couldn’t get used to having to remember to cancel those darn turn signals! It’s not my kind of motorcycle, but I enjoyed riding it.

Roger putting the bikes away....



Having left her behind at the hotel still nursing a very sore foot, we checked up on Jackie, whose was sad she couldn’t join us. Her foot was giving her considerable grief and we agreed a visit to a hospital the next day would be needed. Roger had planned a relaxed Sunday afternoon /early evening BBQ (although, I think it is obligatory to say “barby” at this point) and soon some of his friends came to join us. Two huge legs of lamb were soon prepared and left to cook on the Weber....



Two more of Rogers friends, Bruce and Lucy arrived with their children and while standing at the edge of the pool, mischievous Roger gave them a push and all three ended up in the water....



They must be REALLY good friends as the three of them just stood there laughing! They took it well, particularly Lucy who unlike a lot of women would, thought this very funny. Good sports, Bruce and Lucy were soon found some dry clothes!

Roger was a remarkably good host and a great cook, and I had a terrific meal in great company.





The daughter of one of Roger’s other friends, Jackie, had made a delicious pavlova which was soon disappeared....



Overall, I had a great day meeting Roger, his family and friends and was made to feel very welcome indeed. I can only say Roger, if you are ever in London.... or with a bunch of friends in Spain(!) I can only hope to make you feel as welcome as you do to me. Nice one, mate!

14 comments:

bob skoot said...

Gary:

I was going to say you are braver than me but then I remembered that you know how to ride on the "wrong" side of the road. I would be struggling, esp with the roundabouts.

so sorry for Jackie, but looked like a good Barby and also the dessert looked delicious. We just had dinner and I'm feeling hungry again.

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Steve Johnson said...

Wow Gary, you really have it rough out there, riding old BMWs and eating grilled lamb!

Arkansas Patti said...

Yikes, poor Jackie. I hope they are able to make her comfortable. She might need a walking cast.
What a fun experience to try a strange bike.
Meeting a blog buddy is more of a reunion than a meeting of strangers. You all ready know a lot about them.
Am a bit upset however. Now I have to drive 80 miles round trip today to visit the closest store that sells lamb. I am drooling. Thanks.

Charlie6 said...

Kudos to Roger for allowing you to get a riding fix in! I've test ridden the 650GS and it is indeed a fun motorcycle. I hope the visit to the hospital alleviates things for Jackie!

Dom

Trobairitz said...

Awesome.

Isn't it just great how you can meet a fellow blogger and just feel like you've known them for years? We felt the same when meeting Rogey!

Awesome you got to go for a ride too. Jealous!!

Sure hope Jackie is feeling better and the foot isn't paining her as much.

mq01 said...

fabulous!!!!!

Chillertek said...

Haha you made it out alive with your liver intact. I would have tought rog would have plyed you with liquor.

It's interesting to note that a motorcyclist will ditch their wifes/partners on the basis of getting out for a ride and even considering she has a broken foot and all. I had a good old laugh at that.



Roger Fleming said...

First of all...

It was horses meat not lamb, I thought it would make you feel at home.

I disconnected the self cancelling indicators because I wanted to stress you out

Free accommodation ...whoo...we in, Me, Fei, the kids , mum and dad, my brother his wife , his children,My sister, and a few friends from the biking community, two cats, 1 dog and 12 dozen vodka will be there Thursday next week...

Feel free to pop in any time, loved your company!

VStar Lady said...

What fun ... I can almost hear the laughter from here.

SonjaM said...

I guess being married to a rider, Jackie will know your priorities. I hope she's getting well soon.

Aren't New Zealand roads awesome, no matter on what bike? And the ocean is always so close.

When I see the lamb (pardon... horse) and knowing how good it is at Rogey's Restaurant I admit have a hard time keeping my vegan composure.

BeemerGirl said...

Excellent!! The entire day sounds postively enjoyable. The day looked perfect. Leaving you only having to think about the fit and feel of the bike. Kudos to you for hitting the Sprint. I'm not sure how I would feel on that thing either. And I can see it would be completely different than the Harleys at home. LOL

Hope Jackie heals quickly!

Motorcycle luggage said...

That was an fun filled day, even Jackie had a blast despite having a foot sore....

Gary France said...

Bob – I am fortunate to have ridden a great deal on both sides of the road and I am now so used to the ‘right’ side of the road and the ‘wrong’ side, I can now do each equally. It only takes me a couple of minutes and I get back to not even thinking about which side to ride / drive. It is those couple of minutes however that I worry about, so I am very careful whenever I take to the streets, no matter what side I am on. I have to say that lamb was very tasty!

Steve – It was just one of those great days when everything was right.

Patti – Thanks for your kind words, but alas, Jackie is still finding it uncomfortable. It was great fun to try both of Rogers bikes. Sorry about the drooling!

Charlie6 – Yes, I agree, much kudos to Roger. I was very grateful for the ride on both bikes. Now, when he comes to London, he will have to ride each of my bikes, including the two customs..... gulp.....

Trobairitz – That feeling that you have known them for years is equally very odd and very good, at the same time. The riding was definitely second to meeting Roger – such a nice guy.

Gary France said...

mq01 – It was fabulous!

Chillertek – We did have a few, but not too many. Regarding your comments about Jackie, I was rather hoping nobody had thought of that!!! Sometimes, we just have to do what we have to do.....

Roger – Funny thing about the horse meat, but I guess I have been eating it so much at home, I didn’t notice the difference! Thanks for disconnecting the self cancelling kit. When we were riding, I did notice and appreciate that even though you were in front, your long looks in your mirrors were your way of letting me know something was wrong – each time you gave me the “long look” I realised I had left them on again – classy move, Rogey. See you (all) in Spain.....

VStar Lady – I was terrific fun indeed.

Sonja – Yep, Jackie understands, and tolerates, those priorities well. I honestly don’t know how she puts up with me sometimes! You are so right about NZ’s roads, especially on the South Island. I would struggle with being a vegan.

BeemerGirl – It was very good of Roger to let me ride both bikes. I have to say I preferred the more vertical position of the BMW and I might just be tempted to get a dirt bike. Trouble is, in England, there are so few places to ride off-road.