The Sound Of The Penny Dropping.

I’ve only just blogged but momentous things are afoot.

Wendy was getting concerned about me obsessing over stuff, thinking it might be a problem. A few bikes ago when I first had my eye on the bike I’ve got now, I was losing sleep over it. I was waking up in the middle of the night and doing new searches on the 4 main bike sale sites to see if anything had come up. It was becoming that much of a problem that I had to think of ways to consciously de-escalate the obsessing. I had to list every fault with bike, how it was too expensive, totally impractical, how I didn’t need a new bike, etc etc, just to get some peace.

Anyway, out of a mild curiosity, and to put Wendy’s mind at rest, I googled “obsessive, compulsive shopping” .

Oh.

Apart from not meeting my responsibilities, that’s me.

Well, that’s just super.

Nailed all of it. The conveyor belt of bikes, buying all the kit, losing interest, feeling guilty that I’ve bought stuff that I’m not using, the excitement of hunting for my next, life fulfilling, purchase that will be *the* one, the anticlimax on purchase, everything.

And, it’s all just a manifestation of my BPD.

I was in denial at first. Well, not so much in denial, the evidence is overwhelming, but I didn’t want to admit it because then I would have to do something about it. And I don’t want to stop. I sat on it for 24 hours, but then I told Wendy.

It’s a joy-sucking, ironic, kick in the teeth. Most of my life I’ve been hand to mouth poor, since I started lorry driving (and gave up drinking, the two are definitely linked) we’ve been getting better off. With this new job, and the Brexit disaster ensuring plenty of work for lorry drivers, we are actually in a position where anything I’ve ever wanted I could have. It helps that my dreams are fairly modest. A really nice motorbike. That’s about it. But I could afford to sign a loan for £10,000 tomorrow and not even think about it. But I’ve kind of lost interest in biking with having nowhere to go. And now this. I can make money, but I can’t spend it.

Anyway. I’m feeding and re-enforcing a mentally damaging addiction-esque condition. A sneaky variation of my usual BPD. It has to stop.

I’ve not done an internet search for bikes, cars or boats for the last two days.

My thinking is “buy what I need (nothing), not what I want (everything).

It sucks.

I’m second guessing myself before I’ve even started. If I like my lessons in just over a week, and want a boat, is it to sail or just to buy? Will I need a car to move it about or do I just want to spend money?

I think, if I am doing the boating thing, a car, with a towing hitch, is the way to go. It’s a two person lift to get the boat on a roof rack, if it fits, and Wendy doesn’t count as one of them.

The bike is going. That will pay for the boat and car. I am totally going to need some wheels to get to the club, and if I’m carrying kit a motorbike won’t cut it. I rode it yesterday on my pushike. About a 20 mile round trip, and one of the roads is the link road between the M6 and the East Lancs, so it was heaving with lorries and fast cars. Not fun.

I’m justifying feeding my habit. This is classic addict behaviour. I just need this one last hit and then I’ll stop.

I am a bit lost with this. I don’t know how to work it out.

I’ll have to think on it some more.

In other, much, much better news, Wendy is a good 90% of her old self. Being really brave and going back to work has made a massive difference. It’s hard to overstate the improvement. The thing she was dreading and literally panicking about for 5 months, she has faced and overcome. She is as good as sane. It is brilliant.

Today, as it was my last of 6 days off, we took a trip to Bodnant Gardens in Wales.

Lovely place.

And, just because it’s pretty, some pics I found before I realised I had a proper problem.

A vulgar, tasteless, overcompensating car. Which is kind of cool.

A gorgeous, 1966 Harley (in the States, so no good to me)

And a yacht that you could actually live on, and sail right around the world. Albeit in conditions that make living in my truck seem spacious.

These are just some of the things I won’t be buying. *sigh*

To end on less of a bummer, Dinos are back! Yay!

Later,

Buck.

Latest Obsession

Things are sort of moving apace in my new madness. I keep making progress only to have to stop again.

I was supposed to be going to pick up my new boat today. I was all excited. I’ve bought a book on how to sail, and read it a few times. I’ve also watched a really good video on the basics. How to start, steer and stop. I was wondering about the last of them, as there are no brakes. It turns out it was the same as the other thing I was worrying about, going overboard and the ship charging off into the distance. Apparently it’s the sailor holding the sail to the wind that powers it. As soon as you let go of the mainsheet (get me! That’s the bit of rope that pulls the sail around) the sail swings around like a weather vane, so it’s no longer catching the wind and powering the boat.

I was pretty confident I could at least do some basic sailing. I’ve applied to two local yachting places for lessons. One of them, Pickmere Lake club, got back to me. The first thing they said was not to buy a Topper (the little boat, slightly more that a surfboard with a sail, I was supposed to be getting today) as they are built for teenagers. You have to be small to fit under the boom (the bottom bar of the sail) and lightweight. I might get away with the height, and I am quite limber, but unfortunately I am too blubbered up.

Get a good glimpse of the shark before fighting it - All ...

The good news though, is that the club are running level 1 and 2 courses in a fortnight! I’ve had to join to be able to take the lessons, but that will take me from ‘complete lubber’ to ‘lubber with delusions of adequacy’. They also gave the good advice to join the club, try out some boats, see what suits, and then buy one. Assuming I like it. I had one go at parachuting and never went back.

I’m fairly confident I will like it. It sounds a hoot. Anyway, assuming I do, and I get a boat, the good thing about the club is you get berthing for one boat included in your membership. And, if I get a hefty one, for a further £31 a year I can stash a boat trailer there. It’s a fairly big lake and you can get an access card so you can sail whenever you feel like. This is good. I was envisioning trips to Liverpool for sea sailing. I don’t have to worry about lugging the boat about, unless we go on holiday or whatever, and I’ve got a safe place to sail. They do races there one day a week, mainly to improve your sailing skills they say.

Now I just need to buy a cravat.

Yachting club. Me. Who’d have thought?

A sub-obsession, relating to the main boating one, was a sudden need to buy a car to do the job. Wendy’s mini is a good ‘un, but it won’t take a towing hitch if I need to get a trailer. I started with desirable vehicles. This would do for a runaround.

A real Mini pickup! How cool is that?

£19K.

OK, not *that* cool.

Then I went on to uber-practical.

It’s a Citroen Berlingo Multispace. Ugly as the day is long, not that refined a ride. It’s basically a van into which they’ve put seats and windows. However, the good news is that it’s a reversible operation. The back seats are designed to be easily taken out, in effect turning it back into a van. With windows. The best of all worlds. If you buy a straight van, A, it’s not pretty to look at and Wendy would kill me, and B, it will have been battered by people using it a tool to work. In a car/van, there’s a chance you can get a decent one. With one of those, with a towing hook and a roof rack, we could tow the boat on holiday (or roof rack it if it’s that kind of boat) and fit the pushbikes in the back, stood up, with all the luggage. And cheaper than upgrading Wendy’s car to a model of Mini that would take a towbar. But it is ugly. Ugly, ugly.

Then I thought of an estate. Lots of room on top to securely tie a boat. Towbar in case. Fold down/ removable seats, loads of room for kit. And some of them haven’t been beaten mercilessly with the ugly stick.

I spent all day yesterday, until gone midnight, looking into every option, narrowing my fields, comparing prices, until I found the perfect car.

That’s a stock image. The actual one has in-detail snaps of each part of it but no good overall pic.

It’s a Peugeot 308 sw. Roof rails for a roof rack. It has a towbar. It’s an ’04 car, which is getting on a bit, but it’s only done 51K miles! It has service history and a brilliant MOT record (I checked online). It’s £1600 and in Blackpool. And it’s not hideous.

Perfect.

That was about 01.00 this morning.

As soon as I’d finally found the perfect car and I could relax I realised I didn’t need one yet and I’d just wasted a whole day. *sigh* I might not like yachting. I might be leaving the boat at the lake (8.5 miles away). Wendy’s Mini would do fine for a roof rack one once a year on holiday. Bah.

As well as the book on sailing I’ve bought a lifejacket. Prerequisites for mucking about in a boat.

That’s where I am with that. Lots of hurry up and wait. Still, if I take to it, it’s definitely the right way to go. Lessons, get the right boat, safe sailing environment.

Then maybe get a bigger boat for taking Wendy out for gentle sails. If she ever warms to the idea. She has an unhealthy attachment to dry land and continued breathing. No fun.

Talking of, Wendy was immensely brave and went into work last Thursday. She’d built it up in her mind that it was all going to be terrible. Shouting, sacking, etc. So to go and face it when she’s still nowhere near right, was incredible bravery.

I used to think every one else was a bit cowardly because they, for instance, ran away from exploding ammunition while I was sat by it, unconcerned. But the truth is that’s just my condition, to not recognise dangerous situations, or to be not concerned by them. It’s not brave if you’re not scared. When you are faced with mind numbing terror and you do it anyway, that is bravery. In my life I’ve only ever been that brave once, pushing myself out of that ‘plane when my brain was screaming I was most certainly going to plummet to my death (I’m scared of heights) but I did it anyway. I didn’t die, in case you were wondering. But even that fear, though total, was only for one minute. After that I was out of the ‘plane and merely scared witless.

For Wendy, still freaking out with fear and anxiety, to drive herself into work and face the situation that had sent her that way… *that* is bravery.

Anywho, it went way better than she expected and better, even, than she had hoped. They know she is the only thing keeping the stats, and funding, coming in. They’ve agreed to her coming back two mornings a week for a month, and have gone a bit further by saying she’s not see any clients, just catch up on her job knowledge. Then they’ve agreed to her going back but just doing 3 days. With a reduced workload.

She came home in the afternoon and within minutes was flat out asleep. She said it was more of a coma than a sleep. Hahaha. As you do, when the tension relief hits.

Since then she’s been a different woman. She’s laughing again and just tons better. She’s still not right, but a few more days of getting over the fear of work (the fear of her workplace, she’s not workshy) and I think she’ll be a good 90%. It’s been a long and horrible ordeal for her. It’s so good to see her properly on the mend.

I took a week or two off running due to that last bout of plague weakness. I went out for a run this morning. As much to test the alleged direct correlation between exercise and Post Viral Fatigue, as for the run. I’m off for another 4 day’s. If I do an hour’s run each day that should test it. It’s win/win really. If it doesn’t waste me, yay! If it does, then I know the cause and I can hope to get completely better when I rest up.

Here’s a bit of Twitter then I’m done.

Meanwhile, in Liverpool:

Later,

Buck.

End Of The Road?

I can barely bring myself to say this. My Triumph Daytona was my last, best hope, for biking. I fear it failed.

I know from the outside this seems incredible, 5 weeks after getting my dream super toy and being over the moon with it, and I still love it, but I think the bottom line is there is no place in my life for a motorbike right now.

After the painfully obsessive bit, and getting all the kit, I’ve only been out on it about 4 times. I went out today to a quiet spot with a big roundabout just before a dead end, so no traffic goes there, to practice some cornering technique. I was rubbish, and a bit embarrassed, so only did two laps then went off for a ride. As I was riding it struck me. All the arguments that *proved* this was the bike I *must have* were all wrong. I don’t have the skills to ride knee-down, and when I was out on the ride I was having to watch out for speed limits as my job is on the line. I’ve got an awesome, beautiful bike, that I can’t, and don’t, use. The only thing I could think of would be going to track days. So a pointless bit of a pretty I use twice or three times a year. I have nowhere to go. I have absolutely no need for a motorbike.

I’ve been getting regular 5 shifts one week, 6 shifts the next at work (legal maximum) to make sure we have enough money while Wendy is on the sick. I did a calculation the other day and realised, even with Wendy off, we still are the best off we’ve ever been. I was window shopping the dream bikes of my life.

My birth year (1966) Triumph Bonneville (£10K)

A BSA A10 from the 50s (£6K)

A classic CB750/four Honda from the 70s (£6K)

And my guilty pleasure, a Honda CX500 in great condition, from the 80s (£4K)

These are all bikes I’ve spent my life drooling over (well, maybe not the CX, but I do like the ugly beasts) and I’ve suddenly realised if I really wanted to I could afford to go out and buy one. And I’ve lost interest. It’s painfully ironic.

I’m toying with the idea of a Harley. I can think of several good arguments why that would work. Slow, so won’t endanger my licence, you need zero skills to ride one because of point 1 (and the fact they aren’t built to go around corners) and you don’t have to be going anywhere, it’s a Zen Mindfulness bike, the whole fun is in that very moment, pottering along, feeling cool .

But I think I’m fooling myself. Again.

Wendy and the bikers from Twitter are saying to think it over, but I’m having a sad moment of clarity. If I’m having to force myself to go for rides because I can’t see any point to it, and I have nowhere to go, it might just be time to sell up and quit. Now the madness of my obsession is no longer upon me I am just feeling guilty and stupid for buying new leathers and boots. I won’t lose money on the bike, but I feel bad that I was so lost in the obsession.

I am thinking of the Harley dream, pottering, slowly and coolly to the Lakes, riding around, coming home… 3 or 4 hours of motorway, (which is just a busman’s holiday for me) wind buffeting on my face and neck, on my own, just because I have to go *somewhere*.

Hmmm. I *want* a Harley, but I think the bottom line is I just don’t need, and won’t use, a motorbike. This makes me sadder than you’d think.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. I have an exciting new madness.

Yachting!

I was idly looking last week and you can get a 31′ full-on yacht for under £9K! This one:

I think that would be great to nip around the coast and through the Scottish Lochs and such. Wendy is, predictably, less than enthusiastic. She say’s we’re sure to go a watery grave. I say we might not, and it might be fun.

Possibly that would be a bit ambitious for my first go at sailing, anyway. So I did some research, and I’ve found a learner yacht that’s designed to fit on top of a car roof rack (hence the name:Topper) and I can get a second hand one from £150.

And, as it’s a one person craft, Wendy has fewer reasons to hate the idea.

I’ve emailed about lessons, but so far no response. As I said to our Lisa, how hard can it be? Pointy end forward, wind, crack on. Ours is the blood of Drake, Nelson, the captain of the Titanic…

I’ll give it a go around the Lake district. If I can crack it there, then they are sea worthy, and it’s only 18 miles to Liverpool and the sea. If I like it could be a fun hobby, if not I sell up and haven’t lost anything.

In short, I may be getting too old,boring, and sensible for motorbikes, but there’s a whole world of other fun stuff to try.

I’ve had a really bad couple of weeks. After being fine for months I had a mild spell of plague weakness for a week, then got battered by a really bad dose for another week. It hit me that hard I thought I’d got the new variant. I was whingeing about it on Twitter, saying I’d gone from thinking I was over it forever to swinging around to the conclusion that this is how it is now, suck it up and try and get on with it. Someone posted a link to brilliant NHS article I’d never heard of, Post Viral Fatigue. It was such a relief to see it was a thing, not just something I’d made up. They reckon it has a direct link to exertion, which is unfortunate for me.

I know you should never google to self diagnose or you end up convinced you’re pregnant and have Black Death, but that really nails it. They say to even ration thinking as it wears you out. That struck a chord. In the afternoons when it was hitting me hardest at work, my brain was so slow, and it was such an effort to think, I just couldn’t bring myself to make chit chat or banter. Not that I generally want to, but being too exhausted to do it is a different matter than just being anti-social. Again, I’ll try and nurse the injury until after this year’s running is over then rest up.

Wendy has taken the extremely brave step of trying to go back to work. Her first half day shift is on Thursday. It’s going to be tough for her, but she’s womanning-up in an epic way. And we’ve been over it to death, to try and prepare her responses. If they give her a hard time she is prepared to go back on the sick. She’s not putting up with the abuse. Personally I don’t think she should go back to this job at all, but if she does, and can manage the pressure, I think it would be the quickest route to her regaining full sanity. Such a (potentially) hard, hard way to do it though. I’m not sure I could have faced down the ‘trigger’ event when I was still suffering from it. So brave.

Well, I’ve talked it out and talked it through. I’m feeling less sad about the biking thing now.

Right, some Twitter and a few garden pics and I’m going to bed.

Later,

Buck