Cock O’ The North

We sleep on the sofa bed the new tenants have agreed to keep. It’s uncomfortable and the nervous energy is high. Not a great deal of sleep is had and we have to drag ourselves into action in the morning. We’ve got a lot to do.

I’ve moved house before, but there’s always the option of finding a big box and flinging the last of your possessions into it and worrying about it later. It’s a great deal more difficult when you’ve now filled four panniers, a top box, two duffles, tent bag, mattress bag, two pannier toppers, two tank bags and Dennis and you still have to pack what looks like the same bulk and weight again.

Before I go on, allow me to explain Dennis.

……..

Dennis is the Hopper. It is a giant Pelicase that was never intended for a motorcycle, but has groovy features like waterproof-ness, pressuriser and general bomb proof-ness. It’s the home of sensitive equipment that enables us to remain on the grid while off-grid. Think solar and mobile wifi and you get the picture. When full, it’s about 40 kilos and definitely not intended for a motorcycle.

But Verd is a gadget man and there’s no compromise to be had, despite my girlish suggestions of small and light. This box must go on the back of his bike – but how?

Enter the stage: Mark

Mark is an engineer, based in Scunthorpe, with a passion for bikes. He has about nine of them. I’ve seen a couple: an BMW Adventure bike, a BMW cafe racer, a Kawasaki he’s had since he was a nipper and a Triumph ex-army bike. He makes some BMW accessories which he sells well below the usual market price for similar equipment and undertakes custom work. He loves a challenge and when Verd presents a significant feat, to be complete within 4 weeks, Mark sets to work, day and night to get the job done. It’s a masterful piece of engineering and Dennis is now riding pillion on Verd’s bike.

Dennis
Dennis the Hopper

…….

Sometime during the day, we strike a deal with a rally driver who buys the car and promises to take it on a charity rally from Norfolk to Romania. He’s quite the character. We’re based in the car park of a garden centre and other shops, and he manages to make heads turn with his larger than life voice and personality. Lots of us have shadows that follow us, but I think this guy is followed by Fun.  

I’ve love the stories that people have told about how they intend to use some of the things they’ve bought from us. One couple bought a cabinet they intended to hang in the van they were doing up. The internal décor of the van wouldn’t have looked out of place in a scene from the Imaginarium of Dr Parnassas.

The bikes are full with all they can carry and we’re still not finished. It’s past the time we said we’d be out of the house, so Verd takes an executive decision. We’re only going a mile, so go to the campsite, I pitch up the tent, and he goes back for the rest.

Despite the obvious flaw in this plan, I set off, and wait for Verd at the gate. The bike feels very heavy, the suspension isn’t adjusted and I’m nervous about handling this long one mile of a journey we have. While talking myself through what I need to do, Verd walks towards me and says he needs my help. I park up the bike, turn the corner and witness a very large bike (The Beast, until otherwise named), with extraordinary luggage, lying flat on the ground.

By the time I’m back on The Destrier, I’m very hot and bothered.

An hour or two later, I’m enjoying a merlot (or two) in the Cock O’ The North tap room, which adjoins the campsite, relating the tale of why we’re two hours late for the drink we were promised. I’ve not eaten, and end up staggering back to the tent to discover The Destrier is now flat on the ground. We’d not had time to add the ‘pebble’, an attachment which gives the side stand a fat foot to stop it sinking into soft ground. We look at the bike and wonder how far into the mud the side stand has sunk. I imagine having to dig her out. In our inebriated state, and a general lack of seeming damage or fume smells, we decide she’s safer where she is until morning.

………….

We start the day refreshed and feel a sense of determination to continue with what we’ve started. The Destrier is a lightweight chore after the ordeal of lifting The Beast. The sun’s shining and during breakfast, we’re accompanied by two magpies. The omens are good.

First-Meal-Chickpea-Curry
Our first camp cooked meal: Chickpea Curry with Basmati Rice and Samphire

After a hearty lunch of a chickpea curry with basmati rice and samphire we begin the task of reducing the load to something two bikes can reasonably be expected to carry. This is a messy affair where we create a pile of definitely not keeping, a pile of maybe keep and the definitely got to keep.

The-Big-Clean
Eeny, meeny, miney mo…….

 

Our rescue team turns up to collect two 50 litre boxes, a pannier bag and helmet bag full of the don’t need items. They also feed us a wonderful three course meal. Charlie and Ewan – bet your support team didn’t give that service!   

We ask to stay a couple of extra nights at Cock O’ The North to do the things we should have done before we left the house. 

What are those two doing over there?” someone asks of the campsite guardians. “All they seem to do is pack and unpack.”

The campsite guardians are also bikers, they understand.

We’ll be saying goodbye to Cock O’ The North tomorrow morning to join other BMW bikers in Kettlewell, hopefully The Destrier and The Beast will remain on their wheels.

Happy-Arrival-at-Kettlewell
Newly loaded bikes
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