race bike up at nrp for link pipes to fit the 'glam' carbon can's i bought off e-bay in a drunken moment, at least it means we can meet the strict one-oh-five decibel limit that most race circuits demand. the 'false' triumph is up on the bench, awaiting the mashings from earls so i can make up the brake lines, they arrive today, early doors, stainless lovliness, day three of three day's annual leave [booked to sort out the garden, squeeze me? garden? all thoughts of a garden went south when mr's b turned up with two jack russell terrier puppies, no lawn, 'escape tunnels' every two yard's around the perimeter fence and well chewed plants as soon as the cheeky blinders stick their pretty little heads above the soil. i half heartedly sweep up a bit, drink tea and read 'classic racer' and 'performance bike' magazines whilst sitting in the unseasonably warm march sunshine. the big, red, ducati is sitting quietly ignored in the shed, covered in dust and aluminium swarf, i turn the key and thumb the starter 'whh, whh, whh' the sound of a dead battery, seat off, tank reared up to gain access to the battery, top up with distilled water and stick it on charge while i walk the dogs. home. more tea and check the battery, green light, battery back on, press the button and the big twin coughs into life, it stutters and i catch it on the throttle as i knock off the choke, let it warm up for fifteen minues to get the oil circulating, i should'nt really, i'm far too busy for this, check the tyre pressure, oil level and a quick flick round with a rag, [still the best way to check over a bike i reckon] squirt of chain lube and off we go, it feels great to be back on a bike, four long months, the wettest winter on record, on a bike you are out there, open to the elements, so different from the daily commute, back and forth to work, half-leather, half-fabric, all -plastic, safely cocooned in a temperature controlled metal box, on a bike it's different, a drop of the shoulder here, a slight press on a footpeg there, a shift of weight and the bike is like an extension of your body, you never get that feeling in a car, too detatched from the whole experience of velocity, i just point the bike and i'm along for the ride, half a tank of go-juice spunked, i call in to top up the fuel tank, big tuna cob, bottle of buxton and a packet of ready salted stuffed down the front of my jacket, i'm in search of the perfect picnic spot, i find it, high above carsington, a big, stone barn wall provides the backrest for munching my vittels, the bleat of new-born lambs, the steady, rythmic, 'tick, tick, tick' of my engine cooling and birdsong providing the perfect backdrop to my lunch, it's warm in the lea of the barn, the stone wall convecting the heat and providing shelter from the stiff breeze. replete. i start the big twin, the noise from the twin carbon can's scattering the shakey legged lamb's. i'm revelling in the induction noise, the free flowing k + n filer sucking the cold air like a bangkok ladyboy, the lazy exhaust note bouncing back as i head down the via-gellia halfway down i pull into a shallow lay-by, the combination of road debris and free flowing snot means an impromptu stop to clean up, [epecially if i'm going to avoid a messy 'ducati to stonewall interface problem' until this moment i had been making 'brisk progress' i'm suitably chastened by the thick, whiteline of roadsalt down the middle of the road, bloody hell, no wonder the bike was a tad vague! back home, i wash the bike down with soapy water and leather it off to remove the worst of the salt deposits, check the chain and the oil level and sit on the bench drinking tea, suppose i'd better get some gardening done then, i'm five minutes into some idle pruning when mrs b turns up from work, 'put the kettle on duck, i've had a right grueller today.................'