Travel StoriesNorthern Ireland Under Grey Skies
Of Work And Holiday Fears
Ride Date Sunday 12 September 2021
By Sharon Parker
I don't usually get too stressed about going away but having become a hermit during Covid times the idea of mixing with other folks leaves me feeling unsettled. I have spent well over a year not only keeping to the social distancing rules but instilling them into others as part of my - new to me - job.
This holiday will include a house share, not only with good friends I haven't seen like forever but also with folks I have never even met before. So as I load my bike ready to depart I do feel strange and unsettled and very much like a crab wanting to retreat into its shell. I glance at my shell (my home which I haven't left for an extended period), puff out my cheeks and climb onto the bike. It will be fine, I am sure it will be fine, please let it be fine... arghhh!
I take a couple of miles to adjust to the extra weight on the bike as I am out of practice carrying a load. I could be carrying far less this time around as I have no camping gear but I want to check Tour-A-Plank is able to stay happy and stable with a bigger load so I packed extras to enable the full set of Kriega bags to be loaded onto the bike.
One of those extras being my daughter's tablet and keyboard. There is talk of a new position becoming available in work, a promotion and to apply I will need to be online to fill in relevant applications etc. I did not fancy trying to fill forms in online on my phone. However it is bad timing that the job application is due to be posted and therefore required to be completed whilst I am away. I would rather not be thinking of work for a week but hey ho such if life, there is plenty of room for the tablet to come with me so let's see what happens.
My new job is challenging. It is full time, it is hard work and I often have to work late but, errrr, I like it. I feel valued and I guess even someone as humble as myself has to admit to herself I am bloody good at it. I also like the extra money this job comes with but it is only temporary so no new bikes or anything silly. Just some money banked into the savings and the luxury of a little treat each month such as some new garden furniture, a new pair of trainers etc. Simple things that just wasn't an option once my old Library job had been reduced to part time.
Once moving on the bike and settling in any concerns begin to fade as the joy of just riding takes over as mile after mile brings us closer to our night's destination of Dumfries. We stop for tea in a pub in Carlisle. No butty from Asda eaten in the carpark for me tonight now I have more pennies to spend. Enjoy the extra while it is here hey.
We push onwards after the pleasant food has filled our bellies and finally we pass the border into Scotland. As usual I wish I could somehow take photos when riding because as always Scotland never disappoints me. The skies open up and brooding black mountains with tops hidden in silver clouds appear on the horizon.
The myriad layers of cloud are suddenly pierced through with sunbeams and the mountain tops turn from black to gold. I can not help but see in my mind all the iconic religious images from my childhood and I can almost hear the angels sing. It takes my breath away and it sure makes me smile, you dear reader will just have to imagine this scene in your own mind's eye. I have no photos to share other than that of the Travelodge's exciting car park which is the bikes' and our home for the evening.
Not quite the most gorgeous of Scottish scenery I'm afraid.
We have a short stroll to stretch our legs. Well my legs are already stretched, stretched sidewards. My job as mentioned before has brought me more pounds both monetary (good) but unfortunately also onto the bathroom scales as well (bad). Such is the yin and yang of life. My new job can find me up to 9 to 10 hours a day sitting on my bum. Such a lack of activity has its price. It was a squeeze to get into my bike gear so one most definitely requires an evening stroll. One should also probably refrain from eating calorie laden pub food but hey I am on holiday right.
We retire for an early bedtime as we have an early rise in the morning to catch the ferry over to Northern Ireland. Night night all. By the way it is good to be back writing the blog again.
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The Whyfors Of Our Impending Return
Ren unnecessarily tries to justify their return to Northern Ireland. Sharon takes out Ren with a fiscal left hook. Is there any hope?
Sauntering Up To Dumfries
It's a slow slow start to this year's Northern Irish adventure. There's no rush and not rushing is something Ren isn't very good at. On the other hand Sharon is so laid back she's horizontal.
Of Work And Holiday Fears
In between working far too hard and the fear of middle aged spread Sharon manages to squeeze into her bike gear and change into holiday mode. It's time to try and forget work and enjoy the ride.
A Ferry, Some Mist And Strangers
It's time to cross the vast ocean betwixt Scotland and Northern Ireland. What will the Irish weather hold in store and there's some strangers to be met.
Of Mist And Magic
With little sleep and the prospect of a ferry Sharon is doing her best to keep calm and concentrate. It's a bit of a mixed kinda day for the motorcycling hobbit.
West Of The Causeway
Exploring the coast west of Giant's Causeway turns out to be more interesting than Ren expected. It's all a question of attitude apparently.
Underwhelmed In The Sperrins
It's time to explore some hills, maybe mountains in Northern Ireland. Thing is Ren's not sure they're up to the task in hand.
Captivating Coastlines And Countryside Culture
Sharon and Ren are joined by Rob as they take on familiar ground, an easy day's ride in alluring surroundings. There's a little culture shock to round off the last evening.
A Challenging Day In Northern Ireland
It's time to leave Northern Ireland but logistics, health and electricity are conspiring against The Dynamic Muppets.
Time To Go Home
It's the final day and all that's left to do is ride home. It's also time for Ren to reflect on this excursion.
Ross said :-
Good to see you back posting on the site, Sharon. Hope Ren can keep up with your new high-powered spending habits, I see he was fretting about his credit card on his version of the trip! Oh, and congratulations on the new job! :)
15/10/2021 09:50:02 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Thanks for the write up Sharon.....I look forward to your further musings on the Covid feel.
It ain't half strange innit.
We recently spent a few days in Moidart which has already been detailed here. I wasn't apprehensive getting ready or on the journey but the feeling I had on arrival at our B and B was really strange. I can't actually describe the feeling. I just stood there wondering what on earth we were doing there. I don't think it was fear of "It", it wasn't a panic attack, I didn't feel stressed, but the overall feeling was, "let's go home". Bemusement I spose.
There was no reason for this behaviour, the establishment is tremendous and we knew we would be looked after in clean, safe conditions and be served with some of the best food that Western Scotland can summon.
I didn't mention it to Er'Indoors until we returned home and the feeling did slowly pass, but it was a strange one.
It could have been Ed'itis of course, the fear of opening up ones wallet.
Keep up the good work and congratulations on the career. Good luck with the promotions etc.
15/10/2021 11:28:04 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Executive Parker's application goes in today. My hope is that she becomes wealthy enough so I can live the life of a "kept man", my fear is that she'll finally realise I'm just a cheap tight lazy waster who is going nowhere. I shall inform her of your comments. Perhaps she can spare you a brief moment between power meetings, shouting "You're FIRED!" and dining on Caviar to grace you with some words of wisdom.
18/10/2021 09:05:15 UTC
Bogger said :-
Ed, your character and nature is vey much like MR Muggins off Carry on camping. Always after a free ride, in life, so to speak. This is not a criticism just a casual observation.
Ren the Ed, AKA Charles Hawtrey. Poor Sharon. I really do feel sorry for her.
18/10/2021 16:56:19 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Bogger, could we please have humour warnings in future. My screen is covered in tea......ffffffffetch me my cloth. I see him more as Mr Potter. Peter Potter the pottering camping motorcycling sidekick. That must be 50 years ago. God I'm old.
18/10/2021 18:41:40 UTC
Sharon said :-
Thanks for the welcome back, much appreciated. When one has been gone awhile you can never be sure if you will be welcome back or you will get a door slammed in your face. But as the author Isabel Allende says “True friendship resists time, distance, and silence.” So I thank you for you true friendship. Yes despite the new temporary job I will always be the bookish librarian at heart so the book quotes shall continue.
24/10/2021 17:13:20 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
You're always very welcome as far as I'm concerned Sharon. Although I'm not a fan of magical realism, that quote is very apposite....
25/10/2021 13:44:11 UTC
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Travel StoriesNorthern Ireland Under Grey Skies