Monday, 11 February 2008

Sun ...& simple pleasures.

We are simple creatures at heart – well at least I am – and a bit of sunshine this weekend, a ‘false spring’ in fact, was all it took to put a smile on my face.

I had Friday off work to get my bike through the MOT test. For some reason every year I feel inexplicably nervous about my baby being examined. It passed, with an advisory note about the loud exhaust, the small number-plate and the solo seat fitted with pillion pegs. This is a very English ritual – the shop knows it’s bullshit – I know it’s bullshit – but it covers their arse if I get pulled over on my way back from the test.

I celebrated the fine weather and legal status by heading off to Cambridge. Had lunch in the Eagle and wondered around for a short while – always strange to return to somewhere you used to live and find that it has managed to carry on quite well without you. For a few minutes I am seduced by its charm and I get nostalgia for being student, then I hear a few braying voices and their uniquely penetrating irritation and I remember everything I hated about those students when I was one.

Saturday - off to the tattooist for the next part of my half-sleeve. It’s developing slowly bit by bit as I find suitable images from pieces of Celtic-Norse-Pictish-Saxon archaeology: Not only do the pieces have to appeal to me, they have to be suitable for tattooing and be able to fit together. They also have to avoid any of the associations with Aryan Brotherhood/neo-fascism which seems to has taken over much of this iconography.

It may be a form of masochism, but I love the whole process of being tattooed – the anticipation waiting around whilst the drawing and stencil is done, then the permanent design being applied, even the small talk whilst in the chair. And the after-glow of having acquired a new bit of personal art. Extra entertainment was provided this Saturday when the two very slight female staff cleared out half a dozen pissed-up football fans who weren’t happy to be told that they couldn’t turn up for an appointment in a drunken state. They handled the situation wonderfully, and I suspect that if it had been a bloke who had turned them away the whole situation would have turned ugly …

Sunday and I was on the bike again to see my parents down in Kent - open face helmet, shades, and a smile again.

See – it only takes a bit of sun.

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