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Just like the old days


Just like the old days…

My moto got sick and had to be taken by ambulance (recovery vehicle) to the hospital in Worcester (Streffords Motorcycles).  Two days later came the good news that he was well again after a transplant; of the fuel pump relay.

Trouble is Worcester is 100 miles from Aberystwyth, and public transport virtually non-existent.  Google maps said the drive takes 2 hrs and 40 mins.  So having recently blogged about hitching with a ferret, why not hitch it, I’d be sure to get there before 5pm (without a ferret).  There was some disbelief in the family when I announced this.  Comments on how no one hitches anymore, not like they used, how long might it take?

I did vaguely remember the odd hour or more wait, but I was determined.  I did know I would need to get back that relaxed mindset that doesn’t count time but lives in this moment, with faith in the next.

I think newspapers with ridiculous horror stories on ‘slow-news’ days are partly to blame.  In the 70’s I hitched round apartheid South Africa, given lifts by every race, food by one Indian family, and twice put up overnight  (and put back on the road in the morning).

There is one road the whole way, the A44.  A beautiful road with a bad reputation.  One of the most dangerous in the UK.  I object to that definition, the road isn’t dangerous, it has never hit anyone.  It’s the idiots who drive on it who cause the death and mayhem.  I have often seen cars overtaking in a situation that I would not, on my 105 bhp Moto Guzzi Stelvio, I just drop back or in one case stopped for 5 minutes, I didn’t want to be first on the scene…  Of course, they get away with it enough of the time to keep risking other people’s lives.  Anyway rant over.

The A44 crosses the Cambrian Mountains, the first ‘nearly’ a town is Llangurig, thirty miles the other side.  Then ten to Rhayader which is not much bigger.  The first big town is Leominster way over in England.  So not perhaps a great road for hitching.

Anyway, just before 9am my son dropped me a mile from home, at the last roundabout out of Aberystwyth.  I had my trusty sign that said “A44 – Worcester”.  And am wearing my bike jacket and hi-viz Blood Bikes Wales vest, with helmet in hand, and perhaps half a smile hidden behind my moustache.

Just like the old days, wondering which vehicle will stop.  They’ve got the room, but no.  Guess they might have been only going to the next village.  Oooh, a stopper, two young guys, hadn’t thought they would…

4 minutes and they stop, two electricians going to Newtown, we have a great chat and they drop me at Llangurig.  About 5 mins and an ex-serviceman with an interest in bikes takes me to Crossgates, even going on a little beyond his turn off to drop me in the best place.  4 minutes and a van driver who isn’t supposed to give lifts takes me to Kington.  6 minutes and a retired lady going to visit her 95-year-old father in Leominster picks me up, she kindly goes out of her way round the town to drop me at the roundabout for Worcester.  5 mins and a paramedic headed for Worcester hospital.  It took me 3 hrs in all.  With interesting conversations on many subjects.  The paramedic even wanted details of where he could my book ‘Sketches of Spain’  ( ).

My faith in humankind well repaired by the generosity of people who take on a chance encounter and even go out of their way to help one onward.

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