I have wheels again!
I woke at 9am - a good sleep-in for me - only I was supposed to be on a train at 9.30am. I looked up the timetable on the internet to see when the next train was and discovered that Brit rail had chosen today to suspend some of its services. Naomi volunteered to drive me to Colchester to pick up the bike if the BOSS would look after her two year old (ulterior motive perhaps?)
We got to Colchester at midday with just a short traffic jam at Dartford Tunnel.
Paul, from the International Saddle Sore Scooter Club, had arranged with his local scooter shop, Kendall and Pitt, to rent me a Piaggio X9 250cc scooter.
Most modern scooters these days are black or silver or red - sometimes you can get a Vespa in pearl green or white - this particular scooter happened to be yellow!
Not just yellow but YELLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think someone from Piaggio was having a joke because no-one would actually BUY a bike that was this colour.
It came with a big topbox (also in YELLOW!) and under seat storage and a set of helmet microphones so the BOSS and I could talk to each other.
Naomi left Colchester at 2pm to start the long journey home. Unfortunately she got caught in the Dartford Tunnel traffic again - this time it was a ten mile crawl and she was stuck in a hot car for an hour with no air conditioning.
I left at 2.30, trying to get used to the handling of the bike in all the city traffic but Paul was riding shotgun to make sure all was fine until I got out of town. (What a gentleman!) The X9 is much bigger than the Sportcity I have at home and handles very differently. It will be very different again when loaded with panniers and the BOSS.
I also hit the Dartford Tunnel traffic and the ten mile crawl - the difference being that I was able to lane split the whole way with cars actually moving aside for me. A large yellow bike, when seen in the rear vision mirror, looks just like an AA bike and like the parting of the Red Sea, I was able to easily negotiate the traffic jam.
When the BOSS was introduced to the bike, the colour sent her into a catatonic state and for the next 15 minutes she could do nothing but mumble "it's yellow! it's yellow mummy.... yellow".
The BOSS suggested we call her Tweety, Naomi suggested we put green stripes on her and call her the Brazilian, but in the end she became the Yellow Canary.
And thus begins the next and final phase of our 4 month odyssey.