The other weekend I spent most of the time doing a spot of gardening - an activity previously only performed by the wife, with my biggest contributions being occasionally mowing the grass and waging a constant war on the impossibly numerous ant colonies.
That was the deal - she does the garden, I fix the cars. Suddenly I found myself taking a previously unheard of interest in plants, hanging baskets, and creating a little patch of Zen tranquility behind the shed. What's going on there?
The shed was new just a couple of years ago with the intention of being used as a motorcycle workshop, which was exactly what happened until everything went tits-up on the motorbike front. This left the shed being used just as storage for tools, bicycles and all those bits and pieces left over from DIY projects that you hang on to, convincing yourself that they "might come in handy one day" even though you know in the back of your mind that most will be thrown out next time the urge to purge comes along.
More recently however, much of the shed has been taken over with beer barrels, bottles, and a new project of an N-gauge model railway.
My god, what's happening to me? Next thing you know I'll be buying a pair of slippers.... oh wait, I already did that last winter.... bugger.
So here's the situation: I'm a balding mid-forties bloke who own slippers, a flat cap and a cardigan, and enjoys photography, beer brewing, gardening and model railways. All that's missing is a pipe and a classic MG and I'll have all the ingredients to qualify as an official old fart.
How is this possible? It doesn't seem like five minutes since I was 19, hooning around the country roads on a two-stroke race-rep hooligan machine with my arse on fire without a care in the world beyond the question of when I would lose my cherry. Then in the blink of an eye I find myself twenty years married with a seventeen-year-old son and a very small mortgage. And slippers.
On the plus side, 18 months after the motorcycle gene being abruptly switched off, I feel that it is gradually being re-energised. Anyone who is a biker will understand this. Motorcycles become part of your DNA and can't be erased. With the boy now beginning his biking life and some very interesting new models arriving on the market I suspect it's only a matter of time before I find myself back in the saddle.
If nothing else, riding a bike is one way of delaying the imminent decline into unrecoverable old-fartness.
Gixxer Thou motor in a streetbike.