Here we go, it’s been over a year since my last post and, frankly, 2020 was a rubbish year for me, both my partner and I got sick, he so much worse than me – he’s still recovering. On top of that and all the lockdown restrictions, we had to move as usual, a normal year that would have meant motorcycle vagabonding for 3 months or so but that wasn’t an option – my partner was too unwell for travelling and hostels weren’t keeping public spaces open so there would be nowhere to cook. According to the pandemic protection law, tenants couldn’t be forced to move during the pandemic. Our landlord pretended to want to help us by offering us a new contract covering the summer, but also tying us into a more expensive rent for a longer period. Helping us, yeah, right – rather helping himself. We said thanks but no thanks to that shitty offer and with 3 days to spare I found a rental room in Barcelona where we could hunker down for a while. So we did the usual boxing of things and then I loaded up the bike for the move to Barcelona.
I spent my summer studying Halliday’s functional grammar to get some extra university credits and trying to solve our housing situation permanently. Having achieved these objectives, I found a new job and started studying for a masters in Linguistics and was extremely busy. Living in very limiting restrictions made riding for pleasure impossible. The only rides I did last year were for moving houses, commuting for work when working on site was permitted, and riding to charge my already faulty battery. For me, this was very depressing because it had been a year full of plans.
2020 was the year I had great plans. It started off great with the celebrations of WRWR in London (yeah, that feels like a lifetime away). In February, we saw New Model Army in Barcelona, which would have been the first of 3 concerts by our favourite British bands. In addition, we had tickets to 3 other concerts – we’d never had a concert line up that great. I also had 4 motorbike rallies to look forward to, the March Moto Madness organised by Miss Moto Maroc WIMA Morocco, the yearly events with Mujeres en Moto in Spain, and our 70th year anniversary with WIMA in Germany. All of these were cancelled, of course. In addition, I couldn’t go to Sweden to see my dad and my friends and naturally not attend the riding events and training days I had intended to.
While just about everything I had planned was cancelled, I did achieve quite a few things, some of which were not planned. I solved our housing problem with a long-term solution, and because of this we could finally have our boxes sent over (the boxes from when we left Madrid 7 years ago) and rediscover possessions we had forgotten we had. I got myself some more university points and a new job. I learned how to teach online. I started enjoying running short distances slowly, and I bought a lemon tree. I wrapped up my work internationally for WIMA. It was bittersweet to hand over to Zara, our new international president, I knew I would miss it but I also knew that she had more time and energy than me and would be able to take the organisation forward.
This summer is the first in many years when we’re not packing and moving, and it is such a great relief. I’d never thought I would appreciate having my own permanent home this much as there were certain things of the vagabond style life that I found very appealing too – although I will not miss having to sleep on the floor of my classroom every autumn in search of a flat to rent. And an extra perk with having my own flat is that I can now have a special motorbike gear station, this is my own biker-tidy solution, built from IKEA’s Ivar shelf system. It is just that the hanger for trousers and jackets that is missing – it was, of course, suddenly discontinued due to the pandemic. Well, you can’t have everything at once. Fortunately, they had some in stock in Sweden so my dad could pick one up for me, so I will be able to complete my shelf system eventually.
Since August last year, my main objectives have been to sleep, eat and work. I was mighty pleased that I could get a new job during the pandemic, then, in January, when restrictions eased off, I was offered a contract with my old company and was suddenly up to my ears in teaching hours. And of course, I was still studying for the Master. End of term was very welcome, I was very braintired.
During summer, I’ll be finishing off my work with the 70th anniversary book for WIMA. A project Sheonagh (former international president of WIMA) and I are collaborating on. This project has grown from booklet to book as there is so much to document in this fantastic organisation, over 40 divisions and nearly 60 rallies for a start. In addition, I’ve just had the privilege to be asked by WIMA Sweden to be responsible for foreign communications and, as I can’t resist the temptation to do extra work, I agreed to do it. It’s a similar set up to WIMA Curaçao and reduces the workload of the national president, who can then dedicate more time at a national level. I think it’s a great way of supporting a growing WIMA and I’m always happy to help – and while things are a bit quieter during summer, there’ll be some quality time with my motorbike, finally!