My last post was the best post I’ve ever written. ! Sadly it was in my head and not actually on the blog.
Had a great few days training with other Volunteers at the VSO offices in Richmond. What an amazing group of people with so many different skills. Running through role play and facilitation methods was never my most favourite part of training but I have to say that this was some of the best training I have ever had. My thanks to the trainers, VSO staff, and volunteers – You were brilliant – (I really should do my feedback -sorry )
The opportunity to discuss with other volunteers, hopes, fears, medical needs, areas of expertise, need for reassurance on how many clothes to take, size of bags, and crucial tips on Mosquito nets, Executioner rackets for mosquitoes, Malarial tablets, and how to eat a whole mouse (?) – don’t ask ! all made a great few days. A great social mix of people made the event even better.
Then we come to the Comfort zone……….. well actually not the comfort zone at all. As far removed from the comfort zone that you can get! Two days after the VSO training – oh by the way we’ve booked you on some motor bike training days and it’s in 3 days time !
I arrived in plenty of time ( unusual I know !- No need for comment thank you) and pulled up alongside what I would describe as a medium sized playground with comes placed in some sort of pr-arranged pattern, clearly designed by people who sat down in a pub one day and just had far too much alcohol and decided to just have the most fun they could with 45 cones placed randomly around a playground. I walked in and was told to go up stairs, get the kit on and they’d be starting soon, just waiting for a few others. I climbed up the outside stairs of a builders hut and entered a foreign land – rows of white and black and red helmets, all shapes and sizes, some pointed, some open faced, some with visors down , visors up. – I had no idea ! Next to the racks of helmets were hung a collection of very heavy looking ‘gladiatorial jackets’ again all shapes and sizes. Underneath we’re 3 boxes of large gloves, that had been thrown into the box with no order what so ever. It reminded me of the PE cupboard back at school ! I decided to take the cowards way out, and just sit down, like a child waiting outside the headmasters office, and wait to be told what to do whilst a collection of other riders came in and donned the gear. Clearly they all had experience of riding and being there before, as these largish gentlemen ( well larger than me – not difficult I know) many bearded, put their armour on ready to do battle in the gladiator ring known as the ‘The Conned Playground’
After having the safety talk I was taken down to the bikes, sat astride, ( I shall avoid the obvious comment !) started it, and then began what I can only describe as ‘total and abject failure’ Steering around a figure of 8 whilst trying to manoeuvre a piece of heavy metal and not falling off is almost impossible – well it was for me …………. too slow and you fall off, too fast and you just head towards the fence, too tight and you send the cones flying, too wide and you just ride in a circle. Suffice it to say at the end of a day where the sweat was pouring down, my very patient instructor said ” I don’t think we’re quite ready for the road yet- are we ? ” ……………….. “We …….. are not !” Was the reply
On the second day after another intense few hours – “I think we are ready for the road now – what do you think ?” Well, never one to shirk a challenge – “Why not!” So the streets of Blackburn and Chorley were my home for the next few rides !! After many reminders to ‘Observe, indicate, observe again, manoeuvre , life saving observation, ( which is always a bit scary sounding) turn, one more life saving observation and I was awarded my permit to ride on the roads – Malawi dirt tracks here I come !!!! Don’t use your front brake on dirt tracks apparently ! Time will tell
All I have to do now is pack !!!! Oh and by the way you need a motor bike helmet which needs to go in your bag, and is part of your weight allowance !!! That’s going to take a whole post on the next blog !!!!