Thursday, 1 January 2015
Looking forward and back
About a year ago I wrote a couple of 'looking back' posts (1,2) and a 'plans' post, but this time I'll combine them as there's not really that much to report.
At the end of 2013 I was unemployed, on my own, and a bit short of money. Despite numerous telephone calls (that weren't answered then became 'unobtainable), and numerous e-mails, also not answered, I got no further with the agency that had employed me to do telecom installation, so have never managed to get my outstanding wages! At this point I was desperately short of money, so was happy when I got a job as a home delivery driver for a major supermarket chain. As seems to be a trend, things didn't work out as planned with the work being hard, hours antisocial, the the wages much lower than expected. Indeed, if you counted in the unpaid hour at the start and end of each shift loading and unloading the van, I was actually paid below the National Minimum Wage.
Luckily, after only 3 weeks in the job I got offered a better, and properly paid job as a Service Technician with a healthcare company. This was a permanent job and was a great relief after about 18 months of unemployment, and short term and low (and un!) paid work. Getting this job has meant that I could, at last, start paying off my debts and planning for the future. I knew this was going to take a while, so 2014 was going to be a 'fallow year'.
I settled into the job and in March I finally paid off the mortgage on my house. This required some extra costs, so further into debt! It's a kind of strange feeling as when you take out a mortgage, the date you pay it off seems like infinitely far in the future, but once it arrives it's a weight off your shoulders. I can't say it wasn't tinged with sadness as I started the mortgage when I first got married and never thought that by the time it would be finished I'd be on my own.
The 'fallow year' meant that I didn't plan a holiday this year and the nearest to one I took was a weekend in Applecross in June.
Since then things have been fairly quiet and I haven't been to any bike events other than the Ayr Bike Show. In fact, I've hardly ridden my bikes at all, but hope to remedy that in the new year.
My personal life hasn't really moved on much either. I've been out on a couple of dates, and I now know that it's not too much of a trauma for me! After over 20 years it's still all a bit strange, but I know I can cope with it should the opportunity arise.
So, I end 2014 in a job, on my own, and a bit short of money – at least things are getting better!
Now I've got a full time job I can start planning more. I've decided to sell two of my bikes, the Yamaha SZR 660 and my 'spare' Skorpion Traveller. I bought the SZR as a non running 'project', and now have it running, cleaned up a bit (it had been abandoned in a shed for 4 years), and the bodywork has been repaired and resprayed.
I should have this back on the road soon and it'll be for sale as soon as the weather improves. It's not really my kind of bike, and I think at my age that I couldn't ride it very far with handlebars that low!
(Bodywork removed to avoid damage after respray)
The 'spare' Traveller has been tidied up, resprayed, and it pretty well ready to go once the weather improves and the 'selling season' starts. I'd only kept it case I got a job for which I needed a commuting bike, so is now surplus.
This leaves me my 'main' Traveller and my Honda CL 350. The Traveller is pretty well as I want it other than fitting higher bars (didn't I say that last year and the year before?) At time of writing the fairing is off to allow me to route the cables for the higher bars, so I should have that done fairly soon. Only other thing it could do with is having the petrol tank resprayed as it has bubbled up and flaked since the introduction of alcohol in petrol, but that can wait until I can afford it.
The CL has now got its engine in and it's just a process of reassembling it. Once the other bikes are sold I'll have enough money to buy some rear shocks and get it resprayed, then it'll be the process of getting it registered.
So that's my look at last year and the year to come. 2015 will probably be a bit of a 'fallow year' as well, but I'm a lot more positive that I was this time last year and things are looking up. Watch this space!