Thursday, 16 March 2006


"But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. Only a person who risks is free. - "
William Arthur Ward

Scottish Mike, a legend in his own tea time, has of late been living in Scotland, this is his way. For a very long time he lived in Oxford and for a while we shared an apartment in Greece in the middle of a madcap unplanned attempt to cycle around the world; it wasn’t the most successful expedition in the history of expeditions, we both flew to Greece and only Mike brought a bike with him. Mike later left the bike in Italy and I somehow ended up somewhere in England, I know not where, with no money and no sustenance save for 6 olives that had been picked by a Spanish stripper who had lived in the apartment next door. I walked around the strange cold town feeling rather dejected and not having much of a clue what to do, it was most pleasing to find a national express bus stop complete with national express bus with Oxford written on the front. A quick chat to the driver later and I was sat comfortably on the bus and he was six olives “hand picked by a Spanish stripper mate” the richer.

I then lived in Oxford for a while. Mike and I had our plans for a completely environmentally friendly take away with home delivery service scuppered by a lack of money and a complete disinclination to put in the required amount of work. Mike ended up going to Scotland to work and I found myself in London. This was a good thing, Mike is a bad influence. He is the kind of person who can persuade you over a cappuccino to try and travel around the world by bike when you don’t own a bike. Mike didn’t even own a bike at that point; we had been walking around Angel persuading cafes to give us free drinks as part of some research we were doing. Sitting at a pavement table in the early spring sun enjoying the fruits of our lack of labour and chatting I had no idea that this was a morning that would so affect my life. Then it happened, the noise, it grabbed both our attentions immediately, investigation revealed that it came from a bicycle bell / horn contraption attached to a bike that was being pushed towards us. Normally someone ringing a bicycle bell expects no more than for people to get out of the way; I doubt very much that when Bruno, that was the guy with the bike’s name I soon discovered, expected to sell the bike to some tall Scottish guy called Mike. I doubt still more that he expected to receive a postcard from Mike, and bike, from Greece. I am fairly confident that Bruno was even more surprised when he received a postcard from Mike, and bike, from his home town in Italy giving instructions on where he could find the bike and the combination for the lock. I rather suspect that the bike is now being ridden around by an Italian postman. Not only did Mike buy the bike during the coffee but he also persuaded me to come along on a trip around the world, money was no object he claimed; “look we got these drinks for free”. That’s the kind of logic you can’t argue with, I was in.

As I mentioned just now we didn’t quite make it around the world but over the course of our adventures we came up with a plan, a plan that was so mind bogglingly simple and unlikely to work that it just might work. However, the realities of life dictated that jobs had to be got and money earned. I hadn’t seen Mike for ages and then he suddenly appeared at the party in the AKA bar on March the 3rd, he ran around for a bit buying everyone drinks and himself a hammock before disappearing with two very beautiful Russian girls. The next day he called me from the comfort of Dan’s floor and we met for lunch. Mike now had a hammock it only made sense for him to come and stay at mine for a while. It became apparent over the course of our conversation that the plan we had developed on our mission to cycle around the world could work, first things first though. Mike has now quit his job and is coming to learn the way of the monkey, he will have to learn to hold down a job and live in the woods at the same time, he is due to arrive over Easter. In return Mike is going to teach me how computers work, soon there will be photographs.

Ladies and Gentlemen it gives my great pleasure to introduce to you UDM; Unoriginal Ditch Monkey.

1 comment:

fjl said...

This is just the sort of yarn in the ( Sotheby's) catalogue this month. ( Except your is funny). This bike is now under the hammer for estimates (X) - (X), go in and make fools of yourselves. x