Tag Archives: age

Two-Wheeled Tooty: Confidence Regained

Once upon a time, five years before he was named Tooty (in 1981), a young country bumpkin was talked into switching from Honda motorcycles to Yamaha. Here he is posing  with his mighty steed – a Yamaha RD125DX…

He and the Yamaha gelled instantly and he would become a life-long fan of the brand. But life being life – that is unknowable and often incomprehensible – in time his situation changed, and motorcycling  became a thing of the past. Then, in 2020 (21 years after quitting bikes), he took the plunge and returned to the fold…

Of course his mount was a Yamaha. A YBR125 to be exact. But it wasn’t the best that ever escaped that manufacturers stable. It wasn’t Japanese for a start! But he didn’t know that when he bought it. And he never really forgave the machine, despite the fact that it was totally reliable and never let him down. But he never felt entirely confident upon it – especially in traffic. Poor suspension: lack lustre brakes: feeble single cylinder engine were its major bug-bears – though Tooty had hoots of fun rushing down gravel-strewn, muddy-as-heck, and cow shit-ridden back lanes on it. Look at the picture above: does that really say “Confident rider”? Nah. What he really needed was something that would give him back the two-wheeled exuberance of his long-lost youth. Something with a bit of oomph. Another Yamaha obviously. But one built in Japan.  Regardez vous por favor…

Ten months later. Yup, I’m back – and on a cult classic too! But I think I might pass on the gravel-strewn, muddy-as-heck, cow shit-ridden back lanes for now. Maybe an off-road bike for those. Might have to get some motocross boots though. Hmm, sounds fun…

Impetuosity isn’t reserved for the young.

For the past year I’ve done several things on impulse. My carelessness has reminded me that I was once young and did all the stupid things impetuous young men do – often with regret when they went painfully wrong. So, if I have any sense, you would think that I might have learned something as I’ve grown older. Namely that it’s usually safer if you think something through before acting. But, as I approach the second half of my sixth decade, impetuosity seems to be taking control again. Recently, whilst out walking in the English countryside I was smitten by a sudden thought. An inquiry really. I don’t know why, but I had to know the answer. So I acted on impluse; and now I know that my willy is impervious to the common stinging nettle, but my scrotum is not. It’s not important, and it won’t enhance my life; but it’s good to know. But that paled into insignificance at my latest bout of impetuosity. Bored with the limited performance of my (shabbily-built Chinese-produced) Yamaha YBR125…

…I began trawling through the dreadfully limited stock of my local motorcycle dealers. I was looking for something affordable in the 300-500cc range. Instead I bought this…

Flipping heck it’s a monster. It’s a 2002 Yamaha XJR1300. It has three more cylinders than my 125; ten times the cubic capacity; and, I reckon, weighs more than all my previous bikes put together. What was I thinking? And I’m afraid that it’s going to hurt a lot more than that patch of stinging nettles did. But it’s my dream-bike: with impetuosity in control, how could NOT buy it?

Poor Old Tooty!

I’m beginning to feel my age. Not only is my funny bone on hiatus – feeling lethargic in the humour department, you understand – but other things are becoming bothersome too. Woke up at 5am – feeling like shit. Tried to have shit: couldn’t. BIG PAIN. 7am finally faced the truth: not invincible: called National Health Service 111. 20 minutes later Ambulance arrives. Following an ECG and other stuff, taken here…

This sort of thing doesn’t happen to me

Following some anti-sickness stuff and a dash of morphine, it’s off to the land of nod. Miraculously (following the oft-interrupted, drug-induced, snooze) crippling pain gone. Spend rest of day being tested for everything under the sun. Eventually handed a cup of tea and a tuna sandwich and told: “If you can keep that down without it hurting, you can go home.” Went home. What was it? Who knows!

Tooty’s Fashion For Fogeys

It’s a well-known fact that not all old fogeys are as fashion-conscious as Tooty. They will happily go out in public in beige and grey. It’s almost as if it’s an age-dependent uniform. “I’m old,” they must think, “colour is an anathema so someone with so many years under his belt: I’m going out in public: where are my beige trousers and my light-weight grey jacket with matching flat cap?”  They will then step into their silver-grey Honda Civic and proceed to Waitrose at a snail’s pace.

Well, if you’re a regular here, you’ll know that Tooty the Chef will always dress inappropriately for both his age and the occasion. Check out his last display…

Yes, a red Waitrose Christmas apron with a Homer Simpson pajama top. Nothing wrong with that. But Tooty the Non-Chef also thinks about what will appear best suited to making him look…ah…non-linear in a chronological sense. By chance he does possess a single pair of beige trousers. He’s not proud of the fact; but at least there is no grey light-weight jacket or flat cap in his warddrobe with them. And, oh dear, he does drive a silver-grey car to Waitrose too. But it isn’t a Honda: and it’s due to be replaced with a snazzy bright blue car. So, today, as he prepared to go shopping, he pulled on his beige trousers and looked at himself in the mirror. “How very tedious,” he said eloquently, “you look like an old fart. Best do something about it.” So he went straight to his shirt warddrobe and fetched out a ghastly nylon shirt that he bought (in a moment of madness) in a Benidorm street market. But even that wasn’t sufficient to totally eradicate the fogey-ness of the trousers. So to the sock drawer he marched – delving deeply into its caverous embrace and having a good old rummage. This is what he found there…

Matching socks – and a red belt too. Almost perfect. See, he may be getting on a bit; but he refuses to be a boring old fart! 

P.S It’s a shame he made such a balls-up of the ironing: those creases don’t look at all groovy. Or maybe its just the bad light.

Sudden Unbearable Sadness

Like most men (and probably women too) I like to put off the house work until I can’t put it off any longer. Ironing clothes in particular. So when the kitchen table begins to bow beneath the weight of so much laundry I reach for a CD to put in my ancient (1990s) stereo – before I pull the ironing board out from the cupboard beneath the stairs and plug in the iron. Today I selected this CD…

I bought it for my late wife. I don’t know if she ever played it; but I knew I hadn’t. I figured it must be pretty good – Richard Carpenter having re-mixed his original works with new accompanyment from the Royal Philharmonic – especially if the listener likes high production values, wonderful melodies, superb chord progressions, and harmonies to die for. Of course it also included many songs that I’ve been singing along to for the past five decades, so I knew I’d like it. It was a no-brainer choice. What could go wrong? And indeed, for 99% of the CD nothing did go wrong. In fact it  made the chores an absolute delight. Then, after a couple of verses and chorus or two of the final track – ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ – with me singing along with gusto – the words to the song suddenly penetrated into my consciousness. It is a joyous song about two young people starting out their life together. It is a beautiful song with wonderful lyrics. But it was those very lyrics which cut me to the core. At first it was just for me that I felt such sudden and unbearable sadness. Then my thoughts went to all of those millions of other, older people for whom those lyrics can be so painful. To anyone who has lost the most important person in their life  -. especially in these days of Covid 19. My eyes redden and my throat constricts as I write these words. I had been singing along so merrily too. Then “So much of life ahead. We’ll find a place to grow.” And other lines: “Sharing horizons that are new to us.” And: “working together day to day”. I suddenly thought – I’ve done all that. So many of us have. Struggled to raise a family and keep a roof over our heads. Just getting through life together as a not-always-dynamic-duo, doing the best they could. I don’t suppose any of us thought about a time when we wouldn’t be sharing those horizons. That we wouldn’t be working together day to day. How many couples have planned their retirement together? How many have worked a lifetime and now ask for the reward at the end of it – only to be denied when one partner dies? Utimately the answer must be everyone. Those are the lyrics of a young person, for a young person. That beautiful song – and it is beautiful – is now torture for me. Go listen to it: I’m sure you’ll agree. But not if you’re over sixty.