February 2017

Monthly update number 2.. hurrah! So another busy month and for some of it, we have to turn back the clock a little. Bear with me on this one it’s a bit of a long story….

New bike & Datatags

Back in September of last year I finally passed my full motorbike license. People who don’t follow my Twitter feed probably don’t know this. By October I had purchased a new bike and then putting things in place to sell my 125. For those of you who missed it, this is my new bike.

Beautiful isn’t it? This is a 2014 Suzuki Vstrom DL 650 AL4, it set me back a mighty £4,500 or thereabouts, believe it or not, I am still yet to give it a name. I have decided that it is distinctly female, it’s curvature and beautiful lights which look a little bit like eyes with wing tips (like goth makeup). Yep, I am totally in love with this thing and after putting £1,500 down as a deposit the rest went on finance aiming to pay off the rest in 2 years. I knew that as soon as I sold the 125 the money I got from it would go straight on the loan and bring down that timescale but I wanted to make it affordable.

Anyway after getting it all registered and whatnot I tried to register the Datatag in it. For those not in the know, Datatag is a small device that is about the size of a grain of rice that is hidden in the bike and if your bike ever gets stolen the police, in theory, have a way of identifying it should it be recovered. Upon sending the details I got with the bike to Datatag they told me that the bike is actually registered under completely different details and now they don’t know which tags are installed on the bike. When I insured the bike I told my insurance company that it had these tags and no doubt there is some odd clause in my policy that might state if the tags are not registered then my insurance is null and void. I didn’t know if this was the case but I certainly didn’t want to risk it. So I set about trying to identify the tags.

I called the dealer who I bought the bike from (in Wales) who told me that the information I have is the information they got. I called the original dealer (also in Wales) who had a record of tags they installed on the bike which did not correspond with the paperwork that I had. I handed all this information over to Datatag who explained to me that there should be a sticker on the bike somewhere with a number attached to it that should identify which kit is installed. Maybe this is true for most bikes but not mine, or at least it was not in any place I could see. Datatag then advised me that there should be UV markings on the bike somewhere that also identifies it, I had access to a UV light and after scouring the entire bike I found nothing. It turns out the marking stuff they use only works with a certain frequency of light. Running out of options finally Datatag suggested that I talk to the police and ask them to see if they can use a special scanner to identify the tags.

I pass a police station on my way back to the place I stay in Oxford so I stopped in and put my query to them. The person on reception had no idea what I was talking about and after I explained it a bit more they made a few enquiries for me. They gave me the number of an officer, let’s call them Bob who might be able to help me, so I got in touch with them. Officer Bob took a while to get back to me, I had to call them a few times and chase, December rolled around and on Christmas Eve they call me and tell me that they had managed to find the scanner but it was not working and then gave me contact details of a different officer based in Newbury. New year happened, I came back to the Oxford office and then began to harass Officer Newbury. Officer Newbury was again a little tricky to tie down, especially since I was not in Oxford on the weekends but I was persistent and finally it paid off.

In the beginning of this month on a slightly wet and foggy evening, I rode from work down to Newbury to meet the officer and get my bike scanned. Sure enough, we found 2 tags on the bike, both ID’s I handed over to Datatag who confirmed that they were from a poorly registered set. They then sent me through the correct registration details so that if/when I sell the bike to the next owner does not have to go through all this rubbish. It took me nearly 3 months of chasing to get it done but now I can sleep in the knowledge that the bike is registered properly. Yay for being persistent.

Old bike sold

As soon as I got back to Oxford in January I put my old 125 up for sale for £1,500. I didn’t expect it to sell straight away, January is not a nice time to be riding a bike, especially a 125 and thought that I may have to wait until March or so until it actually sells. However, it turns out I was wrong! One day before the advert was due to run I got a call from an interested party. After an exchange of information and some checking on my behalf, the interested party agreed to meet me in Oxford to check the bike out. He arrived on the back of his friends 650 who gave him a pillion ride from Reading. I went down to meet them and give them total access to the bike, lighting it with the lights from mine.

Farewell old friend

They scanned round the bike to check it was exactly as advertised, checked things like brakes, suspension, engine sound, electrics etc etc. I don’t know why but I expected them to haggle the price a bit but to my surprise they told me that it was the best-kept bike for the mileage and price that they had seen. The cosmetic damage that the bike had didn’t bother them and after doing some paperwork the guy transferred £1,500 into my account via a bank transfer. I managed to keep my cool throughout the transaction but inside I was super happy, knowing that the bike had gone was a massive relief and it meant that I could waste no time in transferring the money directly onto my loan for the Vstrom which I did. So that was a massive win! I hope that the guy has fun on the bike and passes his test sometime this year (that was his plan).

Bar Wotever

You might need to brace yourself for this one…. Some of you may already know that from time to time I enjoy doing Open Mic nights. It’s been forever since I have done one and most of the last year I tried to encourage myself to take advantage of all the events that happen in Bristol but I just didn’t. On the 21st Jan, I was sent a link to an event happening in Bristol called Bar Wotever. They. Had an open mic section at the beginning of the show and it sparked a crazy plan in my head to try out some of my more experimental poetry. There was one poem in my head that I thought would be perfect for the crowd so I applied to appear on Friday night (3rd Feb). The days flew past and I set about trying to finish this one poem in particular that I wanted to perform, before I knew it February rolled around and on the 2nd February I was still tweaking some of the content.

I have mentioned before how I am my own worst critic and how I should learn to let go of certain bits of content that come out of me. I find that with any poetry I write the critic is especially difficult to quieten. I think it’s because they are small pieces of me and I hold them very close to my heart because it bears a piece of my soul. I’m not afraid of showing people that side of me that I am quite concerned how people will take it.

So on the 3rd February, I got dressed up as I had planned in my head and took my very un-rehearsed content to the show. I had a very rough idea what I wanted to look like and Jo did an amazing job that I would only change slightly if I could do it again. I’m no artist and with things like this, I like to present the person doing my make up with an idea and a blank canvas with very minimal guidelines. I believe it will end up being a better product if the person doing the makeup is also allowed to express their artistic side. In the venue, I met the organisers and gave them a bit of a dry run of my poems. I don’t know why but I find rehearsing in front of a small crowd very nerve wracking, I feel I am I much better with a bigger crowd and winging it slightly.

I was supposed to do up to eight minutes of content. I did eleven but saw nobody trying to signal me to get off the stage. During the performance, I felt so many emotions, and I am still trying to tell myself that I did well. There was laughter, clapping cheering, wooing, a little gentle heckling something about the whole event felt natural even though it is such a foreign thing for me to do. I did tell myself that I would try to do more performance this year and this is probably the beginning of it. A friend was in the audience and she recorded the whole performance on her phone. This means that there is a video of it and for those of you who are interested I have put the entire video below. Be warned.. it may show me in a guise you have never seen before and may not want to see. You know the old saying of once you see something you cannot unsee it so do proceed to click on the video with caution.

I had so many people come and ask me what other gigs I am doing and where they can find me. I am still processing just exactly how I feel about the whole thing, I am very proud of myself and trying to be humble about the whole thing. It’s probably about time I started to believe that I have some sort of talent and have some ability to work for a crowd. It’s something I have always thought I might be able to do but also am very scared at failing at. I spend what time I can remember what I can about the event, relive it in my head, try not to be critical of myself and yet seeing where things could be improved. Maybe there is something about my innocence that is endearing and makes me human, maybe if I was more confident I would not get as good aa reaction it’s something I need to play with as I attempt to do more.

An end of a new beginning

So I now that I only announced that I had a new someone special in my life last month. It’s been about 7 months since we first started dating and I hinted last month that we were finding each other’s boundaries. Well, life has once again had a fluctuation and this relationship is sadly no more.

I’m not going to go into a great deal of detail here, it’s not the time or the place. Like I always say that maybe it’s better this way, there are some immediate positive and negative changes and once again it has left me rocked on my heels a bit. There is always something I can learn from something like this and yes this is no exception. I have learned that I need to be clearer earlier on in a relationship, I don’t think I stated my position well enough which has led to the current end result. It did actually push me as a human being and I have the other person to thank a bit for that, I am always looking for ways to push myself.

I came out of the relationship with some very interesting pieces of writing. I wrote two documents that I can refer back to from time to time and even should my next partner wish give to them to read. They are both things that I found very useful to write and may in the future find very useful to read. One is purely about sex, how I see it as a person and how I feel about the various situations that life has thrown at me. It’s something that I have known internally for a while but have never actually written down, now that I have it’s very useful. The second document is all about my expectations as in what I expect from a partner. I feel that this will be very useful in the future.

House viewing

Oh, my…. It has begun. I did say to myself last year that 2017 was the year to try and buy. I have to take advantage of the position that I am in when I am earning a good amount of money and have some sort of stability so it’s about time I took advantage of these things. I already hate dealing with agents. I find them from previous experience as people who have no interest in who you are as a person all they care about is the sale and I find this really difficult to deal with. Some of them believe the world revolves around them, they e-mail you about addresses without any context or even sending you the information that you might want to look at sigh

By the time this goes out I would have seen 5 or so places over the space of 2 weekends with me looking all the time for the “right” one. I know there is no such thing as the “right” one, like everything in my life this is a temporary situation and I have got to the point in my current house where I don’t want to deal with the other people’s bullshit.

I’ll update you next month as to how things are progressing. I have already seen one that I like but it has a bit of a weird setup that I need to find out more information about before I even think about beginning to advance the process. It’s scary and means my weekends are hugely tied up with viewings and for the next 4 weeks I am still teaching children too…. Busy busy busy

Final bits…

Monday 27th saw me start yet another way to push my limits, I started a six-week course on Improvisation. I’ll write more about this next month but the first lesson went really well and I am super happy that I spent the money to do this. I’m sure it’s going to be a good thing for me since I came home yesterday tired and buzzing.  This morning found my brain in quite a destructive state, but I have got better at knowing when the dark thoughts looking to take over and this time I have done something about it and booked a session with the same counsellor that I used while I was living in Oxford, he’s seeing me tomorrow. More on this probably next month. I think I need a holiday… can I afford to go on holiday now I am planning on buying a house?

Peace and love
-Chris

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