GRAHAM FIELD
Overland motorcycle travel author, strong desires and infinite dreams

The next house purchase decision was made predominantly due to the garage. The corridor of a bungalow wouldn’t win any design awards but at one end it had a single up and over door, and when it was up, I couldn’t get over what was revealed. It was not your usual single car space, so narrow that you have to do the Dukes of Hazard through the window exit technique. If this garage had been a photo on a phone, someone had parted their thumb and finger across the screen and enlarged it in all directions. The expanded space was easily 2 cars deep with a flat roof extension, and extra wide, albeit at the expense of the lounge which was the other side of the internal garage wall. The rest of the house was horrid but that didn’t really matter.

However in the 7 years I lived there, although I remodelled and modernised the house, the garage never really fulfilled its potential. It was dark and cold, the vaulted roof took all the heat out and the inadequate window didn’t let the light in. I tried my best to brighten and warm it up. When I replaced the kitchen, the old one became bench and storage cupboards, but not having the best of memories I discovered that I was more of a shelving kind of guy. I needed visuals, I could never remember what was hidden behind the doors of the relocated kitchen cabinets and consequently all cupboards were opened to find that elusive can of hammarite or bottle of fork oil.

I was self-isolating before there was a term for it, it got me thinking of how my shed life has evolved.

shed rainbow

Ted Kettel and I share the same birthday, as well as a liking for Rock Music and Motorbikes, it's no surprise that two longhairs who have never spoken before had an instant connection (thanks Skype) and the conversation flowed like a split beer. Listen to the interview here

Episode 226 Interview with Author Graham Field Google Chrome 07012020 092707

This is taken from the last day of a 6 day sailing trip around some Greek Islands. 

I've got a place to go, and spend the afternoon with a wine bottle. Those same tempting cliff-hugging roads reappear, this time on the starboard side. My mind goes back to motorbikes and then the upcoming nine-day motorcycle show in the UK. Last year, one of the authors put his books in brown cardboard boxes as a gift package, thereby selling two books in one go. I should do that for my trilogy, but I want a theme printed on the box, something that will encourage someone to pick it up, that will look good on a bookshelf. I can't really use the planet, it’s the wrong shape. What else is associated with motorcycle travel? A pannier, a pannier, a fucking pannier, oh my god. A replica of my beaten-up, sticker-festooned pannier, scaled down to contain the three books. I've just had an epiphany, I can sell the books for less than their individual cost and … and, wait, if I get sponsorship from various companies to have their stickers on my three-book boxset pannier that will pay for the production of it. This is truly a Eureka moment, if I get nothing else from this trip it was still worth it. That only took six days at sea, followed by half a bottle of wine; a necessity, an inkling, a concept, a solution, the invention, all in the space of ten minutes, bam bam bam bam. My work here is done, take me to the horizon, I've got a plan to implement.

Pannier animation

Some people are superstitious about inspiration. Writers in particular will have certain rituals and locations for creativity to flow. I don’t know where it comes from; like luck, it’s sporadic but still it finds me. Sometimes there is a bottle nearby, but like today, it’s not necessarily half empty, and sometimes I wonder if it was always there, gifted to me like being left-handed and word-blind. I may be lacking in some common senses, but the shortfall is compensated for in the occasional creative flash of brilliance. OK, you have to wade through a lot of bollocks to get to that cherry, but it is a fruit so sweet once found.

The captain puts on a Dire Straits CD. The irony of the actual meaning of the phrase is lost on him. It’s a live album, there is a version of ‘Sultans of Swing’ I've not heard before. I know Mark Knopfler is rated as a talented guitarist, but it’s never come across on the radio-played hits everyone knows. After all these years, I'm hearing something previously missed, this is spectacular. The sun is shining, the coast is visible and the scenery is stimulating. There is a good vibe, the crew seem content. I think I'm having a moment, and this song will forever remind me of it. This is perfect, I need to capture it, enhance it, I need a cherry on top. I opt for putting my most expensive product in my hair. After a week of sea and salt air it has the effect the advertisement implies. Swish whoosh, shine, body and form. Fuck it, I’m gonna have another glass of wine.

I drink all the way back to port, where we meet the boat owner. He seems satisfied with the condition of the boat, although we have to wait until the morning when the bottom inspector will come with his aqualung looking for pieces of a broken hull.

Well, it’s certainly been a voyage of discovery – inward, outward and sideways. Would I do it again? No, but I won't dismiss it either. What happened at sea will stay with me, and I'll harbour the memories

.near varna 1near varna 2near varna 3

Delayed gratification is, I think, a good strategy in life to apply, whether it’s the incentive of a drink after the completion of a sensitive email. Or ordering those CNC brake levers I’ve been watching on eBay after I've painted the skirting in the extension. Then there’s the practice of saving hard, working long hours for the bike I desire instead of signing an HP agreement and riding it out of the shop on the day I first saw it.

Well I've got one. I go into a studio for a week to record my third audio book, sounds so glamorous, doesn’t it? The reality is staying in a noisy and uncomfortable falsely advertised Air B&B where I wake at 5 am and read my script. Walk into town and try and find something half-healthy to eat and then sit on a stall for 8 hours in a booth the size of a telephone box. My concentration makes me hot and sweaty as I read aloud into a microphone, the progression of my journey into the wild, alone and unsupported.

mic 1