Rather nice. I do like that blue.

The Sleeper train arrived in Crewe at 6:00 am, a while later than expected, but that was fine by me, as there were still two and half hours before the shop opened. We'd stopped in Edinburgh Waverley station for ages, so long, that we must have made up some time over the miles before Crewe. Part of the delay was undoubtedly to add on some extra coaches. The three or four we'd started with had increased vastly. Couldn't make out how many there were now, as the line curled off into the distance. Only a few alighting here. Everyone else bound for London Euston. There was some, but not much sleep for me on that train. Pleasant experience otherwise.

Outside the station, a cold breeze, and there'd been rain. The dark overcast sky was brightening slowly, and a few people were about. More birdlife active than humans at this hour. Several Magpies were up to the usual crow things, and making a lot of noise whilst doing so. Paid a visit to the large and near deserted Tesco supermarket.

Walked about slowly, found the shop, and walked about some more. Red brick houses galore. Granite slabs in some of the pavements, with the names of old trains that were made locally in years long ago. Sandwich breakfast. Back to the shop, and wait a while for opening time. A good blether with the shop mechanic, before the boss arrived to open up. Added various layers - under and over - in preparation for the coming journey, whilst things were sorted out. All well organised and straight forward. Basic run-through of the features, and some queries of mine resolved. There have been an awful lot of changes since my previous one came on the market... in 1985. Road tax done, and the paperwork and keys handed over. Now it was time to pack up my stuff, and head North for home. Four hundred and two miles, Google reckons. Forecast for some showers, and wind from the South West. Cool. Take a couple of snaps first, whilst it's looking pristine - showroom condition - as that won't last long. Stash loads of stuff in the (dummy) tank compartment. Pleasantly surprised by how much you can get in there. Strap bag to the pillion seat and climb aboard. It's higher than expected, but no problem for a lanky loon. Nervous. Press the Start button.

Over fifteen years since I last rode one, and I'm a bit rubbish at this to start with. So very different to what I was used to way back then, and before that. Cancelling the indicators has changed and I miss having left them on... several times. The unfamiliar roads looks slimy and I'm careful at those roundabouts, loathe to lean much at all, and it seems to need much more leaning and effort to get around. Gears, clutch and brakes are no problem. Bit much initial slack in the throttle, that I may seek to adjust. My goodness, this thing doesn't half pull easily.

Had written down the sequence of directions and roads to take. In so doing, my memory retained the information, and that bit of paper wasn't required. A few miles to the M6 motorway, and fairly easy from there. Just keeping tabs on the traffic, signs, and move to the correct lanes. Now I 'get' how the indicators work, and begin noticing some of the other information that's displayed in that fancy dash.

(To be continued... but I made it home safely, in case you were worried!)

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