Monday, 21 September 2009


One good thing about a country like Morocco is that you could have a lovely ride on a motorbike at most times of the year, so long as you avoid places like the snowy Atlas Mountains. It would be great for me as a non-car driver, though you would be indulging in a more risky form of transport, if our initial impressions of road use in North Africa were anything to go by.

Before Jess and I got a flat together in York I was always travelling to her place by scooter, and due to the often inclement English weather and my spectacle wearing, found that the visor and glasses were often steamed-up. I’m sure it would be fairly easy for manufacturers to make heated visors widely available, along with heated gloves, boots and other clothing, but this kind of stuff can be very hard to find – hence the need for a warmer climate.

I would often arrive at Jess’s with my balls frozen, and it would take ages to thaw out and de-mist my glasses, so at last I could admire her uncomplicated beauty. It always seemed extra cold at her place overlooking the river - thankfully not one of these soulless luxury apartments, but a building of faded Victorian grandeur not far from the fire station.

I suppose our romance was something of a whirlwind; one minute the nonsense of speed dating, and before too long we were looking for a place together – somewhere with a bit of character, not far from the centre. Of course York is a popular place for tourists and locals, which means the price of property is often inflated, limiting your choice unless you happen to be the heir to a fortune.

‘You look like a drowned rat’ Jess would typically say when I first arrived on my bike.

‘Less of the drowned !’

‘I suppose you’d like a drink ?’

‘What about the York Arms ?’

‘I’d rather stay in.’

‘Have you got something against gays ?’

‘The York Arms is a gay pub ?’

These large gaps in her local knowledge would sometimes baffle me, though she had only lived in the city for five years. I was more than prepared to overlook such trivial details, because I’d always have to remove my damp biker clothes, and she would usually start undressing as well.

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