I’m aware that the world is moving and the sun is up but my eyes are closed. It’s six in the morning. The ghosts of motorcycles roared under my widow last night along cool black roads and off into the hills. I’m sure it’s a sign that some playful spirit wants me to stay here on the Isle of Man. You see I’ve been to a lot of interesting places that I’ve never really been to because when you’re touring your only memory of a place might be the complementary hotel shower cap, the mending kit neatly arranged on the bathroom shelf, the worst fish and chips you ever eaten, a flat tyre or the place you lost your favourite socks (curse you Paris).
I’ve always wanted to visit the Island because of its world famous road race known as the TT. My father used to play LP recordings of the motorbikes coming down Creg-Ny-Baa and through the gears, naming them as they passed, Norton, Vincent, Vellocette, and telling stories of glowing brakes and engine cases in the evening as the bikes were pushed to their limits by their crazed pilots. I knew from his eyes that that feeling was his. He was there and had been there and part of him was part of every rider. During one of my first airplane flights as the jets howled against the brakes in preparation for take off, my dad held his hands up as if on the handlebars of a bike and twisted the imaginary throttle as the brakes lifted and the plane thundered down the runway, the miracle of flight seemingly insignificant in comparison the imagination of acceleration on two wheels.
Kettles boil, toasters pop, TV’s click, toilets flush, school bags packed, keys turn, front doors close and cars start. We sleepily climb into the front seat of the Transit. I say my quiet apologies to the island and its ghosts as the van becomes a rumble in the belly of the ferry. Hundreds of layers of green and yellow paint try to protect the tired steel behemoth from the ocean that slowly eats away at the thick steel and bleeding rivets. The lower deck fills up with all kinds of glorious sport cars and bikes that have come to play on the islands unlimited roads. Other than in the towns you can drive as fast as your ability and you wheels can carry you. People queue and bumble up the stairs like bees in a new hive. I find a seat for the four hour sail back to the mainland and muse that I must make a trip back soon, preferably in a fast car, then sit back to sip morning tea thinking up new promises to make and break to myself before the sun sets.
The thick Yorkshire accent of the lady behind me changes pitch only slightly for duration of the ferry ride. Reaching it’s most glorious peaks whilst explaining to her weary looking husband their (her) plans for the kitchen, the curtains, the toaster, the piping on the sofa and the leaf blower for the garden. She twitters like a nervous caffeine fuelled bird in a forest of soft furnishings. He keeps her company on the branch but stays virtually unheard and unnoticed like part of the old furniture. My ear plugs are pushed so far into my ears that i fear they may never see the light of day again. Still the drone is too strong. Catching up on my sleep becomes impossible and finally i give up and go outside to keep the wind company, my car boot sale post office jacket earning every penny of its two pound price tag.