The week’s order time turns into a 10 day wait. Not too bad, but one final decision to make — colour: choice between Ferrari Rosso (in the finest Italian tradition) or luminous yellow. Dithering but veering towards the yellow when Jane spotted a yellow 748 and declared that she wasn’t going anywhere, any time, on a flying banana. Red it is then, dear…
So Jane drives me over to Reading and disappears homewards with a trunk full of paddock stand (“No, I don’t think I’d like you to follow me home — it would be just too embarrassing”), locks and assorted paperwork, while the very shiny Duke and I face up across the street. It looks lean, mean and very clean. That won’t last. I, on the other hand, am overweight, nervous and in a cold sweat. Now for the getting home bit. The fastest route back to Hindhead? Nah, you don’t want that — you really want to go cross-country — lots of nice twisty roads. I do? Yeah, sure I do. Heh. Listen carefully to the directions given by the helpful mechanic and wobble off in the indicated direction.
Next thing I discover is that Pegasus’ generosity extends as far as about a quarter tank of fuel. Nice move guys. I spot a nearby filling station and spend an inordinate amount of time making sure I’m not parked on the downhill slope of the forecourt and checking that I’m not about to become a victim of the notorious Ducati spring-loaded sidestand spares revenue scam. Fill ‘er up, spend a few minutes trying to disarm the immobiliser, and head for the open road. Two roundabouts and three junctions later, I am of course lost. Another two circuits of the same roundabout doesn’t improve the scenery. There is however a sign to the motorway — what the hell, at least that’s a way I know.
Now I’m wearing brand new leathers and a full back protector. Head movement is definitely restricted. This on a bike whose mirrors were designed by Italians whose only priority was to check out their own shades and elbows. This is when I discover that my blind spot is exactly big enough to hide a 40-tonne truck. Makes joining the motorway, ah, interesting. Home is a long time away — 30 miles of pure nervous exhaustion.
Into the village and park up beside the kerb, on with the alarm (I think — something certainly flashed) and stagger indoors for a bucket of tea and some major stretching — zero to centenarian in forty minutes. Wow. Maybe I should have gone for the ST4. Or a wheelchair. Glass of Sanatogen anyone?