It is with much sadness that I announce the "moving on" of a dear friend and travelling companion - Bertie.
It was as a young man in the halcyon days of the early 1980's when I first made Bertie's acquaintance in a pub car park just off the A4 near Maidenhead. We instantly hit it off and Bertie and I were to share our love of travel and make a number of trips together including a grand tour of Europe.
From Tromso in the Arctic Circle to the bustling tourist resorts of southern Spain and from the peaks of Snowdonia in the west and the islands of Kos and Rhodes in the east - Bertie was with me. A faithful friend who never let me down, never complained and often watched over me while I slept on beaches or by the side of a road. At times I would be cranky and hurl abuse at this old friend - particularly after a lengthy journey - but he never answered back and never gave up on me.
Bertie was my faithful old Yamaha XT500. A single pot 500cc Japanese motorbike of an "enduro" style, but one which resembled in many ways the old British thumpers of the 50's and 60's - except he didn't tend to leak oil all over the place.
Bertie had retired some years ago to the coast where he lived with my cousin - and it was only this morning that I learned that my cousin had decided to sell Bertie and had received the grand sum of £1500 for him (more than three times what I had paid when I bought him in the first place!). It's true to say that there was little left of Bertie that was still original - the frame, tank, front forks, switchgear and maybe a few other ancillary items, but that's not the point.
The point is that my cousin might at least have offered me first refusal!