It's been a while since I sat down to write a blog. Well Over a month in fact. I've been caught up in new projects and Christmas... I know Christmas... That was ages ago. Truth be told, I lost momentum with this blog feature after the last post. I dunno why. I guess I kinda feel it's a bit self indulgent. But meh... The website has my name on it... Start as you mean to go on right?
I really wanted to just sack it all off but that's too much of what I've come to expect from myself these days so I'm gonna try wrap it up in a post... Or two... Hopefully no more. There's new stuff I wanna rave about.
After Abi got back from Oz, we moved into our first home together. A small one bedroomed house in Penarth. The boiler was rubber ducked and there was mould coming through one of the walls... But it was home. Our home.
While living here life kicked itself up a few notches. In a good way. We were both living "adult" lives. Both in full time work and paying rent, bills and all the other hoo-hah. It felt good to be making a life with the woman I love. I was still working in the New York Deli at the time and Abi was working for the Washington Gallery as a curator/gallery manager. We spent around six months living in our little home until my feet inevitably started itching again. After perusing right move out of sheer curiosity I noticed a basement flat up for grabs just around the corner from us.
Cut to a month after... We were moving in. I loved our flat. It was epic. A small, cosy den built deep under the street. We settled in pretty quickly and would stay here for the next three and a half years.
While we were here a lot changed. Abi landed a job working at the Penarth Pier Pavilion keeping the same job role as before. She was responsible for some great exhibitions and being part of the local arts scene. I had started cycling a lot more and was starting to see improvements every week. We had both figured out a routine where we would both have dinner together after work and watch a little tv after. When the sun would set Abi retire to bed and I'd kit up and go cycling late into the night.
It was through cycling the next chapter of life would come into play. A shop had opened up in the basement of a department store in town. I would frequent the guys in there for bits and bobs but mainly to shoot the shot with a coffee. After getting to know these guys more it was then they offered me the chance to join their team. This was a blessing and a curse. I was stoked to be offered a place in an amazing place working alongside some of the soundest dudes I'd met but, it was not without it's sacrifices... Leaving my family at the deli.
It took me roughly six weeks to finally jump ship again. It felt pretty shitty as the deli isn't a regular job. You become part of a family and part of so many peoples daily routines. The in jokes and the regulars. It all stays with you... As did the smell of freshly cooked bacon. I was leaving a place where I had memorised so many peoples orders to go and work in an environment where really... I was clueless.
All that aside, I started with Certini and quickly fell into a regime of learning as much as possible and trying to keep up to date with an ever changing market. I was fuckin useless when I first started. I couldn't sell shit and would sputter words everywhere when talking (bothering) customers. A few ball breaking sessions passed and I soon fell into it all pretty well. Mornings were spent building new bikes and drinking coffee. Afternoons were spent ordering stock and tidying the store. The few nights we were open late would see us racing eachother on foldable bikes, drinking more coffee and watching videos of nukes. It was pretty chilling to say the least. Except for that time I lopped the end of my finger off...
Throughout my time in the shop I had learned that cycling was more than just trying to peddle fast. It was about community. Group rides, cheeky discounts and generally having a good time... Oh, and coffee... So much coffee! I'm really lucky to have some incredible friends because of the shop. Three of which I will be forever grateful for as they would go on to employ me in the future. As good as everything was it would be short lived. Our boss Dan moved to Dubai and left mechanics and managerial duties to myself. This was a huge boost in confidence considering I had started right at the bottom only a few months prior. Soon after taking the reigns we received a phone call from head office. There had been a falling out somewhere up the line which meant they would have to pull out of the department store and move to Bristol. Great. The boys and I packed up shop and were shit outta luck. Ash went on to work for Superdry and Dave migrated to New Zealand.
It was at this point my job hopping went next level. One of the shops regulars Pete was kind enough to find me a spot within his company doing some demolition stuff in an office block just outside of town. It was dope. Smashing shit with huge sledge hammers was well up my street.
While I was getting used to smashing shit up for a living and replacing my mess with plush office suites my buddy Nathan got in touch and told me I should apply for a job as a cycle courier. You guessed it... Roughly a month had passed and I was in a new job role.
Things were going pretty fuckin awesome now I was a cycle courier. I was getting paid to ride my bike and most of the money I had earned working for Pete helped me buy an engagement ring for Abi. I was now engaged and had landed my dream job.
I started with the couriers with a very driven attitude. My first shift was shadowing "The Captain", Simon Lingard. He was somewhat of a courier legend. The first one in and the last one to leave in the evenings. Always picking up the late runs and racing on weekends. Due to his reputation I was determined to prove my worth. I arrived to my first shift with the biggest gear I could push and an attitude hell bent on beating him. We were roughly an hour into our shift when a drop from town to Barry came in. A drop that would see all the routes I had been riding late into the night. I cockily insisted he "have a chill" and let me do the work up front and lead him out into Barry. We absolutely hammered it out and made the drop in a lot less time than needed. It was on the way back though that he would show me how foolish I had been. I was so used to gunning it from point A to Point B that I'd completely disregarded their may be a point C. I shamefully sat behind him all the way back to town hiding from the wind.
My cockiness had paid off though. I was offered to stay on as soon as we arrived back at the office and would then carry on for the rest of the day... With my ass in my hand.
I had started with the couriers just as summer was ending. The dark was well upon us by four o'clock in the evening and the wind and rain was in full force that year. Despite the shitty conditions I'll always look back with fond memories of it all. I will be forever grateful for the friendship I had gained in both Nathan and Luca. Two veterans who worked hard and played even harder. Friday nights would see us going hell for leather in local bars and partying pretty hard. One night I'm pretty sure I saw Luca put Nathan through a table in a swanky yuppie bar. This was the life... The MessLife.