London and Art
Well I'm happy to inform you that Molly, Grettle and I are all hugely enjoying living in the big smoke!
Portrait commissions are emerging in a steady flow, decorating and painting jobs becoming more imaginative and current house mates have turned out to be a really great bunch!
I went home to Dorset last weekend to help Mum set up for her art class annual exxhibtion which was great fun and I took the opportunity to put on a little portrait show in the Green House to spread the word!
All was a success and I have a couple of extra commissions from it, as well as selling a few paintings, so happy days :-)
Here's a peek at some of my new work (most still up for grabs if you're interested ;-) )
Molly, Grettle and I drive to Wimbledon to work for a decorator/painter called Paulo everyday, which is good fun and a nice break from painting and portraits. Most of the time, Mol comes with me and chills out in the gardens while I clamber up scaffolding to paint windows and walls but when there is no garden or we have dog- not so friendly clients, I drop her off at Paulo's house with his wife, kids and black lab for the day, so all is working out well having Mol in London which is a huge relief!
Until next time....adios!
Local World Abbey 104 Radio- An interview about my journey on a Vespa from England to Mongolia and back again with a rescue dog as my pillion passenger!
Hello All- Long time no speak!
Just thought those of you who have been following my adventures on Grettle for the past two years may enjoy this-
An amusing interview with Jenny Devitt for Abbey104 Radio Station about my journey on a Vespa 125 from Deepest Darkest Dorset to Mongolia, and back again with an adopted dog as my pillion passenger!
*Featuring Jenny, Em, Grettle, Molly, Mum, Dad and Bridport mechanic, Clive Thorner*
Hope you enjoy it!
Since returning from my trip, Molly, Grettle and I have all moved up to London where I am setting up as a Portrait Artist!
Having been very excited at the prospect of moving here and being around some English speaking folk for the first time in a couple of years, I find myself sharing a house with one young Spanish girl who doesn't speak any English, one Bulgarian car washer and soon to move in, a girl called Whitney, who is bringing her lesbian partner and a pet snake!
I'm told her snake slithers about the house as it pleases and so I'm a little apprehensive about it's first encounter with Molly! The good news is that it doesn't bite but that's not to say that an encounter with it in the corridors getting back from a late night at the local pub wouldn't be a shock to say the very least!
Anyway- enough for now, and please do get in touch if you would, or know anyone that might, like to commission a portrait!
Until next time - Adios!
HOME SWEET HOME!!!
WELL- WE MADE IT!!!!
2 years and 30,000 km later, after an unforgettable journey to Mongolia and back again, Molly, Grettle and Em have made it over the English channel and back to Dorset at last!
MOSCOW TO CALAIS
Hello all! Well, I can hardly believe it but we have made it to Calais! We are camping by the beach in boiling hot weather, swimming, sunbathing and generally having a merry time, waiting to board Le Shuttle tomorrow morning and cross the English channel!
It's a mad thought that it was over two years ago when Grettle and I boarded the ferry from Dover to Calais and began our adventure East to India! Clearly we got horribly lost somewhere along the way!
Now going back to where i left off, I had a fun last day in Moscow and met a nice chap from Armenia called Gerov who took me and Molly to see Red Square and wonder around the center of the city.
i met with the vet and managed to sort out Molly's certificate to get her out of Russia and into the EU, and packed up in preparation for my final leg through Russia the following morning.
This didn't go as smoothly as planned and took a little longer than anticipated due to a flat tire on the motorway heading out of the city! Even though i say so myself, i was doing rather well and had managed to remove Grettle's back wheel on the hard shoulder before two hefty chaps came to the rescue and helped me change the tube inside Grettle's back tire. In hindsight it was really a very good job that they did come along since none of us could manually remove the tire from the wheel and in the end they had to run over it several times in their truck to get it off!
It took a few days to reach the Latvian border, where, to my amazement, everything went very smoothly and we had no issues getting Molly out of Russia and into the EU, she wore a flower for the occasion and made several friends in the customs office!
We had a wonderful time in Latvia and spent a few days in a forest lodge, next to a beautiful lake, swimming, relaxing and soaking up the sun for the first time since setting off from UB and into Siberia!
We didn't linger in Lithuania but had a pleasant drive through it to get into Poland, where we stayed for a few days in Warsaw in a cosy little hostel in the center of the old town, before heading down through the Check Republic and into Prague.
Prague was great fun and such a beautiful city to spend some time. Molly and I wondered the cobbled streets of the old town, talking to the carriage horses, browsing markets, feasting on spit roast in the center square and drinking beers with several jolly chaps on their stag do's.
After a few days in Prague, we set off for Salzburg and crossed the border into Austria.
Salzburg, as always, was great fun and i stayed with my old friend Chris. He took some time off work and we spent a happy few days wondering around the Sound Of Music sites with Molly, playing mini golf, drinking a little too much in the Irish pubs and generally catching up on the past couple of years!
Molly went swimming for the first time in an attempt to catch some ducks in the famous lake that Maria and the children capsize into as they all stand up to greet the Baroness Shreda. She retreated quickly however, as an angry mother followed by her mob of ducklings retaliated and chased her, hissing and sissing like a snake, back out of the water!
I stayed in Salzburg for almost a week before setting off for the Dolomite mountains and crossing the border into Italy. We wound our way over the Alps on tiny roads over several mountain passes, camped and scooted through the stunning Aosta Valley, passed through some wonderful little villages filled with windy, narrow cobbled streets, Gelati parlous, tasty Italian pizzerias and lovely wooden chalets until reaching Mont Blanc.
I had a very amusing encounter with the Italian police on route to Aosta Valley during a brief stint on the motorway when I stopped at a petrol station for a coffee break. As I pulled in to the station, a group of about 20 heavy leather clad bikers who loitered near by, watched incredulously as Grettle, Molly and I scooted scruffily passed them. One of the group soon approached me and questioned whether Grettle was allowed on the motorway. I shrugged and smiled, replying that i wasn't entirely sure but so far so good. She looked doubtful about this and told me that I should ask the police. Why on earth i would go out of my way to do this, i didn't know, until I turned around to see with horror, a police officer inspecting Grette curiously.
I wondered towards him, and greeted hm jovially. 'Documents' he responded dryly. Oh dear, i thought, this didn't bode well. It wasn't only the fact i probably wasn't allowed on the highway, but also, i was very aware that my provisional bike license which i had obtained in the UK in 2015, not only meant I was restricted to driving only in the UK, but also, had expired in April, meaning i was now driving around Europe with no license, and therefore, no insurance, no MOT and no tax! I took out my car license hoping he wouldn't look too carefully at the back of it and showed him Grettle's registration papers. The officer shook his head and told me that scooters were not allowed on the motorway in Italy and proceeded to leaf through the pages of an official looking book until declaring that my fine was to be 50 euros.
Wondering how to play this one, i tried the obvious 'I'm afraid i don't have a penny to give you' to which he responded by asking how i had managed to pay for my fuel. A very good question. So moving on to a different tack, i explained my budget was awfully small and that i needed every penny i had to get back to the UK. He asked me where i had come from and when i told him i was on my way home from Mongolia, his attitude changed in an instant; he began laughing loudly, patting Grettle on her headlamp and shaking his head in disbelief. He then wondered off to confer with his colleague. I wondered into the station shop to get my self a coffee in the mean time and as i was paying for it at the till, the officer walked in, took me in his arms, gave me a kiss on each cheek and sang 'chou Emma' before hopping back into his car and waving goodbye out of the window!
Anyway, moving on from the Italian police and into France, it was all too exciting scooting out of Italy through the Mont Blanc tunnel which continues through a low-lit corridor for 20km before opening into France. I stayed with a friend called Isabel who I had met in Ulan Bator over the winter and was now back at her home in Charmonix. We drank wine, munched on olives and homemade quiche in her colorful garden, lapped up the sunshine and caught up whilst looking out over the terrific back drop of the Alps.
Having bid goodbye to Isabel, Molly, Grettle and I wound our way on small rural roads from Charmonix to Calais, camping in little fields and enjoying plenty of Pain Au Chocolat along the way!
I have my fingers tightly crossed that everything will be OK getting Grettle and Molly through customs and onto the shuttle tomorrow morning and hope to reach home by the evening!!
Until then- adios!
Hello all- well the awfully exciting news is that Molly, Grettle and I have made it to Moscow!!
The less exciting news is that we are not seeing a great deal of it due to being based a good half hour from the center. We are staying in a dead cheap, dead grotty hotel near Sheremetyevo airport where I need to be tomorrow to get Molly's EU health certificate.
With any luck, we will be sorted by tomorrow afternoon and on route to Latvia at last!
A few pics on route to Moscow....
Molly and I are both feeling a great deal better after the horrid injections and some antibiotics. Molly is back on grub and very much enjoying the chicken she receives every time we stop at a roadside café, so much so in fact, that she doesn’t notice when I slip in her medicine!
Grettle remains on fantastic form which is splendid and has now made it 6000 km in 3 weeks despite absolutely terrible weather, so molly and I are both very proud of her.
I think I can speak for all three of us when I say that excitement in brewing for getting out of Russia and into Latvia and the EU. Grettle can slow down and take it easy, Molly can have longer walks and I will have a bit more time to sit and sketch.
During my sprint through Siberia, I feel like I have been living for the first, and hopefully last time, in the world of truck drivers and motels; it couldn’t be more different to my route out to Mongolia on the Silk Road; hostels, travelers, hot weather and off road mountain madness! I haven’t had a single English conversation since leaving UB and haven’t met a single traveler- I have spent some fun nights with the mayonnaise men, the salt spreading men, and various other truck drivers but in general, I am ready to leave Russia and tackle the next Chapter…bring on the EU!
Molly almost got got by a snake the other day and had rather a shock. This happened shortly after the blood-sucking spider saga and so perhaps not surprisingly, I got a little worried that she might have been bitten and I would have to get her to another vet before ‘dog be dead’ again! Thankfully I checked all over and saw no snake bite, so I decided I was now being paranoid and that if Molly had been got, she would have made much more of a fuss!
We had our first fall a few days ago- it was in a city whilst crossing rail way tracks and really left me with the shakes. Luckily we were going very slowly and all came out of It in one piece. Grettle slid on one of the metal tracks and down we all went! Thankfully molly’s leash that attaches her to the bag broke during the crash and so she could jump free from the bike. I think it rather woke her up- i'm pretty sure she was dozing in her bag when we all tumbled over and when I got up, I saw her standing by the side of the rail tracks looking rather perplexed, still in her travel coat and broken harness but interestingly, wagging her tail and appeared most over excited! I think perhaps she is rather like me, and gets a buzz from the adrenaline!?
Well- enough for now will send word from Latvia!
I have now reached Omsk where Molly and I have spent a horrible day in and out of ambulances, hospitals and veterinary clinics! we got got by blood-sucking spiders (that later turned out to be a form of infected tick) whilst camping in the forest a few days back and have both endured several injections up the back side as a result- most unpleasant!
My time spent in not one but two hospitals was really quite dire. An ambulance appeared at the hostel I was staying in to take me to be inspected about 8 km away. After a grueling few hours of being probed and poked and asked to remove my bra not once, nor twice, but three times for several different ‘tests’ in front of a room full of curious and really quite frightening Russian doctors, it later transpired that the medics had made ‘simple mistake’ and brought me to the wrong hospital. Consequently, they could not tell me if the ticks had been infected or not, which, after all, was the only point of going there in the first place! What on earth all the checks had been for I do not know but with impatience and frustration worsening rapidly, as I asked the only doctor who spoke a tiny bit of English, what I should do, and received the only response I had heard all day ‘I don’t know’, I left the hospital before a no doubt mammoth bill was handed to me and tried to get a taxi home.
The problem was that I neither had a Russian sim card nor any idea where I had been taken to in the ambulance. I asked several people for a taxi number or a bus number, showing them on my map where I needed to get to and I was amazed by quite how unfriendly and unwilling these people were to help. Most just saw me coming, wrinkled their noses, and shewed me away. I was really beginning to go off Omsk. Eventually a nice chap helped me out and called a cab, waited with me until it had arrived and bid me farewell.
I decided to hope that the tick that bit me had not been infected but still took molly to the vet to be checked out since she had had at least 20 crawling all over her that night in the tent and despite my efforts to pluck them all out, I was worried several remained in her thick fur. The two ladies at the vets were really very nice and set to straight away with blood tests. These revealed that the ticks were indeed infected, that Molly had very bad blood and needed vaccinations straight away, otherwise‘ dog be dead’ I was told.
Thank goodness I had gone to get her checked out! I told the ladies that I had also been bitten and they said I needed to see a doctor immediately. I tried to explain the disaster in the hospital a few hours previously and asked them if they could direct me to the correct one. They contacted an English teaching friend of theirs since neither of them spoke any themselves and we were getting by with a google translate app. The school teacher gave me the address or euromed hospital telling me they were very good and she was sure someone would speak English there.
So after poor molly had had her several injections during which she cried A LOT, I felt it was now time to sort my own ailments out- death by tick- was not something I had planned on kicking the bucket by. Not wanting a repeat taxi saga, I drove Grettle to euromed and asked the man standing in reception if he spoke English. He waved his hand at me impatiently and shook his head. Persisting, I asked him if anyone spoke English. I received no response but was lucky enough to get another wave of hand. I saw a queue of people and stood behind them, hoping that perhaps whatever they were queuing for, I should queue for too. When I finally got to the front (it wasn’t so much a queue but more of an arm budge and elbow wrestle rush to the front desk) I showed the lady the picture I had taken of the tick. This seemed to do the trick; I paid some money and was given a room number to go to.
When it was my turn I sat and spoke, or rather wrote, to the doctor who had got google translate up on his screen. Once he had deciphered when and where the tick had bitten, he told me I needed vaccinations and antibiotics straight away to prevent various diseases that i can't even begin to spell, but i imagine not much different to what little molly had had. So then followed the rather painful injections into each bum cheek, a load of antibiotics, a hell of a lot of money, and finally, filled with relief, I left euromed and headed home, broke.
Now other than creepy crawlies, the weather remains tragic- hail, sleet, snow, rain and wind! SO- not exactly the sunny ride through Siberia i had imagined but certainly a challenge! During one particularly brutal and sudden snow storm, Molly, Grettle and I sought shelter in a derelict gas station, but were soon faced with a difficult decision, as a fierce wild dog appeared from behind a shed. It began to circle us snarling and baring its teeth menacingly. Freeze to death whilst attempting to drive moped in snow storm with no visor, or mauled to death by fierce dog at derelict gas pump? I chose the storm and off we went…
The day continued in a similar vein with sudden snow storms interspersed by flashes of sun light, then sleet and wind, until I was so cold and so frustrated at being miles from any apparent place to sleep, that I turned to lady in a small petrol station for help. She informed me that there was a small village nearby that had a train station and I should be able to find a room there. I found the station and despite a lot of indecision from a rather grumpy woman behind the desk, finally, with the help of a man who had taken a liking to us in the station, was allowed to stay with Molly in the station’s accommodation.
Russia is getting more expensive as I head West and less dog-friendly which makes it difficult finding places to sleep sometimes. Having had such a disastrous camping experience, and with temperatures still in minus figures during the nights, I’ve rather gone off the camping experience for the time being if it can be at all avoided. In fact- my effort to save $15 by camping actually cost me $170 of hospital and vet bills! What’s more- the side effect of the infected tick bites have left me feeling very feverish and so a night freezing in the tent I imagine may just polish me off! Molly is a little glum as she has been told she can’t eat anything but porridge for two days, which, of course, she refuses to eat and consequently is all tired and mopey and attempting to nibble the bandages off her legs where the injections were shot.
Grettle is doing well, in fact, probably the best out of the three of us, despite coming down with a stiff steering column a few days ago. It was quite odd; I parked at a café, sat down to eat some chicken with Molly for a moment and when I got back on Grettle, I couldn’t steer! Eventually I was directed to some men who were hovering around a bunch of tires in a little work shop, one of whom removed Grettle’s front tire, cooled it down, took out the tube, replaced the tire again, and bingo- all was dandy once again!
A few few pics from the road....
I am staying in Omsk an extra night since Molly has to go back to the vets tomorrow morning for more injections but with any luck , I’ll be out of this dreadful city tomorrow and on with the road trip!
Hello all- well what a time has been had! Ups downs and loop the loops is the only way I can think of to describe the last few days. Let’s start from where I left off...
When I woke at 5am, believe it or not, there was a truck loitering nearby and so, as instructed, I knocked on the window. The chaps inside had clearly not been informed of the plan etched on paper the previous evening, or in hindsight, it was the wrong truck altogether, but either way, they basically told me to P’off as I began barking at them through the window and pointing towards the cafe, in the hope they might help me deal with the dogs in order to rescue Grettle from the back yard. I took my queue to leave and thankfully, having plucked up the courage to enter the yard, found that the dogs were chained just far enough away to prevent them from getting me as I hurriedly hauled Grettle out of the mud and sand and back into the open.
I set off early in order to catch up on lost time and made it a fair distance before the snow began- and wow- did the snow begin! I was filled with relief as I came across a little café sign, which in Russia means, more often than not, a place to sleep as well. It was a great little rustic hostel and so molly and I nabbed a room for 5 dollars and Grettle dozed outside.
Once I had changed and vaguely attempted to make myself look like I hadn’t just risen from a mud bath, I headed to the bar for an icy cold brew.
I was soon joined by two men who had parked their mayonnaise truck for the night. They offered me something pink and as pink things usually are, deadly, and so the remainder of the evening is sadly somewhat hazy, but when I woke a little later than planned in the morning, I looked out of my window to see at least 10” of snow! Holy F*** I thought- should I go or should I stay? Time was of the essence.
Potentially still a little drunk, I decided to pack up and go. The mayonnaise men, one of whom was still on the lash, had risen from their truck and held Molly while I skidded and slid my way to the road. The sun was beginning to melt the snow and so I thought I’d give it a go. I popped Molly on board, all wrapped up in her woolly coat and was just setting off when one of the chaps stopped me and informed me I was about to drive in completely the wrong direction; East. This is when I considered perhaps the pink potion had not quite exited my system, or perhaps i am so used to going East for the past two years, it has become almost second nature. I turned around and off we went; West.
We didn’t get far. I came to my senses a couple of kilometers further on and decided to turn back to the café until the ice and snow was gone from the road- I would have certainly continued if it was only my life at risk but having little Molly on board, I couldn’t bare the thought of a tumble. On my way back to the café, I met the mayonnaise men in their truck once again. They had gone to the local for cigarettes and so we all sidled back to the café together and spent an hour or two drinking coffees and hairs of dogs.
Time did the trick and the roads slowly became rideable once again. I set off by about mid-day and made it to the western end of Lake Baikal by the evening. The vast lake was completely frozen over and glowed like an expansive pearly mist beneath me; it was a stunning spectacle and one which rather took my breath away. The truth is, despite the lake being one of the biggest attractions for travelers in this part of the world, I had no idea I would be passing by it and so when I first saw it, I couldn’t work out what it was- salt flats perhaps? Some scientific experiment? It looked like some kind of huge sheet of silver foil in the middle of the mountains.
Perhaps it was to do with the monumental scale of the lake that prevented me from recognizing its true identity, or perhaps it was simply that I had never seen anything like it before. As I rode along the water’s edge, I was filled with that thrill one feels when faced with something so special, so beautiful, so fresh and so unique, like a painting that hits ones senses in a way that none other has done, that delves one into another world of possibilities and of madness; of the unknown. As I neared the end of the lake and the sun began to set, fatigue kicked in and I found a cabin on the water’s edge to spend the night.
By the morning I was a whole day behind schedule and so I woke early to try and catch up on lost time. I was doing awfully well when I suddenly felt Grettle wobbling beneath me and pulled over to find a flat tire! Luckily I had just stopped at a gas station and so having pumped up the tire temporarily, i only had to drive down the highway the wrong direction for about 5 minutes before I was back there once again.
The guys there were a fantastic help and luckily I had all the tools needed for Grettle’s operation. During this operation and much attention placed on Grettle, Molly got awfully impatient and I think rather jealous, and began to whine continuously. The nice lady behind the till asked if she would like some food and then reappeared moments later with two chicken feet. Molly was ecstatic, I was disgusted, the chaps were highly amused but all in all, the chicken claws solved the problem and left Molly content and quiet until Grettle was ready to roll once again.
Although rolling is not quite the word to describe how she felt; it was more of a bumpy, nerve-racking wobble down the highway. The reason being, that the tire had not inflated all the way around the rim. I had been assured by the chaps at the gas station that after some time the tire would pop into place. Some time passed but alas no popping was to be had. I hopped off to check this at one point and was soon approached by a bloke who asked if I needed any help. I showed him the problem and he told me to follow him, so off we went in convoy (he was driving a 4 by 4) to his bikers club. When we arrived, a helpful chap sorted Grettle’s tire out with lots of soap and lube and all was well once again. With time now slipping away however, I declined the tempting offer to spend the night with the bikers and scooted on another 100 km to find this café and a place to sleep.
Well - the good news is, Molly, Grettle and I have made it over the border and into Russia! The bad news is that it’s pouring with rain and bloody freezing! We are taking refuge at the moment in the only café we have come across since the border on route to Ulan-Ude, where we are spending a night in a rustic little room above the café.
The lady here speaks no English and I speak no Russian so we have spent the last hour in confusion and in giggles, drawing pictures in an effort to communicate.
She is trying to tell me something involving my scooter, a back yard filled with 3 fierce dogs, a man and a woman and a truck driver with an odd mustache. I’m not at all sure what she is trying to tell me but I think it might be that we should put Grettle in the back yard with the guard dogs. When I looked a little concerned about this she became hysterical with giggles. I tried to explain that I planned to set off in the early hours and if Grettle is to be with the guard dogs, will I not be attacked when trying to retrieve her tomorrow morning? What I gathered is that I must knock on the truck driver at 5am for assistance but where on earth or who on earth this truck driver is I have yet to find out !
I have made a fraction of the distance I planned to cover due to a grueling 5 hours at the border. Having to explain my passport, Grettle’s passport and Molly’s passport took a considerable amount of time. Mainly this was because I had paid for Grettle to be temporarily imported into Mongolia and had been informed that on exiting the country, I would get this money back. It was taking so long and getting so complicated that frustration began to kick in. Molly and I were about to have to hop in a taxi with the customs officer back to the city to do ‘paperwork’ before a money transfer would be made from the border port I originally crossed into Mongolia at, to the lady at the port today, who would then give it to me. Having already spent 5 hours waiting, I told them to forget about the money and let me head on without it. Having set off for the border at 6am and Finally making it through customs by 2pm, followed by another hour trying to get insurance, I wasn’t ready to go until 3pm when typically the rain began and is still bloody going!
A few pics on route and at the border...
The forecast does not look good for the next few days but I’m praying for some break in this weather so I can make a bit of headway! There is a small boy peeing in a bucket beside me, Molly is sleeping on the sofa and there’s strange Russian music playing from a TV above the bar.
ANYWAY, Going back a little further, good byes where great fun, rather eventful and as expected, left me feeling dreadful the next day, so much so that I’m surprised I managed to leave at all! The night evolved from a very quiet get together with a couple of friends, to one with absolutely no sleep, copious amounts of booze, a lot of hairy Dutchmen celebrating Kings day, some epic games of Jenga, a 5” deep flood in my kitchen, and a sudden realization that I was supposed to be leaving in the midst of this bomb shell the following morning! Anyway, miracles happen and here I am!
I also managed to get a bit more work done on a plaster wolf sculpture for a friend in UB and sold almost everything substantial in the studio, so I suppose a little productivity amidst the chaos was had.
On the way to the border, Molly, Grettle and I had a lovely nights camping in the steppe surrounded by wild horses. It was Molly’s first night in the tent and consequently little sleep was had by either of us. Every time she heard the thundering of hooves pass by in the middle of the night, she would start yapping madly until I opened the tent flap for her so that we could would watch the goings on together until she had settled again.
Some time has passed since I started writing this what with this and that and Grettle is now in with the guard dogs but I’m still a little confused as to when the mustache driving truck driver, the lady, and the knocking on something come into play…and more pressingly, how I will retrieve her at 5am tomorrow morning!
Right then, well that’s enough for today and will fill you in at the next opportunity!
Well, a week to go until the big trip! Grettle, Molly, Travel Monkey, Siberian Tortoise and myself are all most excited at the prospect of getting going at long last and taking on the vast Siberian wilderness together!
Having said this, Travel Monkey is somewhat poorly having been subject to Molly's meal a month ago and sadly has lost his entire bottom half! The good news is that his arms are still intact and so he can continue to hang loyally from Grettle's wing mirror during the long journey home.
Dad has been and gone and we had a wonderful time together during his visit. We went for a spin into the countryside to see Turtle rock a few days ago, where we spent a rather sleepless night in a Ger together. Molly was getting awfully agitated about Dad's snoring and spent the whole night transfixed by his bed, growling gently and yapping at random.
Dar rather sensibly opted not to ride with molly on the back of Grettle and instead hired a driver called Bilguun whom he insisted on calling Bengoon for the duration of the drive. Molly very much enjoyed the journey out and encountered huge eagles, camels, horses, cows, chickens and dogs along the way.
Sadly dad had his camera pick-pocketed and so the majority of our photos from the night in the Ger have been lost but the weather was super, albeit a little windy,and we spent most of our time on a small bench outside the Ger reading, sketching and chatting.
Other than the Dar visit, I have finished off my series of cockerel drawings as well as a few others which i sent home in a folder with dad along with all the luggage i won't be taking on my trip....
So i think this brings you more or less up to date on life in Mongolia, apart from a new idea of mine which arose after seeing a flying car on the news yesterday; to attach a pair of wings or propeller to Grettle once i return home and revolutionize Vespa travel world wide! More on these thoughts to come and until the big trip- adios!
The Great Escape
Well I'm a little out of breath as i write this having just chased my dog Molly around the city! No doubt highly amusing for her, but since her escape took place while my apartment door was wide open and Grettle was outside, unlocked and in the middle of a test pack, it was significantly less amusing for me!
With Molly replacing my main bulk of baggage and with an adventure that covers almost half of the globe ahead of me, I decided to test sooner rather than later, whether or not i could actually fit all I needed onto Grettle. This was all going rather smoothly; I was in high spirits having packed everything, except for Molly, into the small top box and the old leather panniers, apart for the tent which I strapped to the steering column.
We then went on a small spin around the city before calling it, all too soon, a successful day. I was in the middle of taking all my bags back inside and unloading Grettle when someone opened the gate to the small courtyard outside my apartment and Molly made bolt for it!
With the door wide open and all my valuables on an unlocked bike, clear for all to see, I had to make a split decision; do i lock up and put my bags inside or do i run after Molly? It took only a second to decide on Molly and so i ran after her, leaving the door open and bags falling off Grettle in the process.
Hoping she was just around the corner, my heart sank as i ran on to the street to see no dog! I began barking at pedestrians in the hope they may direct me to Molly and despite several startled looks, one or two helpful locals pointed me in the right direction. Thankfully, about quarter of an hour later I caught up with Molly, who had bolted across a busy road and taken refuge in a rubbish dump! I scooped her up and ran, very out of breath, back to my open apartment, which typically has 'TEA SHOP' written above it in large letters, surrounded by pictures of Mongolian Dumplings; a clear invitation for any nomad to wonder in at any time, which, they frequently try to do!
To my utter relief, I got back to find both bags and bike, and having half expected to discover half a dozen toothless nomads in my apartment, snuggled in bed, eating food, and wondering what to steel, i was overjoyed to discover it empty!
So, the situation turned out dandy, but it could well have lead to the loss of Molly, Grettle and ALL of my possessions, I dread to even imagine! So, a big 'Phew!' on that front and a pup in rather bad favor!
I have since been trying to teach Molly 'Heel' which is not yet her forte but I'm sure we will get there eventually, and hopefully avoid too many escapes across Russia and the EU!
On a different note, I have finished the full Mongolian Animal Cricket Team for Trish Reed and have now started on a series of chickens for the bath and west show this summer!
So -trying to keep busy until the adventure is finally upon me!
Until next time, Adios!