James talks granny flaps (bingo wings to us), bee stings, puss-filled arms and the disrespectful nature of pit lane humour. But picking Guy Martin up on tea making...
I’ve always been a big advocate of our national health service, and although I’ve been treated privately for countless, mostly racing-related injuries over the years, my two biggest medical issues, namely a broken pelvis and a tussle with cancer were both dealt with efficiently and successfully (er, obviously in the case of the latter) by the NHS. The treatment I received on a recent trip to casualty, my first since trying to remove my foot with a chainsaw a few years ago was as good as ever but jeez did I have to wait a long time.
I’d been out on my bicycle and been stung on the forearm by a bee that flew up the sleeve of my jacket. It was a bit irritating for a minute or two but by the time I got home and pulled the sting out I couldn’t feel a thing and forgot all about it. Over the next couple of days though my arm gradually started to swell up. By the second evening I had a bingo wing my old granny (God rest her soul) would’ve been proud of and I had to accept the fact I had an infection and a trip to hospital was inevitable.
The system at A&E has changed a bit since I’d last been. I was told to take a seat in the waiting area, next to a bloke in overalls with a bloody tea towel wrapped round his hand. After an hour or so my name was called and I was taken to be assessed by the triage nurse. In the dictionary the word triage is defined as; the sorting and treatment of the wounded according to chance of survival... so what this lady’s job entails is assessing the likelihood of you dying in the next couple of hours and then sending you back out to another waiting room! When I finally got to see the doctor she took one look at my puss-filled arm, scribbled out a prescription for antibiotics and told me to wear elastic cuffs.
The WSB test I did at Portimao was mint. Some of the staff at Yamaha, Italy have been there since I rode for them in the Supersports class back in ’02 and I’ve stayed in touch with them, so it felt pretty natural for one of them to be handing me Spies’ Championship-winning R1 for me to have a bash on. Racing bikes used to have two clocks under the screen – revs and temp. These days the digital dash can be set up to relay any amount of information to the rider. Revs, temps, pressures, gear position, lap time and ECU settings. What I didn’t expect was them to have programmed it to flash the word TWAT up in big letters as I came back down pit lane... nice one lads!
Oh, and one last thing. Guy Martin, top TT rider, tea aficionado and general all round good bloke has got it wrong about the delicacies of making the perfect brew I’ve been told. Most people agree that to make a proper cup of tea you should brew the tea in a tea-pot and always put the milk in the cup before pouring the tea in last. Guy told me this is important because what you are after is an emulsion. And if you pour the milk in last you end up with a mixture instead. And that’s no good.
Well according to a bloke I met the other day who’d seen Guy talking about it on TV at the Isle Of Man this year – this isn’t the reason why people pour the tea in last at all. He reckons it stems back to the days when tea was an expensive luxury drunk by the upper classes from fine bone china cups. The problem was that if you poured the boiling tea into the cup first the heat would sometimes crack the cup. If you put the milk in first it cools the tea enough as it goes in to stop this happening! Sorry Guy.
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