By chance, I listened to ‘From Our Own Correspondent’ on Radio 4 this morning. Purely coincidentally it had an item on the threat to the Penans of Sarawak from logging in Borneo (BBC have an MP3 of the show, but I don’t know how long it will be available, the item is 17 minutes into the file). The Penans that the journalist visited were close to Bario, where I spent two months as a teaching assistant, and may have been some of the ones that I had seen when I was there, or later when I was writing my Guide to Long Lellang, a Kelabit village, but with several Penan settlements nearby such as Long Main and Long Sait which I walked to. I hope it may have been slightly dramatised, but it painted a very bleak picture for the future of the people as more and more of the Borneo rainforest is torn down.

It was the second mention I’d heard of Sarawak on Radio 4 this morning. In ‘Excess Baggage’, the Rainforest Music Festival, which takes place near Kuching at the Sarawak Cultural Village.

Who am I kidding?

Of course I am going to ride a bike again.

I am in no rush to repeat the experience of the last few weeks, and more importantly, I don’t want to put friends, family, and the emergency services through it again, but it isn’t that easy to stop riding a motorcycle. There is still so much I want to do on two wheels. Travelling around the UK, touring through Europe, and hopefully, venturing further afield. Even just riding into work in the morning and arriving with a grin on my face. Somebody mentioned something quite appropriate, which is if I don’t get back on a bike now, I’ll only do it again in 10 years time and regret all the time I’d missed in between. It is interesting to note that it is the people without a bike that ask “are you going to ride again?” Other riders ask “when are you going to ride again?”

I’ve found out that the bike has been classified as a write-off. I was insured fully comp, so I should get a settlement for the bike, but even just taking that into consideration, my next insurance quote is going to be a fortune. On top of that I need to replace all my gear, as none of it has made it back home. Most of it was cut off me, but the helmet and my left boot were given to me. You don’t ask a helmet to save you twice, so that went, and what use is one boot? Even if I could have bought the matching one, it was pretty much worn through on the toe anyway, and that was on the leg that wasn’t hurt. Bearing that in mind, I guess my next bike has to be a cheaper runabout for a few years until the premiums start to come down again.

Maybe an advanced riding course would also be a good investment.

Reporting the news, or part of the news?

One of the problems of spending alot of time at home with the TV on, is that you spend alot of time at home with the TV on. I still haven’t succumbed to mainstream daytime TV, but I do leave the TV on News24 in the background (the remote is broken, and it is an old TV, so getting up to turn it off is a major event). I think we can all be happy that Alan Johnston was released in good health, but the BBC didn’t half ham it up. Pictures of their correspondents all over the world with pictures or posters of Alan, or congregated outside Television Centre. Today, one of the major items on BBC news, including the introduction to NewsNight in the evening, has been that the Corporation has apologised to Her Majesty and Annie Liebowitz over some mis-editing of a clip, and some bravado by a producer, that suggested to other press organisations the Queen had walked out of a portrait session during her last visit to the US. It is vaguely newsworthy, but “breaking news” that has to be covered as the first item at the top of the hour? Not really. I do note it was covered on Channel 4 News at 7pm, but 47 minutes into a 55 minute programme. That may be a bit more like it.


Today was Gordon Brown’s first Prime Minister’s Questions session in Parliament.  At one point, he pointed out that the leader of the opposition should remember he’d only been in office for five days.

Well, that’s alright then, let’s just hope we don’t get anything like terrorist attacks for the first couple of weeks or so.