random thoughts. terry parris


Motor cyclists from Romania

You have to be very valiant to ride a motor bike if you have cerebral palsy. This was the conclusion I reached when two men arrived at my house this morning and rang my bell. My cleaning lady and friend came running upstairs to say they couldn't understand a word and so could I come down and try in English. I gathered that they were from Romania. The two men were standing by a powerful-looking motor bike – one, let's call him Radu, was a serious-faced man in his 30s and the other, let's call him Nicu, was rotating his head nervously and I guessed he had cerebral palsy. I tried in English to enquire what the matter was. Radu had no English and Nicu only spoke a few words. But I managed to understand that the motor bike had broken down. Radu produced some papers which led us to understand that they'd rented the bike in Barcelona. With Núria's help, we were able to ring the rental company. Phew! I had imagined them riding all the way from Romania! We successfully reported the break-down. Then we offered them some tea and biscuits. After the tea, the two men seemed to mime “15 minutes” and zoomed off on the motor bike! Where had they gone? Wasn't the bike not working? Then the driver of the tow-truck rang and only spoke in Spanish, which I'm not too good at, but Núria saved the day telling him where we were but that the two men had mysteriously disappeared. He said he'd come anyway and it would take him 45 minutes. Then we noticed that the two men had left their back packs on a chair so it seemed that they did intend to return. Trusting that they would come back, we waited and sure enough, the mystery was solved when they arrived back pushing a second motor bike! We had assumed that they were travelling on the one motor bike! How could a man with cerebral palsy ride a bike? Well, to end the story, the tow-truck turned up and loaded the broken-down bike onto the lorry. And our two Romanian friends waved us good-bye and, amazingly, the afflicted man, Nicu, drove off with Radu on the rear seat! Later, my niece who is a nurse, explained that anxiety would increase the head movements but that Nicu must feel confident on the motor bike and thus would be able to drive. I can only conclude that Radu was Nicu's carer and that the two of them were mighty brave.

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