I STEPPED out into the front garden this morning, and I swear I caught a whiff of burning methanol wafting up my nostrils.
OK, I’ve lived on Teesside for nearly 20 years so I’ve grown accustomed to some unusual smells – but I think you know what I mean.
The newly-bloomed daffodils brought splashes of yellow to the garden on a spring-like morning, and the snow and ice of recent weeks seemed a thing of the past as I gazed up at a refreshingly azure sky.
But by then I’d already cracked my first smile of the morning. I’d ripped off the page that read ‘February’ on my Edward Monkton calendar to reveal a page that told me, finally, it was March.
In an instant my mouth began watering at the prospect of a lip-smacking chicken kebab from Robert Smith’s takeaway in Berwick (if you thought The Cure had been quiet for a while, now you know why) and a cool, refreshing pint of scrumpy in the shadow of the Oak Tree Arena in Somerset.
Heck, I could almost hear those officious stewards at Workington doing their best to make their dull night at a family-friendly sport as interesting as possible by loitering needlessly around the away fans.
Yep, it’s March – and that means the speedway season is almost upon us. After twiddling our thumbs since the end of October, we can now take a good look at the next eight months of our lives.
This month’s fixtures raise the intriguing prospect of a mini-tour to Northumberland, with the Bears’ challenge match at Newcastle falling conveniently the day after our Premier Trophy curtain raiser at Berwick.
A night on the town and an overnight stop on Tweedside beckons then. Last time I did that, many moons ago, I witnessed the unlikely sight of an old lady – coat and horn-rimmed specs and all – buying a cup of tea in a nightclub. Honestly – and I swear I wasn’t drunk!
It’s been said that speedway is just about four blokes turning left on motorbikes. It isn’t. It’s about a whole community, thrust together by a common passion – and the experiences that go with it are a joy to be hold.
It’s March – and I’m very happy!