18 January 2007

Wipers Times - April 8th 2007 Part 2


We now have 12 people booked on the 0920 Shuttle out and a route has been designed to give us lunch (very important) and then a tour around the sights on the southern part of the Salient.

Lunch. We will arrive in France and clear the terminal around 11am the plan us to ride across country to one of our favourite watering holes in Cassel for lunch. A post-prandial meander around the town will show us the places where General, later Marshal, Foch had his command HQ.

The scenic ride will take in Mont de Cats and Mont Noir then Kemmel, Ploegsteert and then northwards to Messines and the Irish Peace Park. Messines/Mesen is where the British Army detonated 22 large mines in what is considered the largest single action success of the entire war for the Allies.

Then looping up to take in the mine crater at St Eloi and then to Santuary Wood and the Hill 62 Museum and preserved trenches before arriving in Ypres for coffee/tea/snack or simply for a waffle!

See update to this page.

12 January 2007

Welsh National Rally - May 12th 2007 Part 2

At the moment we have a team being put together and the first travel plans put in place.

After last year when I didn't bother booking anywhere for the Saturday night after the rally, expecting to waltz into a B&B or hotel easily, and getting the bum's rush and severe wallet assault when I eventually got sorted, I have planned a little further ahead.

This year I expect to be joined by old WNR colleague Andrew Pratt. Dave Clarke who did the rally with me last year is also coming along with some friends as he practices for an Iron Butt event.

Travelodge have some special offers on that mean 50% off their normal (exorbitant!) room rates and so I have booked Friday 11th May at the hotel in Telford and Andy has booked the one for the Saturday night at Hilton Park Services.

All we need now are the booking forms for the rally and then a week or so before the paperwork with the checkpoints. In true managerial manner, I let Andy work out the route to meet the requirements of the Gold or even Platinum Award.

Raring to go...

10 January 2007

Monopoly Challenge - Report

When I got up at 5.45am, some 45 minutes before I get up everyday to got to work, on a SUNDAY, I looked out of the window to see it was still dark, but the unmistakable reflection of the streetlights in the puddles in the road foretold that the start of the day was going to be damp and miserable. Exactly what it turned out to be as I made my way out of Hythe to the A20 and the blast up to Tesco's to fill the tank. The roadway even partly flooded through Sellinge, and slippery.

For me, objective 1 was to meet fellow SOC and IMTC member Nigel Jones on his Triumph 3-cyl Wotsit and a friend of his, Charles, who came on a Ducati 916. The meeting was 7.30am at the Moto Services on the M2 near Gillingham. I arrived with 10 minutes to spare! Unusual for me!! Both are IAM members and Nigel is doing the assessed rides and Charles is the Secretary of the East Kent Group of ther IAM... and I was in the middle with Charles behind me. Best behaviour Paul.

Objective 2 was to ride up to Blackheath and meet the rest of the Monopoly Challengers drawn from the BMF, many of whom I have met on numerous occasions. We had to be there before 8.15am to qualify for a free bacon roll. The challenge was met.

From there we adopted the de-rigeur drop-off system and headed for the first place on the board - Old Kent Road. I had been expecting us to stop conveniently and where possible have the photograph by a road or street sign bearing the name. But due to local parking restrictions the organisers had decided to have a photo by a landmark or point of interest if necessary. To explain to the less au-fait, they had made some facsimile place names to mimic the squares on the board.

So for Old Kent Road it was a B&Q car-park! Then we set off in earnest to knock off the remaining 25 places... some of which were taken by the road name sign and others as previously said at a landmark.

For Marlborough Street (it doesn't exist it is really Great Marlborough Street!) we had it taken by the tacky London Palladium advert board... see Sound of Music pic. I think Liberty across the road would have been more gentile. In the pic it's me on the left and Ian Campbell (fellow BMW Club South-East Section member) on the right.

Covent Garden was taken in Bow Street, two places with one stop, the first on pavement outside the Royal Opera House and the other opposite and outside Bow Street Police Station. It was closed.

There were few mishaps along the way and thankfully the traffic was light. Some sort of interference in Park Lane by the Four Seasons caused Nigel's alarm fob thing not to work. After a while we left him to wait for the breakdown truck. He was picked up and the bike loaded in a van only for the alarm to start for the umpteenth time, this time the fob worked. The bike was unloaded and he rushed around all the stops to rejoin the troupe. We met up outside the Savoy, that was one of our our Strand photographs, the other being Charing Cross Station!

At Liverpool Street Station we had just parked up on the double-yellows when a Police Sergeant came along. After a few words to explain what we were doing he said we could take as long as we wanted and wished us good luck.

The final place on the map was right around the board again to the "brown" section and Whitechapel. Here we parked up along the road outside the tube station and took photos in each direction, one (here when I can get the bloody blogger upload to work.. two pics okay and now it cocks up!!!!) of us assembled by the station entrance and one the other way towards the landmark of the Royal London Hospital.

From here we needed refreshment, as we'd only managed a cup of Starbuck's in the entrance to Carnaby Street ages before. Steve Cole, the main organiser, led us to the Blackwall Tunnel and back in to Kent and to Oakleas Woods.... Beware "Plain clothes and Uniform Police Officers patrol these woods"... apparently it's famous for dogging. Not to be confused with dog walking.

Some of the Challengers stopped for lunch. I had a coffee and set off for the longish run back home.

Now we await the photos being published somewhere public for the sponsors to see. I've raised about £75 from work and a further £20 from a train-buddy, Birgit, and I'll make it up to a round £100. In all the group have pledges for around £2750 and that should be enough to buy a horse for the Riding for the Disabled at Bradbourne, near Sevenoaks in Kent.
All the official pics can be seen on http://www.bmfinkent.co.uk/monopoly.html

4 January 2007

Sloe, sloe, quick, quick, sloe - Part 2

Just a few days short of 4 months in the bottle I have decanted the sloe gin from the berries and into clean bottles.

Ready to drink
I didn't have any filter paper to hand tonight, so instead simply poured the liquid off using a kitchen sieve to catch the berries and part of berries.

In the end the liquid contents came to a full Gilbey's bottle and an inch or so left over in the other bottle. I even squashed the berries to extract as much of the liquid as possible.

Of course, after the photo I had to have a small taste, for medicinal purposes only, of course.

Lovely. Needs a bit more time until it is as smooth as the other bottle that Claire's Dad made three years ago and that we have only a little of.

I'm especially fond of the Gilbey's bottle as for 3 years in the late 80's and upto December 1991 I worked for Grand Metropolitan in Harlow, in what was the former IDV computer centre.

Across the road were the huge bonded warehouses and in the town itself was Gilbey's Gin Distillery... Many of the people I worked with had worked for them for years as Gilbey's was one of, if not the largest employer in the town.

3 January 2007

Monopoly Challenge - January 7th 2007

Not my idea.

Certainly not to get up at the crack of dawn on a January Sunday for a 65 mile ride to the start point of an event to take in all 26 places immortalised on the original London version of Monopoly.

The idea is to obtain sponsorship to help buy a new horse for the Riding for the Disabled in Kent.

We meet at the Tea Hut at Blackheath at 0830 on Sunday 7th January.

The run is being organised by Steve Cole from the "BMF in Kent" Club. If you want more details and a sponsorship form, please contact him directly - stevecolex@aol.com

More details later and a write-up and links to the "results" page.

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