29 June 2007

Holland Hotel Weekend – July 6th to 8th 2007 - Part 4

Unfortunately, after months of planning, rounding up others to go, I am unable to go to Gouda for the Trip!

Something has come up at home and as a result we have to be on call at home and not 200 miles away in deepest Kaasland!

We'll have to try and use the Shuttle ticket later on in the year.

27 June 2007

Virtualtourist

Just saw that this is available. I have been on Virtualtourist for five years. It's a good place to look for independent advice on places, anywhere in the world, to go on trips. It's not commercial and you get to recommend places and give honest opinions on them!


I have traveled to 194 Cities in 21 Countries
See all my travel pages

26 June 2007

It works!

The Blackberry service seems to work okay.



Sadly, it is quite addictive.



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23 June 2007

Smokin'

This is the guy we saw in the Isle of man... Neil Porter


DSCN9622, originally uploaded by pauldevall.



DSCN9623, originally uploaded by pauldevall.


DSCN9624, originally uploaded by pauldevall.

22 June 2007

Wet, Wet, Wet

The last week or so has been pretty wet in UK. Luckily I managed to miss most of it in the two days I was at work after getting back from the IoM.

This week I had to go to a conference in the Midlands, Keele University in fact.

Luckily, I managed to get most of the way through the packed motorway system before it pissed down. Sadly, it was as we crawled through Brum that it started to rain, and hard. I had to make a quick pitstop to change gloves, but not before the unlined ones had got a little wet.

My jacket, the Buffalo, managed to keep me generally dry. The inside pocket behind the gusset was damp and sadly it's where I had my phones! Luckily, neither were damaged, just damp.

The rest of the trip went off okay. For the return I decided to take the M6 Toll to avoid the solid Brummy jams. As it was, there was an accident right by the junction with the old M6 and after ten miles of jams I got to the front. The M6 was free and so I went back to Plan B of M6, M42, M40.

It was almost free running on the way back apart from the speed control on the M42, that meant that we had to naff about at 60 mph. As there was only about 25 cars per mile, a bit ridiculous. But no doubt somewhere some gnome can claim that the limit was for our safety and no one was killed or maimed!

I stopped at Cherwell Valley as I was desperate for a pee. Not bad services, but they follow the IKEA principle of making you walk past all the restaurants and shops to get to the bogs!

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14 June 2007

Blackberry!

Well, despite telling them that I wanted to be able to use the Blackberry phone outside UK, the reason why all my Blog emails were saved up rather than being up to date, was because I am barred from international usage.

What part of "I need to use it abroad as well" wasn't understood?

I was unable to get through on the phone and so hunted about on their website to get a form to send and email. They has come back to say that I had the international bar set on. Why? Hopefully it will all be resolved today!

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12 June 2007

TT Day 8

Not really a TT day, as it's all over and today it is home day.

We were up early and down at the sea terminal for 11am to check on the boat and found that it had been put back to 3pm from 2pm.

We had a teacake in Capone's and passed a couple of hours before returning well before 1pm to start loading, only to find about 60 bikes already through the gates.

I can't say I am all that enamoured with the service from the Steam Packet. Compared with P&O or Eurotunnel it is a case of amateur hour.

The bike was tied up and once again I was lucky that there was no body contact with the boat. Leaning the bike against a padded rail seems primitive! But I suppose it works! I didn't see anyone complaining of damage!

The crossing time was up to 2h 50m from the 2 hours on the ticket. Once back in Liverpool it was a palaver to untangle all the bikes and get off into the fresh air. It was gone 6.10pm as we emerged both by my clock and the Liver Buildings clock.

Signposts seems hit and miss but we eventually found the M62 and Manc bound. I didn't realise how we would make progress and had booked a £15 room at the Travelodge at Hilton Park. In the end we were there a little after 7.30pm so if I had thought about it I could have looked further south. I discounted riding all the way home and getting home after midnight.

Dinner was in the room watching the TV. In fact the first healthy meal of the trip. No sausage, no burger just a tuna salad.

Home tomorrow.

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11 June 2007

TT Day 7

Last full day of the holiday on the Island. So we decided to do the south and for once it meant not going to Peel! I know but there you are! Sacrifices have to be made.

Firstly we went to Port Erin and stayed there for ages. The usual cup of tea (or rather coffee this time) but it was too hot. One of the locals said it was 82 degrees. Not what you expect from the weather on the Isle of Man.

We had to move as the white painted walls of the cafe acted like an oven. I remember from metalwork years ago to use a corner to heat metal quicker to reflect heat back!

We had a walk around the town and to the bank, then into the newsagents for a paper to read on the seafront. All very nice. Even better when the sun went in for a while. Yes, I am complaining there was too much sun!

Lunch was in Cafe Roberto, with a back drop of a Vincent single. I guess it was a Comet but I am not an expert where even this level of British bike lies in the pantheon of great bikes. Across the road was a shop that looked like a bike dealers from the fifties, also featuring a couple of Vincents, these both being twins so I guess these would have been Rapides as neither has much body work, although I suspect they may even have been Shadows. The red one though?


From Port Erin we took the coast road to Port St Mary and then onto Castletown. We stopped for a while and had a wander down to the harbour and then off back to the B&B for a shower etc before a ride out to have dinner. I fancy Indian but my belly might not and we have a long way to go tomorrow, so no Dehli Belly required!

In the end we set off for Douglas and found a really nice Thai restaurant. I can thoroughly recommend "The King and I" on Bucks Road. We were entertained by the proprietors son, Alex, who was the fount of all knowledge about football, despite being only 7yo! The food was excellent and cooked by the wife of the partnership, Sunny.

Tomorrow we have to be at the ferry terminal at 1130am according to the paperwork. Let's hope we get a bloody boarding pass this time!

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!

10 June 2007

TT Day 6

No more racing to occupy our days. So today was spent travelling around the Island.

Firstly, we went into Douglas and avoided the town centre but by the grandstand to let Claire see it.

Then on to Laxey and the Lady Isabella Wheel. Then we needed a cup of tea and so went down into Old Laxey.

Old Laxey is quiet and like the beach places we used to go to years ago. After a pot of tea we set off again for Snaefell. Sadly the museum and cafe was closed. You might get the idea that our trips revolve around tea. You may be right!

From Snaefell we dropped down to Tholt Y Will and the Wheat Free Bakery. Time for lunch? A roast pork bap and another tea later and we were Peel bound.

Continuing down to Sulby and on to the track, but going against the race direction. It was very quiet going our way, but there were still loads of loonies bombing around the track as though they are Mini-Me John McGuinness's!

We were in Peel for hours. Walking in the sun and of course eating. This time another of Davison's excellent ice creams. We walked it off though (!) along the harbour wall to see the seals.. I won't embarrass myself with the pictures of the seal!



The picture above is actually a panoramic one I merged together with a tool that came with a friend's Canon. I used the "panoramic aid" setting on the 8700 to try and keep the levels the same to make it easier to stitch them together. The subject is Peel Castle!

We returned to the B&B in time to see the Canadian GP and Lewis Hamilton's maiden win. Then it was into Douglas to see the transition between it being overrun by bikers and it being reclaimed by the "normals" as they no doubt think the are!

So another scorcher of a day. At least the lobster red face and head are beginning to mellow; hopefully to a tan!! Let's hope it continues......

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Buffalo Jacket!

Back in mid April I bought the Buffalo jacket from Robinson's.

It's a good fit and comes with a load of bondage straps to make it fit snugly. So far so good?

It would seem so!

The first jacket had a "wardrobe malfunction" when one of the pop fasteners that holds the upper outer pocket's stormflap pulled through the fabric. It went when we were in France for the Giverny trip.

I finally took it back to Robinson's and they changed it without question on 26th May. Imagine how pee'd off I am that the new one went the same on the ride up last week on the ride up to Liverpool! Only the third time I'd worn it!

Looks like another trip to Canterbury? Another jacket or money back?
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9 June 2007

TT Day 5

Moving day. Packed and paid Sarah Everest and set off south to new B&B at Foxdale - Clag Mooar.

As it seemed too early we stopped in Peel for a coffee and a walk round,then rode down to Foxdale. Good job we did as they were getting ready to set off to Castletown and the Southern 100 Club's Billown road races.

We dumped the luggage and changed into lighter clothing. We set off as well towards Castletown to where the road was closed. We arrived in time for the practice for all three races and found a good viewing place, right by a convenient tea bar!

I took a few pics, but as with the Senior TT, the camera's shutter speed is too slow. By the time it decides to take the pic, the subject has left the viewer! In the end I started to anticipate and press early!

After practice the road was opened and we decided to head off back to Peel for a walk and perhaps a paddle. In the end we had one of Davison's excellent ice creams. Gorgeous!

Later on we found that where we had been viewing practice, Fourways, was where there was an incident when a bike went in the crowd. During practice a few overshot the right hander and went up the road to turn around.

Then back to the B&B for a shower etc and then back out to Douglas (again!) for did-dins.

Paul Devall - sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

TT Day 4 - Part 2

John McGuinness sets new outright lap record and race record. Damned Honda!

That aside what a great winner and an exciting race to watch.

When we arrived at the Bungalow it was hot and sunny. By race time it was freezing (in comparison) and the mist came and went obscuring the track way back from our bit.

I managed to get a few decent photographs of the race, but having to use full digital zoom means that until you see them on the bigger computer screen you have no idea how good they actually are.

The MCN Parade of Champions was held up for a while as there had been an accident on the Ramsey end of the mountain. A rider had crashed and his bike flew into some spectators. He was killed and two of them also died.

The Parade was at a pretty hectic pace with Carl Fogarty off first and harrying the leading travelling marshal as they passed us.

Once it was over we went back to our B&B to change and then head out to Douglas for dinner. Sadly on arrival the Austrian selling goulash had gone home! In the end we had to make do with a "Bigfoot", although I could think of a better name for a 12" sausage; "lifesize?" Perhaps not.


After a walk we ended up opposite the Carol Nash/Bushey's marquee where the evening's entertainment was to start. A few loonies doing burnouts before a stunt rider whose name I can't remember, came out and did some stunts, wheelies and burnouts etc. Once he'd blown his tyre they fired up the mechanical bull, and we left for a quick ride back to Ballaugh.

At Balacraine, an old BSA Goldstar came from the left, wheezing off the line. By the time the lights changed he must have been through Laurel Bank. I eventually got the chance to pass him on the long downhill into Kirkmichael. It might have been old and two-up but the rider had a good line and unlike me didn't have to brake!

Feeling like we needed a drink I pulled into the pub at Ballaugh Bridge. A quiet pint alongside the track at 10pm.

Paul Devall - sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

8 June 2007

TT Day 4

Day 4

Up early and off up to the Bungalow.

There were loads of cars and bikes already there but we were able to get a space about 200 yards from the footbridge.

Everyone was so spread out we got a spot on the hill where we could see the bikes come over the Veranda and sweep down across the railway line.. Perfecto. Until the mist descended on us.


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7 June 2007

TT Day 3

Day 3 saw us up early and breakfasted and out to get to the Liverpool Arms for the BMW Club TT Natter Meet.

When we arrived we saw that Peter Lewis, who lived on the Island, was there and had the banner up already. Gradually, people started to arrive and soon there must have been around 40 bikes parked up alongside the pub and in the car park. Thanks to Peter especially for his help on the day.

We left about 1.45pm for a run into Douglas essentially for a look round and a look for Tesco and to look round. We didn't find Tesco but did buy stuff for lunch and for tomorrow when we will also need to be out early to get a good view of the Senior TT.

All in all, I thought the Club meeting went off very well and I tried to natter to as many people as I could.

We got back to where we are staying at about 5pm for a lie down before setting off again for dinner and to look for an optimal viewing spot for tomorrow. Pie and chips was tonight's choice from the limited Ramsey eatery list.

Paul Devall - sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

6 June 2007

TT Days 1 & 2

Day 1.

Left at 1010 and made good time on the motorways to Steve's, where we should have arrived about 1710.

Unfortunately we suffered a "Doris Moment" and spent ages in the vicinity riding round and round. A map problem means that there are no routes involving Liverpool work properly.

Day 2.

Up a bit late and. out about ten-ish for the short ride down the East Lancs Road and into Liverpool. Passing Goodison on the way in.

By ten thirty we were parking up in Albert Dock. NB they make you pay to park - £1.50 an hour. We had an hour!

Once at the Steam Packet we booked in. . Parked up and had a burger. When. We came to board we foiund that they guy hadn't given us a boarding card so they wouldn't let us on. Back to the check-in for him to say he couldn't give us a new one but to go to the office. Now we were experiencing one of those "Airline" TV programme events! We had to go through our luggage to prove we didn't have them and despite me having the booking letter they ummed and aaghed before they gave us new ones. The fact we never had one originally was lost on everyone but us!

The boat left 30 mins late and so here we are on the Irish Sea. Can't be long now.

Paul Devall - sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

4 June 2007

Packing

Why is it that when you have little panniers you manage to get by. And when you get bigger ones, you fill them up xo easily.
Paul Devall - sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Getting ready for the trip

Today has been one of preparation.

Firstly, I had to take the bike across to the new BMW dealers, Coopers, in Tunbridge Wells to have the front pads changed. A job one used to do oneself, but no longer do. Too much ABS and whatever! They did the job quickly and not too wallet stretching.

Next it was into Maidstone to get to the Vodafone shop to get the email activated on my Blackberry. Time wasted as I couldn't find the shop! In the end I went to Ashford, where it was sorted in a few minutes.

I also had a dip into Marks and Spencer's to look at pyjamas. Staying in a "homestay" place on the Island prompted this. Decided £15 was too much for a glorified t-shirt and boxers!

Plan to leave about 1030 or so in the morning for the ride to St Helens to stay overnight with Steve H.
Paul Devall - sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Star Wars - The Last Jedi

After all the build up.  Next week. Booked tickets for Friday 22nd.