30 December 2012

Last ride of 2012?

The morning was sunny and so I got the bike out for the last ride of the year.

One dry day amongst a succession of wet days and I needed to get the GS out of the garage.

It was cold and I set off across the marsh, avoiding the cyclists that don't consider the marsh roads to be other than cycle paths.

I looped down to Greatstone and Lydd and back up through New Romney. Stopping briefly at Dymchurch and then home.

Bracing but good to be out again.



29 December 2012

Last game of the year!

Writing this waiting for the high speed "Javelin" service into London.

It's the last game for Arsenal in 2012. We have a good record against Newcastle but with our suspect defence we might find it will be another of those ebb and flow games where emotions are stretched.

A little disappointing is that the local rivals, Spurs, won in the early kick off at Sunderland.

Completed later!

What a game, kept scoring and then giving goals away. 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3...

You start to worry that with two giveaways at the back stick we were going to throw it all away.

In the end the last fifteen minutes saw the goal rush that saw Wally Walcott complete his hat trick and Olivier Giroud come on as sub and score two in five minutes.

7-3.

What a way to end 2012.

28 December 2012

New boots....

A couple of weeks ago, we were in Clark's shoe shop in Folkestone and Claire was looking for boots. I saw a pair of men's Goretex lined boots.  They had a price tag of £94.99 and so I put them back on the shelf.


The other day I was looking online at their website and saw the ones I liked, the dark brown ones, were down to £64.99 in the post-Christmas sale.  As we were in town, we popped in to the shop whilst my watch was having its new battery fitted, and they were on sale at the same reduced price. 

So with wallet bulging with Christmas and birthday money from my Mum and Father-in-Law I bought them.

Claire's Bennetts Dream

http://bennettsbikingdreams.co.uk/dream/view/3243/0

Claire's dream is to get my GT out of the garage and back running so we can use it, rather than it sitting in the back of the garage looking unloved.

If you happen across this page, then maybe give her dream five stars too!

Casio Waveceptor

After a succession of sub £3 watches from eBay, that may have provided a change but without longevity, I decided to get a new battery for the Casio Waveceptor.

Okay, the Chinese could have provided me, postage included, with three watches for the price of a battery, and without a doubt they would have been easier to set the time!

The guy in the shop had the old battery out and the new one in and had replaced the seal that allows me to dive to 50m, should I wish, all in a few minutes.

Even with the user manual he managed to set the date, but not the time. I keep the manual handy as changing the time from UK to CET is a major operation when on holiday! Even harder coming back!

The watch needs setting up to get the time automatically from the atomic clock in Nottingham. Or Frankfurt in Europe.

Some four and a half hours later (!) I managed it!

I just hope all the pressing of buttons A and B hasn't worn the battery down!


23 December 2012

Happy Birthday

Well here it is today. 57 today.

Decided against anything spectacular and did some shopping for the last things needed for Christmas.

Spent the day quietly. Weather dull and I had hoped the rain we have been having of late might start to go so that I can get out in the bike at least once.

Sadly, it is raining again.

Maybe things will improve tomorrow and I can see if the old girl will start.

Winter is so bloody miserable in this country. If it would snow and then melt later at least we'd know that it was clear. But we have rain and miserable drizzle all the time.

21 December 2012

End of the World?

For months there was been a growing clamour in the press about the Mayan calendar allegedly prophesying the end of the world.

Another Armageddon like the last three or more that were supposed to happen.

Unless there was a miscalculation we are now 12.5 hours into whatever comes after the fire and brimstone and nothing seems to have changed.

Oh well. Onto the next one.

Bennett's Dream

Mine is: http://bennettsbikingdreams.co.uk/dream/view/3180/0

Do me a favour and give it five stars, doubt I'll win, but every vote might help.

It's not all that expensive so maybe they'll be able to help.

You can have yours as well. Enter your dream and see if you can win!

Big win on the Super MoT and Happy Christmas

Further to all the other deliberations in Europe over the Super MoT, the Transport Council of Ministers meeting yesterday confirmed that they wished all motorcycles to be excluded and that the Regulation be reclassified as a Directive, so that individual member states would have more room to implement what they chose.

From the PR:

"The Council agreed a general approach on a draft directive updating the common rules on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles. (…) (it) does not retain the Commission's proposal to extend periodic tests to motorcycles and light trailers and to increase the minimum frequency of checks for older cars and light commercial vehicles from every two years to every year throughout the Union. Member states, though, are free to impose stricter rules."

The UK will of course keep its MoT for bikes, but won't now be forced to separate the testing centre from the repair shop, or introduce all the other excessive ideas that the EU Commission had tabled.

This is a huge victory for our campaign and especially the work of all the FEMA member organisations who pulled together on this and worked to influence their national governments.

The EU Parliament may still argue on behalf of the Commission and the private interests who stood to gain so much from this, but it's doubtful.

I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to write to MEPs about this. It will be interesting to see how they respond in the new year, having originally said that they would press ahead because it was bound to increase safety, even though, as with the anti-tampering, there was no evidence to show that it would...

If you click the campaigns tab on the www.mag-uk.org website there are summaries of various other ongoing issues at year end.

On a different note, the DSA have released a wonderfully complicated non flow chart entitled "Routes to your licence" ahead of all the changes that will take place on January 19th.

Although its design is bad enough, the first page is actually a demonstration of the outgoing system, but without an obvious header to say so. They must have a department dedicated to confusion!

It's good to see they remain true to form.


Have a very Happy Christmas and apologies if I have missed an email from you during the year.

Paddy Tyson.

20 December 2012

Archive - GT750A

I guess I am not alone in having a huge collection of photographs taken before the digital age?  Thought not.

So I thought I'd look out a few and scan them in.  I have a collection of pics taken of the Kettle (Water Buffalo or Wasserbuffel) on a few runs out and a couple of trips in Austria for the Wasserbuffel Club's rally at Schloss Moosham.

1993 - Garage in Zastavka on the trickle charger


1993 - Hundertwasser Autobahn Services

1993 - On the alpine road

1999 - Maltatal waterfall


The next little batch are all from the 1993 Wasserbuffel Treffen.  The treffen is hosted in the Schloss at Moosham, and a lot of the hardier types camp, others stay in the apartments across the road, and some in the nearest town of Mauterndorf.

Twenty years ago (nearly!) I was booked in the youth hostel a few miles away but one of the German guys said to share their room as they had a big room in the gasthof and a spare bed.  They took pity on me as I was from the Czech Republic, so that it costs me nothing, apart from the odd beer to repay the all.


My GT in the centre with the Eddie Lawson replica Shoei




My GT front right



14 December 2012

French Breathalysers - Latest

The implementation of the sanction for drivers not carrying a breathalyser – a fine of €11  – has been postponed from 1 November 2012 to 1 March 2013.

HURRAH!

13 December 2012

Baxter

I feel a bit guilty now that I have planned the toy run elsewhere after reading Baxter's story.  If we didn't have the cat I might give him a home myself. 

Read the original posting from The Last Chance.

Baxter

Baxter
Gender/Age: Male
Breed: Staffie X
Colour: Black - silver muzzle
Location: Edenbridge

My darling Baxter needs his own love, he has been waiting year after year for someone to just ask about him, WHY is he still waiting? Why does no one even ask about this lovely old boy? It makes me sick to bottom of my heart, is there no one out there with some compassion, with some love to give? How many more years does this boy hope and pray that today might just be that day. I so, so wish I had the time, the money, the right home to bring all these poor unfortunate lovely over looked dogs and cats a home. Don't think I wouldn't, there is no question about it, if I could squeeze another few in I would. But I have to be sensible, this is why I am hoping against hope there is YOU, that special person out there to help this darling boy.

Our darling Buster came in to us in 2005, he went to a lovely home, he was an ideal pet, but unfortunately he was returned 4 years later due to a change of the owner's circumstances. Since he has been back we have had no public interest in him whatsoever!  Come on what's going on?

Baxter is a lovely boy, how can no one see this? Look at this darling boy, look into those eyes, don't let any more tears run down his face, stop letting him hope and wish, let him have that garden to investigate, let him have the welcome hand stroke on his head, let him have that warm snug bed, let him have a home of his own, let him experience that LOVE once more, are you out there to give him MORE???

Baxter is a truly loving dog, but like many he has only one downfall, this is that he doesn't like other animals.

He is extremely friendly with people, but I will be honest, he will seem uninterested at first with you, as he will just think you are taking him for a walk, as I said he knows on one wants to love him. Baxter would make a great pet he loves going for his walks, he is house trained, travels well and can be left alone for 4-6 hours, He is always overlooked due to his age, size and breed but he really needs someone to give him a chance, he will make such a lovely pet for someone that will enjoy taking him for long walks, he is strong on the lead so needs someone that is able to handle him.

10 December 2012

Letter to Shepway Council about Parking Strategy - 2

After getting no replies the last time I tried to get a parking question answered... I get this almost immediately.


Dear Mr Devall
Thank you for your email.
We do not have specific motorcycle parking spaces on street or in any of our public car parks as motorcycles are not prohibited from using normal parking spaces.
All motorcycles can park for free in pay and display bays and permit holder parking places but they are still subject to the regulations that apply in time limited waiting bays and other classes of bay such as loading bays and disabled persons’ parking places.
Regards
Alan Lague
Highways Engineer
Shepway District Council
Civic Centre, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone, Kent , CT20 2QY


This looks pretty good but if I couldn't find this out by checking online and had to email a councillor, how are we supposed to know?

Letter to Shepway Council about Parking Strategy

This is the letter I emailed to the cabinet members for parking at Shepway Council.


Dear Mr Dearden,

Last year I wrote to Shepway Council, using the form accessible from the website, to comment on the Parking Strategy. This was a mistake as I wasn't rewarded with a reply other than the automated response to say a communication had been received.

The point I was trying to make was that the strategy ignores motorcycles and contains no mention of them at all. As a Shepway resident, council tax payer and motorcyclist I see this as a great oversight.

In Hythe, where I live, until Sainsbury opened, and created a dedicated parking area, the only marked bays are two in the Prospect Road car-park by what is now Aldi and a small one in the Waitrose car-park. Sadly, the one at the end of Stade Street was removed when the Council decided to make the car-park “pay and display”; the motorcycle bay was removed to fit the machine!

Are there any at all in Folkestone? There used to be one by Lidl but it had almost as much broken glass and rubbish as tarmac.

Making over some of the free or time limited spaces to form a motorcycle bay wouldn’t cost too much. If they are currently free, the cost of painting the road will be minimal and as for parking management, the wardens are there in any case as other spaces could well be time limited parking. I’m thinking of The Leas (upper and lower) and Bouverie Road for instance.

I look forward to a reply this time, hence the reason for emailing you directly.

It's the opener. I have also posted it on the Hythe MAG FB page and we now need to start a letter writing campaign.

Step 2 should be a peaceful demo. Local riders parking in the free or time-limited space one Saturday morning to get public attention. 

P.S. A time-limited space is usually free but most often for one hour and then you have to drive away, with no return for one of two hours.

5 December 2012

Frost & Ice

So it looks like a bad move to have changed my cover pic.  Since then the weather has taken a turn for the worst.

Saturday not too bad but started get colder, then Sunday the frost was deep and even across the cars and the road, the dampness from the previous weeks and weeks of it pouring with rain was frozen into an ice road.

This scuppered my ride out to the Whitstable Toy Run. Although the weaher looks good on the website and facebook pages in North Kent, it was too cold and too icy for me in South Kent. It has hardly improved.  

Monday I couldn't get the driver's door on the car open when I came home from work. Fiat designed the Punto with the seam on the doors on top of the car rather than tucked under the roof - see small pic.
 
Punto roof line.

The problem is that it freezes and the door won't open. In the end I had to go around the other side that was shielded from the icy blast and climb in through the passenger door.  Easier said that done.

It has been pretty much the same all week. Today we had the added complication of snow.  The roads icy from a brief thaw yesterday, overnight freezing to glaze it over and then snow on top to hide it.

Still bitterly cold.

30 November 2012

New Cover Picture

It's winter and so I thought a winter picture, or at least one with snow would be right.

This isn't actually winter. It was taken in May and this is the northern entrance to the Grossglockner in Austria.

EYE-FI CONNECT X2 4GB

Anyone used or know someone that has used one of these or the SanDisk version?

If it can wifi (supposing there is a wifi connection) from anywhere to your PC or phone, then okay, but the blurb I have read seems it has to be your home wifi? 

Doesn't seem much point as you can put it into the SD slot......

Classic TT Poster

If you want one, follow the link.

http://www.iomtt.com/Shop/Gifts/Classic-TT-2013-Limited-Edition-Poster.aspx?ticrumb=ClassicTTPOSTER!


Rain, floods, freezing

Last weekend we had some of the heaviest rain in the UK for many years.  A phenomenon that continued across the country for a week or more.  Some parts of the country had floods. Hundreds of peple without power and their houses ruined.

Today we awoke after a chilly evening to thick frost on the cars and the gardens "whited" over.  It's one of those things, but allied with the revelation from one scientific body, or other, that the Greenland ice field is shrinking and not being replaced like for like, climate change or global warming must be having some effect.

Sunday is the Whitstable Toy Run.  I'd prefer it to be cold rather than wet.  I'd prefer dry roads and not the icy ones I had today on my drive to the station.

After weeks of rain, the ground is sodden.  Every time it rains again, there is simply nowhere for it to go and it runs off. Near me this means that due to poor maintenance the drains are blocked and the water follows the lay of the land, and that means running across the road, and then some 400 yards later, it runs back.  Not so bad in three (or more) wheels but unpleasant on two.

Then this morning, after a mostly traffic free overnight, the water flows had frozen.  Nightmare for two wheels.  The Punto had a little skip as the nearside front wheel spun up and then it was back to normal. 

I'd hate to go up there on Sunday and find it the same......


Movember 2012


Movember 2012, originally uploaded by InvictaMoto.

The last morning. Rule 2 states that the Mo Bro should grow and keep the mo for the "entire month".

As a mo fundamentalist that means until midnight tonight.

Movember - The Last Day

The last day is a few hours old. Some people on the radio said they would shave today.

Rule 2 says for the whole month. So another 22 hours and 8 minutes left.

If you haven't sponsored me. Shame on your. One pound? Ein Euro?





27 November 2012

French bin the hi-viz proposals!!

We've just heard that the French interior Minister Emmanuel Valls has decided to withdraw the 150 square centimetre hi-viz rule.

Apparently he has acknowledged the protests from riders and that there really isn't any basis for the move.

MAG highlighted a few months ago, that apart from setting a dangerous precedent and creating the possibility that responsibility for accidents could be automatically shifted toward those riders not wearing the hi-viz as required, the French Government had also found itself in possible breach of a Directive which stipulated minimum quantities of hi-viz IF hi-viz was being prescribed.

If you read French:
http://motomag.com/Derniere-minute-Emmanuel-Valls-suspend-le-brassard-jaune-des-motards.html

Paddy Tyson  Campaigns Coordinator  Motorcycle Action Group  www.mag-uk.org   01926 844064 

22 November 2012

Driving licence changes- the EU Commission make it all clear... A reprieve!

With new licensing categories coming in to force on 19th January 2013, the rules change on what the power/cc/ weight the bikes have to be for candidates to take their practical test to enter each new category.

They've changed a lot recently and now it seems they've changed again- to what they were

It is a complicated system and a number of revisions which have all managed to further muddy the waters.

It was a very long campaign for example, that finally got the EU Commission to acknowledge that most 600cc bikes weren't exactly 600cc, so if the minimum test vehicle requirement to get a full bike licence was 600cc, they would actually permit the use of a 595cc machine.

With 6 months to go to implementation, the Commission again changed the minimum/ maximum power and weight requirements (depending on category), which had the effect of rendering some machines the training schools had just bought, as useless.

There were many complaints, but the EU Parliamentary committee said there was no time to halt the change, due to procedure. (That'd be the holy procedure they're happy to ignore on anti-tampering...)

Then the Commission changed things again and now they've released this press statement about what they will now permit the test suitable bikes to be.

Have a quick read of the paragraph below which explains their new idea. I'm sure you'll agree that it has certainly cleared up any confusion...

It modifies the requirements for the motorcycles used for the practical driving test, taking into account the existing models of motorcycles on the market. This will enable for instance the use of electric motorcycles for the test. The Commission has initiated the necessary to adopt a legal provision by the first quarter of 2013 that gives Member States the possibility to continue to authorise the use of current category 'A' motorcycles until 31 December 2018, thus avoiding economic burden to the training industry.

It would appear that after all the filibustering, the chopping and changing, the Commission have acknowledge their huge screw up (without saying so) and will now permit current category A bikes to be used to take the new test.

If they don't change their mind again next week, that means all the Direct Access bikes that training schools already own, will be suitable machines! Unbelievable!!

Movember Day 22

Day 22.

21 November 2012

Results of the Type Approval vote yesterday

So, in the EU Parliamentary vote yesterday, the Type Approval Regulation was roundly supported by MEPs; our elected representatives. 

643 of them voted yes in fact, which illustrates that many of them didn't have time to read it in their own language and as such blindly did as they were told. Hurrah for democracy and Parliamentary scrutiny.

The text was finally produced in all languages just before the vote, but without time to read and consider the text in their own language and compare it to the concerns constituents may have had, the Parliament was led by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) of MEPs. Yes indeed, those tasked with protecting consumers didn't really want to hear from us, the consumers. Even the public hearing they had in Brussels all that time ago to gather opinions from stakeholders, didn't include a single dedicated riders representative group. None of us were invited to speak.

In the end 16 MEPs voted against and 18 abstained. Perhaps the abstainers were at least mildly embarrassed.

As MAG has said all along, much of this Regulation was consolidating 15 pieces of earlier Type Approval legislation and we could never take issue with that.

We have also always praised the idea that part of this Regulation would force manufacturers to list the emissions produced by every new model of motorcycle. The knock-on effect of that will be that we will be able to campaign for road tax in line with the Government's sliding scale charges which reflect lower emissions. It is after all, bonkers that a mode of transport which doesn't congest or wear out the road surface, should pay more road tax than one that does!

Similarly, we have always been pleased that the 100bhp limit that the Commission introduced back in the 90s and which only France chose to implement, has been over turned by this regulation, now that everyone finally acknowledges that there is no correlation between power and accidents.

Of course there is still no evidence pointing to any correlation between modifications and accidents either, but rather than let any evidence or proof get in the way of the urge to legislate, the Commission and Parliament pressed on regardless.

It was article 18 that we had the most issue with and I have included below, the final text that was approved. 

Still harping on about emissions and safety being the reasons why no power train modifications would be permitted, the text exempts all those bikes over 48hp, or those which fall into line with the new category A licence, which comes into force in January.

Instead, a bike falling into the new A2 licence category, bought by someone like me who has ridden over a million miles, will not be able to have a remap, an exhaust or a washable hi-flo air filter fitted and it will be up to the manufacturers to ensure these parts can't be substituted, unless they are happy to prove an aftermarket part won't compromise safety or the environment. And why would they?
If I chose to buy a bigger, nay thirstier bike, I'd be allowed to change these parts and the bike will remain safe and will not pollute any more. Magical isn't it?

If the text is meant to align anti modification rules, with licence category, why doesn't it say so?

If manufacturers have to make some parts of an A2 bike tamper proof and those same parts fit an A category bike, then consequently they'll be making them tamper proof too.

If manufacturers want to remap a machine so that they can sell it in either category, making different power figures, they'll have the expense of Type Approving both as different machines and have to gain approval for the modification to move the bike between categories, should someone decide to buy the bike in A2 form and then after a few years in the saddle, release some more of that power rather than buy a whole new bike - which is hardly the green alternative.

With absolutely no basis to force these restrictions on modifications, what will be the justification to stop them doing it later to all bikes? That's not scaremongering. The Commission acknowledge they have no proof to justify the anti-modification laws. In direct questioning they have failed to provide any. No national government has found any, and the research companies who've looked at this, say that some should really be done, even if it's just to find out if there is a problem or not.

Without a shred of evidence why won't the Commission just use the fact that it did it before and the Parliament were happy, so it makes sense to simply roll out the idea across motorcycling in its entirety.

The justification we've seen from IMCO, is that because tuning parts are available on the after market, people must be buying them, so that's the proof that we must stop the practise. No link to safety or emissions is necessary. Amazingly, they then say that there will be no effect on the after market industry as people can still make standard modifications even though no impact assessment has been done. 

Standard modifications? A little oxymoronic don't you think. On questioning, no one has been able to tell me what a standard modification is.

It is true that compared to the original proposal and first amendments as tabled, we have made great gains. All bikes won't now be fitted with compulsory ABS. All bikes won't be subject to bans on power-train modification and all the ideas about possible roadside enforcement didn't make it through either. But then the Super MoT proposals have been launched instead. (news is coming on the developments with that)

For such a tiny lobby we have done well, but perhaps just not well enough. No doubt we'll be slagged off by all those riders who never bothered to write a letter and who aren't a member of MAG, but if I was you I'd ignore them and be proud of the fact that you got involved and didn't just grumble down the pub. We've heard for years that MAG should do better, but only from those who don't want to contribute.

During the debate in the Parliament the night before the vote, even the Rapporteur from IMCO said he hopes that the Commisssion will get the delegated acts finished in good time so that everyone can get to see the technical and administrative details of the law that he commended to the chamber...

The manufacturers were obviously pleased just to get a move on because it's they who are needing to work out how to build these new machines meeting the new emissions standards and now also how to ensure that the components they build can't be tampered with.

An ACEM press release can be read here, but it still calls for early clarification of the delegated acts so that the industry can see exactly what it has to do.


The FEMA report on the vote can be read here, and it includes a good break down of the new emission limits and bike categories.


Text of article 18, approved yesterday. You'll notice it doesn't have a paragraph 1. 

Article 18 - Measures for manufacturers regarding modifications to the powertrain of vehicles 

2.  Vehicle manufacturers shall equip L-category vehicles with the exception of
subcategories L3e-A3 and L4e-A3,with designated features to prevent tampering of a vehicle's powertrain, by means of a series of technical requirements and specifications with the aim: 

(a) to prevent modifications that may prejudice safety, in particular by increasing vehicle performance through tampering with the powertrain in order to increase the maximum torque and/ or power and/or maximum design vehicle speed which have been duly established during the type-approval procedure as followed by the manufacturer of the vehicle, and/or
(b) to prevent damage to the environment.

3. The Commission shall adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 76 concerning the specific requirements regarding the measures referred to in paragraph
2 and in order to facilitate compliance with paragraph 4a. The first such delegated acts shall be adopted by 31 December 2014.

4. After a modification of the powertrain, a vehicle shall comply with the technical requirements of the initial vehicle category and subcategory, or, if applicable, the new vehicle category and subcategory, which were in force when the original vehicle was placed on the market, registered or entered into service, including the latest amendments to the requirements.

Finally, the definition of a power train:
'powertrain' means the components and systems of a vehicle that generate power and deliver it to the road surface, including the engine(s), the engine management systems or any other control module, the pollution environmental protection control devices including pollutant emissions and noise abatement systems, the
transmission and its control, either a drive shaft or belt drive or chain drive, the differentials, the final drive, and the driven wheel tyre (radius);

17 November 2012

Déja-vu?

Although for the best part of 18 years our north London rivals, Tottenham Hotspur, have rarely beaten us in any competition.

In 2010 they beat us 3-2 after we had raced to 2-0. The first at our place for 19 years.

In 2011 the tables were turned when it looked for 38 minutes like it they may double the win count. We came back to 5-2.

And that's where déjà-vu comes in. In today's north London derby the score was once again 5-2 to the Arsenal. This time our hated rivals only led 1-0.

Sometimes it's hard to enjoy the games as the tension is so palpable. Tense or what?



16 November 2012

Islington PDC Walking 5-Aside Football Competition

Today was the day. In the inaugural year we had four tens entering.

The ICT Crowd were winners. I was the keeper and played all fours games and was beaten only twice.

Each team had five players on the field and it had to be mixed gender!

The nature of our business means we are male heavy.. One side was all women. The tackling was pretty tough.

In the end we managed to end up unbeaten, drew 2, won 2, and also had the only three yellow cards in the tournament, two that became red.....

The £37 raised in the charity bucket was given to my Movember charity.

Thanks to everyone that took part.

15 November 2012

Movember Day 15

The half way point in this year's Movember fund raising and only 15 more days before it can be consigned to the annals of history.

13 November 2012

Movember Day 13

Day 13
Another few days and I had to trim it a bit near the ends.

It was growing lobsided in any case and to even it out meant losing the Zapata look and having more of the Selleck stylee. Needs to bush a bit!!

Might end up with the dippity-doo Flanders.

10 November 2012

Piebury Corner


Corner of Gillespie Road and Avenell Road.

The pie of choice today was the "Tony Adams", a steak and ale pie.

All the pies are homemade on the premises, and are named after Arsenal legends.

Tony Adams was the Arsenal and England Captain over three decades.

The Charlie Nicholas, after the wee Scottish wizard that joined us in the early 80's, is a scotch pie made with 100% beef. (http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/gunners-greatest-players-28.-charlie-nicholas).

So steak and ale? When I say steak I mean steak. Not some minced brown stuff and gristle in a brown sludge, but steak. Proper pieces of meat in an excellent and tasty gravy.

If God made a pie, this would be it.

9 November 2012

Movember Day 9

Day Nine and it's looking more like a moustache...

The rules are specific about starting position. Some of the mo's I've seen are a little on the hirsute side for 9 days.

8 November 2012

One last job to do before the vote on Type Approval

As we edge ever closer to the (currently timetabled 20th Nov) full EU Parliamentary vote on Type Approval, within which are the sections on anti-tampering, MAG Central has written to all MEPs explaining why they should attend, but vote against, the Regulation.

Just to recap, most of the Type Approval Regulation is consolidating existing legislation, which we are not and never have been, in a position to address. There are also sections of the Regulation we welcome, such as the removal of the 100bhp ban that France favoured, now that the Commission acknowledges there is absolutely no link between power and accidents.

The reason our letter asks them to vote against the proposal, is because at this late stage our options were limited, but one we could use, was to point out that the Regulation has been drafted illegally and the MEPs should not be willing to be complicit in law breaking.

As evidence for anti-tampering has not been produced, article 18 of the regulation is in contravention of the Treaty of the European Union article 5 para 4 which covers proportionality. Laws can only be passed if they are proportional to the 'problem' they are trying to fix. If there is no problem, there should be no law.

Due legislative process has not been followed.

On issues of procedure, this regulation has problems too.  The text is due to be voted on on the 20th November and yet the final text is not in the public domain. Even MEPs haven't seen it yet, which means they haven't had time to read it. Nor have their office staff. Are they really in a position to vote on something that they haven't seen? They text should be public for at least 4 weeks. There's only a fortnight to go.

Many of you have raised petitions to the Euro parliament and this is adding weight everyday, to the MEP realisation that the Ombudsman has acknowledged this shouldn't be going ahead without some evidence and that the EU Commission does have a case to answer.

Even the questions asked in the EU Parliament by concerned MEPs, haven't been answered.

The UK government can't find any evidence to justify anti-tampering either.

No-one has been able to say exactly how the Delegated Acts (those detail parts of the regulation that have not yet been fully written by the bureaucrats) will be scrutinised by Parliament after the vote and the thing has become law.

If you do want to keep up the fight, please just write to your MEPs (and remember you have more than one - see www.ridersarevoters.org) and refer to the letter they have received from MAG central office dated 6th November, asking that they address the questions it raises.

Thanks

And finally, it is with huge regret that I must inform you of the passing of Fergus O'Connell a huge figure within MAG, in more ways than one.
Most recently Ferg held the position of Local rep in NE Lincs, but he may be more well known for his many years as National Clubs Officer (though he volunteered for many positions) and of course for his regular column in the ROAD magazine. Ferg will be greatly missed by thousands.

Movember Day 8

Received a new donation today that has lifted me up the table by about 3000 places.

You can still donate to the cause by visiting me on http://mobro.co/2865109

7 November 2012

Schalke 04 Part Final

On the way home we planned a shopping trip in Auchun and to fill the car with diesel, so we were up and at breakfast by 8.30am and off on the road. A stop in Lidl revealed no different makes of beer so we bought eistee and then were off again back tracking along the autobahns towards Holland.
 
As we approached the border we couldn't help notice this sign for a town with a humorous name....
 
 
Once in Belgium we had a stop for a coffee and a leg stretch at the E17 stop and decided that we would go straight to Auchun and shop, then lunch then fuel and back to the Shuttle.
 
Shopping included some beers we had never tried before, plus cheese, casoulet and chocolate. For those times when people drop round a 5 litre cask of wine, rose, was also dropped in the cart.
 

5l ought to be enough

Last night's purchase!!
When we put fuel in at Auchun it worked out that for 518 miles we had used 10.5 galls (imp)...... around 49mpg....  Had we gone on the bikes it would have been about the same each!

Schalke 04 Part 2

After a feast at BK, we went back into the hotel and changed into our football gear.
 
A pint of Veltins Pils

Veltins and bretzel
 
Once at the stadium getting in was very easy and we found ourselves in Block 65 along with the home supporters. The fact that we weren't segregated actually went off very well and there was none of the expected and customary trouble.
 
The game was a disappointment ending 2-2 after we had been 2-0 up.

 
Teams warming up.
 
I was there....

and so was he....
I took this video on my phone of the "community signing" before the kick off.  Most of the songs to rouse their crowd were like this - http://youtu.be/9ZuWfryxUVo
 



6 November 2012

Movember Day 6

Starting to look like a moustache ought to. Now 20% through November and going for any shape I can as it grows.


Schalke 04 Part 1

We were up about the same time I get up for work and out of the house about 0820 and by 0840 I had secured my first coffee of the day.

Before the off!

As usual the shuttle was late leaving by about 10 minutes. First stop Auchun to fill the tank. Diesel is much cheaper in France at €1.348 a litre rather that £1.45. At the current exchange rate that makes it about £1.15!!! A considerable saving. An £80 tank was about £60 instead.

The first problem was TomTom failed. No map of Germany. With no paper map we had to follow our noses.

Having been this way before I knew the route and occasionally used the Skrobbler app on my phone to check when we were nearby.

We had a coffee break about 1.30pm and arrived at about 4.15pm at the hotel. 
 
Arena Hotel

The room is small but clean and cheap!

Once checked in we set off for the Stadium to see where to go in daylight.




 

The bratwurst and beer stands had barely opened and so we ended up in Burger King by the hotel.

Bratwurst free grill
Curry for the currywurst
 

Now back in the hotel with two hours to kick off. Need a beer and after the game I need a sausage!


 
 

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