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.


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


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.


13 December 2012


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.


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.
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.

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