29 December 2013

Rosie's First Outing

So once we got back from Folkestone and we had our fish and chips I thought as it was still dry (air, roads damp) I'd pull Rosie onto the drive and take her to the local petrol station and fill the tank.

The filler is lockable and at the front of the riding position but low down!

Good job I was looking closely as it was at £3.48 and it was filled to the brim. That equates to 2.65 litres. It had some in there already.

Then I shot back home to get my phone.

Claire took these as I set off again for a short run along the seafront.

This is when I actually looked at the speedometer. Bloody hell, 50 seems so much slower! Ah. It has a kilometre speedo and odometer.

I had a run up to Seabrook car park. It is so cold my fingers were turning numb!

So back and now from 3kms on the she had 19kms....

28 December 2013

Engine fix

Laguna have confirmed that Döra will be sorted by Triumph in the week commencing March 10th. 

To save having to have a day off work I will take her in on the Saturday or Sunday and then Claire can give me a lift home or they will sort me out a loan bike.

Triumph are supposed to be doing that anyway so we will have to see what turns up.

Of course I do have Rosie for the station runs.....

27 December 2013


This afternoon Claire and I went to the pantomine at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.  We parked in the park and ride as Canterbury could be a nightmare at the best of times.

The panto this year was Jack and the Beanstalk. An old tale about a dim boy that becomes a hero by killing the nasty giant ogre and all the trials and tribulations of getting that far. Fee fie foe fum and all that. 

It starred Samantha Womack (Janus) from TV. Currently she is in the long runnng (and depressing soap opera EastEnders on the BBC) and a guy that the kids knew from Cee-Beebies.

There was a reasonable amount of smut and innuendo, as per the rules of panto. Plus loads of sign-alongs and children's favourite songs and of course, a Princess to be saved and a man playing the Dame.

Excellent all round family entertainment in two and a half hours......


23 December 2013

Metz Nöel - Monday

My birthday.

Up early again to open my cards that Claire has brought with her, then breakfast

By 0920 we were on the road heading north along the same route as on the way down.

Again we dropped into a Luxembourg fuel station and I squeezed €12 in the tank. Topping right up the pipe to enjoy as much of the cheap fuel as possible.

The plan was to stop off in Bastogne. On the 21st December 1944 the town was encircled by German troops and the US 101st Airborne under General McAuliffe held the town until relieved some seven days later by elements of Patten's 3rd Army and 10th and 11th Armored Division.

The Airborne museum was closed today, I expect it was open on Saturday as it was the anniversary!

We dropped in the tourist office and picked up a leaflet on the new museum opening in March to commemorate the Battle of the Bulge and the Siege of Bastogne. 

I can feel a trip coming on!

From Bastogne the Tomtom route was via N4 towards Namur before we rejoined the A4. Tomtom also chose to return via Brussels rather than the way we got down there.

No real problems with traffic thus far.

As it was my birthday and the Shuttle wasn't booked until 8pm we tried to get into Gent and then Brugge before aborting due to excessive traffic and lack of parking. 

In the end we stopped at a frituur on the way out of Brugge.

So birthday lunch ended up as sausage and chips. 

Claire's was the brochette of pork and bacon!

From then it was plain sailing back to the Shuttle and a £3 surcharge to travel two hours earlier........

With dire warnings of poor weather in the channel we were glad we were on the train. At the tunnel we found the wind had got up but it didn't affect the train. 

The high winds and driving rain had caused flooding and damage from Canada all across the Atlantic and Southern England was being battered.

It was a really good weekend and I am glad I booked it. Metz is a nice city and we enjoyed the whole thing. 

22 December 2013

Metz Nöel - Sunday


We were up a little late for breakfast arriving when everyone else was there. Although the hotel was pretty quiet overnight there were lots others in the small restaurant.

Our walk took us ended by the Wheel a different way via ancient arch, the Porte Serpenoise. Destroyed in the 16th century and then rebuilt three hundred years later.

We went around to the Cathedral and down to the old town where there are bridges across some narrower sections of the Moselle. It was drizzling most of the time.

Time for lunch.

Back to Place 1 to get a bratwurst and a beer!

After some shopping we ended up back at the hotel for a siesta.

Looking out of the window I saw a group of about ten scooters with their riders dressed as Santa. Before we could get down their they started to ride off and so I had to get a few shots from the hotel window!!

We were up and out again. A look at the nativity scene across the road from the hotel.

Strangely, Jesus is missing from the scene, so we assume he will arrive on Christmas morning?

From here is was back to Place St Louis for a beer and a warm wine in the Cafe des Arcs, where we had a drink yesterday. I gave the Nöel beer at miss and had ordinary Grimbergen.

Then we needed dinner. This time we had tarteflette. A kind of dauphin potato with flecks of ham topped with a sausage. We had the middle size portion and two forks!

We also bought some more presents for friends and family, had a coffee in Place St Jacques and then it was gauffre time for Claire.

On the way back Claire had her pic with St Nick.

Then we went back to the hotel in the drizzle to read and get ready to head home tomorrow.

Metz Nöel - Saturday

We were up about 0530 on Saturday and checked in at the Shuttle less than an hour later. It was alternating between drizzle and proper cold rain. The temp gauge in the CC showed about 8°C!

We were lucky for once and were loaded onto the back of the earlier train and at 0721 set off for France.

The route options provided by TomTom were a dogleg south and east in France via Reims or a more straight line route through Belgium and Luxembourg. I chose the second as it meant avoiding France's toll motorways. "Plucky" Belgium has free motorways. TomTom said both were a similar time and distance.

By the time we had arrived at the A25 to Lille it had dried up and we didn't see any rain again that day.

Luxembourg has the cheapest petrol in western Europe at €1.28 a litre, and that is rip-off motorway prices. Hence the long queues at all the pumps. In both France and Belgium it was more like €1.55 and up for 95 unleaded. No sign of the creeping poison that is E10 ethanol added fuel.

Luxemburgois Petrol Station

We arrived in Metz and TomTom took us straight to the door and into the car-park under the Place de Gaulle in front of the main station.

We checked in and set off for our first excursion the mile or so to the first market location in Place St Louis. First order of the day was to buy something for late lunch; two bratwurst and rolls. We checked out the stalls and bought some chocolate in a slab before Claire had a second hot wine and I had a Grimbergen Bière de Nöel.

French Bratwurst

Market Stall

Then it was back to the hotel for a siesta until 1930 when we set off again to visit all four market locations.  More purchases included artisan sausages!

Dinner was Pôellée de Noel, spicy pork in half a large roll with a token gesture salad at the bottom of a fragment of lettuce and a bit of tomato.

Pôellée de Noel et Claire

We found location 3, the Place St Jacques and the Christmas Shop. Baby Jesus for the nativity for €2 or with attached manger for €4?

Lots of Baby Jesus' 

We then found location 4 with the large coloured wheel and had dessert of a crèpe for me and a gauffre for Claire.

Christmas Lights

The wheel

We then found 2. It was in the middle of the shopping centre and as it was Santa's Grotto it was closed.

The Holy Family

It's Christmas

Then to bed. Worn out after long day and too much food!!

20 December 2013

Kent Pet Food Run 2014

This year I went for a simple poster from the Publisher templates in the Office 2010 version.
I have a PDF version as well.

Christmas Present Ideas....


Although I do support Arsenal. An Arsenal onesie is definitely not me! Although I did buy myself a set of "lucky" legends sock.

I did ask Santa for one of the red and white replica shirts from the seventies. The ones in the Arsenal club shops doesn't have the number on the back.  So I bought one on his behalf  from Campo Retro that does.  It is still an "officially licensed" product but is cheaper(same quality lower price)  and has the number 7 on the back.

The number 7 should be George "Geordie" Armstrong from the 1971 Double Winning team or latterly (and assumed by Campo) to be Liam Brady.

Old Pics

Going through a box of old photos I came across this rare colour epic from circa 1960/61. So I scanned it.

Our Gran (who preferred to be called Nanny), Lily Devall, my brother Neill in a fetching pair of pre MC Hammer baggy pants and me looking cool and sophisticated.

Merry Christmas

16 December 2013

15 December 2013

Christmas Market.... Germany No-Go

Sadly the proposed trip to Rudesheim for the Christmas Market has been knocked firmly on the head. Why?

In 2010 the Germans introduced a law that says in "wintry conditions" you need winter tyres. Bugger.  In England we have relatively mild winters, with little snow, so we never bother with winter tyres.

So, instead I had to hunt about for a Christmas Market elsewhere.  In France. So. Metz it is!

I tried for Strasbourg but that would have been nice but at this late stage no hotels this side of the Waldorf Astoria price range are available.  Metz though had a few rooms.  So I booked one. City Centre, walking distance of the market and the sites.

Now to get the TomTom re-jigged....

More info.

St Nick

Last year....

11 December 2013

Black Sabbath @ O2 Arena

Last night at the O2 Arena. Black Sabbath live.

Superb. Played a mixture of classics and some tracks of the "13" album.

Ozzy might shuffle about a bit, but kept going for two hours. No missed lyrics and Iommi and Butler smashing out the Sabbath guitars.

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