19 December 2014

The Boy

It's five weeks since we brought the boy Reggie home. He seems to have made himself at home and some of his "asbo" traits have not manifested themselves as badly (or at all) as they told us when we signed up! 

However, he does have a few other little peccadilloes that they didn't mention:

  • He likes to chew the mail. 
  • He likes to  rip up random pieces of paper
  • He reacts badly to other dogs on leads but not running loose!
The last is odd as you would think he would be more worried/nervous about other dogs running free when he is on the lead!

We have a little list to share with the behaviourist from the Dog's Trust.  As part of the re-homing process they give support for the dog's life.

13 December 2014

New sidetand bolt!

And so it soon became the 13th December and Dora went to Laguna to have the latest "service bulletin" to be sorted. The side stand bolt.

The weather was around 2°C when I set off so I decided to stick to the main roads and the motorway rather than the back roads across the top of the Marsh.  

Once booked in a went across the road for a bacon sandwich and a coffee.  The job was done so quickly that I had barely got sat down when my phone chirruped with an SMS to say it was done!  

I wasn't in any hurry. The pub was cold as well, but not a patch on the outside world.

Dora was parked outside and I took a photo quickly and then togged up and rode home. Heated grips on full power.

6 December 2014

Johnny No-Mates

In the end, me and Döra didn't make it to Ostend. The weather turned very cold and icy and a 6am start didn't make any sense.

So, Döra stayed tucked up in the garage and I had to re-book my crossing for another time.

When iPhones die!

Bereft! I felt like I was cutoff from the world!

My 5S has been powering itself off at odd times since the iOS 8 upgrade. It isn't a battery problem, as it had been as high as 47% charged.

On Wednesday evening it turned itself off at 27% and when I turned it on the Apple logo stayed on the screen. I went online when I got home and found that this is called "recovery mode".

I followed the instructions on Apple's website and it didn't work. 

What to do. I had little luck with O2 online and ended up booking an Apple Genius.

Just in case I called into the O2 shop in Folkestone and they managed quite easily to reset it back to factory setup.

All that means I needed to was attach to my iTunes and restore my data.

After the first stage it looked a bit dodgy as it seemed to have lost all my apps and data associated with them. So I left it to sync again....

Fingers crossed.

3 December 2014

Movember is over

Movember is over. Another year of growing a moustache is over. This year I did a little better than last year and raised £180.  I am hoping that someone that offered to pay a few quid will get their donation in before the cut off date of December 9th.

Thanks to everyone that donated. It is a good cause and if by looking a bit of a berk for a month (silence at the back!) can help fund research that will bring an end to cancer, not just in men but everyone, then we have done good!!

Another "Service Bulletin"

I heard on the grapevine that there was another "service bulletin" to dealers for the Explorer. This one concerns the side stand bolt failing and the bike tumbling into the weeds.

contacted my dealerLaguna in Ashford, and they confirmed that Döra is in the VIN range and needs to be booked in ASAP.

As I am in Ostend this weekend for the St Nicks Rally it has to be the week after. So I have booked her in for 0930 on the 13th.

Fingers crossed that nothing goes wrong this weekend. Although saying that, I do tend to use the main stand wherever possible. It is so much easier using the luggage if the bike is upright.

27 November 2014

Justice Campaign

MAG has been asked by Bev Taylor to share the enclosed photo. If you can't see it, click on the link here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/s807qdtg3jovfqu/Bev_Tayor_Lembit_Opik_CPS_meeting.jpg?dl=0

On Tuesday, MAG's Lembit Öpik, Director of Communications and Doug Smith, North Devon Rep, went to Exeter to support Bev in her meeting with the Crown Prosecution Service, regarding the death of her 19-year old son Greg who was killed by Niall Darvell while out on his bike with friends. The photo was taken at the BBC studios after the meeting where this report was recorded: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04pv3w0/spotlight-26112014

Darvell was driving a VW Golf which was not roadworthy. Darvell himself walked away without any custodial sentence despite having a history of drug and driving offences and not being insured; as well as driving away from the scene at speed – attempting to remove any evidence from his vehicle.

The CPS does not have a proper answer to what went wrong in this case, including Darvell's arrest by the police, and its handling of the family. The investigating officer didn't even mention in his report that Darvell left the scene, which is an instant 6-month jail sentence.

MAG is looking to take this case higher. Bev Taylor's MP Mel Stride has offered to help. It will take time and a lot of work to sort this case out. If anyone could offer any help in the research that will be needed, please get in touch.

This, and the case of Matthew Thompson are robust examples of what MAG is trying to change with its Justice campaign.

John Mitchell
National Chairman
Motorcycle Action Group

The Motorcycle Action Group Ltd (MAG) formed in 1973 is a civil rights organisation dedicated to influencing political decisions and social attitudes for the benefit of motorcycling and motorcyclists.

MAG is Registered in England as Company Number 8848806 and has its
Registered Office at Oakslade, Hatton, Warwickshire, CV35 7LH

26 November 2014

Roll of Honour video link- 28th October

Thank you for your submission for the Roll of Honour at the Tower of London.


As you may be aware, due to public demand we began filming the ceremonies on the 11th of August.  The archive site with the videos is now live and the video of 28th October Roll of Honour is now ready to view. You can watch the recordings at:  http://poppies.hrp.org.uk/roll-of-honour/28th-october/


Thank you for your support and your participation in this project to remember those lost in the First World War.


Kind regards,


Kate Pritchard

Roll of Honour Team


Historic Royal Palaces


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The Glorious Georges: Every generation has a story, step into the world of the Georgian kings at Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace and Kew Palace. Watch the film at www.hrp.org.uk/georges.

Movember - Day 26

Into the final trot and then Movember 2014 will come to a bumpy end...

Thanks to everyone that has donated and I hope that as it is payday this week for most of the UK, it's a chance to donate. 

24 November 2014

Whose bed?

Reggie Snoop

I suppose it is down to the previous owners but Reggie seems to have decided that sleeping on our bed is okay. 

He's not stealthy at all, he just jumps up and commandeers a large space for himself.

20 November 2014

Movember - Day 20

It looks as though I am going to have to do some pretty drastic cutting and shaping to get the 'tache to look okay. I had been hoping for the Burt Reynolds or Sonny Bono look, but in the end it is a little too grey!

Looking back through the blog history to see when I first started this caper, and it looks like 2004, although the first blog entry is back in 2006 with Tacheback.

So, two thirds of the way through the month and I have raised less than ten years ago.  Not even keeping up with inflation.

Here's the link again in case someone wants to spend a dollar or a pound, a zloty or whatever.  Every penny counts.

FT Aqua

I was reading a thread on the Facebook page of the Triumph Owners MCC about investing in a textile jacket and it made me think about how long I have been wearing my current jacket. I tried to cast my mind back then do a search, coming up with June 2008!

Was it really that long ago?  Amazing. Maybe I am also due for a new jacket?  

But why?  

The FT Aqua has been amazingly waterproof and continues to be so.  It was black when I bought it but in exposed areas like the sleeves and front it has faded to a more dark browny-red co;lour.  But in areas like under the arms and the back, it is still black!  

I have no idea how many miles it has racked up. But I guess it is in the environs of 80000. In all weathers from very cold to high temps in Spain and of course, lots of rain.

So?  Maybe I'll wait a little longer then....

19 November 2014

Movember - Day 19

Way past the half way mark now. The slide towards the end of the month is well and truly underway.

Drumming up donations is proving hard this year.

The BBC's Children in Need raised £32m from people in the UK and if just a fraction of that, maybe my friends and family contributions would have boosted my fund raising. 

18 November 2014


He has made himself at home in the house and is generally very good.

He spends a lot of time looking out of the window and chewing his toys. The tennis ball is punctured and he started to pull the hair off it.

Other than not liking visitors, and growling and barking at a gas service engineer he is okay.

14 November 2014


THE POPPY | 14 November 2014
As we reflect on the outpouring of support from the nation, I would like say a huge thank you for your help during this year's Poppy Appeal. Many of you have given generously or given your time in support of the Armed Forces community, and I have found the efforts of the past few weeks to be truly humbling.

Below are some of the fantastic projects that you helped make such a success. As ever, we will continue to Remember those who have fallen and also support the future of those who Live On.

Thank you as always for your support.
Charles ByrneDirector of Fundraising
Fields of Remembrance
Tens of thousands of supporters have remembered a loved one or paid tribute to all those who fell by dedicating a wooden remembrance tribute in one of our Fields of Remembrance. These striking fields were opened over the course of last week, and will shortly close. 

You too can mark the memory of loved ones, friends or comrades by dedicating your own Remembrance Tribute to a life remembered in these poignant Fields of Remembrance.
City Poppy Days
This year’s Poppy Appeal saw volunteers on the street of every village, town and city raising money for the Legion. A few British cities saw incredible surges of support on City Poppy Days, with uniformed personnel lining streets and manning major train stations.

We would like to send a special thank you to the serving personnel who have made these days such a success.
Big Poppy Run
This October, young veteran Ben McBean started a run across London in the shape of a huge poppy. Inspired to complete the gruelling 31 miles by the thought of wounded soldiers like himself, and those who never made it home, Ben asked the Great British public to help. Hundreds of supporters helped complete the poppy by running the roads inside its outline to raise money for the Legion. You can still donate to Ben's run, with Vodaphone matching all donations up to £100,000.
Christmas is for sharing
We are excited to be a part of Sainsbury's ‘Christmas is for sharing’ advert, made in partnership with The Royal British Legion. It is inspired by the amazing story of the 1914 Christmas Truce where British and German soldiers laid down their guns and celebrated Christmas together. The chocolate bar featured in the advert is on sale in Sainsbury's stores, and all profits from each bar sold will raise vital funds for the Legion to help our service men and women, veterans and their families to Live On.
For daily updates about our work
t f g+
The Royal British Legion, Haig House, 199 Borough High Street, London SE1 1AA | Registered Charity No 219279The Royal British Legion is the UK's leading Service charity. We provide practical care, advice and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families.
www.britishlegion.org.uk | Unsubscribe

13 November 2014

The Hallowed Turf

Way back in 2006, the Highbury pitch was dug up and the turf sold off. I was given this lump by one of my contacts at a school where I support their MIS. Sadly, it was quite sickly by the time I got it and it finally died a year or so after being planted.

I still have the flag though!

11 November 2014

The latest addition to the Devall family

If all goes well Snoop will join the family from the Dog's Trust at Canterbury this weekend.  

He is a rescue dog and admittedly he has a few problems that will need ironing out but he will present a challenge and a new companion.

The Dog's Trust originally had him on the website as a terrier-cross, but that was revised to Labrador-cross.  He does look like a Patterdale Terrier, although maybe not pure bred.

Snoop might get a new name as well; it's not as though he actually knows he is called Snoop.  I have always wanted a Reggie.

Snoop has been fully vetted, he has been neutered and chipped, and is medically clean; wormed and de-flead.

He is due to be collected on Saturday. Claire and I had an interesting walk around Pet World where we bought a few essentials for him; a bed, some toys and the essential poop-bags.....

Although we have both had dogs before, it is rather a long time since.  He is a little excitable and to be frank goes ape-shit if a dog gives him the "big I am", so he barks back and growls. Yet in his cell in the homing block he shared with a small Jack Russell bitch that bossed him. She chose the biggest bed and he slept wherever.

Fingers crossed. Maybe he'll get his own blog.....  ;)


9 November 2014

Ring of Red

Today the Ring of Red.

I met my brother at the Esso on the A2 and we had a coffee before we set off for the A206 bridge just to the south of the Dartford Tolls.

Arriving there about 1pm to see no other bikes other than a couple that had joined us at Cobham Esso.

Once we saw the start of the column appear on the bridge I fired up the Xacti and managed to miss the first couple of riders!!

In the end I took about 5 minutes of HD video. There are some bits of empty road, but generally it works.

3 November 2014

Hilly RIP

Friday was a very sad day for us. Our beloved cat Hilly passed away.

She was over twenty years old and had been on medication for an overactive thyroid for over eighteen months.

Sadly, a side effect of the drug is that kidneys are affected.

We took her to the vet as she was restless and spending a lot of time trying to go to the loo.

Despite their care she continued to deteriorate and we had to make the decision to allow the vet to put her to sleep. We couldn't let her suffer any more.

The house is very empty without her and we will miss her terribly.

28 October 2014

Roll of Honour

I left work at a little after 4pm to get down to the Tower of London for the Roll of Honour.  I wanted to be there to hear as they read out the names of our relatives, Charles and William Devall, both who died  on the Western Front,

The journey was a little delayed firstly as the Circle Line was having one of its "problems", i.e. late and/or cancelled, and so I had to get the Metropolitan Line to Aldgate and walk down the Minories. The crowds in both directions were pretty heavy and once at the Tower, they had closed the lower of the walkways cramming everyone into the upper one. 

Once I had found space there I could see and test the digital camcorder, I found that although I could see, the sound was pretty rubbish. I wanted to hear the names read out.

I did a test video of the Guardsman bugler and although that seemed okay, the announcer was muffled. Apparently he said that the Roll would start at 4.55pm.

I decided to move, threading my way through the selfie takers. Maybe it is because I am an older bloke, but I find it somewhat irreverent to grin inanely like the Cheshire Cat into a phone with the poppies in the background hardly in focus or visible at all.  And don't get me started with the complete and utter pricks that have an extendable stick with their iPhone fitted to the end! 

Take pictures of the poppies and the ceremony by all means, Record it for posterity, share it with others that couldn't be there but not a bloody selfie.

I was lucky that once I got on the steps I was right near the front and was able to get a decent shot between two older guys on the very front row. The light was failing and I tested the camera again. The Xacti takes HD video but the playback screen is quite low quality so as I reviewed the vids, they looked terrible.

On the computer they look better - links below.

The ceremony was very moving and I was pleased to be there to hear them call out William and Charles' names.  They were quite near the  beginning so I gave my (wavering) arm a rest.  It seems to easy to take movies but without a tripod they are waving about like poppies in the breeze.

Video 1  

22 October 2014

Route 66 Blog

Not mine!

I guess I am in a minority. I don't have any ambitions to ride Route 66. There. It's out for all to see and discuss.

I would like one day whilst I can still ride to have a go at some stretches, but not from Chicago to the Pacific.

I am one year into a ten year US Visa so I guess I still have time.

I would like to do the parks in the West to see the likes of Yellowstone and Yosemite and the cowboy films landscapes.

Anyway. I'll make do with Florida on 2015 with R&R and a trip to Epcot and Cape Kennedy....

This is my brother's blog: http://dmd66.blogspot.co.uk

21 October 2014

Movember 2014

Movember is back. My brother has dropped out this year and it is just me to do it.

I had created a team for us but it's now a one man outfit.

Christmas Markets 2

Don't get me wrong. I love a seasonal market as much as the next man. Strasbourg is supposed to be one of the biggest, but I find myself thinking "wouldn't it be better if it was warm?".

I've not got my head around actual Christmas Day away, but coming more around to the idea packing the car and heading to the Mediterranean for a week starting on Boxing Day.

Of course we'll have the cat to get looked after.....

20 October 2014

Tower of London Roll of Honour

Thank you for submitting a name for the Roll of Honour at the Tower of London. We are delighted to confirm that your nomination will be included at the ceremony on 28th October 2014.

The list of 180 names will be read from the poppy-filled Tower moat at sunset, starting at 4:55pm (16.55). The names will be read the order in which they were submitted and validated. We regret we are unable to make changes to the reading lists at this stage.

At the end of the reading, which will take about 20-30 minutes, an Army bugler will play the Last Post.

If you would like to watch, you can get a good view from the area in front of the Tower ticket desks on Tower Hill.

We are filming the ceremonies and an archive site where you will be able to view the videos is currently under construction, we will let you know when it goes live.

We are also adding the lists of names being read each night at http://rollofhonour.tumblr.com/ so that they can be seen and remembered from anywhere in the world.

17 October 2014

MAG: Decline in young people taking test - Working Group

From Oliver Rose, MAG National Clubs Officer: 

One thing at MAG we're obviously concerned about is the latest statistics from the department of transport that show the rate of young people taking up biking (based on test passes) is significantly down. As reported in July 2014 Government figures released last week show that in the year 2012-2013, 3,333 18-year-olds completed the practical motorcycle test while in 2013-2014 only 216 did.

This is something we'd love to see change, and one of the things we feel may be affecting the figures is the combination of tests required to get a full licence (the result of the EU Driving Licence Directives, and their implementation in the UK).

We're looking to put together an expert working group who can help us get to the bottom of this concern. We are looking for approved instructors and their employers who can assist us.

If you're in a position to help in anyway drop me an e-mail to oliver.rose@mag-uk.org

If it’s not for you but you know others that may be in a position to help, then share this and do your bit to help us get this disastrous legislation overturned to protect our way of life.

14 October 2014

Poppies at the Tower

The trip today was to see the poppies, some 880000, that have been hand made and planted in the moat surrounding the Tower of London.

We took the HS to Stratford and changed to the DLR to Tower Gateway.  The exit is across the road from the Tower and we could see the crowds of people viewing the display plus the long queues for the Tower's ticket office and entrance.

The display has no straight edges as it represents the blood of those that were killed in the battlefields across the globe, mostly on the Western Front and Gallipoli.

It is sobering to thing that each poppy represents a soldier fighting in the British Army that was killed fighting for his country.

A debt we still owe to those that paid with their blood.


7 October 2014

Service time

Döra is booked in to Laguna on October 31st for the 10000 mile service. I'm quite a bit short on miles at the moment, but with a ride out coming up in a few weeks I might get to 8000!!!

6 October 2014

France Weekend - Deuxième Jour

After breakfast on Sunday we decided to head south to the Baie de la Somme, and to Le Crotoy in particular. A couple of years ago we had a short visit there on the way back from Normandy. Although the obvious non-motorway route was to go down the D940 coast road to Le Touquet and Berck sur Mer, TomTom had other ideas and we ventured away from the coast into nowhere, or the hinterland between the N1 and the coast. In the end a road closure actually forced us back to the coast road in any case! 

The first stop had actually been on the outskirts of St Leonard, the town that adjoins Boulogne. It was to fill the tank with refreshing French diesel. At €1.242 - litre I was saddened to only get €60 to fill up the pipe. There is a flap to stop overfilling. That price equates to about 98p a litre! At home at the local supermarket it is about 34p a litre more!!!!

After eating out twice the day before we decided to have a picnic instead. The weather was good with temps around 22C and so we stopped at the Carrefour at Rue and bought some food and drinks. As with Douai the day before, parking is free between 1200 and 1400 and we arrived at 1141. To cover out arses we popped 30c in the machine and that took us to 1159! It would be a hard traffic warden to issue a ticket for 1 minute?

Panoramic picture of Baie de la Somme
Leaving the stuff in the car we had a walk from the beach area to the town for a coffee and a look in the shops, just in time for them all to be closing for the day or for lunch. And then back along the seafront to the car and to eat the pizza like food we had bought. It was still warm and the beach was pretty much "tide out", with the bay looking almost shallow enough to walk all the way across to St Valery about three miles away.

Le Crotoy beach huts
With food eaten, we had another walk along the sands to try and exercise the calories away, instead stopping for an ice-cream!

Le Crotoy
Once back at the car it was about 1430 when we set off home, via Audreselles and afternoon coffee. There were delays on the Shuttle due to an earlier breakdown and we managed to squeeze on the back of the train that was retimed to leave at 1827 instead of 1820. The rest of the train was filled with the previous train's cars! Two cars further back in the queue and we would have been on the next one at 1850!

Unlike Southeastern Trains, there is no compensation for delayed travel! You simply have to grin and bear it!

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