29 March 2015


On the glamping trip I had set the route in Tyre and uploaded it with TomTom Home to the unit. It worked perfectly.

But when it came to planning an ad-hoc route it wouldn't calculate. Choosing "plan new route" and any of the options other than "home", the unit locked solid and needed the power button held in for about 10 seconds to turn it off and then back on. Very irritating when you need to use it. Luckily, Google maps came to our rescue, albeit with a strange series alternating voices, US woman, to English woman and back at random.

I was about to log a call with them using the email address I have used before but thought that I'd try and re-install the application from TomTom Home first.  Amazingly, it worked.

I deleted the current app, 19.5mb and then re-installed the latest 25.5mb version and that seems to have fixed it.

Looking at the "manage" screen in TomTom Home is shows the installed application back at 19.5mb.

Oh well and phew.

28 March 2015

Lee Wick Farm Glamping

So Glamping Day arrived. The car was packed and we were off just after 10am.

The initial plan was to go to Saffron Walden and speak to Chris about the GT. TomTom estimated that we'd be there at 11.24am. In the we had to abort as it was way after that and we were still stuck in traffic some 60 miles away and we had the glampsite to go to.

I emailed Chris and as he was away today (Saturday) it will have to be another date. 

We made a stop at the services at Thurrock to let Reggie go for a pee and stretch his legs, and then we set off again for the glampsite.  Despite the actual roads not matching the Google map image, we arrived in good time and of the three pods, we were the first to arrive.  The key is kept in a small key holder and we had the combination!

The pod is quite spacious inside, with the front half having the table and chairs on one side and the futon on the other. At the back is the kitchenette and the bed opposite, the en-suite at the back.

The shower facilities are catered for in Pod 1 by the addition of a "shower shed".  

Travel by car when you have a dog!

Pod 1
Once we had unpacked and settled in we needed lunch and so we headed back put to St Osyth itself and looked for the dog friendly pub that the information book in the pub mentioned. With internet being crap the info came in handy.

We parked opposite the Red Lion and Claire went to check.  A pint of bitter and a plate of ham, eggs and chips later and we were ready to face the rest of the day.  Claire had Diet Coke BTW.

Then we were back at the pod, it was getting like the car knew its way.  Our next trip out was to St Osyth Beach.  Once clear of the town we crossed some farm land and then entered "caravan world". 

We parked up by the Sailor Boy complex and parked. Free parking by the seaside?  Too amazing for words.  The beach is a bit scabby but the sea wall provides a path that extends a long way either way from here.

One Man and his dog

On the way back we needed cash and ended up driving to Tesco at Clacton to use the ATM, and buy batteries for the torch.  They said we needed a torch as the site has no lights.  Luckily, the Insignia does have lights fitted!.

Back at the pod we dug into the crisps and coffee whilst Reggie had his dinner, then we were off again, this time to the Chinese takeaway in St Osyth.  

Dinner was taken reading kindles and magazines whilst the England football (soccer to my US friends) played on the DAB radio.

Once we'd chilled we took Reggie out for his walk. It was dark and although we thought the road through the farm and stable yard was just a drive way, it appears to be a road judging by the mopeds and cars speeding along it. So our walk wasn't as good as we would have liked.

Come Saturday morning we'd had a reasonable night sleep, Reggie barking a few times and a few of him on the bed with us.  The owners don't want dogs on the beds or the futon, but we had loads of throws with us to ensure that if he did climb up there would be no marks or muddy feet.

Saturday morning we had a lay in, and then breakfast, pack the car up, quick tidy around, and then we were off to Claire's sister via another trip to Sailor Boy and walk the other way to wards the Martello Tower.  The beach at Jaywick is a little better than St Osyth itself, and Reggie enjoyed the walk and the sand between his toes.

TomTom then decided that although it was working perfectly with routes planned and imported, it locked out when trying to plan a route from scratch on the unit. Luckily, once clear of the area, Google maps on Claire's Android phone started to work and apart from a wrong turn by Colchester football ground where the A134 is signposted but doesn't exist, we arrived okay.

Sally and Ian have a Labrador called Paddy, and he and Reggie made friends in seconds, running around the garden at rocket pace, tumbling and playing that wore them both out.

All in all, it was a great early weekend!  The pod was really cool and it is enthused us for the holiday in Scotland later in the year.

26 March 2015

The world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone

Following this announcement we read in the motorcycling press that the charge for motorcycles would be £12.50!

Dear Stakeholder

Thank you for taking the time to respond to our recent consultation. I can confirm that today the Mayor confirmed the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), which will launch in central London in 2020.  This new scheme will significantly improve air quality across the Capital and so improve the health of Londoners.

After considering the feedback from the consultation, the Mayor confirmed the ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the same area as the current Congestion Charging zone (CCZ) from 7 September 2020. All cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses and heavy vehicles will need to meet emission standards (ULEZ standards) or pay an additional daily charge to travel within the zone. In addition, I can confirm that we are committed to ensuring all double deck buses operating in central London will be hybrid and all single deck will be zero emission (eg. electric) by this time. 

Further to the funds announced today, the Mayor has asked us to undertake additional engagement with the taxi and private hire trade and other stakeholders before finalising our plans to change the licensing requirements for these vehicles this summer.  TfL will report back to the Mayor later this year. 

In response to the consultation, we have included some changes to the original proposals. Vehicles which are registered as 'disabled' or 'disabled passenger vehicle' tax class ('disabled exemption') will be granted a three year sunset period with a 100% discount, up until 6 September 2023. In addition, for the purposes of the ULEZ standards, we have aligned our definition of an historic vehicle with the Government's so that all vehicles with a 'historic' vehicle tax class will be exempt.

To find out more about how the ULEZ will operate and information about the scheme might impact you, please visit our website

Thank you once again for your comments and for taking the time to respond to the consultation.

Yours sincerely

Michèle Dix

25 March 2015

As one window closes....

.... another one opens.

It is disappointing to have to shelve the plans for a trip to Norway in the summer, but it is not worth going if Claire is going to be in pain for the entire time we are away, and subsequently not enjoying the trip. 

So I started to look for an alternative.  If we are to stay at home we might as well look for somewhere for Reggie to come too. 

With our first glamping coming up this Friday to test the water, we looked at maybe doing the same but further afield.  

We saw Loch Ness Glamping on the TV some weeks ago and it looks nice, plus it's dog friendly and we can go in the car!

They are pretty booked up for August, the dates we have booked off already, but there is a three night slot that will allow us to drive up there, about 636 miles door to door.

However, there are a few days to look at before then. Even in the car it is a long way to drive. So I need to factor in at least one stop on the way north.

Plan A is to drive up and stop overnight about halfway, around North Yorkshire.  I'll be looking on booking.com and maybe some glamping sites for an overnighter!

Then to utilise our Scottish Youth Hostel membership.  Recently, after a trial, there are now five hostels that allow dogs to stay over.  One of them in the beautiful Glencoe area.  Plenty of open countryside and walks. I have emailed them, but if they are full, then I'll look at alternatives.


18 March 2015

Embarrassed of Kent!

That is how I must have described myself in an email to a guy called Steve at a bike repair and restoration company.

And it is true. Very true. I spent a lot of my time accumulating the parts I needed to get the the Kettle back on the road, and to my utter dismay and corresponding embarrassment the bike wouldn't start! Wouldn't even kick over even with a new battery.

So I went to a professional. In fact, Googled several professionals. Four in all.

Starting with the nearest first and working outwards in a radius from home. Nearest and furthest have yet to reply. Third furthest came back to say they were too busy to undertake the job this year.

Second furthest, Steve. Came back. Promptly. The next step when I get a Saturday when I can actually have some time is to ride up there on Döra and have a chat.

Sometimes you get those black moments when you can't see a way out of a predicament, and giving up actually seems the easiest way out.

Get rid of Döra. Get something smaller and cheaper. And use any proceeds to get The Kettle fixed.

Okay, I don't have the budget to get it back to Kettle Club standards. But a runner with a good engine is a start.

I've already missed one goal. That of riding to the Wasserbüffel Treffen or the T&GT Club Nederland Rally in 2013. Yes. 2 0 1 3!!!

I'm already too late for the 2015 round of rallies but getting running. Keeping her running. Perhaps 2016 wouldn't be out of the question?

17 March 2015

Followed Blogs

The ones over there ------>

That's right. The ones in the right "pane". Just some of the bike related blogs I have followed.

Time for a cull. If the blogger can't be bothered to carry on, what's the point of having them taking up valuable space?

So, all the ones with no updates for sim months will go soon. A shame you can't set an automatic reviewer to erase them without recourse to updating.

I suppose it is time to look for new ones?

New Gloves too.

Another Aldi bargain. Actually went ion to get some food stuff and maybe a beer and saw that there was very little bike gear left.

One jacket, one pair of gloves and a few hi-viz jackets. The gloves turned out to be XL and a good fit.  At £19.99 they seem perfect for the summer.  They are leather with carbon fibre armour added and the grey bit is a mesh on the back of the hands, Definitely summer gloves.

10 March 2015

New boots

It's the time of year again when both Lidl and Aldi have their motorcycle gear in store.

The gear is generally good value for money and I usually just invest in the "motorcycle socks" as they are thick enough to keep feet warm in winter and allied with "coolmax" keep feet cooler in winter.

My brother, Neill, owed me a tenner and the Lidl socks came in cheaper than Aldi and I got four pairs.

After our Meldrews monthly meeting we had a run down to Aldi in Hythe and had a look. I didn't expect to buy anything at all.

I looked at the boots. At £29.99 they are very cheap, but they look okay, even down to a carbuncle on the outside of the little toes!

I tried a pair of size 10 on and they fitted rather well and so I bought them.

Time will tell. I now need an excuse to get out and test them!

Update: 9/9/17 - Gone to the charity shop worn twice. Okay for local riding but not confident in them at all.

9 March 2015


Dora's next adventure is to Norway.  See Valhalla!

I have a route and now need to see about ferries etc.

5 March 2015


After the complete and utter destruction of his Kong, he has a new toy to cuddle and chew.

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