29 June 2015

The Somme

The Somme trip is five days away. We have an early start! The group to meet at 0630 at Dover!

That means leaving home at 0600! So up at 0530!!! 

Write ups of of the trip.....

Day 1

Day 2

25 June 2015

Day Trip to France - Part Trois

After weeks of turmoil at the Tunnel the trip went ahead. I saw a few immigrants hanging about near the Shuttle terminal but the ineffectual French police seemed to have it all in hand.

Anyway as it was Dora's last trip I signed off the blog with a write up.


24 June 2015

The Last Trip

Destination Boulogne.

Döra and I set off in good time. After the strike and rioting by migrants in Calais, both ferry and shuttle services had been suspended.

In the end it was plain sailing into the terminal and checking in was a couple of minutes. Then we found the service had a twenty minute delay!

I took a few photos once underway!

The train has lots of bikes all, except me, going to Assen for the TT.

The plan was simply to head down the coast road, have coffee, have lunch and then return.

The first stop was Escalles for coffee only to find the usual cafe by the campsite is closed on a Wednesday.

Next Wissant. Market day and access to the square blocked!

So I headed towards the Todt Battery and found a new(ish) hotel and brasserie. Perfect for that first coffee of the day.

Todt Battery

As it was lunchtime perhaps a little light lunch. Croque Monsieur.

I hadn't expected chips and salad. In the end I ate the croque and half of the chips! Full!!!

Another coffee and think what to do for the next hour and a bit before I have to go back...

View from restaurant

From the restaurant I turned south to take a look at the 39-45 Museum. I've not been in this one as yet. Maybe on another trip.

From the Museum I headed north again as I had just over an hour left before check-in. I made a few stops at other places I have ridden past to take a few photos.

Selfie at the Tunnel

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23 June 2015

Day Trip to France - Part Deux

From the news it looks as though my trip to France on the bike tomorrow might be disrupted after the events in Calais today.

The French decided to have another strike. This time it was the workers of "My Ferry Link" as they fear for their jobs.  The boats used to be owned by SeaFrance and therefore subsidised by the French Government.  That went tits up and the boats themselves were sold to the company that owns Eurotunnel.

The EU decided that it was anti-competition for Eurotunnel to own the ships as well as the tunnel under the Channel. There have been several appeals but now the ships have been sold to rival DFDS, and the workers are (rightfully) worried about their jobs.  DFDS is a large Scandinavian company running a shrinking number of routes between the UK and Europe.

Added to the the migrants have been even more active and the Government is warning car drivers to keep their doors locked. No mention of us on bikes.....


I had the test ride on the Rocket today. A total of two and a half hours non-stop in the comfortable saddle and I had a decision to make.

I had gone originally with an idea to buy (if the trade in was okay) one with a few extras added already; screen and backrest. In the end it was sold yesterday!

I still took out another one.  Five months old and with 678 miles on the odometer.  It was just about run in and is the shop's demo bike. On sale for £2000 less than new.

In the end the trade-in offer was actually more than I had expected and so we shook on the deal.

Now to think of a name for her....

21 June 2015

The Somme

July 1st will be the 99th anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Somme.

The battle on the Somme started with a week long artillery bombardment of the German lines.

Over 1,738,000 shells were fired at the German lines. The logic behind this was so that the artillery guns would destroy the German trenches and barbed wire placed in front of the trenches.

In fact, the Germans had deep dugouts for their men and all they had to do when the bombardment started was to move these men into the relative safety of these deep dugouts.

When the bombardment stopped, the Germans would have known that this would have been the signal for an infantry advance. They moved from the safety of their dugouts and manned their machine guns to face the British and French.

The British soldiers advanced across a 25-mile front.

By the end of the battle, in November 1916, the British had lost 420,000 men, the French lost nearly 200,000 men and the Germans around 500,000.

The Allied forces had advanced along a thirty-mile strip that was seven miles deep at its maximum.

My interest has always been fuelled because on July 16th 1916 my Grandfather's cousin William Devall was killed fighting with the 7th Battalion of the Kings Own Shropshire Light Infantry.

With 33 officers and 905 men, they had set off from Poperinge on the first, firstly by train to St Omer and then marched to Carnoy, six miles east of Albert, arriving July 7th.

They were to assault Bazentin-le-Grande, or rather the enemy lines passing through that village.

As with the first day there was a barrage that failed to damage the wire and the first wave of men were mown down like wheat by the German machine gunners.

The surviving 6 officers and 135 men held off five counter attacks until they were relieved on July 20th.

What a terrible price paid for such a little gain.

William has a known burial place but the walls of the monument at Thiepval has the names of more than 72000 men that have no known grave. We visited this monument last year on the first Somme weekend.

Read more: Thiepval Monument

This year there are seven of us on the tour. Once again we have to hope for good weather.

Some extra information from the CWGC:

Day Trip to France

I've had a day trip ticket for me and the bike for a while and with it running out I decided, after a courtesy call from Eurotunnel, to book it sooner rather than later.

So June 24th I have a half day across the Channel. I should have been more adventurous but in the end I decided to go out about 1030 and come back about 1600. The way the trains run at this time of the year meant I could only book 1020 and 1550. Other trains full or at least no motorcycle spaces left.

I'm still getting back into biking again and starting to enjoy the freedom.

Fingers crossed that the weather holds up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Day Trip to France

I've had a day trip ticket for me and the bike for a while and with it running out I decided, after a courtesy call from Eurotunnel, to book it sooner rather than later.

So June 24th I have a half day across the Channel. I should have been more adventurous but in the end I decided to go out about 1030 and come back about 1600. The way the trains run at this time of the year meant I could only book 1020 and 1550. Other trains full or at least no motorcycle spaces left.

I'm still getting back into biking again and starting to enjoy the freedom.

Fingers crossed that the weather holds up.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

19 June 2015

Döra is home

Picked her up about 11am today and had a chat in the shop. Had a look at a couple of Rocket 3's outside.

The latest X model, only 500 for sale worldwide and 50 in UK, looks very big and butch, but outside my wallet!

There is another 2011 model. Loads of extras and more in my price range.... But depends on Döra's value.

I set off and waved at Claire who was waiting but I had little or no petrol. All the trips had been reset so I have to set another in the mpgcalc app. Nerdy I know but I like to know the stats.

The first ride for three months was okay. It was good to be back on the bike again.

The slow relaxed gave 63.2 mpg on the display.

It's Meldrew's monthly meeting this Sunday so hopefully I can get some more miles under my belt.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Peregrine Close,Hythe,United Kingdom

18 June 2015

Döra is fixed!

Döra is fixed. Yay!

A late call from Laguna came, when I was at cardiac rehab, that I missed as phones have to be off in the rehab area.  By the time I got a signal it was too late to pick her up tonight.  British Bike Night definitely missed.

Jim at Laguna said that they had put in a warranty claim to Triumph for the alarm and the battery, and although they had turned down the battery claim, they had approved the alarm claim!

The choice they had for me was to fit it, or not fit it and credit me with the cost of it to my account that effectively writes off the current bill as it stands.  

As the alarm is a PITA I took the second option: no alarm and the credit to my account.

So I will pick her up tomorrow morning and it will be my first ride since the end of March.

17 June 2015


I was hoping that Döra would be back so that my first ride since the heart-attack would be home obviously and then to the British Bike Night up the road at Charing in Kent.  This event is every June and mainly for classic bikes. The old bikes park in the car-park and modern bikes go in the adjoining fields.

But it was not to be.  Laguna called to say that the alarm was dead/kaput and the wanted to confirm that I wanted it to be removed and leave it at that.  They had fitted a new battery.  The bill would be, with labour, about £200. Gulp.

I said if it was definitely kaput then go ahead and remove it.

Fingers crossed.

Scotland Glamping - 2

Finally I have worked out the stops on the return journey from Scotland. The route looks like this:

The southernmost stop overnight is near where one of Claire's cousins lives and we can meet her and see her new puppy. It's a Labrador and Reggie will no doubt bond with it.

I changed the stop on the first night to a B&B from the Day's Inn. The Day's Inn is dog friendly but a little blander than a more traditional stop.

Tyre calculates the round trip to home to be about 1370 miles.  On top of that there's the trips out each day.

With the Insignia doing about 600 miles to a tank of diesel there's about £140 of fuel to consider. 

15 June 2015

Back to the Rocket

Way back in March 2013 I was looking to replace Baloo (my 1150GS) and had two thoughts. The Triumph Rocket 3 Touring, and the Explorer.

As I considered that I would be commuting in the summer (at least) I opted for the more sensible choice of the Explorer rather than the more emotional option of the Rocket.

And now?

I am thinking of another change and replacing Dora with a Rocket.   Plenty of thinking to be done.

Another holiday... in a workshop

Döra continued to warble all Sunday and into Monday morning.  I stuffed a few towels around the unit to dull the noise.  We couldn't hear it in our house, but think maybe the neighbour nearer the garage might have.

Come Monday I pulled her out onto the drive and before half eight  called the Carol Nash Breakdown  (CN) number and logged a call.  

Breakdown cover is provided as part of the annual insurance with CN.  There are cheaper policies and there are other breakdown services available. But every year I look and add the two together and CN have always come out cheaper and the service has always worked.  Luckily (touching wood!) I have used the breakdown service but nothing else. Phew.

Some 75 minutes later, a large van from SOS Recovery appeared on the drive. Together we pressed buttons on the key fob, all to no avail. I called Laguna and they said to bring it in.

So we loaded Döra into the van and he set off as I finished booking her into the workshop.  By the time I had loaded Reggie in the car and set off after him, arriving after she had been unloaded. As I got out of the car I could hear the peeping!

The technician wanted to get the noise to stop and had managed that okay with a special tool they have in the workshop. Checking the battery showed it was dead.

We agreed that they would work on it ASAP but it might be a few days as they had a workshop full of bikes already booked in.

I left it that if the alarm had failed they would remove it and I would most likely need a new battery.

14 June 2015

No good

The solar panel wasn't much of a success. So, instead I pulled the bike over to right outside the house and outfit on the mains powered charger. 

It was on the high setting and gradually some life came back as the alarm light started to flash in the rev counter.

The problem seems to be with the alarm. The charger shows a yellow light for charging and a green light for charged. Both are on! The alarm doesn't chime or flash the indicators on disarm but occasionally flashed on arm.

I gave it five hours on high charge and once I managed to disarm I tried to see if it would start. Putting the key in had the clocks lit up and it looked okay but the starter was dead.

I decided to put it away and for hours the alarm has been warbling with a faint peeping...

Tomorrow I'll call the breakdown and if they can't sort it Döra will have to go to Laguna.

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11 June 2015

Kent Pet Food Run 2015

Sadly, as a result of the heart attack and subsequent recovery, I have decided to postpone the pet run until later in the year.

It would have been an open invitation and run without the SOC being involved - not that anyone outside Kent bothered to turn up anyway.

More details later.

10 June 2015

New solar charger

In an attempt to make the most of the sunny weather I got out the solar charger I bought before the holiday and attached it to the bike.  It was on all day and er.... nothing.

I should have used it whilst I was away but there is nowhere to put it securely where it won't get stolen! The idea I had was that we would use my car to go on holiday, and Claire's would stay at home.  The panel would go on the back shelf of her Corsa and the wires out the tailgate and into the garage to the bike's battery. Great idea except my car was at the repairers after is was smashed by a clown in a van, so we had to use the Corsa to go to the airport.  

Big panel - no power to battery!!!

It is supposed to output up to 15 watts and maintain a battery but I had expected seven hours in full sun that it might have out enough in to get the alarm to deactivate but it didn't.  Looks like I'll have to push it over to the house and hook up the mains electric powered charger.  If that fails. Looks like a call to the breakdown service!

8 June 2015


The side effect of having a minor heart attack is that I've not been able to ride Döra.

I've been out and started her and let her run for a while. So when I got home from holiday I went to start her. Dead.

The alarm wouldn't even light up.

So looks like dragging her out and attaching some electrodes to her tender under seat parts and put a charge through her!!!!

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5 June 2015

Insignia back!

The car came home today. I called Veetec from the airport and they said they would deliver it back after lunch and it was about 2.30pm when the guy came.

It looks good and the wheels look new and it shines so beautifully.  Sadly I am £330 out of pocket and lose two years of my NCB due to the little shithead in the van driving on my side of the road and into me.

He of course denies it.  I am sure he was eating and/or drinking his fast-food take-away and that's why he ran wide.  As you can see from the original post (picture 3) the passenger miraculously has a drinks cup from KFC or similar joint, despite there not being one around this area for a few miles.

But without witnesses I am screwed and the little shithead no doubt gets to keep his job.

Anyway, the car is back and looks good.  At least the damage isn't as bad as it could have been as the insurance company pays £10 a day for every day over seven that the car is way.  So I got £70 back.

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