18 September 2017

Orlando City Soccer Club

I think I have become the 2017-18 season Jonah.

All the teams I have some history with are struggling.  Even the Arsenal.

But with the club of my childhood,  Oldham Athletic,  currently bottom of League 1 in England, and Zbrojovka Brno bottom of the Czech League,  it looked like my new international team in Orlando would be okay.

Sadly from being top of their MLS division they have failed to amass more than 4pts since I booked tickets and have sunk to 3rd from bottom.

Two places further to drop down the table  to match the others!!

At least Arsenal have managed to get to 12th of 20 in the Premier League.

Hopefully, Hurricane Maria withstanding,  they will rally when I am there at the end of September.

New Helmet - LS2 Wave

I have been looking of a light open face helmet for a while and missed out on some bargains over the summer. As the autumn sets in though, when you maybe don't want face and weather to meet, there are more bargains.

So I bought a LS2 OF561 Wave .  

It fits well and should do the trick for short rides out locally in the summer.   So it's in the wardrobe.

I chose the Titanium colour as another matt black helmet might not work!

17 September 2017

Poppy Zip Tags

Guessed at what they will call them. Look like a good idea.

Bike stuff especially could do with some of these.

The British Legion are apparently trialling them in South and West Yorkshire!

So have to wait and see if they are produced in time for the start of the Poppy Appeal next month.

I could do with a few for bike gear and hoodies.

16 September 2017

The Shard - Been. Done.

We were on the 1002 HS1 train from Folkestone West.  A coffee to sustain us on the 58 minute journey and it seemed that we were arriving.

A few minutes on the Northern Line and we were at London Bridge Station. The Shard View is signposted from in the station and we were there quickly.

Once checked in and through airline style  security we were in the first lift and whisked to the 33rd floor. Then across the hall and upto the 69 floor for the first viewing level.  Another coffee and a base at a table and chairs. Then we could take in the views. And take some pictures.

The difficulty is getting photos without too much glare from the windows.

The views are stunning over London but the weather wasn't good enough to see some of the landmarks they said you could.
From the Upper View there's not much difference except you can look up and see the top of the tower itself.

From here we decided it was lunch time. So down we went again. Two swift lifts and into the street.

We decided to head for Borough Market. Passing some pubs full of Leeds United fans. All carefully watched by police and a fair sprinkling of dogs.

The market is now gentrified. Where it would have been filled full of produce for the locals,  stuff brought in locally,   it is now more international. 

Cheese from France,  Italy and even Spain.  Olives from Greece. Plus restaurants.
We chose Maria's Market Cafe. A steak bap for Claire and a lamb one for me. Lovely. Can recommend.

We had a walk around. Only buying some goats cheese from French Comte.

And then with Reggie at home we decided to walk over London Bridge to get the Tube back to St Pancras.

We got a great view of the Shard and some other buildings. 



Once across the bridge we crossed the road. The view of the Monument is spectacular.


Then off to Bank Station to get the Tube. Our London day trip almost over.

Tower Bridge

St Paul's Cathedral

Thames Sailing Barges and HMS Belfast

Some further information:

St Paul's Cathedral - https://www.stpauls.co.uk

15 September 2017

The Shard

A while back I was sent a free train ticket by Southeastern Trains. Maybe as a reward for their poor service over many years. It covers two people on their services.

Anyway it has to be used by the end of the month and so I thought a day trip to London would be good.

Since we have had Reggie we've not been able to have a day trip anywhere without taking him. We have tailored trips to include him. London isn't one of those places. 

So we have arranged for a local dog walker to come and collect him. Gulp.

He has been for a visit for Reggie to meet him. But hopefully with us not there Reggie won't attack him. One of Reggie's problems is that he can't be allowed to be at the front door when it is answered to visitors.  If he is out back and the visitors are in the lounge he runs in and wants then to play with him. Fingers crossed.

Looking for things to do and Claire saw the Shard was open. A search for tickets revealed many ticket agencies selling discounted tickets. I chose this one: http://www.attractiontix.co.uk/tickets/the-view-from-the-shard

I booked for tomorrow.  We can see about lunch at nearby Borough Market. 

It only recently opened fully after the terrible events of June 3rd when it was one of the scenes of an Islamic terror attack.



Photos etc to follow. 

8 September 2017

MAG supports Anti-Theft Demo in London

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) in London is calling on all riders to back the movement's strong demand for action against the crime wave affecting both motorcycle riders and the general public.
Tim Fawthrop, MAG's spokesman in London, is issuing a call-to-arms over the crime wave affecting riders in the capital and beyond which has directly harmed the motorcycling community – especially in recent months.


Tim says 'I'm asking you to come and join our demonstration this Saturday, 9th September 2017, in London, to show the level of anger amongst riders regarding the continuing crime wave which has blighted biking over the last 12 months.  The ride begins at 10.30 am in Regent's Park before proceeding to Parliament Square and then heading east. The route taken will ride through some of the areas most affected by motorcycle theft and moped-enabled crime.


Tim is speaking for every rider who's been affected by the attacks and thefts.  'As anyone who follows the news will know, there were some terrible recent assaults on riders who were at work doing their delivery jobs.  The injuries to these victims are potentially life changing.  I know many riders who've been affected, and luckily a lot of the time the attempted thefts and assaults have not been successful.  But this is no way for riders to be treated in a theoretically law- abiding society. The anger is at boiling point now, and it's entirely understandable that riders want to strike back.  MAG continues to advise against vigilantism and invites all those who want to be heard to join the demo on Saturday.'


Previously, Tim has called on riders to share what they know about the criminals with police.  'The authorities can and should deal with them, but they need your information to do that.  Call the police now, and help to apply the weight of the law to these lawless and stupid thugs. Let's show a united front against bike crime, by turning out en-masse on Saturday.'


Ends. 

3 September 2017

Sloe Gin 2017

After a remarkable 11 years since we last put gin to sloe, Claire took over this time and started a new batch.

This time we are without the luxury of Gilbey's finest gin and have once again delved into Aldi and their oddly named Oliver Cromwell Gin.  I am not all that sure the Puritan would have been a great drinker, but it seems whilst they liked a pure life, the odd spot of booze was acceptable.

I had a look back through the blog to see when we last made some, and the following link was the result: https://invictamoto.blogspot.co.uk/2006/09/sloe-sloe-quick-quick-sloe.html

In the cupboard we still have a few bottles.  Nearly 3/4 of the Gilbey's, and about half a bottle of  a 2008 brew that was given to me by Chris Spencer, a former colleague at Islington.

We even have a little of Claire's Dad's version from 2006!  

And how does it taste?  It has aged pretty well. Of the three I think the 07 is the best. It is quite amazing but you would never know they were basically gin with added sloes!  They all taste like sherry! 



A glass of the Gilbey's and some olives

Folkestone Triennial

Every three years Folkestone has the arts festival known as the Triennial.

Artists from across Europe and the UK create works that are displayed around the town.

Here are a few of the works.


2 September 2017

Up for the Cup

The FA Cup. The oldest football cup competition in the world.

The smaller clubs began playing early in August and today in the third round of games called the First Qualifying Round my local club, Folkestone Invicta, began their attempt to reach the First Round Proper.

It's this round where the Football League clubs from the third and fourth tiers on the pyramid come into play.

Invicta are in the 7th tier.

The opponents today were Greenwich Borough from the division in the Isthmian League, currently named after the sponsors Bostik.

Plenty of huff and puff.  A mistake ked to the visitors going ahead after only 8 minutes. Invicta pulled level just before half time but were generally the better side but 1-1 was about right.

Into the second half it was more of the same but surprisingly it was Borough that scored first.

Invicta pressed and pressed and a late and clumsy tackle saw the visitors reduced to ten men with a red card for a second yellow card.

It wasn't long before Invicta drew level.  A fierce shot into the bottom corner.

With some time wasting angering the home fans the game came to a head.  A few skirmishes. What we call "handbags".

The pressure continued and after a long break for an injury to the Borough left back saw them reduced to 9 men.

The last few minutes saw them fighting a rearguard action until a corner and Invicta scored a third to win the game, 3-2.

A superb game for home fans and neutrals. For a tenner it was great entertainment.

30 August 2017

The Three Amugos

Not a misprint.  Or a typo.

Given the "Wenger Out!" post earlier in the week. We are still going to spend a tenner** each to sit in our grand (cash not surroundings) seats at the Emirates Stadium to watch the second string and yoofs take on League 2 Doncaster Rovers.

History is on our side. In 8 meetings since 1901 they have come out on top only once, 115 years ago.
More credibly we last played them in 2005 and the game ended 2-2.

Given the "sell, sell, sell" attitude of our under-fire manager and the clowns on the board we may see them extend their winning streak to 2 from 9 in 116 years.

https://www.11v11.com/teams/arsenal/tab/opposingTeams/opposition/Doncaster%20Rovers/
Fingers crossed Amugos!


** plus £1.65 charges on top of the ticket!

Car Insurance - Insignia

It's getting on for that time of year again when my car insurance is due. I used to be with Direct Line but the quote gory higher and higher every year and so I started trawling the comparison sites to get a better quote.

Last year this turned out to be the insurers that sell under the banner of the RAC motoring organisation.  They had the cover I wanted and although not the cheapest quote, were the cheapest of the companies I had ever heard of.

This year my renewal arrived and they quite matter of factly tell me that this year my premium will go up £50.  The car is a year older and therefore less valuable.  The risk hasn't changed much. So it is back to the comparison sites.

What has really happened is that premium last year was a new business discounted amount. This year they are trying to get some of it back. Sadly for them I will go elsewhere.

29 August 2017

Wenger Out!

Sunday 27th August 2017. 

A day of infamy.

Our glorious team of Arsenal Gladiators went out in the Anfield sun to do battle with the Lions of Liverpool and came back battered and bruised.  Humiliated some may say.

The lack of fight from highly paid professionals leaves a nasty taste in the mouths of fans. "Wenger Out!" is the cry on those same battered lips. 

"Wenger Out!" is the cry from even committed Gooners and ex-players like Ian Wright.

The apologists for the French Professor keep repeating the mantra that he has done so much for the club in the 20 years he has been in charge. So many victories. Invincible even.

"It's not his fault" they cry in return, but the "Wenger Out!" Cries begin to double, then double again.

"How is it nor his fault?" The cry goes up. 

His starting eleven contains one of the finest right backs in the country starting on the left. He leaves out a German international centre back and plays a rookie who has been shite in his last two appearances. Another German international isn't even on the bench.  He plays a Spanish Left-back at centre back.

Remember who the World Chamions are? Germany.

He leaves the record signing centre forward, who cost £52m, on the bench and plays a guy that has the ball control of  a snail and the goal tally of a retarded sloth.

On top of those slight errors he plays two players that have been agitating to leave.  

One of whom has been "Mr Sicknote" up to now and the other actually leaves the day after for a rival club - see update below - one game player after he had a stomach pull and then a cold, or was it the other way around.  It means that it was late August before he made an appearance.

The former is huffing and puffing inside twenty minutes as the game isn't going the way he wants. Another German international floats through the game ineffectively and then also starts to wave his arms like a sulking school child.

They ship too many goals to lose 4-0. Each one was a personal cock-up by a player that led to Liverpool taking the ball and a few passes later scoring.

With the game lost and beyond the wit of anyone to look like we can drag something from the burning embers,  the great leader brings on £52m man and the other French striker.  Both of them rivals for the same French international starting place. Both of them see little of the ball as it seems the remainder of the starting XI seems unable to get the ball to them. Or simply are incapable.

The shit and the fan come together.  Wenger looks shaken in the post match interview. He refuses to answer the question about the "Wenger Out!" banners and shouts from the fans that have travelled 200 miles on a Bank Holiday Sunday with little of no public transport available and with expectations of getting home sometime in the wee small hours.  Thank you Frank Sinatra for naming them.

He whispers the usual platitudes about players not being on their game. Once again he defends the clowns he put on the team sheet.

At least there is an international break for a week or so before we have another attempt to play.  With 15 clubs above us in the table we are lucky it's one of the ones below us; Bournemouth. 

Another galling thing is that we were f*cked by a Liverpool side playing the game that we used to play before Wenger numbed all the talent out of the players. Pressing to win the ball. Quick passing and a fast counter attack.

When even Thierry Henry and Ian Wright, the club's two highest goalscorers, are both almost in tears to see this humiliation and both sense there is something rotten at the club, then rock bottom can't be far away.

Monday 28th August 2017. 

We awake on Monday to the news that Want-Away2 has indeed gone to a rival for what last year would be a mind blowing £35 to £40m!   Why the f**k did Wenger play him at Liverpool the day before.  He must have known the deal was done and all it needed was the player to sign and the Russian Oligarch signs the cheque. 

Rumours persist on the sports channels that the German international dropped in favour of the Rookie also wants away and has been talking to Inter Milan of Italy. We are resigned to players leaving. It's no longer a surprise.

The international transfer window closes in about 52 hours after me writing - 2300 on the 31st August - by then "Sicknote" will have f*cked off to a rival and we will have no room to manoeuvre. Wenger will then do as he has already done in the past,  repeat the same error, and panic buy.

We panic bought a Brazilian centre back from Spain. He's gone back already. We panic bought a Spanish striker and he wants away. He wants a chance to play for his country and from the bar or at best the bench at Arsenal he won't achieve that.  It's World Cup next year BTW.

The apologists go on about it being only three games.  We have lost two. We have a -4 goal difference and we are 16th.  Manchester United have spent more millions on players and have won all three games and are already six points ahead of us and how many goals....... 14!!!!!

In modern football - goals are worth a point at the end of the season.

Time for Arsene to quit. Go back to France and buy a nice cottage and spend the years and years of millions of pounds he must have stashed away.

WENGER OUT!

Wednesday 30th August 2017

And the story has changed.

Want-Away2 has decided that he doesn't want to go the Chelsea  (sounds like a song title) but wants to go to Liverpool.  The club responsible for the shafting on Sunday... So are we supposed to think that he knew this before Wenger picked him to play. Or just coincidence.  

Whilst all this is going on we have shifted a full back with long service,  but into his last year of contract, to West Bromwich for £7m.

Kerrching! 

Sicknote has been pretty quiet after being caught laughing on the bench soon after Liverpool scored their 4th. But reportedly has asked to leave. Manchester City offer £50m. Arsenal turn it down. 

Then WantAway2 is reported to be going to Liverpool for £40m.

Kerrching! 

The club has apparently received two bids for the Spanish striker. From Deportivo, where he wants to go, and Levante, who are the club's preferred buyer.  Read "offered more money" for preferred. 

So that's £47m today. How much tomorrow on the last day of the window.

And no one coming in.

WENGER OUT! GAZIDIS OUT! KROENKE OUT!

Thursday 31st August 2017

The transfer window is closed.  At 11pm it was met with a fanfare and a countdown on Sky Sports 1.

In the end the we have offloaded  Spanish striker to Deportivo on loan for the season. OS that should save the wage bill.

Sicknote stays.  The club made a desperate attempt to sign a replacement from Monaco and had agreed a massive £92m fee but that fell through so he stays with us until the January window at least. Some will say this was a token attempt as it was never going to happen.  A kind of "cover your arse" move in case Sicknote left and we were another man down.

A whole host of lesser cast members left as well either free or for the token £1m. At least we have brought in about £73m in revenue and only spend £46m.  

Kerrching again!

And are the fans happy.  Wait and see when AFC Bournemouth come to the big city.


Cast:

Want-Away2 -  Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
Long Service Full Back - Keiran Gibbs
Another German International - Shkodran Mustafi
German international centre back - Per Mertesacker
Rookie - Rob Holding
Record Signing - Andre Lacazette
Sloth - Daniel Welbeck
Other French Striker - Olivier Giroud
Sicknote - Alexis Sanchez
Spanish Striker - Lucas Perez
Brazilian Centre Back - Gabriel
Spanish Left-back - Nacho Monreal
Finest right backs - Hector Bellarin




20 August 2017

From the Shoebox Archive - Variety Pack

There are many shoeboxes in the archive. 

Like many archives like this a lot of the photos are pretty uninteresting to anyone else. Plus the other problem...

Where the heck were they taken!! It's easy to remember who the people are in them. But so many I have no idea where or when they were taken.

This couple of scans are places and events I do remember! It's a bit lazy but I have scanned three together! !

First up. A trio of Lisbon photos. 

Secondly,  a mixed bag from Rome (top), Murcia, (bottom left) Madonna in procession around the city at Easter and bottom right, me and Andrew Pratt after the National Rally.

Lastly a picture of my TDM850 outside the old house in Hythe.


17 August 2017

From the Shoebox Archive - 'Cade in Spain

Those of us born before the digital revolution must have one - a shoebox archive.

This one is from way back in 1990!  The campsite is in Tarifa which can claim to the be the southern most tip of Europe in the west of the continent.  

From the beach you can clearly see the coast of Africa.

Behind the Cade is Audrey's XJ900. The bike we took across to Morocco later that week. It was so hot down there that I had problems with the clutch as the grease on the lever dried out as it was "cold weather" rated and 40ºC temperatures in the day simply reduced it to dust.


In Malaga on the way home it rained a little and turned the highway into an ice rink - water on months of rubber.......   

As you are braking and sliding with both wheels locked just stopping short of the car in front and then hear the car behind sliding faster than you and then seeing it go past makes you wonder about life.....

And here is another from the same trip:


15 August 2017

Hythe Venetian Fete

The Venetian fete is bi-annual in Hythe and uses the Royal Military Canal as the base for a series of free concerts and a river pageant on rafts.

The third evening was Abbalicious, an ABBA tribute group but there must have been a falling out as only AA were onstage. What happened to BB we have no idea.

When we arrived with Reggie there was plenty of free parking in Waitrose and we walked along just as they came on stage.

After a few numbers we set off for a walk around over the bridges that brought us back stage.  My arm got tired waiting for them to turn around and not face front only.

A good evening,. And free.

11 August 2017

It's back! The Premier League kicks off tonight

It kicks off again tonight and Arsenal has the inglorious task of being the first new season to kick off on a Friday evening.  I suppose it means we can have football and a free weekend.

http://www.totalpremierleague.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Arsenal-Vs-Leicester-City.jpg

Update: 11/08/17 22:00

Won 4-3.  Supporting Arsenal isn't the easy job it might be if you have a tame billionaire from Russia or a middle east oil state that spends money as though it is going out of fashion.

Mr Wenger decided that the potent striker Vardy for Leicester wasn't a threat and chose to play a rookie centre back and no other recognised central defenders.  That proved wrong. As Vardy scored twice.

In the end what he will call "mental strength" seemed to work and we came from 2-3 to 4-3 in a two minute spell in the last ten minutes of the game.

At least we won it.  Usually, we lose or at best get a draw to start the season.



8 August 2017

Community Shield - August 6th 2017

Another chance to go to Wembley Stadium to watch Arsenal. Once again against Chelsea.

Arsenal were in this traditional fixture as Cup Winners and Chelsea as League Champions. Back in May Arsenal had beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup Final also at Wembley Stadium. This stopped them wining the "Double" of League and Cup in one season.

Another warm sunny day when we were glad to be in the upper tier and under cover rather than being burned to a crisp in the sun. The view is pretty good from all around the stadium.



Before the game there was the usual tedious build up but this was relieved by the Choir for Grenfell coming to sing after the minutes silence for those that died in the terrible tower block fire some weeks ago. The Choir and celebs have made a charity record to raise money for the families that lost everything. I took a short video of it.




The game was pretty even although statistics will show that the Arsenal had more possession, 54% to 46%, more attempts on goal and fewer disciplinary cards. Chelsea getting another red card for a reckless tackle. More stupid than malicious.

Both sides seemed to be saving players for the start of the Premier League this coming weekend. But did give new signings a start.

In the end Arsenal won their 9th successive game at Wembley. After finishing 1-1 they won the penalty shootout 4-1.





Pano at the end.  One half very empty

11 July 2017

Reggie Relaxing

What he does very well.
On the bed
On the landing


In the bathroom
In the conservatory

On the mat 
On the sofa

10 July 2017

Folkestone Invicta FC - Season Opener

The football season seems to come a little earlier every year, or so it seems.

Locally Invicta kicked off their pre-season with a game against local rivals Hythe Town. This ought to be a dilemma for me as I live in Hythe, actually less than a mile from Town's ground at Reachfields.   However, I have never been.

When I moved here from Bedfordshire in 1999 my first taste of local non-league football was at Folkestone Invicta as one of the director's at Claire's work was also a director of the football club and we went as her company was sponsoring a game. And I have been going ever since. Albeit only a couple of games a yar.

Yesterday was far too hot for running about in the sun, but perfect for sitting under cover in the main stand.  A tea to start with and a bottle of water when it got too hot.

In the end Invicta ran out 4-1 winners with Hythe scoring their consolation in the 90th (and final) minute.

There are another six of so pre-season games to play before the league kicks off in August.




Invicta in amber and black


The next game for me might well be the other local derby at home to Dover Athletic. Dover are a couple of rungs up the pyramid and currently play in the 5th tier. Just one below the Football League.

As a senior citizen nowadays one of the perks is a reduced price ticket and so I bought a season ticket. Good value at £110 for an entire season.



5 July 2017

MAG - Safer bikers in Wales!!!

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is pleased to note that the number of bikers killed or seriously injured (KSI) has fallen.

MAG can report that, according to figures released recently by Road Safety GB, the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured in Wales during 2016 fell by 7%.  This represents the biggest improvement in KSI statistics in Wales, outstripping figures for pedestrians and cyclists who, along with motorcyclists, are classed as vulnerable road users.

MAG Chair, Selina Lavender, said "this is good news on a number of levels: less KSI means not only fewer families suffering the distress of losing a loved one, but also shows that bikers are riding responsibly and taking care on the roads of Wales".

Figures are currently unavailable for England due to a lack of validated data from the Metropolitan Police for November and December.  Work is under way to rectify this.

Meanwhile, MAG welcomes the evidence showing that, in Wales at least, the "ride safe" message is getting across.


Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

3 July 2017

MAG challenges London ULEZ

MAG submits case for user charge exemption for all motorbikes

This version:   2017 06 29                            Embargo: IMMEDIATE

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has responded on behalf of London's 200,000 every day riders to defend an exemption from user charging of bikes in the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).

Selina Lavender, MAG's Chair, has shared MAG's determination to ensure an exemption.  'The bike charging proposal was part of a package to reduce emissions – even though a shift towards motorbikes reduces emissions.  We've made a comprehensive submission to explain why it's utterly counterproductive to tax part of the solution, namely powered two wheelers.  The charge is £12.50 a day.'

MAG made the following points:

•       Commuters on bikes are virtually zero NOx emissions producers – and far ahead of buses.  That's why an exemption for bikes (of all ages) is right – because car drivers who shift to motorcycles and scooters reduce overall emissions due to the tiny emissions footprint of a bike.

•       Research shows if 10% of motorists moved to motorcycles for their daily commute there would be a 40% reduction in congestion.  Air pollution is a feature of congestion. That means motorcycles help achieve air quality targets, so charging them makes no sense.

•       The Government says in its air pollution report published in May 2017: The impact of including motorcycles and mopeds in CAZs have not been modelled. These vehicles only represent a small proportion of total NOx emissions so it is not expected that they will be included in the access restrictions for the majority of zones.

•       Some low wage earners use bikes for financial reasons.  Charging them when they produce almost no emissions – or forcing onto more expensive public transport – is a 'tax' on lower wage earners.  An exemption is socially fair.

MAG is closely following the emissions debate to ensure that bikers are not charged while other vehicles which make no contribution to reducing congestion (and emissions caused by traffic jams), such as electric cars, are exempt.  This remains a key element in the campaigning work of the movement.

For full details of MAG's response go to: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/7/74/ULEZ_2017_06_21.pdf

29 June 2017

Flickriver

I had forgotten all about this website that links to Flickr until I got an email when someone had tried to spam one of my pictures.

Flickriver


27 June 2017

Oggie 76 Bike Jeans

I needed a new pair of bike jeans and as I am once again suffering myself to lose weight with Slimming World, I didn't want to spend too much. My budget was pretty low!

I have a pair of black Kevlar lined cargo trousers but they have shrunk a little in the wash. Really.  And I have replaced the metal button already.

So a quick search on eBay revealed Oggie76.  I bought a pair(£39.95) and they arrived in two days. Just in time for British Bike Night.

They fitted rather well. Included in the price are hip and knee armour pads that fit into pockets stitched into the jeans.  The Kevlar covers the arse section and down the thigh.



The stitching on the seams looks pretty strong too.  Of course, you will only know how good they are when you slide down the road on your butt.  

The only bugbear for me, and I have emailed and told them,  is that there is only one belt loop at the back in the middle.  This allows the waist to fold a little and droop under the belt. A bit uncomfortable. There's a repair shop in the High Street in Hythe and I'll see if they can add a couple of extra ones for me. I had a pair a few years ago that had a kind of tube affair instead of a 1/2 inch wide loop. It was about 6 inches long across the back seam. Perfect for bikng.

I chose the 34" leg length although my usual jeans are 32", I did this so that when on the bike, the bottom of the legs aren't flapping about my shins. They are okay when walking.

I have only worn them once and will have a better opinion at the weekend when I go on the AMRR.





15 June 2017

Sound Mirror

Recently the replica of the sound mirror has been painted by some local volunteers. 

It looks good in the dark green rather than the flaking and badly applied grey/beige it was before.

It's there to show visitors how the mirror works.  From the other side of the canal,  maybe 25 yards away, someone speaks and another person in front of the mirror (the grey bit) can hear it.



The original mirror is on the hillside about 200ft above sea level.

This technology was invented as early warning of air raids.

Reggie left his mark.


Read more about the mirrors.


My Photos:

Sound Mirrors

Premier League Fixtures

The fixtures are out already.  Time to plan which games I will attend and which Alex will go to.


13 June 2017

RBLR Non-Attendance Rally 2017



This year's Royal British Legion Riders Non-Attendance Rally will not be held in the Elysian Fields this year.


The money earned after the cost of the badges goes into the Poppy Appeal.

I can't remember how many times I've not been to the Rally. It's quite a few now.

5 June 2017

Motorcycle Insurance

My insurance is due on the 27th June.  Or I should say my current policy runs out at midnight as the clock ticks over from the 26th into the 27th.

So as usual I have seen the forums discussing what people are paying and they are generally  less than me.  I guess the risk is supposed to be assessed on a personal basis. However that is too simplistic.  It's computer generated.

What is annoying is the price for the same insurance. When I say same I mean the same basic cover, plus any accidents (I have the car one in May 2015) and other elements AND the same insurance company.

Once comparison site quoted £156.52. My renewal arrived at £179.79 and another comparison site at £107.22 although the last one doesn't include any extras like legal cover. Wen that's added it comes to nearer £140.

So what to do?

30 May 2017

TomTom 410 - Update

The combination of the "nothing wrong with it" returned from Netherlands 410 and the new car mount means that whilst connected to one of the car's power points the unit is now charging on the go.

On the trip to France we had only one problem where it turned off and wouldn't restart for a few minutes and when it did it thought the route it was following was to take us home.  Home at that time was 560 miles away. Once re-programmed to where we actually going, some 5 miles away, it was fine.

The only fly in the ointment is that the live connection using Bluetooth tethering from my phone to the unit didn't work.  I logged a call with TomTom and with 3UK and it turns out that 3UK blocked it.  3UK being my mobile phone "partner".  

3UK operate a "feel at home" system where whatever you pay for in the UK, data and talk time ( I have unlimited of both & sms) works for no extra charge whilst roaming. But, they block tethering. I guess that stops people downloading huge videos and live streaming over the networks but it also stops people using satnavs and downloading live information once an hour.  The download can be measured in kb not mb or even gb.

This tethering allows TomTom's MyDrive system to keep the unit up to date with problems on the road and allow it to plot a new route to avoid accidents and other things such as traffic jams etc.

A shame that a decent and useful safety item is blocked by the mobile network.

20 May 2017

Tomtom 410 - Update

The TomTom came back from its trip to Holland and back.  The new car mount arrived. And...

Success.  We have charging in the car. 

Hopefully the trip to the Dordogne will be accomplished without getting the Urban Rider out of the bag.

13 May 2017

Steam Trains

Who doesn't like a steam train? It might be an age thing but steam was King when I was a boy.

Then in the UK the government employed a guy called Richard Beeching to write a report on reducing the rail network.

But steam lives on at many heritage sites. One of these passes my garden: The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.
This weekend had guest engines on the tracks pulling the RHDR stock.

I took some pictures over my back fence. In fact I took about 100 on auto on the Nikon,  but the best pic is from my phone...

By some fluke. The pics are of the same engine in both directions.
References:
http://moneyweek.com/11-august-1968-the-last-steam-passenger-train-in-britain/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeching_cuts
http://www.rhdr.org.uk/


12 May 2017

Insignia - New Tyres


Once I had managed to remember the tyre details for the Insignia's tyres I had a search online for local fitters and get some prices.

Tyres now come with a scale from A to F for their efficiency in two fields, fuel consumption and wet grip. Ideally you will look for AA rated but once you see the prices then you start to go through the list to find the best rated at a price you can afford.

In the end I opted for these CA rated Uniroyals. Most of the online places had them but Asda came out the cheapest with an all-in price, and have a local fitter.  The most local fitters are only open weekdays and so I had to pick the second nearest.. A garage that although I have used for petrol on many occasions, I had no idea they did tyres.  We'll find out tomorrow morning.



Asda Tyres

One of the tyres is the original from when I bought the car in January 2014 and at the last MoT it was noted that it would need replacing although legal.  I've done about 25000 miles in that  time (below average mileage for UK) and it was obviously not brand new then.

The left front is newer. The original was destroyed in the accident of May 2015 when it came in contact with the kerb. They replaced it as part of the repair job to the entire right side of the car wiped out by KFC munching van driver. I've not been entirely pleased with it as it constantly needs the air topping up.. 

Having new valves might sort that out but in truth I have become less and less confident in them as they wear down.  I have never heard of the make either!

Start afresh.

7 May 2017

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United

The chance for Arsenal to leave a rival behind and Arsene Wenger the chance to beat Jose Mourinho. My last game of the season as well. So a win was excellent.

I took the little Samsung camera and a few came out in focus.



Selfie at the end
Match Report by the BBC

3 May 2017

TomTom 410 Update - Og sagaen fortsetter

Og sagaen fortsetter!!! The saga continues!

With Hella plus in one hand and screwdriver in the other is fixed the power lead to the plug, ensuring a clean and tight connection.

Then out to the garage.  Plug in the bike's power socket.  I didn't fix the ram mount on the bike, preferring to lay it in the seat.  Sliding the 410 into the cradle I had a brief feeling that all would be good.

That lasted less than a second as the half charged 410 showed the battery icon but it was missing the lightning bolt to show it was charging.  A few moments of the air turning blue later I plugged in the Urban Rider's power lead,  Instantly the UR slid into its cradle it switched itself on as the power surged through it. So not the power socket then!

As the 410 won't charge using the car cradle the obvious conclusion is that it it the charging system in the unit itself from the pins on the back that connect via the different cradles.

I updated the call on TomTom Support. A few days later they replied and said to send it back using the labels they had sent before.

So my three month old 410 has never seen action and as the calendar moves on the warranty expires without it ever being used!  Marvellous.

Update 05/05/17

A parcel arrived from TomTom. Seemed a bit heavy.  They had sent the RAM kit in stead of the Car kit!  Doesn't auger well for sending the 410 back.....

Update 08/05/17

I parcelled the unit up in the bubble wrap lined envelope that came the other day from TomTom and with extra bubble wrap and it went back to them using the UPS labels they sent a few weeks ago.

Update 11/05/17

I tried to track the parcel as I reckoned it wouldn't have got there but I wanted to see where it was.

Unfortunately all the links on the UPS website just say the parcel has been sent to the address on the label!  Some tracking that is #UPS!

Update 12/05/17

Today have an email to say they have sent it back with UPS.  They haven;t said what they have done just that there is a letter in the box!  Mysterious.  Maybe it will work on the Dordogne trip after all?

27 April 2017

Tripadvisor?

I guess we all have our own ideas of what makes a great hotel or restaurant, but sometimes I read reviews (before I go somewhere) and pick out places that I think we'd like to go to.

Of course, you have to sift through and discount the reviews written so obviously by the proprietors best friend and at the othe rend of the scale, those written by someone in competition or simply hates them.  These are the usually the over effusive 5* or totally terrible 1* reviews. 

Some are simply weird.

Today I was thumbing through the Dordogne area, by town, for "dog friendly restaurants". We all have an opinion of that. Personally before I was a dog owner again after over 20+ years of not being a dog owner, I didn't really care. As long as Muttley was quiet and not causing a fuss.

This guy obviously thinks it's a dirty European habit. Forget your heritage bud? Has he never been to someone's house where the dog is inside or maybe they own a cat?  As long as the animal isn't in the kitchen where it can be  licking the plates or pissing on the veggies, and is restricted to the public areas, what harm is there.  Maybe in the Republic of California they don't have indoor dogs?

As a general tool Tripadvisor is very useful.  I have quite a few places reviewed. I tend to not be too critical unless it really deserves it.  After all, as they disclaimer says "This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC"

This is my worst review of a hotel in Coventry.  It was in 2011. The manager commented but it looks as though little has changed as there are more recent damning reviews! Second worst!

25 April 2017

Most Popular Post - VX800 Road test

I just had a look at the stats and am quite amazed that a road test report I wrote on the Suzuki Marauder has had over 15800 views.  An article originally written just shy of 20 years ago!

I do this blogging lark as a bit of fun but I'm glad that someone has actually read something I have written and appreciated it.

And here it is.

http://invictamoto.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/roadtest-suzuki-vz800-marauder.html