24 December 2017

Peter Pan at The Marlowe

Yesterday was panto time at The Marlowe in Canterbury.

As it was my birthday Claire emailed so that when they did the birthdays I got a mention too. Luckily not my age. 62.

So this year it was Peter Pan. Superbly done as usual. Great scipt as usual. And music a perfect match. The two "soap" stars this year Wendi Peters and Shawn Williamson were good and could both sing. Essential as pantos are musicals.

Next year. Cinderella.

22 December 2017

The Last Jedi 3D

Not started yet.  


I enjoyed the movie. Without giving too much away. I didn't like the ending. Seems a waste.

Obviously setting up for Episode 9.

21 December 2017

Sloe Gin 2017

A success. Claire's first attempt at uniting gin and fruit is a total success.

Last week she separated the fruit from the liquid and sieved it. It is a dark red colour.

Tonight we had the first small glass. Exceptional.

Tastes very nice.

Spada Pilgrim Grande WP Boots

My Christmas present to myself. It's easier this way.

Claire asks me what I want and I can never think of anything. I usually spend weeks and even months researching products until I finally make a purchase,  or miss a deal for waiting too long.

I need a pair or new bike boots. My existing pair are very old. They are still waterproof but once you have to superglue the rubber/plastic gear change guards back on, then their time is getting closer to the day when they go in the refuse/garbage bin. That date was probably sometime in 2016.

I wanted a pair of shorter boots to wear with jeans that once off the bike wouldn't be out of place. Boots I can walk in.

And here they are. Spada Pilgrim Grande WP Boots. Usually priced at around £130 or equivalent at UK and European stockists.  But one shop had 20% off and free postage.  Mind made up and here they are.

I'll write a review once I have been out and about with them....

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Whatever your faith this is a time for rejoicing and friendship.

Best wishes from Paul and Claire Devall.

P.S. Instead of posted cards I have donated to an animal rescue centre. http://www.hillside.org.uk

Merry Christmas from MAG

`Wishing you all a Merry MAG Christmas'

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG), the UK's leading voice for riders' rights, ends 2017 by offering a huge 'thank you' to all of its members for their support during the year and wishing them many miles of happy riding in the year ahead.

MAG Chair, Selina Lavender, said "We have seen some tough issues during 2017; particularly the significant rise in moped-enabled crime and the appalling attacks that have taken place with acid or machetes.  MAG stands firm regarding these crimes: they are unacceptable and we will continue to work with the relevant authorities to help stamp it out.  We are able to engage with these processes because of our fantastic members.  So 'thank you' to each and every one of you for your support over the past year.  I hope you enjoy a very happy festive season and I look forward to helping take MAG forward with you all in 2018."

Lembit Öpik, MAG's Director of Communications & Public Affairs, added "MAG has had to deal with some very difficult things during the year, but we are holding fast and will continue to fight against threats to motorcycling in the year ahead.  We can only do this because of our staunch members so I'd like to say a massive 'thank you' to you all because you make MAG what it is: the country's leading riders' rights organisation and every MAG member should be proud of their contribution."

MAG's Central Office will be closed over the Christmas period from Friday 22nd December at 12:30 to Tuesday 2nd January at 09:00, but you can still join on-line at http://www.mag-uk.org/en/membership/.  Normal office hours are 09:00 to 17:00.

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

20 December 2017

Blog gone

After updating my blog with the latest MAG info. I always update with meaningful stuff.  I clicked on the tags to see how many other posts I have made.

Quote a few as it happens. 

I clicked on one. Sadly, it seems with the change of MAG local rep a while back, the South-East blog looks to have been chopped.

I don't know when but it's a shame.

MAG looks back at 2017: A year of Action and Progress

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) Chair, Selina Lavender, says she is delighted by how much progress MAG has made in recent years.

'MAG perhaps used to focus more on the 'fun' aspects like rallies and demonstrations but in more recent times it has become increasingly focussed on a professional dialogue.  It looks like this change is delivering a lot more clout than we've had previously, which is very good news for MAG.'

Selina believes that this professional approach, along with investment in political and industry relationships, is paying dividends.  'Our political unit spends a great deal of time in meetings, and although that may not look as exciting as attending rallies or demos, the truth is we generate more of an impact by sitting inside the Home Office than we do by demonstrating outside it.  That's why our presence on the Home Office Task Group, which has been set up to tackle moped-enabled crime, is so important.  They've got the resources and we've got the specialist knowledge: it's a good combination.'

MAG has also been effective at generating new activity around the country.  MAG's team in the North West achieved a superb result by helping the restart of a motorcycle show at Blackpool's Winter Gardens. Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, Regional Rep Martyn Boyd and his team had a membership surge and are busy getting ready for next year's Motorcycle Show in February 2018.  Elsewhere, MAG Cumbria has recruited half the MPs in the entire region.

'We've also got much better at appearing in the media regarding biking issues.  Down in the South East, Steve Mallett has become a bit of a star, with regular appearances on the BBC.  Colin Brown is doing the same in the West Midlands - and that's all set to increase around the country next year.  It's partly about how we share best practice these days and I was delighted with the training weekend we held in York in November.  It's all about making sure we operate professionally without having to work everything out from scratch every time.'

MAG has great expectations for 2018.  'There's a lot to worry about, from illogical pollution charges through to the implications of Brexit for riders' rights.  But that's why we're here – to fix problems.  It's been a great team effort by staff and volunteers throughout 2017 and we're looking forward to building on this during 2018.'

17 December 2017

More old tech 2 - Digital cameras

Digital cameras.  I seem to have quite a few!!!

I rescued the Kodak DC3400 from the bin at work and popped some batteries and a very small memory card in it and it works.  It comes with a viewfinder that sadly isn't "through the lens" or TTL, and therefore non-WYSIWYG.  In fact, with things centred in the viewfinder the resultant photo is skewed to the right a little. It has batteries in it at the moment but is very slow. Take three pictures one after the other and it struggles to write to the memory card and you have to wait for it to save them before you can use it again.

The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200 is another bin rescue. This time it was actually in the large bin outside along with some other broken equipment.  The charging cable and USB data cables had been lost and the camera deemed surplus to requirements.  I rescued it and from eBay was able to get a pattern part data cable and an original but used power lead.  

The plug is a non-standard type and so needed the right one to power it.  It came with a very small capacity genuine Sony memory stick. I have replaced this with multi-platform bodge up. An adapter to take an after market mini-stick, a micro-sd adapter to fit the adapter, and then a micro-sd card to slot in there.... 

And despite all the connections it works a treat. The camera is small enough to fit in my pocket and I use it on bike trips.  It's a little scratched and bashed but it works perfectly.  It also has a viewfinder so battery life is much better than an LCD screen only.

Another working relic - Kodak DC3200. I bought this one many years ago. In fact my second digital camera after the Casio.

It still works with a small capacity CF card and AA sized batteries.  I haven't used it for a while and might plonk the batteries from the other Kodak in it and see what happens.

Watch for more old tech posts.

Decembeard 2017


It's a bit grey and not as bushy as in previous years. It's past the itchy stage now.

More old tech..

Things get separated. In one box I have a Creative MuVo2 mp3 player. Originally bought by Claire way back in 2004.

I works really well. But. How to charge it?

Finally it has been reunited with its original charger. Found when I was going through a bag of computer and other cables.  TBH. Three bags and a magazine rack full of cables. Some of which I have no idea what they are from....


Charging it to see what's on it.

29 November 2017

Oldham Athletic @ Sarfend United

One of the joys of getting old is being eligible for OAP or senior citizen discounts.

My ticket is £15 where any adult up to 59 years and 364 days will pay £22.

The game was originally planned for November 11th but was postponed as Latics had players on international duty.

Lovely jubbly.

A work colleague saw the club badge. She thought the owl looks very angry. I'd never thought of that before. 

Deep Purple @ The O2

What can I say?

I'd not seen Deep Purple for about 40 years and then twice in just a few!

I had to leave work and travel home.  Walk the dog. Then Claire came home and it was a rush to get to Ashford for the high speed train to Stratford. We made it. Didn't have enough change for the very expensive car park. But used the online booking on my phone!!

This time to cut the walking to save Claire's wonky hip we went Stratford International, DLR to Stratford mainline and then Jubilee Line to North Greenwich.  In the end it was a cock-up as the escalators at Stratford International were broken and we had to walk up. Then at North Greenwich the up escalator was broken.

Dinner in Wagamama. Two chicken katsu later we emerged to join a very long queue for security.

This time we had seats in the 100 series lower tier. Unlike the 400 series seats these are gently sloping and still with an unobstructed view. We also had the back row with just the disabled platform above and behind us.  Perfect.

The show was fantastic.  This time I didn't have to go to the loo just as they started "Smoke on the Water"! 

The support was from Europe. Apart from The Final Countdown I had never heard any of their stuff!!

We had to leave for our trains home about 2245 and they were still going. We missed one extra encore song.

Noticeboard at North Greenwich Station
Couple of pix from the night
Support from Europe

And here are a couple of links to videos I took.  Yeah I know.  Damned clowns with their cameras.... in my defence. We were on the back row!! NO one behind to get pissed off!!

28 November 2017

Oldham Athletic @ The Gills

Saturday was the first opportunity to see Latics in the south this year when I could go. I missed the relatively local trip to Gillingham last year as it clashed with something else. This year I got a ticket for my brother as well. 

We met at Gillingham station and walked down to the ground.  It was bitterly cold.  Even with four layers of clothes and a woolly hat it was still freezing.

The game wasn't too bad and a draw was a fair enough result, but Latics could have won had they shot a bit more often and the keeper made a save from a swerving ball and they cleared one off the line.  The Latics' keeper, Johnny Placido, made a world class save from a free-kick in the last seconds of the game.

The journey home was okay. I got a seat at Ebbsfleet. I was home in good time.

Due to both side being eliminated from the FA Cup.  On December 2nd they are once again down south at Southend United.  If the weather is too shitty to go to Ostend. I might go over there.  Last time I rode there but if it is too shitty for Ostend it will be too shitty for that as well.

Luckily though. The journey by train doesn't look too bad. Southend is way outside my season ticket (train not football!). 

London has nine zones forming rings around the city. My season ticket is valid for zones 1 to 6. So I'll need a ticket from Zone 6 out to Prittlewell. The nearest station to the stadium.

Let's see what the weather brings us.

23 November 2017

Evolution of the Ford Mustang

Just have to share this gif I was sent.  It even covers some of the ugly as shit models that should never have been allowed off the drawing board.

I almost bought a 67 model back in about 78 or 79.  It was for sale at work and even with five years driving experience and a full no claims bonus (discount) I could afford the car but not the insurance premium.

The insurance was well over what the car would have cost to buy.  Did I regret not buying it?


MAG opposes 'disproportionate' pillion ban

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has expressed concerns about the prospect of a ban on pillion passengers in London – a proposal which has been raised to combat the scooter crime epidemic currently gripping the city.

The idea has been put forward by Green Greater London Authority member, Sian Berry who said  'A very small number of people are causing large amounts of fear on our street".   A local safer-neighbourhood panel Chair pointed out a tactic used in some other countries: to temporarily ban the carrying of pillion passengers across whole cities.'

MAG's London Regional representative, Tim Fawthrop, has expressed his opposition to any blanket ban:  'As Ms Berry herself states, she isn't sure this is right for London, and we agree.  While all of us recognise the need to find solutions to the scooter mugger problem, the honest law-abiding, hard-working Londoner who takes his partner to work to cut costs and commuting time will be badly affected by this.  It's not as if the criminals will obey this law amongst all the others they are breaking. The Police will be hard-pushed with current staffing levels to enforce it and that will undermine the effectiveness of all laws.'

Tim adds 'In 2011, Honduras banned motorcycle passengers after a series of drive-by killings.  In addition, a ban was imposed in Medellin, Colombia, at the height of drugs cartel violence.  Are we really saying London is comparable to Honduras and Columbia?  I don't think so.  While it may be legitimate to impose a passenger ban on convicted criminals, doing so on a blanket basis is a disproportionate response to the challenge we're trying to address.'

MAG will make these points in December 2017 at the Home Office forum which has been set up to address the moped mugger problem. Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

19 November 2017


I have only lived here since 1999. We have a nice little town. 

Once the town was on the coast directly but over the years our side of the Channel silted up. Resulting in the capital of the "Cinque Ports" becoming further from the sea itself. We still have a beach and a promenade but they are further from the town centre.

In the photo is the Royal Military Canal. Built in case Napoleon invaded and to be used as a moat to delay and stop the invaders. They never came and the canal is a national monument.



18 November 2017

Dainese Scout Evo GTX gloves

After last weekend's ride in just about 2°C air temperature I knew I needed a new pair of more winter season gloves.

Santa unfortunately doesn't come to me anymore so it was left to Mastercard  to get involved.

We dropped into Laguna and after choosing a glove I thought might fit the bill but on the way to see if they had my size, I saw the "sale" bin. They still came in at over a £100.

In there we some Dainese gloves. Part leather part fabric.  I tried a pair on and like Goldilocks one pair too big. One pair too small but the next pair.  Just right.

You simply know. The fit was so "easy". Natural I suppose you could say.

I've worn them about the house and tomorrow if the weather isn't too wintry they'll get the first outing. 

Update 19/11/2017

Didn't get to try them out. At 2°C and frosty road and car iced I decided not to risk it.

Felt a bit guilty until on the back road I witnessed a cyclist slide off on an ice patch. That made me feel vindicated. 

14 November 2017

First digital camera?

I was looking through some of the blogs I follow and came across Bandit Rider's blog about cameras.  It kicked off a debate about cameras and when we all bought our first digital effort. 

As the eldest/oldest it seems I had the distinction of buying one first.  Back in 1998 I bought a Casio QV10a. I didn't come with a box just a soft case and some cables bundled in an elastic band.  It was of course new but an ex-demo model. I have no idea where those cables are now!

I still have it and recently took it out of the drawer where it has been residing for at least the last 19 years! In fact the 320/240 pixel output was so poor, and its hunger for 4 AA batteries meant it didn't see a lot of action.

It's first major use was in 1999 when I took it to Austria on my trip to the Wasserbuffel Club Rally near Mauterndorf in Salzburgerland. I used it a couple of times.  But essentially it only worked with bright daylight and ate batteries too fast to use sensibly.  It allegedly holds 96 pictures in the internal memory.  But batteries never lasted long enough to get that many.

The problem is that the cable I can't find has a jack plug at one end and a serial connection at the other. How to connect it to a modern computer might prove difficult.

Time to get it out of the drawer again?

Googling earlier I found the manual is still available!  Linked below.  



7 November 2017

News from the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG)

New low with London acid attacks and Merseyside killing

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has described the most recent acid attack as a 'new low in bike crime' and expressed its frustration at the shocking assault on a rider, potentially leaving him with a visual impairment.

MAG has offered its sincere sympathy to the victim of the attack, a delivery moped rider named Muhammed Nawshad Kamal, who was assaulted by thugs attempting to steal his moped in the Walthamstow area of London. MAG's London Regional Representative Tim Fawthrop said 'there's not much to say which helps in this situation, except that a shudder went through the riding community when news of this attack became known.  We're already working with local authorities and the police to reduce bike crime, but our efforts have come too late for Mr Kamal and that grieves me as a rider and us as a movement.'

MAG's National Chair, Selina Lavender, adds 'after the relative success of preventing mass lawbreaking at Halloween, this incident dampens the mood and leaves me feeling exasperated that such criminal, lawless behaviour still exposes riders to continual danger.  We're drawing up a plan of action which we intend to share with relevant groups later in November, and with the next Home Office anti-bike crime meeting shortly after that.  If ever there was a dreadful example of the constant peril bikers have to put up with, the attack on Mr Kamal is it.'

MAG understands that the police have arrested two teenagers for this attack and that acid was thrown at the victim more than once.  While there are options regarding the penalty, it is worth noting that there have been calls for involving the parents or guardians.  It has also been pointed out that compensation is a factor, given the potentially permanent effect this attack will have on the rest of the victim's life.  There is provision in law to hold people for very long periods if their crimes are serious enough and courts can commit people of any age to detention at Her Majesty's pleasure, potentially indefinitely.

In separate incidents, a man in Merseyside was fatally stabbed by a number of criminals who used scrambler bikes for the assault, and reports are coming in regarding yet another acid attack.  These appalling crimes underline the national nature of this epidemic.  MAG is investigating the situation and has previously engaged with police on these matters.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or EMail Central Office

1 November 2017


"If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die."

We have often been to concerts since Claire and I met back in 1999.  Most of them I have to admit at my bidding it has to be said.

Some have been less than exciting for her, but have actually been very good and she enjoyed the spectacle.  From the Download Festival (where I was lucky to have won £300 worth of tickets) to Motorhead and of course, last week, Metallica.

Motorhead were probably at the lower interest level. The last time we saw them the support was The Damned.  And it is The Damned we are going to see in February at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone.  Only a few miles from home.  No travel to London.

First up in November is a return to the O2 to see Deep Purple. A farewell tour? 

A gig free December leads us into the New Year and  Think Floyd at the Leas Cliff Hall. Another tribute band that get good reviews.

February, see that Damned concert and a few days after the Illegal Eagles.  The latter are a superb tribute to The Eagles.  They don't try to look like them, they simply play the music and play it very well.  They also sing the harmonies as it Glen and the gang were there... standin' on the corner.

And then what?

Carol King's musical "Beautiful" in March, but not at the Leas Cliff Hall but at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.


30 October 2017


The mild amongst us have the petition.  For years we have signed our names on paper and seen it delivered to the powers that be.

In the digital era we have the online petition. I ignore most but this one annoyed me.

25 October 2017

From the Royal British Legion

Tomorrow marks the launch of the 2017 Poppy Appeal.

This year we are once again asking our supporters to Rethink Remembrance by recognising the sacrifices made not just by the Armed Forces of the past, but by today’s generation too.

Please do look out for coverage of our campaign. As well as advertising in national and regional press, we’ll also be unveiling our brand new nationwide TV campaign.

Starting 28 October, two second teasers will air during peak evening spots on Channel 4 and its associated channels.

Our full 30 second advert will appear from 4 November, but I am pleased to share with you an exclusive preview today - be sure to check it out here or by clicking on the image above.

You can also follow the campaign on Facebook at Royal British Legion​, Twitter, and Instagram​.

Rethinking Remembrance is about remembering servicemen like Harris Tatakis, a Royal Marine injured in Afghanistan, who said of his experience, “When you come home injured, it can feel like you’ve been forgotten.”
By wearing a poppy and supporting the Legion, you ensure no one is forgotten. You are not only honouring the memory of those who have fallen in past conflicts, you are also giving vital, life-changing support to people like Harris who need your help. Men, women and families – here and now – who have served their country and need help to Live On through injury, illness, bereavement or other forms of hardship.

Rethinking Remembrance is all about the past and present, as well as the future. As you read the stories below, of Donna and Mark, Harris, and Tom, please know that it is for their futures – and for the futures of thousands of other ex-Servicemen and women across the UK – that we ask you to support this year’s Poppy Appeal.

Over the coming weeks, the nation will join together to remember our Servicemen and women, veterans, and their families. We hope you will join us, and wear your poppy with pride.

Yours sincerely,

Guy Upward
Assistant Director of Fundraising: Individual Giving

Oz: Around Australia on a Triumph

Oz: Around Australia on a Triumph

Not a review but a place maker. I have read all the previous Geoff Hill books either in paperback or on the Kindle.

TBH I hadn't any idea this book existed until I was checking some reviews and saw it. Immediately I was onto Amazon to see about getting it. A 1p copy plus postage seemed too good a deal to ignore and so I bought it.

Once I have finished my current read I'll be on it, or not. In the hands of the post office at the moment.

P.S. If the image is all blurred. Blame Goodreads,. It's theirs!

Arsenal 2-1 Norwich City

Okay. It was only the Carabao Cup. 
The opposition was only Norwich City from the Championship.  

It is a trophy that can be won and that gives a chance to play in European competition again.

As usual there were lots of changes in the home team's lineup with second stringers getting a start, and the rest of the team made up with lads. Lads under 20 and many only 17 or 18.

A goal down with time running out it was looking like we were knocked out.  But....

Enter stage right one Eddie Nketiah, wearing the 62 shirt. His first touch after only 10 seconds on the pitch saw him prod the ball into the net from a corner.

Inspired substitution by Arsène??

It came after the regular players had toiled to no great effect with Nardge under heavy pressure.
Normal time ended all square. Time for a hero to step forward. "Eddie! Eddie!"

Into extra-time and on 96 minutes Eddie rose like a spawning salmon to head the ball home. 2-1.
After this his name rang out almost constantly "Eddie! Eddie!  Eddie!".

He could have had a third. Passing the ball to his left around two defenders he outpaced them round the other side before lashing his shot on target. The keeper this time foiled him with a marvellous save.

The Arsenal has a new hero. "Eddie! Eddie!"

23 October 2017

Metallica 2

We got the train up. And now that we know where we are going it was really quick to get across to The O2 Arena from Stratford International.  In fact a DLR and a tube only took 15 minutes including waiting on the platforms.   Coming back though...

We decided to "eat out" at Wagamama. Not cheap. Service though is very fast once you get in the door! Although TBH this is the first time we have had to queue. 

The chili fried squid was excellent, so too were the duck hoisin pancakes.  The main courses came first (!) and then we had everything on the table at the same time.  I had chicken katsu. To say it reminds of something my old she cat. Minnie,  used to leave for me in the kitchen sink if she was left in all day..... No don't go there.

However it tasted really good, the katsu, not the cat sh.........

Once that was over we went across to the Dome. Security was quite tight after the terrorist attacks but given that the MEN Arena bomber in Manchester simply walked in the front door, I can't say that I was feeling any safer than the "old days", when they simply wanted to stop you sneaking in your own booze or long lens cameras.

We bought some expensive bottles water. No bottle though, they poured it in to plastic glass, and some chocolate that must have been made of gold powder.

Before taking our seats.  Luckily although the O2 seats are some of the narrowest and and most uncomfortable ever made, we had a good view.

When the tickets went on sale it looked as though the stage was at one end as normal, Instead they had an "in the round" style stage right in the middle of the arena space.  Like a boxing ring without the ropes.

Claire is not a metal fan, and I have managed to get her interested in Bonamassa and she did enjoy (I think) Deep Purple (hope so as we are going again in November) and Black Sabbath.  Even The Damned!

They crashed and banged through the latest album, "Hardwired to Self Destruct" plus the hits from the 80's and 90's.  The sound up where we were in the upper level wasn't as good as I would have liked, even with one partially working ear! The vocals too "lost" in the music, unlike all the albums I have going back to the 80's like "Kill 'Em All".

The stage and the effects were simply magnificent.

The biggest annoyance are the people that seem to catch the entire concert through their phones.  The woman in front must have filmed the entire show.

Due to it being Sunday, and the trains stopping earlier, we had to leave during the encore at about 2230.  It meant we were destined to get the last trains home.  Luckily we managed that.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. The Wagamama dinner and the concert.  Claire I suspect the dinner only.  

So roll on November 23rd and Deep Purple. Hopefully the sound will be better.

Unlike most of the people around me I have a phone that runs the battery down at the slightest touch, so I didn't take many pictures.  A girl in front of me seemed to film the entire show!

Fat Club

Although we hadn't really strayed too much from the Slimming World straight and narrow, after our holiday in France in May we decided to go back to start again.   For me the support is okay but what really makes me try harder is that I have to pay to be weighed and get that support.  TBH the organiser of our local group, Kirsty, is very nice and helpful,  and of course supportive.

So last Thursday after missing three weeks, luckily all of them we hadn't paid for, we went..... With two weeks in Florida behind us I had expected to have put on quite a bit of weight. After all, the portion sizes are vastly greater than here in Europe.  We soon learned to only have main course and no starters. This also extended to no desserts either.

Hardly any ice-creams but we did have bagels, two a day for breakfast reduced to one and a half later, and peanut butter every day for breakfast.

On the scales Claire lost (!) and I put on 1.5lbs!  That's even with a day of no food after my "Sick Man Blues" adventure trip around London's hospitals a few days earlier.

MAG represents FEMA in international working group

Ian Churchlow, the Motorcycle Action Group's (MAG) representative on a European bikers' rights federation, represented the movement at a major working group on riders' rights in Brussels.

MAG Director Ian Churchlow has just returned from Brussels, having attended a full day conference held by the Federation of International Motorcyclists (FIM), to discuss issues affecting bikers across the European continent and beyond.

Ian says, "this was a joint working group between FEMA and FIM and we met at FEMA Office Brussels on 18th October (2017).   We identified many areas where we have common interests and shared concerns.  These include motorcycle exhaust sounds and the balance between the damage irresponsible use of the motorcycle throttle and illegal exhausts can make to the image of motorcyclists versus the right to buy an aftermarket exhaust system without undue restrictions."

"We also covered the question of self-driving cars and whether this could lead to further road space limitations, thanks to dedicated autonomous car lanes.  We have many position statements on matters including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), motorcycle accident black spots, dangerous roadside crash barriers, motorcycles in the environment, traffic-calming systems and a great deal more.  One of the key areas of common interest is finding a better approach to initial training, licence conditions and tests.'

Ian believes that FIM, FEMA and FIVA (the federation which protects the interests of users of older vehicles) should adopt single-position statements where possible and externally communicate a united position on major motorcycle issues: "Policies like 'Vision Zero' – the goal of achieving no deaths on the roads at all – are logically and practically problematic, and we discussed options.  What's certain is that working together we've got a greater chance of influencing such policies than if working separately.   MAG is just one voice in this international working group, but I think everyone feels we have a lot to offer.  I'm delighted that we now have a place at the table on these strategic groups."

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

NB: FEMA = Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations

22 October 2017


Not really anywhere near Claire's area of experience but it's hard buying tickets just for myself.

As a trade off I am going to a Christmas Fayre or something in November.

20 October 2017

Super Nano Hydrophobic Liquid Repellant

A long title for this entry. Maybe I should have gone with the product name of "No Wet".

One of the guys at work came in with gleaming trainers despite the weather not being thst good. Not a trace of damp or dirt on them.

He said he had used one of these sprays on them as they were new and light grey.  A quick demo to the assembled masses and it looked good.

He didn't go as far dripping something nasty like ketchup on them but water ran off leaving no mark or stain.

I used to use an earlier incarnation of the one he used to try and keep my tent waterproof back in those far off days when I attended bike rallies and camped on holiday.

There is nothing quite like lying in the tent in the peeing rain and hearing it on the outside knowing that's where it will stay. Outside. Claire likes the sound of the rain but never in a tent!!

The one he used was Fabsil.

I wanted one that could be used on smooth surfaces as well as fabrics. And so after googling and researching for a week or so I chose "No Wet".

So today I have tried in on my brand new Skechers trainers.  An even coating and 20 minutes to dry. Then a second coating. Both done. 

It says leave for 20 more minutes or a day. .  I suppose over the weekend I'll get to test it.

New Kitchen

So we have a new kitchen going in.  It's not finished yet but Claire (or rather we) will have more storage space then ever.

It's not cheap either. It might even add value to our house. Who knows?

We have kept our not very old Samsung washing machine and the less old Beko fridge, but all the rest is new. And all from Neff.

Pics for those interested later.

18 October 2017

Sick Man Blues

Got back from Florida last Friday.  Had a couple of hours rest and then got up. A suggestion from my brother, Neill, to beat jet lag. 

Having kitchen fitters in does help with early mornings and no lie-in.

Saturday was a bit knackered and had a lie-in. Sunday up to get to the County for the monthly Meldrews Meeting.

Monday went to work. Feeling okay.

About halfway started to feel warm. Took off sweatshirt. Hotter. Hotter. Sweating. Chilling.

Then apparently I passed out.

I was helped off the train by a kind lady who turned out to be a nurse.  I was sick on the platform. She stayed with me for about twenty minutes. I was so out of it I can't remember her name.

Some British Transport Police came along and called a Paramedic.  She came quickly on her bicycle.  Fully equipped.  Did blood pressure and heart rate. Then when I told her what drugs I am on she called an ambulance. Possible heart attack?

The station guys were excellent and took me to the first aid room. More vomiting on the way. Ambulance was there.

They took some ECG's  and saw some iregularities, but each one they did was the same. 

Firstly under blue lights and sirens we went to St Bartholomew's (Barts) where I was wired up again for more ECG's.  Same result. They decided that there was no coronary problem.  Back to the ambulance and more sedately to The Royal London Hospital. One of the oldest hospitals in the capital.

Loads of tests and they determined that I had a normal fainting condition.  Body temp rising allied with low blood pressure and low heart rate and poof! Sparko!

Still feel tired and as we say cream crackered in Cockney Rhyming Slang. Saw my own doctor and advised not to exert myself and return to work on Monday

Work ain't gonna be happy.

27 September 2017

Decembeard 2017

I have signed up again.  As I still have Decembeard 2016 around my face I will need to shave it off and start bare-faced from November 30th.

So if anyone wants to contribute, this is my fundraising page.

The more sophisticated can even donoate by SMS - Text PAGD50 £5 to 70070 to sponsor me - £5 is their suggestion and it can be anywhere between £1 (boo-hiss) to £1000 (gulp!)

As Seen from the Sidecar - Round the World Blog

An ambitious project to navigate the world on a small scooter with attached sidecar. 

I will be following this and made a donation to the cause earlier today. The donation actually entitles me to ride with them through the Eurotunnel as far as Paris. The first leg of their RTW trip.Whether I'll actually do that is debatable and under discussion with Claire.  The ride is only a week after we get back from Florida.

Slavery exists and needs to be stamped out across the globe. 
It was finally outlawed in 1807 in Britain and its Empire. Yet today it exists in many forms.   

Sign up to the blog and read the entries from the organisations they are hoping to support on the trip.

The guys don't set off until October 21st. Plenty of time to catch-up and even donate.


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.

Update 30/9/2017

What can I say? Easy drive up from Kissimmee and parked in 55 West. Walked to the stadium along W Church.

Claire had a backpack.  Not allowed. Only see thru bags allowed. Luckily they give them away free outside and a  mobile phone company had a competition where she won a bigger on. Ended up decanting backpack into see thru bags. Also my big packet of Lays got confiscated.  Obviously the bag could have concealed a terrorist.
With pretzels selling for $5 for two, they don't want Lays sneaking in.

Game okay.  Pretty much at English League One level.  The fans in the Fanzone "Wall" made it more of a carnival atmosphere but with a 0-0 drawer it was never going to get the pulses running of European visitors.  At $34 each it was okay.

New Helmet - LS2 Wave

LS2 Wave

I have been looking for 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!

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