31 July 2018

Insignia - Problem

Since I bought the Insignia four years ago I have put 34000 miles on the clock.

Apart from an annual service and tyres both end (once) and a new battery in Jan 18, it's not been too much of a problem.

A broken spring after some Scottish potholes of monumental depth is about it.

Forget about the local Kent drivers who on FOUR occasions have managed to run into it...

Last evening I got home from dog walking, following Claire into the drive. The coolant light has been on for a few days and I guess that the level was low. On checking I could see it was about 2mm below the max line.

I topped it up with about 200ml of clean tap water and that took it to the line. Dipped the oil and that was okay.

To check the light and warning panel was off I started the engine. The steering wheel was stiff. The aircon was on but nothing came out of the vents.

Then the warning lights for battery and charging all came on.

I turned off.

Like all good chaps I googled the warning panel message...

Alternator? Battery?

No. Lack of power steering and electrical functions was the belt on the left (as facing) of the engine. In the half light I could see a naked pulley at the end of the alternator. Further delving into a roasting hit engine bay located the belt. Unbroken.

How had it come off? I called the RAC as someone on the Vauxhall Drivers Club forum had said that it was an easy job to get on.

Unfortunately, we live 5 miles from Eurotunnel and 13 miles from the Port if Dover... With so many holidaymakers on the road and consequently loads of breakdowns they couldn't guarantee when they could send their guy to me. They estimated 2300.

At 2050 they called and asked as the car was half on my drive whether they could come 0800 tomorrow... I said yes

0815 this morning Dave arrived and managed to force the belt on. He couldn't offer any idea how it had come off. The belt was undamaged and the tensioner took a 3ft bar to lever it to create enough slack to get the belt back on!

So at least I can get to work. It ran perfectly, of course, to the station.

My neighbour John owns a garage in Dymchurch.  He said to drop it in and they'll check it properly for wear and alignment. A kind offer and I would never ask a neighbour. It seems like you are after something for nothing...

Looking at it running there seems to be no obvious run out and so who knows what caused it.

The main worry is that we go on holiday on Friday. It's only 145 miles but the potential to go wrong seems way too high. Maybe go in Claire's Corsa!!

Update August 3rd

The day before we go... Had dentist appts in the morning. Then took it to John's garage. Can't do it but bring it back 8am Friday.

Did that. Ring on doorbell about 1030am. Lee, John's son, with car keys. All checked and nothing can be found.

Finished packing.

Decide to give them my Beer52 collection of different IPA beers. ..

Just driving away when they came home for lunch... Waved and drove off.

Car ran perfectly.

posted from Bloggeroid

27 July 2018

MAG demands action on 'Pothole Britain'

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has added its voice to demands that the appalling state of our roads is addressed. Road faults are damaging motorcycles and causing injury and death.

MAG has backed the RAC's criticisms of the state of the roads in the UK. The damage to the road surfaces has been caused by limited repair budgets and extreme weather – both hot and cold – which the UK has recently experienced.

David Bizley, RAC Chief Engineer, said: 'From a driver's point of view, our roads are still in a poor state of repair after the damage caused by 'The Beast from the East' and the generally harsh late winter conditions the country experienced.' The RAC recorded 4,091 pothole-related breakdowns between April and June – the highest figure for this three-month period since 2015.

The figure includes breakdowns for the category 'likely to be attributed to damage caused by potholes and poor-quality road surfaces' – such as damaged shock-absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels. 

The RAC also says its Pothole Index – which is based on a quarterly rolling analysis of pothole-related breakdowns – shows a worsening picture in the second quarter of 2018.

The index, which began at a base of 1.00 in 2006 when the RAC started recording data, moved upwards from 2.63 across the three-month measuring period to 2.67, marking five successive quarters of deterioration.

A spokesman for the Motorcycle Action Group, Ian Churchlow, said: 'Potholes are not a theoretical problem for bikers. They cause real accidents and real injuries – and even fatalities. We read and hear endless calls for reduced death and injury on the road from the road safety groups. We would invite them to join us to take a common-sense attitude towards something which would make a far bigger difference than reduced speed limits – better road surfaces. Specifically, that means devoting time and effort to getting local authorities to fix the roads,  which may not be glamorous but it's very important. Our question is: will the road safety lobby work with us to achieve that? This is the litmus test about whether or not they are serious about road safety.

Pothole Britain is killing riders and this has to end.'

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

26 July 2018

Heatwave Continues

The heatwave continues unabated. It has been with us now all month.

Our usual summer had a mixture of sun and showers. The high usually around 25°C and we swelter.

A few days of sun together and people are stripping off in parks in big cities and at the beach.

This year it has gone on all July with some temperatures have been around the 30 mark. The high for our generally temperate climate is apparently a mere 38.1°C.

My car was trying for that as you can see above.

The highest temperature I have experienced was when Claire and I were in Arizona. There was a freak hot spell in Phoenix that touched 110°F or 43.333333°C. It was also May. God only knows what it's like in high summer!!
posted from Bloggeroid

20 July 2018

Walking around Hythe - The Canal as a defence

One of the landmarks in Hythe is the Royal Military Canal. It was built as a form of defence for Romney Marsh in case of an invasion by the French under the command of Bonaparte. The marsh could be flooded but once an invasion began it would take too long to flood it. So a water filled ditch seemed like a great idea. And over 200 years later it is still there.

Over the years Hythe has gone from one of the original "Cinque Ports" (court language at the time was French!) to being around half a mile from the coast.  This caused by silting up of the English side of the Channel and what they call "withdrawing of the sea".

We walk a section every night with the dog.   The "town£ sections on each side are paved but other sections are gravel and often simply grass.   It is still possible to see that the northern bank still has the higher frontage and the military road behind is effectively sunken and would allow troops of the day to move relatively freely. The coast itself is defended by Martello Towers, although these were constructed after the canal was finished.

The picture is the boat hire on the southern bank by Ladies Walk Bridge. Rowing boats for hire and the electric boat to take cruises from Hythe to the dam at West Hythe.

17 July 2018

Guide Dogs Stand - Hythe Hullabaloo

Claire has been looking for something to get involved with. Something where she can contribute to society.

She has recently begun to volunteer to raise money for the Guide Dogs charity.

She did half a day at the school fete in Lympne a few weeks ago and Reggie and I had a walk around the village to the 12C church.

This last weekend she did another stint on the Guide Dogs stand in Hythe High Street for "Hythe Hullabaloo"

Reggie stayed at home when we first went to the stand and I actually got the Canon DSLR out of the house.

I took a few pics of the Armed Forces Day Parade. The band is from our local regiment the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment and they were followed by the British Legion standards and ex-servicemen.

Princess of Wales Royal Regiment band

Royal British Legion Standard bearers


Later in the day I went back (traffic horrendous) to collect her and Reggie came too.

He was alright until the local cat stranglers began playing. Or rather he didn't appreciate the music of the Scottish bagpipes and drums band.

posted from Bloggeroid

16 July 2018

"No Limit" - George Formby

I first saw this film on my first ever visit to the Isle of Man in 1979. It was showing to packed houses at the Villa Marina all week. 

Amazing for a comedy film made in 1935 starring one of music halls most famous acts - George Formby.

Famous for some very risqué songs accompanied by a ukelele. Never crude. Never uttered a foul word. Just open to interpretation by the viewer/listener. He did play gormless George in most of his movies.

Now that we have the DVD player working through the digital TV we ought to be able to watch.

Failing that. We can watch on the laptop. In fact I'll take it to work to.orrow to see if it will play on my work (read junk) Lenovo.

I bought this copy as it was specially remastered for the Centenary TT in 2007 when Claire and I last went over for the TT.

Update: 19th July 2018

Watched a few scenes on my work laptop during my lunch break.  It has been digitally remastered and it does look very good. Obviously it's in black and white but still looks really good.

11 July 2018


I have seen many reports that codeine is addictive.

I take it whenever I get an IBS flare up. Usually I am relieved within a few hours but this week I have found that it was less effective. 

Maybe after twenty plus years of irregular usage that I am becoming too used to it, therefore it's effectiveness is reduced?

One for the medical experts I guess.

6 July 2018

MAG News - Motorcycle Theft

The Motorcycle Action Group has publicly condemned what it sees as a complete lack of leadership, understanding and vision by senior figures responsible for dealing with the epidemic of motorcycle and scooter theft.  MAG has vowed to hold the government, senior police chiefs, and the judiciary to account for the deplorably weak response to this national issue.  Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, has asked "Why is it that criminal gangs can demonstrate a better level of vision, organisation and adaptability than those whose job it is to protect us as law-abiding citizens?"

The national disgrace that is the ever-escalating lawless nature of this country has affected many areas of society.  The motorcycling community is one that has been hit hard and yet it would seem is one that does not deserve the protection of the state.  Few can have escaped seeing the news reports if not being directly affected by the lawless behaviour of gangs of criminals on stolen motorcycles and scooters.  In London the very highly publicised attacks on members of the public and celebrities alike, with violence regularly featured, fill the newspapers.  Less well reported nationally are the criminal gangs of anti-social riders that terrorise communities, placing people at risk of serious injury as they mount pavements and practice stunt riding on the public highways on a daily basis.

Colin said "Behind all this criminality is the epidemic of motorcycle theft that fuels and enables the behaviour.  As I heard one wise police officer comment; 'these people are not the type who go out to their local dealership to buy, register, tax and insure a motorcycle.'  We are not likely to be rubbing shoulders with them at a local charity run unless they are there to steal our bikes.

"Despite all the spin and Home Office Roundtable initiatives that claim to be dealing with the issue and even to having it all under control, the main point raised by the motorcycling community has still not been heard.  The decision-makers have never ridden a bike and focus purely on the outrageous behaviour towards what they see as 'normal' people."MAG has a very simple solution to all the criminality: deal with the theft of motorcycles.  Moped gangs would be reduced to being just gangs if they cannot source machines; anti-social riders can only be antisocial kids on foot if they are not riding bikes.  Take away the new tool of their trade and they suddenly become less capable of breaking the law and far easier to apprehend.

Colin Brown went on to say: "The police are constantly asking for partnership-working due to the pressures on their resources, yet despite repeated offers they generally don't want to work with us.  We engaged with the Home Office Roundtable process but, again, despite repeated offers we were not actively engaged in any of the task and finish groups.  The only people at the table with first-hand knowledge of the real face of motorcycle theft and the realities of what victims are suffering were excluded from the process.  This has resulted in our view in a massive tick-box exercise that has not come close to tackling the problem."

At the end of 2017 MAG attempted to collate details on the national picture, to understand the true face of the crime across the country. Freedom of Information (FOI) requests were sent to every police force in the UK.  A simple question was asked: how many motorcycles have been stolen each year over the last 3 years?  Shockingly 34% of police forces failed to give any response to the request, despite the fact that they have a legal obligation to do so.  Three of the responding forces said that they did not record motorcycle thefts separately from other vehicle types, and could not therefore say how many had been stolen.

Colin Brown says "We are repeating this exercise with all UK police forces, asking how many motorcycles were stolen in 2017, how many were recovered, and how many criminals were charged with theft of a motorcycle.  If we do not receive responses we will be referring those forces to the Ombudsman.  We are also asking all local authorities how many secure motorcycle parking bays they provide, what their spending has been on secure parking infrastructure and what their budget is for 2018.  From this data we will identify areas where there needs to be closer scrutiny, and we will then examine the response to the issue and planned action in that location.  We will demand that independent advisory groups are set up to hold the senior officers and local authorities accountable.  We will make our findings public and, where necessary, lobby local PCC's and MP's until action is taken. "The time for platitudes, spin and box-ticking is at an end.  We demand meaningful action and we demand it now."

4 July 2018

Nice Walk in Lympne

With Claire volunteering to help run The Guide Dogs for the Blind stall at Lympne School, Reggie and I had a walk around the village.

Lympne has a Castle and down the road is the Port Lympne wildlife and conservation park. It also has a church built in the 12th Century AD or 1300 to 1399. 

History actually goes further back here.  The Romans landed earlier near Sandwich where there is a huge Roman fort at what is now called Richborough.  They arrived here at Portus Lemanis a little later. Very little is left of their structures.

As Britain is struggling through a heatwave I had to choose a route where Reggie wouldn't get overheated or get his paws burned.

We left Claire at the school and I was able to park the car on the main road outside in the shade. Even so the temp gauge on the dashboard was showing 28°C.

We crossed the road and headed towards the castle under the shade of the trees. It took a while to reach first the church and then the castle as Reggie is a sniffer dog. He's also a widdler.

I always carry a bottle of water and a dog bowl with me as well as poo-bags and treats.

At the church we walked through the cemetery to the back to check out the view.

You'd never guess that the church was at least 600 years old.

Once we had enjoyed the view we had a drink, or Reggie did, and then had a walk around the church yard to give us a chance to see some of the graves. Many are very old and overgrown.

Whilst I am a snapper there was a pro photographer at large with her DSLR taking some artistic pix.

From here we walked around the village. The castle was closed as they had an event. It's a popular spot for weddings etc.

We returned to the car. It was very hot and I messaged Claire to say I was taking Reggie home. Our walking day was over.
posted from Bloggeroid

World Cup - England - Round of 16

After navigating the third of the group games against one of the favourites to win this year's competition, and losing, to Belgium with a vastly changed team, we faced Colombia.

Luckily, by losing 1-0 to belgium England assured themselves in the "easier" side of the draw that would mean avoiding the more dangerous and difficult sides such as Brazil and France, and of course Belgium again!

Of course the meme writers were out in force....

Colombia. were they the force to be reckoned with?  After numerous penalties across the championship for WWE tactics in the penalty area, England went ahead after... you guessed it. Harry Kane wrestled to the ground right in front of the referee.

Despite great provocation for the most part England players behaved well.  No matter how dirty the opponents.  Even resorting to a head butt under the chin from one of their players to Henderson.

In the end it looked as though England would scrape through then with seconds to go, Colombia made it 1-1  from a corner.  Maybe they were thinking of what happened to one of their team in 1994. The shooting of Escobar.

The extra tme period dragged on and both side didn't take the opportunities.  England seemed to gain in strength and then the whistle. Penalties!

England haven't won a penalty shoot-out for, well ever, in a major competition.  The last player to save a penalty for England in a world cup game was Arsenal's David Seaman - twenty years ago.

In the end it was going well. Ospina saved Henderson's poor penalty. Colombia ahead.  The next Colombian crashed his attempt against the bar..... Trippier scored his.... 3-3 with just one each to take before sudden death.... Pickford in the England goal matched Seaman. The whole of England erupted. You could here the cheering across the town.

It was down to another Spurs player, Dier, to win it for England.... Bang. History made. England finally win a shoot-out.

Dier penalty

As usual the England haters, and that covers all the inhabitants of the cold and wet place called Scotland, were out in force moaning that fans were out on the streets celebrating. W@nkers.

Typical reverse racism.  If Russians and Brazilians do it, it kind of okay....Exuberant supporters loving their country....but if we do it. Moan after fucking moan. What I think are known as the Liberal Left that hate anything English despite actually being English were commenting on social media. Depsite the diversity (which they love) was evident in the England squad.....

 What next?  Sweden on Saturday in the last 8 game at 3pm.

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