26 September 2018

Royal British Legion

I joined the Legion again for another year. A small price to pay to put money towards an organisation that supports our veterans and has done for getting on for a hundred years.

25 September 2018

Flat Tyre Reprise!

Saturday AM had the new Goodyear Eagle fitted. 

The guy showed me the damaged tyre. The screw about 3 inches long and lots of damage inside to the structure of the tyre. 

So that's another £150 spent!!!  Bugger.

22 September 2018

Specsavers - new reading glasses

They seemed better looking in the shop.  For me they are a bit too "Elton John" and they have turned out to be useless for the computer.

Once I got used to them, reading my kindle or other printed matter they are okay, but not for the computer screen!

19 September 2018

It's coming....

Yes, it's about six weeks away in fact and we head towards it like a rocket.... click on the link.

They take loads of currencies so just a $ or a £ or even a pre-Brexit € will do.   Multiples of them even better.

18 September 2018

Flat Tyre Reprise!

So dropped the wheel off at Kwik-Fit in Cheriton and the guy had a quick look and thought that the self-tapping screw that had buried itself and then lost its head was too close to the shoulder of the tyre.

But would get the tyre off today and check inside.  I missed their phone call at about 0846 this morning as I was on the train in tunnels. I called back.

Bad news.

The tyre inside is damaged and they can't repair it and so it will have to be a new one.  I asked them to order the same Goodyear tyre to keep them matched at the front.

Very annoying as the buggered one has less than a 1000 miles on it.

Luckily I was at work so I was unable to get too angry and swear a lot.

Pick it up Saturday morning. I hope.

17 September 2018

Flat tyre

Always when you are in a hurry.  At least the Insignia comes with a tiny spare wheel with its narrow little tyre attached.

But not what you want at 0720 in the morning when you are heading to the station on a Monday morning.

I changed it in slightly longer than it takes an F1 team to change all four wheels on a race car and was off. Only missing my usual train by two minutes.

With work all week I am driving all the rest of the week on this squeaky very shiny piece of plastic rubber.

Hopefully I can get it fixed on Saturday if I leave it at the tyre shop all day.....  The tyre is only a few months old and the nail has gone into the tread not the side wall..... and at £125 I hope they can fix rather than replace!!


Have physio on my shoulder this afternoon, pain and stiffness not aided by the wheel removal either!!! So I will try and drop the wheel into the tyre shop near the station this afternoon and if they can do it whilst I wait all well and good but I might have to leave it and collect on Saturday.

The guy there reckoned about 45 mins on the phone.

13 September 2018

The problem with ageing!

This weekend I have a day trip planned across to Belgium to visit one of the 1914-1918 WW1 monuments at Palingbeek. It is in great danger as I have a bad shoulder.

Okay, a bad shoulder might be underselling it.  I have a lot of pain in my left upper arm around the shoulder. At first I thought it was frozen shoulder but the physio says not, but it's really an age related problem.  

As a consequence of working at a desk with a computer for company for many many years I have become round shouldered, this in turn means that at certain arm positions the muscle is being trapped by the bones in the shoulder.  Pinched enough to cause pain, and sometimes severe pain. 

I have a set of exercises to do to try and strengthen the muscles to pull my shoulders back to relieve this pressure.

On the bright side, It usually happens at about 45 degrees from my arm straight down and the bars on the Rocket are about 90 degrees.

What with being deaf in one ear and a cardiac recovery patient, life is a bowl of cherries.

11 September 2018

International Audience!

After reading a post on one of the blogs I follow (https://ontwowheels-eh.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-russians-are-coming.html) I had a look to see how international my audience was.


For a mostly British oriented blog the largest proportion of my audience seems to be from the US and Russia.

Did I say I simply adore Donnie J and (Ras)Putin?  Only joking folks.....

10 September 2018

MAG Press Release - Exemption for Motorcycles in Birmingham

MAG wins charge exemption for motorcycles of all ages in Birmingham City's Clean Air Zone

The Motorcycle Action Group has won a landmark campaign to gain exemption for motorcycles of all ages from Birmingham City Council's Clean Air Zone (CAZ).

At a special meeting of the Cabinet today, Birmingham City Council has approved its CAZ business case submission.  Once approved by Government, the proposal can be implemented with the launch of the zone scheduled for January 2020.

Birmingham is the first authority outside London to propose the "Class D" clean air zone model that allows for charging of all vehicles including private transport.  The Motorcycle Action Group has consistently argued that motorcycles act within the transport system as net reducers of congestion and pollution, pointing to studies that demonstrate that a simple 10% modal shift from single-occupancy cars to motorcycles and scooters will yield a 40% reduction in congestion for all road users and result in a 7.5% reduction in CO2, a 5.5% reduction in NO2 and a 20% reduction in particulate matter.

MAG's Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, said: "We are delighted that our campaign has resulted in the proposal to exempt all motorcycles from charges in the zone. This is a decision that will impact riders not just in Birmingham, but throughout the country.  Birmingham City Council has recognised and accepted our position that motorcycles are net reducers of harmful emissions and thus should be exempt from charges.

"I have found Birmingham City Council to be informed, serious about their emissions policy development and capable of understanding the science, and credit to them for taking such a mature view.

This decision sets the precedent for all future CAZ proposals in other parts of the country, demonstrating a clear endorsement of the fact that motorcycles contribute to improving air quality.

"The exemption from charges is a vital first step towards a policy to positively promote modal shift to motorcycles.  There is pioneering work on this policy being done already in Northamptonshire, and we look forward to discussing with Birmingham City Council and Transport for West Midlands how application of this policy in the region will accelerate the journey towards compliance of legal targets for NO2 emissions.  Achieving this goal will remove the threat of fines for non-compliance and benefit the entire community."

Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Opik, said: "This excellent result in the West Midlands now has significant implications for the legitimacy of the poor decisions being made in the Capital.  We will be continuing our efforts to persuade Sadiq Khan to reverse the illogical and  counterproductive charging of pre-Euro 3 motorcycles in his Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) due to come into effect in April 2019."

Chairman of the Motorcycle Action Group, Selina Lavender, said "We are thrilled with this outcome, the result of much hard work by MAG's political unit and the support of MAG members and supporters.  We thank the efforts of all those who supported our campaign, signed the petition and responded as individuals to the consultation.  Working together we can see great results, not just for riders, but for the whole community."

Notes for editors:

The Belgian 2011 study, "Commuting By Motorcycle: Impact Analysis" was completed by Transport and Mobility Leuven.  The full report can be found at:

The Motorcycle Action Group has published a briefing document, "Powered Two Wheelers: An Air Quality Solution" which covers the facts with respect to motorcycles and air pollution. Please contact MAG central office for a copy of the briefing document.

More CAZ information.

posted from Bloggeroid

7 September 2018

La danse macabre de l'assurance

It's that time of year again - La danse macabre de l'assurance begins.

My current insurers sent the renewal quote and a note to say that it would be automatically renewed 5 days before it was due - on the 18th September.

La danse macabre

All would be well if the premium hadn't gone up from £251.93 to £282.31 (£30.38)! Considering the depreciation on a 7 year old car and the lower risk a break-even quotation might have been acceptable.

As it was, La Danse was just beginning. Take your partners....

I logged into my account with the Meerkats.  I have successfully used them before and have always saved money.  The trick seems to be to change companies every year to maximise the "new business" enticements.

The first few pages of insurers wanting my business were all cheaper than last year's quote (!) and I chose the cheapest.

Choosing the cheapest may not be the best way, always, but after checking that all I needed was included in the quote I decided to go ahead with RIAS.

A quick call to Endsleigh to say do not auto renew my policy went off smoothly.  Unusually they didn't try to keep my business with an offer I couldn't refuse.

Back online.  Bish bosh, and £224.13 spent on the RIAS policy.

A saving of.... £58.18.   I am happy with that.

One of the Meerkat insurers was laughable.  Achoice (!) quoted £3069.21 for a car worth about £3500!

So for this year:

La danse est finie!

6 September 2018

TomTom 410 - Map Update

Attached the 410 to the laptop tonight and it needed to do a Europe Map update, This apparently caused by the new out of town speed limit introduced across France that sees the limit reduced from 90kph to 80kph.

As far as I have read this is actually only a trial period.  Let's hope France and her people see sense.

Ozzy - February 11th

No wonder there are no tickets left.  I was allegedly buying tickets on the pre-sale day as they don't go on regular sale until tomorrow.

So once logged into the booking site I can see about 70% of seats are already booked or greyed out.....

Despite not being able to book a seat anywhere I preferred as I might leave a single seat, there were loads of single seats dotted about!  WTF?

Anyway as I am Paul No-Mates I managed to book my one seat roughly where I wanted, but only as it was a single seat, that somehow got left on its own?

5 September 2018

Movember 2018

After a couple of years Tache-free I have decided to have another go in 2018.  I was surprised to see that over the years I have been a Mo-Bro I have raised £625 for the charity.

Men's cancer charities are very much in the shadow of women's charities and far less publicised by mainstream print and TV journalists.  Not very equal!

It's time that men took more time to promote fundraising activities and this is one of them.  

Please donate, even if it is a pound or a dollar or a euro...... Every penny counts.

4 September 2018

3 September 2018

Car Specs

Following on from the Specsavers posting, today I bought what I call "car specs" (specs = spectacles!) from SelectSpecs online.

They do cheap spectacles (aka glasses/specs/spex) and they might not be the most fashionable or even nice looking but they are perfect for the glove box to use when you are daft enough to have left the proper ones at home or have, what has happened to me before, had an arse/butt interface with them.

So for £11.95 including, anti-scratch coating (perfect for bike riding), anti-glare and delivery, I have a pretty ugly cheap pair that are my new prescription and will be there if and when I need them.

I currently have a pair of them in the car as my car-sunspecs.  They look cheap and they are.  But they do the job.

2 September 2018


Arsenal away at newly promoted Cardiff City. Not a game where the "old" Arsenal would have had a care in the world brushing aside the team from the Welsh capital, but nowadays with a defence that leaks like a rusty kettle, there is always that fear that a few extra cockups will end in disaster.

Forgetting that my brother was away in Canada flying in a WW2 Avro Lancaster* I sent out an SMS to say I was on "lockdown".  A phrase we use to say "do not send game updates"!  Claire and I were out walking the dog and so I would miss the 1.30pm kick off.

I avoided looking at my phone, as kindly old Google sends me score updates! Okay when the game isn't on TV!

Once back in I started watching the recorded version and skimmed through the pundits and the preamble.  I always think it is  pointless interviewing managers before a game!

After 11 minutes the ethnic Albanians of Xhaka and Mustafi combined at a corner to put Arsenal 1-0 up.  Arsenal were well on top until the dying minutes of the first half and following some hesitation in defence,  Cardiff equalised.

The second half followed the same pattern. At one point the stats showed 90% possession over a ten minute period.  Then Aubameyang scored with a twenty yard shot into the bottom corner.  At last playing two proper strikers looked to be paying off.

And then Cardiff came back.  Harry Arter dived.  There is no other excuse for a player going face down into the turf when the nearest Arsenal player was over two feet away from touching him.  From the resultant free kick and other defence lapse allowed them to score. 2-2.  Cue much swearing and anger!!!

From then on it was one way traffic,  The Gunners piling on pressure, bringing on Welbeck as a third striker. The pressure finally paid off with Lacazette being put through and his thunderbolt strike beat the keeper at his near post. 2-3 and Arsenal ahead.

A worthy victory but the defensive frailties need addressing quickly. There's a break now for international games and then the Arsenal are back on 15th September away at Newcastle United.  Another tricky one away.

I will definitely keep my phone on for that as I will be in Belgium

* Historical Aside: My Gran, Hilda Shaw Pattinson, worked at the A V Roe factory in Chadderton  (Lancashire) during WW2 until she retired in the late 1960's. The factory is now a museum.

1 September 2018


The last time i had en eye-test was two years ago and it was at Tesco in Ashford. I went mad a bought a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses with prescription lenses and a pair of Oakley clear classes.  Cost a fortune but two years later they are fine and maybe even still "fashionable".

I don't think that Ray-Ban Wayfarers have even been unfashionable!

Ray-Ban Wayfarer
Oakley. Have no idea of the model number

So today I went to Specsavers in Folkestone for my bi-annual check-up.  As expected I need reading glasses.  Reading the screen at work has become a little more difficult without added blinking and concentrating.  I have had to up the font size on my Kindle too!

Claire chose a nice pair for me in the £69 range.  They will be delivered next Saturday. Watch this space.  At least I'll be able to see it more clearly....

What was less comforting was when I did all the tests for distance and mentioned to the optician that I was having a problem with not perfect vision in my right eye even with glasses on, that I seem to have a problem.  Although my prescription hasn't changed it looks as though the problem is that I have the early stages of a cataract!  Bugger.

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