26 June 2019

Kettle - Resurrection Shuffle - 2

I had to stretch my lunch break to er, breaking point to get the Post office part of things done so I have a taxed but unusable bike.

It wasn't as straightforward as the DVLA website would have you believe though. As I don't have a V11 (the tax reminder they send out) and as the bike was SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification) there was no record of it being taxed for a few years.

On visit one the guy at the PO took the V5C (log book as we call it) and the V112 (MoT exemption declaration) and the printout of the web page,. He couldn't get past the first hurdle, telling me to call the DVLA.

I walked briskly back to work and called. Amazingly it took around a half dozen "press 1 for blah-blah, 2 for blah-blah" before I got a human person to speak to.  She listed to my problem.  "On page 2 of the V5C, section 7, write HISTORIC in the box and sign and date it, then go to the PO". I did.

Visit 2.  In and five minutes a different bloke had given me a receipt for the tax priced at £0 and was sending my log book off. A new one presumably with the tax class changed from Bicycle to Historic.

Brisk walk back.

So now the bike is legally if not physically able to go on the UK's and nay, the world's roads.

All this does make me wonder why once the vehicle trips over to 40 years plus 1 second old that they don't do this automatically and record the vehicle as historic? Why do you have to claim the exemptions that are allowed by law?

Kettle - Resurrection Shuffle

In happier days
It seems like I have been here before.  

It's all come about after a comment from my old buddy John Storrie once he entered the 21st century and got email and even the dreaded social media....

I have toyed with this before, and as Claire wants rid of it from the garage, I guess the first step is to get it running and in a position to possibly sell it. Possibly.

As it is 42 years since it was first registered it can be classed under tax and MoT standards as a historic vehicle.  That designation applies to all vehicles registered on UK roads before 1st January 1979. It is a 40 year rolling date.

I thought it would be automatic, but reading up is less straightforward. The bike has to have tax, even though it is free for historic vehicles.  It no longer needs to have the annual MoT.

Instead of applying for the tax online and the DVLA have all the details I have to go to a post office that can handle vehicle tax and take the log book (V5C) and a form (V112)  to say that as it is over 40 years old it doesn't need an MoT and it will be sorted.  They might do the tax (free remember!) then and send my V5C off to get it changed to historic.  Might photocopy all four pages first though.

As for the bike itself. I have let it get in a bit of a sorry state.  Generally it looks like the photo at the top of the page, minus a few parts that need fixing.  

The accident years ago caused a problem where the end of the throttle was broken. as it was hidden from view it wasn't noticed.  And occasionally the throttle would stick in place and needed to be forced shut.  I have a new throttle assembly for the right handlebar to re-fit.  It came with a matching left grip.

Part #2 in stock!

More seriously is that as it has stood in the garage it has seized.  It's not a hot seize as the motor wasn't running but it could be the rings rusted in the bore. Not what I'd generally attribute to a two-stroke. But over time that's the situation.  John suggests pulling the plugs and putting some neat two-stroke oil down the plug holes and let it seep in for a while and them turn it over carefully to free them up.  

Carbs.  I expect they'll need cleaning and the floats checked.  I have a set of choke plungers that came from a contact in Germany some years ago as mine are wearing a bit thin. I just have to find where I put them for "safe keeping"

Part 20 - choke plunger

They are made of brass and the head wears due to metal on metal contact from the lifter.

In the end once I have seen whether I can free-up the engine I need to get it over to John in Oxfordshire to fettle and make it roadworthy. Under the no-MoT regulations it has to be roadworthy.

Best case is that most of the jobs are easy for an expert like him. Worst case is that it needs the engine stripping.

I have a lot of the parts that will be needed and I need to locate them. I have a full gasket set somewhere to along with a set of pistons and the barrel they came out of!  

Once the school year comes to an end and I have the summer off it will get me off my arse to get the jobs I am capable of doing, done.

Although I have the parts books, this website is really good - http://www.3cyl.com/mraxl/gt/manuals/partsgt750/index.htm

24 June 2019


Clipped over on the way home from work.

40000 since I bought the Insignia in January 2014.

20 June 2019

Book Review - Say You're Sorry: Book One by Ian C.P. Irvine

Say You're Sorry: Book One (DCI Campbell McKenzie #1A)Say You're Sorry: Book One by Ian C.P. Irvine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good read

I couldn't help seeing Rebus' face when following McKenzie around Edinburgh.

Another Hibees fan? The Hibs bit grated a bit. C'mon The Cabbage.

Swiss Insurance. The standard it seems that all call centres that migrate to India seem to be aspiring to. I was expecting Jonathon to get to see his car but there you go. McN will be sorry one day.

I had almost expected the twist near the end. No spoiler here. McN had to be one step ahead somehow.

View all my reviews

Book Review -Too Close For Comfort by Adam Croft

Too Close For Comfort (Knight & Culverhouse, #1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A little on the short side but the ideal as a commuting on the train book. I downloaded it almost a year ago and just got round to reading it.

It may only be me but when I read books I assign a "look" to them. Robert, I automatically thought of him looking like Robert Bathurst.

The misogyny of Culverhouse seemed very 70's. I expect it will grow into something else.

And no. I never guessed whodunnit.

View all my reviews

17 June 2019

The Boss & Carlos

Not together, but two separate albums.

Firstly, pre-ordered "Western Stars" from Bruce Springsteen some months ago. I had heard a few snippets. Bruce away from his E Street Band persona.

A kind of semi-country record with some tracks with a full orchestra.

It took a couple of listens through and it has grown in stature with each listen.

My rating: ****

Secondly. Carlos Santana. One of my all time favourite artists/bands. First saw the band live in the Roman Amphitheatre in Fréjus on the Côte d'Azur way back in the 80's.

This album "Africa Speaks" features a "guest" lead allied to Santana's legendary riffs. You can almost hear the guitar sing.

My rating: ****

Both superb. But need more listen throughs...

16 June 2019


Buggery bowlocks.

Once updated the damned buggery thing won't pair with my phone.

It did before the last update. Now I can only upload routes etc through a wired usb connection and not by Bluetooth.

Call logged with TomTom support.

Update 18/6/19

TomTom Support have replied to tell me all the things I have told them I have done and if that doesn't work, to reset the unit and try again.

Update 19/6/19

That worked with a factory reset.  I had to enter the setup information again. The only problem is that now it pairs to my phone the MyDrive Bluetooth route transfer system doesn't work.


Had a run into Folkestone for a walk around the harbour and harbour arm.

The harbour area is being tidied up and with it the old Folkestone Harbour Station. All this tarting up really means that the chances of it becoming a ferry port again has faded away.

The Arm has many food stalls and most were open. I baulk at £9 for mussels and chips! The portion didn't look too huge either.

We stopped at Bob's Seafood for whelks and a crab sandwich. Very nice.

Me at Bob's

Pano of harbour

Chummy's Seafood

Claire outside her old workplace.

After a coffee and a biscuit at a new cafe in the old signal box we headed for home.

Not before a selfie.


12 June 2019

Press Release - MAG refuses to back down on ULEZ

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has received a belated response from Transport for London following two formal letters to Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Following a review of the response, MAG continues to press for greater clarity and common sense to be applied.

MAG wrote formally to Sadiq Khan in March, ahead of the 8th April launch of the Mayor’s ULEZ.  The initial letter requested a delay to Implementation of charges for Powered Two Wheelers (PTWs).  There was no formal response. 

MAG wrote again on 25th April calling for a suspension of charges.  A response was finally received from Alex Williams, Director of City Planning at TfL dated 22nd May 2019.  The six page letter concludes by stating “We cannot therefore meet your request that motorcycles be exempt from ULEZ charges.” Going on to say “I trust this answers all of your queries and I look forward to working with you to prepare motorcyclists for the expansion of the ULEZ in October 2021”.

Selina commented “Whilst the letter was lengthy it carried no real substance, and failed to address the issues that we raised in a meaningful way.  A further round of virtue signalling and dismissive attitude fails to come close to acceptability in the eyes of our membership.”

MAG has therefore responded to Mr Williams with an eight page letter crammed full with hard facts and analysis of the weak comments made in Williams’ letter.

MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, commented: ‘To me it is self-evident that decisions are being made by TfL that simply cannot be defended.  The revelations about the COPERT modelling flaws even lead to a comment from Williams that it was MAG that was mistaken on the issue of degradation factors.  This demonstrates that Mr Williams has not even looked at the model data that TfL claim to evidence motorcycle emissions.

Indeed my ongoing communications with EMISIA, the company that designed the modelling software, has revealed that they “could not locate the original study where the NO2 emissions originated from.”  For TfL to claim this modelling data as evidence is laughable.’

MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, said: 'If TfL and the Mayor think this issue will simply go away, they are very much mistaken.  We hope that Client Earth and others are following this case with interest.  If they are not, they should be.  Sadiq and his team are actively attacking proposals and policies that would accelerate the reduction of NO2 on the streets of London.  This simply does not fit with the claim that he is leading the way on reducing emissions in the shortest time possible.  The only thing his “hard hitting” policy is hitting, is the pockets of the very Londoners he claims to work for.  He is letting NO2 off the hook.’

In response to Alex Williams closing remark, the letter from MAG concludes: “The Motorcycle Action Group looks forward to working with TfL to achieve the correct outcome of exemption for all motorcycles from the expansion of ULEZ in October 2021, allied with a policy to positively promote modal shift from single-occupancy cars to motorcycles.”

Notes to editors

MAG’s initial letter to Sadiq Khan was dated 1st March 2019. A full copy of this letter can be found here:

MAG’s second letter to Sadiq Khan was dated 26th April 2019. A full copy of this letter can be found here:

A full copy of MAG’s latest letter to Alex Williams (cc Sadiq Khan), dated 6th June 2019 can be found here:

TfL cite the COPERT modelling data used by the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory as emissions evidence to justify the charge for pre-Euro3 motorcycles.  

This data can be found here:  http://naei.beis.gov.uk/data/ef-transport

The ULEZ emissions standard for NOx set by TfL for motorcycles is 0.15g/km

MAG has pointed out that the COPERT data is a modelling system that has not been verified by real-world emissions tests.

MAG has pointed out that the company responsible for the modelling software has confirmed that the data does not allow for the benefit of motorcycles filtering past congested traffic.

MAG has pointed out that the COPERT data still places many categories of pre-Euro3 bikes at emissions levels that are well below the 0.15g/km standard set out by TfL.

The Motorcycle Action Group Limited Tel: 01926 844064 Fax: 01926 844065 www.mag-uk.org

10 June 2019

TomTom Upgrade

Yes, it is that time of the year again when the map updates come out. I had the email from them and connected the TomTom and it started the download of the Europe maps. I un-ticked the US maps as I am unlikely to need the maps for a year or more.

The download bit got to the end and then it said "checking" it did this for over an hour and so I aborted it as it was late and I needed to go to bed.  I have had this before!

So this morning I logged the laptop in and connected the unit via USB.  That was about 90 minutes ago.  It immediately came up "Updating - Do not disconnect your device" on the TomTom and the TomTom banner is on the laptop but no exe running.

I get some breakfast and a cup of coffee and nearly two hours later, TomTom My Drive still not running on the laptop, the unit says that the update has finished.

Am I the only user that has this problem?

Update 17:10

I decided to give it another go and kicked off My Drive Connect and t worked okay. Logged in and it gave me two updates, the people's changes plus the US Maps.  Kicked both off. Seamlessly worked. It must be something to do with their servers at TomTom being slow? Maybe everyone got the email and are all doing the upgrade at once?

7 June 2019

Arsenal Gold

Renewed my Gold membership for another year. Let's hope that there is more success at the club. 

It is getting to be an expensive hobby since Alex stopped going 50/50 with me on the games and the price.

Especially after some games you think you might as well have flushed a handful of bank notes down the loo.

I think this maybe my last year anyway.  I am close to retirement and can see that there are other things I could do with £926.

We'll see.

6 June 2019

Fistful of €uros

My brother Neill and his R66 buddy Patrick set off in four days (as I write) on a long trip around the Iberian Peninsula, that's Spain and Portugal, to the uninitiated.

Should you wish to follow his trip as it happens on Blogger the link is http://whespana19.blogspot.com/ and it is also linked from the right sidebar on this blog.

It should be quite an adventure.  I'd like to clam I am not a little jealous of him being away.  We all have different lives and reasons for doing, or in this case not doing, something.

I have signed up to the email updates although they seem to arrive overnight rather than "live" as it were.

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