I see its been over a year since I last posted, oh well.
I think now I am a father thoughts of preservation and self preservation have been floating about in my head.
I have always had, at least a slight, sense of self preservation.
I've done stupid things on 2 wheels and 4, usually fairly confident I wouldn't come to any real risks or danger.
But when push comes to shove I've put myself in the way of my friends and family and trouble. It is just second nature. I always see myself, not as expendable (or maybe I do), but as the better option to be put in danger. I've faced up to too many, or too big, or both, agressors in pubs and in the street to protect others I care about, I've put my car or bike in the way of a lunatic, or idiot who is in danger of hitting my family (on one occasion being hit from behind by a car while on the bike, but thats another story)
On a more global nature I've always thought if there was conscription in a war, I WOULD go and fight, always thinking its better to die trying to do the right thing than sit and wait...
But now, I have a daughter, and every day I see her becoming her own person. I can only hope I can do her justice as a father. I still have everything I know to teach her (some of it might even be useful). I see both Abita and myself in her, and wonder what she will grow up to be like.
Since I dont work in VM any more I have to say I take less risks in the streets, but I would, with out any hesitation, go through anyone who endangers me or my family. I still enjoy the bike and wouldn't consider giving it up despite the "risks"
Conscription in a war, lets hope it never happens, I would be torn between going to fight, or staying to defend my family.
Basically, after all this rambling, what I'm saying is, I don't know how much I will change, but I do know, at the back of my mind is Nikita, I want her be proud of her father, and know he will be there for her for a LONG time to come. Lets just hope I make the right choices to make that possible...
So you guys all know I bought a nice sensible Clio for Abita and I to share since we moved in together. Thats me all normal and sensible now.
Except things can never be that straight forward for me. I've always had unusual cars before now and some greater power must know that.
Everytime I go to get oil and air filters for the cars service I come up against the same query.
Conversation goes along the following:
ME: Can I get an oil and air filter for a 2001 1.2 8v Clio, it's a paper element oil filter tho.
PARTS MAN: Sure it's an 8v? the paper element is just for 16v models.
ME: Yep trust me done the job a few times now.
PARTS MAN: What does the air filter look like?
ME: Long round kind of barrel shaped.
PARTS MAN: Hmm yeah thats an 8v air filter, and the oil filter is deffinately a paper element?
ME: Yep 100% sure.
PARTS MAN: That is odd you've got a 8v air filter and a 16v oil filter, never hear of that before.
So there you go, I've asked in a few of my regular parts places now and get the same response from all of them, pretty unheard of combination. I should be used to it tho, its happened before when my mum had a run of the mill 1.3 VW Jetta. Back when you had points to change in the ignition. EVERY OTHER Mk1 1.3 Jetta had a bosch distributor (being german) except ours! It had a Ducellier (French, obviously!) so we had similar conversations when getting standard service parts for that too.
Oh and don't get me started on getting handbrake cables for the Clio, that is another long complicated story for a straitforward part!
Oh well at least I don't have a "normal" car... well kind of anyway!
Ok Ok I know, looking back at my journal I have been saying this for the past few years now. But just for a change the Kawa hasn't been getting as much use as it deserves and just for a surprise it has been needing some work that has had it off the road for a while.
AND just for a change I've got it all ready for the road again just in time for the rotten weather to start.
I know this seems to happen every year but the things that keep it off the road haven't been major or expensive and usually the extended time off the road has been a combination of apathy, other things to do, and having to find, source, order and await delivery of parts from the states because sods law the things I need are the things that differ between the UK standard models and my US import.
Anyway fingers crossed I get out for a spin on my day off on Thursday (weather permitting) and we shall see what happens next year.
The problem is when its good it's an amazing bike, and unlike the 1000 you can thrash the nuts off it on occasion with out going at insane speeds. It makes real life speeds seem fast and makes you feel like a hero at speeds less that 3 figures.
And when its bad, its not really that bad, its really low cost things that, like I said before, it's more the wait for parts and after that me getting the momentum to actually go out and fix it rather than take a spin on the other bike.
So the new BMW 3 series has overtaken the Ford Mondeo sales wise in the uk and has done for the past few years.
I had one earlier being driven in typical 3 series style try and not let me over take, I was on the bike so needless to say it couldn't stop me despite the idiot driver thinking otherwise.
But it got me looking, we had a 1989 318i the original "ultimate driving maching" 115hp about 1150 kg so about 100hp/ton 0-60 in about 10 seconds and top whack of about 115 mph, we had it side by side with my Celica and they both had totally different ways to have the same amount of go. The celica was very american, leans, squirms and used midrange grunt for swift progress. The old BMW was far more european. The engine was peeky and for fun it liked being kept on the boil 4k up to the 6.4k red it came alive and the handling was light and tight, giving just enough warning, but no more, before trying to step out of line unlike the Celica that had a massive grey area of tyre squeal and squirm before truly stepping out of line.
So what's the modern one got to offer? I've just looked at a current 318i. A whole 143bhp (from a 2 litre, I guess they have to lie about engine size these days) but weighs 1435kg so the same power to weight ratio, but more weight to spoil things in corners. 130 top whack and depending on where you look between 9 and 10 seconds to 60. So its got more weight but must have wider tyres to get the grip yeah? well yeah but its 25% heavier and only has 5% wider tyres.
Progress eh, no wonder I feel like a grumpy old man, things really were better in the old days!!
Well that's us back home.
Best part of 2 weeks away, I would say it's good to be back, I'm sure it is, but the holiday was so good, if nothing else just to relax.
Getting the boat on Monday was easy, turned up, checked in and passed passport control into the queue of bikes waiting to board, less than 5 mins later we are aboard the ship. Bike strapped down and off to our cabin.
The next morning we arrived at Ijmuiden and set off south to Brussels. The trip was one of those that seemed to take longer than you would think. It's only about 130 miles but it was cold-ish and showers on and off meant we needed a few stops on the way. Arriving in an unusual place on the bike does have its perks tho. Ride into town, follow signs for the centre, and just pitch up somewhere out the way of traffic and pedestrians. No need to find a parking space, or pay for parking or anything, just pitch up, park and get off. Then take a walk and find a hotel just off Grand Place at half the price of every other hotel in the area.. RESULT.
Brussels was nice, but nothing more. Like most other big european cities really. The visit to the European Parliament buildings was interesting tho, and Brussels and a Museum for EVERY possible interest. The weather wasn't the best, not cold, but it was cloudy and wet.
Next stop was Den Haag to visit friends of Abita's who were nice enough to let us crash at there place for a few nights. An evening exploring the night life of Den Haag was varied and interesting. Cycling to the beach (even I left my engine behind and used pedal power) and helping Ian fix his bike and then a BBQ (in the rain, how very scottish), a day trip to Delft and a meal out were all good ways to spend time with friends.
Next top was Friesland, on the way we pull off the main roads and go along some A roads through Tulip fields with every possible colour on display and quaint old windmills side by side with modern wind turbines. then along Afsluitdijk a 30Km long, arrow straight dyke that separates what was Zudderzee from the North sea. Allowing the Dutch to reclaim parts of that land as they need or want. The view along that road is amazing, and stopping off at a monument to its creator is amazing.
For the last few days we stay in a swanky hotel in Harlingen on the north coast of Friesland and take a day trip to Terchelling (one of about half a dozen or so islands off the north coast of Friesland) and spend the next day just relaxing, spending most of it in outside one cafe on the canal watching the world go by.
The boat back wasn't quite as nice as the one going, the bikes were put on the car deck, making lashing them down a lot more difficult as we are 5 wide and the steel ropes we have to tie on to are going the wrong way for lashing bikes to.
However we arrived in Newcastle only an hour late due to engine problems on the boat and make our way back north (stopping by a little chef for a fry up of course!)
So that's us home again. The bike never missed a beat, and on the whole and enjoyable relaxing holiday. The weekend left to relax (or catch up on gardening) then back to work for both of us on Monday.
It's always the same when you get back from your holiday, you are kinda glad to be back, but mainly still wishing you were still there.
Well today was a day off, the big bike had found its way back to my garage after being stored up in sunny EK while the move happened. Long over due its annual service I decided to bite the bullet and get it done.
My dad came up and between us we gave the big bike a full service and even started the baby honda too (first time it fired was a bit of a shock after several other failed evenings trying to coax it into life). After it starting and running a few times (rough but alive) it then failed to start again, and again, and again.
To cut a long story short, it has been a combination of problems that has caused the wee bike not to start, ignition and fueling are the obvious ones, but the fact it was untouched for over 6 months outside under a cover in scotland didn't help. To put it in perspective the big honda took around a minute to turn over before starting proper after being only laid up for a month or 2. Let me tell you a minute on an electric started is probably equivalent to months of kick starting, so to be honest I'm amazed the wee bike managed to clear its lungs and get fresh fuel through that soon.
Next we need to check it still starts and runs after being left a few days (its no use if its not reliable) then get a few bits and pieces to make it road legal and bobs your uncle another bike in the fleet.
The Kawa just needs a battery and we will be up to full strength again... finally!
Well I haven't posted in quite a while.
Basically the move to the new place went well and we now have full broadband after having to wait to get a new phone line in from BT.
Sorry to anyone who has been trying to get in touch on line but my connection has been via a slow mobile broadband stick and very intermittent.
Life in the new house so far is good, we have virtially all the boxes unpacked and installed a new cooker and dish washer, virtually rewired all the sockets in the kitchen (we had only 2 in the whole kitchen we now have around 10 in sensible places), fitted a thermostat to the central heating system, pressurised the central heating boiler bled the radiators so they all now heat up fully and repressurised the boiler, installed an outside tap, installed lights in the garage, installed a new electric shower in the bathroom and various other DIY type stuff about the place as and when required. Oh and obviously the compulsary trips to IKEA then building of flat pack furniture goes with out saying!
In other news most of you will probably have heard that I was promoted during December to Manager, however, we still haven't found a replacement assistant manager so work is short staffed and I am basically working twice as hard until a replacement is found (should be within the next few weeks tho)
This coupled with various odd jobs in the house have been keeping me pretty busy, but it has been enjoyable. It is a great feeling coming back to YOUR OWN house, not the landlords. When jobs need done I can do them with out having to go through the land lord and waiting for him to call out a tradesman.
Oh and it turns out you can have a breading pair of motorbikes because the same weekend we got the keys to the house my 2 bikes had a baby addition to the family.
OK before anyone flips at the thought of me having 3 bikes it is actually really my dads, its a baby honda that has been sitting in the back garden of one of his friends house for over 6 months since his daughter fancied the idea of a motorbike but never really took to the reality.
It doesn't run (yet) but has cost next to nothing and is such a simple machine we MUST be able to get it going again for a few quid.
So yeah like I said life has been pretty good
My amazing girlfriend has bought a house with me (god help her!) and we are making it our own and inbetween times I am getting to play with more motorbikes than normal...
Can't beat it really.
Well we got up at 6 O'clock this morning to give Abita a lift to the Airport to go back to Ireland for Christmas.
So a 9 o'clock flight and we arrive at 8 to check in, Abita gets rushed through check-in so we assume the flight will be bang on time or early.
Then I get to sunny EK at about half 9 and get a text from Abita saying the flight is delayed, checking the news shows a plane has slid off the end of the runway at Prestwick, so the delay is going to be pretty big.
I start work at half 11 with all the buzz 2 days before christmas has with shoppers (GREAT!) so at half 2 Abita is just getting on a plane, a phone call at the back of 3 and she has arrived in ireland, but in Belfast waiting for a bus to Derry airport.
To cut a long story short, we both arrive home at about half 8 at night over 14 hours since we both got up.
Fun fun, and she isn't coming back for a week, hmm really going to miss her over christmas, tho I suppose I am working most of it so atleast one of us should have a good Christmas break.