Wednesday, 15 August 2012

First love..... a red Fastback.

The Red Fastback

Some women never leave you, and nor do some bikes. The memories that come flooding back when I look at a Norton Commando, are real powerful........ so much that they sometimes shock me.

I saw a Red 750cc Norton Commando Fastback parked up the other day, and I was in a right old nostalgic state...... couldn't leave it, and kept walking back to it. A bright red Fastback .... she was one of my young life’s “Firsts”.

I wanted to take it home sooooo much. Wanted to feel her under me again, wanted to touch her, feel her throbbing between my legs, like only a Norton Commando can. Wanted to run my hands over her polished alloy timing chest… trace the word ‘Norton’ so beautifully cast into the alloy, like I used to do when I was polishing my old Fastback.

I wanted to get on her again, and feel that precious moment again, when I bought mine from Bridge Garage, in Exeter. It too was a red Fastback. A beautiful, gleaming red Fastback, and I fell for her the first time I saw her, crammed amongst all the other second-hand bikes in their showroom;… all looking like abandoned and forgotten souls wanting to be loved again.

I bought her without a second thought.

I was barely twenty, been riding like living was going out of fashion since sixteen, but was still pretty raw to ride a bike like her as she was the biggest, most powerful bike I’d ever ridden.

I rode her away from Bridge Garage, up onto the busy flyover roundabout, stopped her and just sat there tight to the curb with the traffic going by. Her engine was patiently ticking over, heaving and shuddering on the rubber mountings in that lovely Commando "rubbery" way, and it was a moment I’ve never forgotten. She was quietly waiting for me to do what I wanted to her, anyhow, anywhere, any time, any place. Quietly twittering away in that uniquely way those Commandos did through her kicked-up twin peashooter silencers, and seeming to say;

"I’m ready when you are, sonny boy, take your time".

She was so latently mighty, so brutal, and I felt afraid of her but somehow not at the same time. I can remember saying to myself... "What have I bought? What have I done?"... I’d just exchanged a nearly new Bonnie, [650cc Triumph Bonneville], for her, but compared to the Bonnie this thing felt like I'd moved up into the Big Boys league ......... Like , REALLY moved in with them, and I wondered if I was up to it right that moment. I was a nutter and I was good, bloody good, but was I good enough for this? Sitting there on that flyover, I wasn't so sure.

She felt like such a handful She was so tall, splayed my legs so wide, was heavy, solid and just exuded pure badness, the likes of which I'd never felt under me before. She made me want to scowl at the world. She was like the sort of girl you wouldn't want your dear old Mum to see you out with. She was going to do some real BAAAAD stuff with me. She knew it, and so did I. She also seemed to know it was my first time in the big league, and that I was sitting there, unsure of myself and not knowing quite what to do with her. I could sense that she just wanted me to let her clutch out again and ride her, and somehow I just knew she’d show me the way.

I can remember how she felt as I thought to myself, “OK, no way to back out of this thing now,” and gingerly eased the clutch lever out. She just grunted as the revs dropped, I felt her trying to stall, but refusing to at the same time. I automatically gave her a touch more throttle and she grunted softly dug deep and unexpectedly lunged forward. I snatched the clutch in again and slipped it a bit longer the next time.

I rode her through the heavy and slow Exeter traffic, and it was a very steep learning curve. Lots of lunging forward every time I let that clutch right in and a good bit untidy until I got the measure of her gearing. She was so high geared compared to the Bonnie, that you just had to slip the clutch all the time and daren't let your hand off it once it was really in. She would run away with you if you didn’t snatch that clutch in quickly enough when the traffic slowed. She'd run you into the back of the car in front, all too easily. As soon as the clutch bit, she just surged forward grumpily with hardly any revs on. She was saying "If you think THIS is trouble, wait until you really let me loose", just like the Bad Girl she was. I couldn’t wait to get out of town and get some room around us.

Finally, we got out onto the lovely open roads, and in a few miles I was giving her all the beef she could feed on and trying for all I was worth not to wind up throwing her down the road. Sure, I was overcooking it all over the place and had some real near misses, but I just didn't care, in the way you don’t when you’re so young and invincible. I was laughing at her way of being so fast without trying at all.

I remember that the most clearly of all; feeling so damn happy and laughing aloud so much as I rode her non-stop all that hot and glorious sunny afternoon.

This was different from the Bonnie. That was fast for it's day, but this girl was REALLY fast, mean as hell and took no prisoners. This was what I'd always wanted for as long as I could remember. I'd always thought it would be somthing like this in all the hours I'd spent as a kid sitting on Dad's old 1952 BSA B31, wearing his leather flying helmet and goggles and dreaming of riding like a God. Now here I was, doing it for real on a top-end bike. She was a Superbike of her day, and I knew nothing was going to be the same again. One of those moments in life, and as sweet, timeless and memorable as making love to a girl for the first time; when everything changes, and an innocence is lost forever.

It was such a perfect time, that first ride on her back and I think it was the first time I ever felt a bike really looking after me. No matter what I did wrong, she seemed to just show me how to get out of it. Like an experienced woman making love to a young boy, she gently showed me the way to please her, and the more I pleased her the better it got. She'd been around the block a few times, and there was a soft power in the way she handled under me. I loved her from those first few miles, and I never, ever, stopped loving her. She made me feel just so proud to be on her back and I rode her all the rest of that day and deep into the dusky moonlit darkness. I just couldn't stop. I laughed a lot that afternoon and I never felt prouder when I finally parked her up, so tired and so happy that I'd found something so very special.

When I went to bed that night, everything felt like it had changed. I was different from who I was when I'd woken that morning. I was finally the Greaser I always wanted to be. Head to toe in creaking black leather, a white silk scarf made from genuine coffin liner and walking so tall. No one was going to mess with me now, I thought, and y'know, no one has ever since.

Anytime I want to, I can conjure up that first hesitant moment when I had paused in wonder, sitting quietly on the flyover there on the cusp of something so new. Listening to her ticking over patiently, blipping the throttle and feeling the huge shudder under me from that lovely big-twin motor spinning itself up.

Seeing that pretty Red Fastback the other day, took my breath away and threw the passing years  aside. Like turning a corner, suddenly seeing a first love again and feeling the trembling, breathless surprise of her,.... and it being the first time you saw her all over again.

© Kevin Udy 23/03/05

Sunday, 15 April 2012

On cat crapping.......... {:of

Fucking next door neighbour's three-legged cat has just crapped on the grass.

Smug little bastard.

Wouldn't mind so much if he were to give me the time of day and be friendly in a purry-scratch-me-love-me way, but no; the bugger just runs off,,.... hobbles off... if I as much as put in an appearance outside.

Little shit was looking straight at me while he was doing it too. Well, it was less of a ‘look' as more of an unfocused, slightly boss-eyed, thousand-yard, Fuck-Me-I’ll-Never-Get-This-One-Out stare as he heaved and squeezed.

He also had a silently panicked expression, like the countdown to launch had already started and missiles were heading his way any second. Y'know the expression….. The one with the whiskers well forward on Full Alert, fur slightly bristled and flanks heaving repeatedly from the effort.

I think he did just the one.

Seemed like a long one.....

Might have been split in two for ease of delivery. Y'know, so he could take another breath. I couldn't tell from here.

All I know is he had to stumble forward to lay it out, on account of it was that long. Kinda awkward move to make with just the one front leg. He must be developing a new technique, because usually he rotates and gradually elevates his ass to spiral it.... It's kinda mesmerising to watch in a way that takes some explaining. You gotta be there to see it really.

I ought to charge admission.

Put a placard up on the road.

Serve bleddy tea and soddin' yeast buns........

Anyway.... Finally, all finished and rising from The Assumed Position with a flank-quivering finale, as he clipped free the last squidgin that may have been dangling. Whiskers back into neutral position again and with eyes now fully functioning, he looked straight at me as if to say "Wot?".

I’ll give you bleddy “Wot?”, you little sod. Just you stay there for a minute and let me find a bleddy rock.

After the awkward moment had passed between us, he hopped off with his hoppy gait, adding insult to injury by glancing down during the turn and giving his efforts a lingering backward look, as if hoping the points awarded were going to be worth the strain to his precious pencil sharpener.

I’ll give the little shit some points…..

Better go out and scrape it up before I forget it's there and tread in it, I usually do.

Have to do that walking-on-heels- thing then, or the sides-of -shoe thing...... or on tiptoes, all depending on the Area of Spread, to a suitable spot to be able to go to Boots-Off Mode. Then make with a twig to dig it out from the tread, (WHY can you never find a nice strong twig when you bleddy want one?), and finish off with the old water and scrubbing brush routine.

Cheers me up no end, it does. Oh joy, is me.

Still, I guess it could be worse.

Mustn’t grumble, eh? {:oI

It could be a ‘she’ I guess, but I prefer to think of it as a 'he' since I'm pissed at it…… If it was all purry-scratch-me-love-me then it would be different.

In that case, it would be better then, if 'he' was a ‘she’.......I could call it ‘darlin’ and stuff.

Well, I would anyway, but, ....y'know,.... it gets kinda complicated..... affection between males and all that. It's different for we Boys.

I just pretended with my buddy, Lomax, .....the little darlin'.

I still wonder where he got to, y'know..... {:oi
K. {:o)

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Life changed...... in a heartbeat..........

Well, it finally happened………..

I've had a bleddy heart attack.

Yup, happened at 01:00am in the morning on Wednesday 7th December just gone (2011). It was a bit unexpected, to say the least. I'd thought it was wind or indigestion (or something) and ended up ringing the out of hours doctor (I was buggered if I was going to dial 999), after writhing around in unbearable pain for nearly an hour waiting for Ibuprofen and Paracetamol I'd taken to fix it to get a grip..... which of course, it never did.

Cut a long story short, she (the doc, bless her) insisted on calling out an ambulance .....once you mention 'chest pain', you kinda know you've pushed it over the edge. They ran some tests in the ambulance, and decided I needed taking in. I protested greatly, but I wound up being admitted to the Cardiac Care Unit when blood tests showed I’d had a heart attack, so I guess it was just as well.

So much for being invincible. {:o(

The pain had eased off a bit by the time I'd got to talk to her (the doc on the phone), and if it had eased off a bit earlier I most likely wouldn't have rung her at all. I told the cardiac consultant and he doubted I'd have been alive by the morning. Trouble is with living alone; had I arrested, it would've been 'Lights Out' and so I would have been unable to ring anyone. I guess I was lucky.

I had an Angioplasty on Thursday, late morning. Naturally it went tit's up (Wouldn’t you just bleddy KNOW it???!!!) when the stents were being put in, as one was put in the wrong place. It meant three needed to be put into the coronary arteries instead of just the two. The Cardiac Consultant doing it got the ‘markers’ mixed up and put it in the wrong place. In case you don't know it, it's all done under a local anaesthetic via an artery in either the groin or the wrist. I had it done via the Radial artery in my wrist and was watching it on the screen he was using. It was bloody fascinating. I don’t hold it against him… he was doing his best, and believe me, it looked to be amazing he could do it at all. He was a nice guy.... just one of those things.

No, I’m just pissed at my luck yet again, in the same way I am when I buy the only dodgy TV on the shelf…… only a bit worse I guess.

Anyway, …… the dodgy stent is sticking out into the Aorta (artery) like a car sticking out of a junction, so the blood flow has to go through the mesh from the side instead of flowing through the unobstructed open tube if it was ‘in line’ with the blood flow. It means I'm now on 'platelet' medication (prevents the blood platelets from being as 'sticky') for the rest of my life instead of just a year.

I ‘arrested’ on the table too and it took two defibrillating shocks to get my heart going again. It happens from time to time, so not that big a deal really and they kinda anticipate it happening. They have to cut all the heart’s blood supply off for a short while, and the heart stops, or ‘fibrillates’, sometimes as a result. He warned me that I would pass out for a while. My last words on this earth were very nearly ...'Oh, Ok' (Always thought it'd be 'FUUUUCK!'..... maybe it still will be... LOL) Had a nice burn to my chest…… you wouldn’t believe how sore a burnt nipple can be. Man, that is real serious voltage. I laughed to think that I've been saying for years .....

 'Baby, let me tall ya, this boy has absorbed a lotta voltage'

You gotta laugh, haven't you? {:o)

They had found that one cardiac artery….. one of three supplying blood to the heart muscle, (a third of my heart’s blood supply), had been blocked for ‘some time’. They unblocked it and inserted the first stent there, but can’t be sure if I will benefit from the restored blood supply…. depends on how bad the damage to the heart muscle has been. If it’s ‘dead’ it won’t recover. The second stent was put in to open another artery which was almost blocked, and this was the one which was put in the wrong place, so another was put in do do the job, and that one was ok.

Still, being positive for a rare moment… my heart is in better shape now and I’m not getting the chest pain that I was getting so often that I had been ignoring it. I'd thought it was either the usual ‘stress’ and anxiety pain courtesy of that fucking job and/or that of just being so unfit. It was actually angina, not just an anxiety ‘stress’ pain; to think I’ve been having angina pain for years and thinking it was stress and anxiety and when it got real bad, a ‘panic attack’ pain. Sometimes it would happen when I wasn’t feeling particularly stressed and I always thought that was real odd……

Those bastards at work over the years have a lot to answer for..... Yes, you fucking soulless, yellow-livered, weenie bastards.... you know full well who you are.

Sorry, to the rest of you...........

I was only in there for three days, and when I was back here, sat alone after Maggie had dropped me off and had a cuppa with me, I looked around and thought how quiet and empty this place would be if I wasn't here any more. How everything here would mean nothing to whoever cleared it all out and dumped it.

Trouble is, in many ways, it also felt like I'd just been to the dentist or something trivial like that.

Kinda weird, man.

The last thing on my mind was Christmas and like last year, I pretty much didn't bother with it. Sent off the cards again, and that was pretty much it really. Had an ok day though.... No Problem Pete called in for a natter and a cuppa late morning, and I took the little 350 Guzzi out for a spin to visit a couple of people in the afternoon. If you have nothing else, you have your mo'sickle, and she sure was a tonic to ride on Christmas Day. Took her for a thrash along some twisty roads on the way out. Got soaked on the way home in the rain.

Been finally getting off my ass and doing some exercise this week. Been out on the bicycle every day for the last five days and have worked up from going hard at it for three miles on the first day to doing sixteen and a half miles on it yesterday. (Yeah, I know, I know, but I’m an all or nothing personality, y’see…) Legs and backside, (especially my backside), don’t like it much, but, hey, no chest pain, that’s good then. {:o)

Amazing what they can do so quickly now, …….even with a balls-up. {:o)

It's late, I know, ......but Happy New Year to y'all
K. {:o)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

My new little cutie...... {:o)

Hi y'all,
here I am again on another rare occasion, as writing to my poor old Blog is proving to be these days, to mention my latest weak moment.

It was lateish at night, and I was on eBay, browsing for a bike I could buy, tart up a bit and sell again at a profit to get some desperately needed dosh coming in. As per the usual I wound up looking at sickles I'd like to buy for myself, as opposed to, say, a little scooter thing which I could sell to some pubescent, pustule-ridden, seminally incontinent punk kid, or more likely, his parents, for twice what I paid for it. Could be for a daughter I guess, but they're all little darlin's aren't they? Yoofs are quite something else.
Anyway, I digress. One of the bikes I was looking at was a darlin' little V35, 350cc, Moto Guzzi. It looked as immaculate as they come for 1986 and before I could contain myself, I'd bid a limit of £900 in the last few seconds,..... immediately thinking "Oh NO!!!" when I realised I really shouldn't have done it.

BIG relief when it hadn't made it's reserve, and so I hadn't actually 'won' with the bid my auto-bidding had reached.... £870.


Close call.

Put the 'puter to sleep, and went off to watch a good old John Wayne film, 'The Cowboys' on the telly. Checked emails afterwards, (like the saddo I am), only to read one telling me the seller had re-listed it for twenty-four hours, and was giving me a chance to buy it at my 'winning' bid as a 'Buy Now' price of £870.




Well, I tried, I really did, y'know.

I struggled with the decision for more than an hour...... the usual thing a lot of you bikers out there will be familiar with.... looking at pics of the bike, road tests, reviews, opinions, searching for the downside, but only seeing the upside, thinking of all the reasons to buy it, and few of those why you shouldn't, etc. etc. etc.

Decided I really mustn't.

Then I bought it........

As you do.

Drove up to the other side of Milton Keynes a couple of days later, on one of those lovely hot sunny October days we had with my buddy, No Problem Pete, and the trailer, and brought the little cutie back to her new home.

As usual, things were not quite as good as first thought..... The old girl wouldn't wouldn't do the 90mph she should, (Only 14,000 miles..... should still manage it), a bit smokey from the right cylinder, the 'new' tyres were old and perished.... (no I didn't look ..... had 'bought' it anyway) the rear with a two inch split in it close to the rim and filled in with some wax or boot polish, as were all the tiny perish splits, and the battery was dry and way too small, but I knew it was dodgy anyway. Chucking oil out everywhere when thrashed and dripping it on the floor. Haven't had a bike do that in a good few years..... well, the Enfield does a bit, but this little thing was worse.

I had her up on the nice new Bike Lift Bench (Haven't told you that saga yet, have I??? Another day), and took some things to bits. off with the carbs and checked and cleaned them, fixed the choke lever that wouldn't stay 'on' on it's own, checked the timing... not too bad, but will do it properly later on, tightened the alternator which was completely undone and not charging after a few short rides, and generally fiddled with her to get the last few gee-gee's liberated. Tightened the heads down, which needed doing as the bolts were the wrong torques, and checked the tappets, putting new gaskets on, which at least cured one oil leak from a rocker cover.

Oh, and couldn't resist, ahem, 'machining' the zorsts with my beloved fifteen mil' masonry drill on an extension shaft. Cambel replacement 'standard' silencers, and all stuffed up with baffles. Sounds MUCH nicer now, and she finally just managed that flat-out ninety mph on the next run after all.

Got some fork gaiters to put on sometime soon, and will leave the slight fork seal leak to keep things lubricated through the winter. I have a feeling the cartridge dampers inside the forks are knackered. A job for another day. The old girl seems to be using more juice than she should be, and I know the right carb is running rich for some reason, so I'll have to take it off again and have another gander at it.

Ordered a new 'standard' and very expensive battery from the EXCELLENT Tayna Batteries.... a HUGE battery for such a little bike. After filling the old one already on the bike with about 200ml of water, it's holding it's own better than I thought so I might delay filling the new battery with the acid Tayna supplied, especially since it's the same battery recommended for the bigger 850 Guzzi I have tucked up 'awaiting attention'. Tayna advised that the new battery can be stored as supplied, and unfilled with acid, for 'several; years', so we'll see how the old battery survives the cold that's fast approaching.

So.... there we are.... another mo'sickle I didn't really need, especially since I'm tryin gto live on bugger-all to stretch the savings and survive for long enough to get my shit together in the land of unemployment.

What can you do, eh?

She is a pretty little thing though, and another one which makes me smile when I look at her leaning over on her prop-stand in the coy way she does.

Kinda reminds me of a girl I used to know.....

............. a long time ago.
K.x {:o)

Here's a link to the EXCELLENT Tayna Batteries website. You won't find better for any vehicle, including lawnmowers, powered wheelchairs, you name it...... {:o)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Laughing in the rain

My buddy, No Problem Pete called around with his little 400 sporty Honda yesterday. I forget the model, but kinda like a CBR 400, an early R45. A Jap import. Cute little bike, 1985, a bargain buy on eBay.

“Take it for a spin”, he said, so I did. Couldn’t go far, as the alternator wasn’t charging the battery, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to run her up the blacktop and back. Haven’t been out on the bike in a few weeks, for various reasons, not one of them being all that good, but there you are. No matter. Got my lid and gloves and off I went in just my workshop overalls under the black rain clouds and soaking wet roads for a quick blast on this cute little number of a bike.

No, not this one, but one very like it.........

You fit in this little bike, as all good bikes, like you were born as a part of it, like you always were a part of it, like you’ve known it for years and not just been introduced. Everything fits, she feels good under you. Feels like she approves of you right off, and you feel just the same. It’s an instant thing. Like women, some bikes are introduced to you, unexpectedly met or whatever, and there is a polite time when you are more than aware you are strangers, but some, oh boy, some feel like they were always around, like you knew them before. Familiar. Comfortable.

Doesn’t happen all that often, but, bike or chick, when it happens it feels real good. Real special, and you know it’s going to be good from the get go. It’s a bang, crash, wallop love thing, and you can’t wait to get together. Wanna forget all the getting–to-know-you protocols, and get stuck right in.

Know what I mean?

If you don’t, I sure hope you get to knowing before you grow old and die, because you can live years out in a few seconds when you gel like magic. I’ve had moments in life when I’d sacrifice all that was to come for another second of it.

This bike felt like that good. We went off, me and this little gem of a bike. She was old by today’s standards, but even so she felt so damn good. Revved clear to the red line at fourteen thousand without a hesitation and would go past it eagerly given half a chance. So light, so small, so agile. Wet roads, old tyres, but she was as eager to please me as could be.

Hungry for me. I felt suddenly alive within yards, and the years dropped away, like they always do when I go down the road on a good bike. Hell, it happens on any bike really, but on something so cute and special, it really kicks in and the world beyond the bike and the road just vanishes. Like magic I’m not fifty-bloody-seven any more. I’m a young greaser on a motorcycle and once again free of the years that age us. The willing engine revved up and I shifted her through the gears in split-second clutchless changes, with barely a slight off and on flick of the throttle.

The old magic returned and I let her run free. She was loving it. What she was created for, what we were born to do together. Slipping off the side of the seat into the bends, wary of the old tyres on the wet road, and hugging the bike up real close, we gambolled together down the road as one in the spray we kicked up behind us. Laughing together at the fun of it all, the world stripped away to the simplicity of the moments flashing by second by second.
The only way I know to be a boy again, at least momentarily, free of all the crap the years have heaped onto my once free and wild spirit.
We hit a huge downpour and I was soaked through in seconds, the rain hurting my naked skin under the thin blue overalls. I was laughing out loud and screwing her open wider, making her wail harder, and she was so alive under me, urging me to whip her harder.

"Harder, big boy, harder, and fuck the rain."

It was real hard to turn her around and go home again.

On her back, I was just a boy on a bike, ....... laughing  in the rain.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Just to say 'Hello'..........

Well, the Harley fetched a good price on eBay and was taken away by a good new owner and his Chick on a trailer up to Yorkshire...... same area the Fantic went the week before. Sad to see her go, looking very vulnerable and alone perched on the trailer going down the roads. I hate selling my mo'sickles, and watching them go always brings a lump to the throat and something in the eye.

Still the bloke that bought her was one of the old brigade, and had bought it as a twenty-first present for his son. Lucky, lucky boy! Hope he deserves it.

The day the H-D went, I fired up Hoover, my 1200 Suzuki Bandit, and the little bitch was running on three cylinders again. It's a long story, but I've been plagued bu a mysterious misfire for way longer than I care to admit. It's turned out to be duff NGK Iridium plugs....... the best money can buy, and take it from me, you wouldn't believe the weird symptoms they've given. It's had me tearing my hair out...... well, if I had any I would've anyway.

She was missing on number three, so I took the plug out..... one of four brand new Iridium NGK's which had cured the misfire, and shoved in an old plug that was ok.

Misfire cured.

Quite unbelievable.

I've put in a new set of standard NGK plugs, and so the old warrior is running fine now. I resent the eighty quid I've spent on two sets of faulty Iridium plugs though. It's a lesson I've learnt before........ NEVER take it for granted that plugs are ok, especially just because they're new.

I dragged the 1976 850T3 Moto Guzzi (Italian bike) out and am going to breathe some life in the old girl........ She's been off the road for eight years now, so I'll let you know how it goes.

I'll try and not leave it so long........ I keep breaking the promises to write to my poor old neglected blog here, don't I?

As always....... more effort required. {:oI

Bye for now.........

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Bikes sold, one gone, one to go.......... {:oI

Well, I've had some luck in selling a couple of the bikes, quite a lot of luck actually, which is bleddy rare for me, let me tell you

The Fantic has been sold and has gone courtesy of eBay, and the Harley has also been 'bought' by someone on eBay for more than I thought I'd get, although it's worth every penny and is immaculate. The Harley has yet to be collected and the dosh handed over, so I'm not counting my chickens just yet.

The Fantic was a real eye-opener though........ It turned out to be a very rare Thierry Michaud Replica bike, and I had had no idea it was so special. The couple of photos here are of my Fantic after it was washed. Water sure makes things gleam a good bit. {:o)
As soon as it was listed live on eBay on Saturday evening I had several emails asking what I'd take as a 'Buy Now' price, and eventually someone who was a real expert on these bikes emailed me and said:-

"My advice to you is to let the auction run, as I believe it will make close to a Grand!! It’s a Fantic 300 Thierry Michaud Replica and is VERY rare bike Good luck!!!

I had a bit of a Google and found that Thierry Michaud won the Scottish Six-Days Trial on a Factory Works Fantic in '84, '85 and '86, which is no mean feat, let me tell you........ He was world trials champion three times too.

Here's a link if you want to read more about him....

Here's a YouTube link of him in 1986......

Anyway....... get this........ I was offered £1,500 CASH!!!! on the Sunday morning by a guy up in Middlesbrough via an email........
Yup….. one thousand, five hundred pounds!!!!!

I thought I’d be lucky to get £500!!!!! {:o)

Then another guy offered £1,250 cash if the Middlesbrough guy pulled out

The first guy who'd promised me £1,500 managed to scrape up the cash (Sunday), and came straight down, .....a five-hour journey he said.

In the event he knocked me down to £1300 because he could see it had evidence of having had a sidecar on it, the engine wouldn't start (I thought I had a while to get the carb cleaned before the auction closed) and a footrest had been welded on........ all minor stuff and he was trying it on really I think, but, what the hell........ I'm hopeless at this haggling shit and besides, I'd done WAAAY better than I ever dreamt I would!!!

My Flabber was completely Ghasted......... I've never made so much as a quid profit selling anything before in my entire life, and here I've made a huge profit in a single deal. Well, I think it's a huge profit anyway...... {:o)
Fancy, that old bike I paid £350 for 18 years ago and has been buried behind all that junk for years, was actually a VERY rare bike........ Few were ever made. Special bits in the engine, special paint job (which was good bit knackered!), special frame and special suspension. Done up and restored, it's prolly worth more than double what I've sold it for, but I don't have the access to sourcing the parts like these specialist boys, and anyway, I’m delighted with the deal.

He texted to say he cleaned the carb and it started just fine. I guess he knew that all along.

Whatever...... it cheered me up the most I've been for ages.

Yet another example of my dear old dad's mantra......... "You never know what's around the corner".
K. {:o)

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Wonders....... they will never cease. {:o)

Well, by the skin of my little withered appendage I have managed to start to get yet another of my mo'sickles ready for the eBay market.

I tried all day to get my ass in gear, and off it too, but it wasn't until something like 4.30 this afternoon that I finally unlocked the workshop and dragged out a bike that never gets used. It's a 240cc Fantic, an Italian competition trials bike I've had stored away for several years now. I bought it partly to help a guy I knew with BIG money problems and had gone bankrupt, losing pretty much everything. He was selling his trials Fantic, and I kinda fancied having a go at trials anyway, so I gave him what he wanted for it and took home to play around on it.

I'm a fast road rider, and road riding and off-road riding are opposite ends of the motorcycling spectrum. Starting trials in my late forties was a non-starter, and I never got going with it beyond just messing about half-heartedly on the newly acquired Fantic.

Not my Fantic, but one like it

So, here I am, getting with the program of trying to thin-out a bit, and get rid of things I'm just never going to use. The Harley wasn't one of them, being more than usable, but this poor old Fantic of mine sure deserves an owner who will use it as it was intended to be used.

I washed it, ......power washed it, which blew some paint off the engine and forks for a start. It's quite tatty, and needs a good going through, if not stripping and doing up. It's all there though, and would be usable with less that a couple of days work, to sort things like the front brake out and draining and cleaning the carb and plug to get it fired up again. I'll have a bit of a look at it tomorrow..... IF I can get my sorry ass in gear a good bit earlier than today. This time of night I can get a bit of enthusiasm going, but every morning I start from scratch again and begin the long haul to coax myself into something resembling 'action', usually later in the day.

So..... tomorrow, at least get the carb off and cleaned out, clean the plug too and mix up some two-stroke and see if I can get it to fire up. As I remember it was always a bit of a pig to start...... maybe the crank seals aren't all they should be, or the plug a bit tired. Dunno.

No, not me, nor my Fantic either...... just a trials rider.

Hell, looking at the pics online makes me wanna have another go at it. Dangerous territory now I'm 56-almost-57..... there lies anything between simple embarrassment and a hospital bed with me in it. Still, maybe I could just have another little try at it.

Maybe I should do this Fantic up a bit....... maybe, maybe, maybe.......

Maybe I should just use common sense, stick to Plan A and get it sold, more like!!!!

I'll get some photos taken, and let y'all know how it goes........

K. {:o)

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Betraying my Baby......... {:oi

Well, I've gone and done it..... I've put my Baby on eBay.

My beautiful burgundy Harley is up there with the rest of them, all lined up in the online cattle-market to be chosen by their next owner, whoever he or she may be. Yes, quite a few Chicks buy these Sportsters, partly because it's a Harley, and partly because of the low seat height on them. Chicks look real good on Harley's, whether on the back or on the front.

Always did.

Always will.

Some things are just sooooo 'right' and a girl on a Harley is one that God himself must surely have ordained.

She's been cleaned and polished by me for the last time, and I'm taking her down for her MOT on Saturday morning so the new owner will have a years ticket.

She looks real good.

I parked her under the apple tree to take her eBay photos and, as it always does, it felt like a bad thing to be doing.


A betrayal of a good and faithful friend.

I always feel bad when I sell any of my bikes, especially those who have really got under my skin, ...........and this little honey sure has done that.

I can honestly say that every time I've opened the workshop door I've felt a big smile spread over my face. Every single time. She always looks so damn pretty sat there quietly waiting for me, her paint and chrome glinting softly in the dim light of the workshop, a perfect, dignified, beautiful thing in the oily, untidy chaos surrounding her.

I've gone out there just to look at her, just to cheer myself up on the many days lately when nothing else works, and she always at least helps for the moment. Sliding onto her low seat, she fits so perfectly as I take her weight off her prop-stand and heave her upright. Heavy iron. Solid and friendly. We sit there together for ages, sometimes in silence, sometimes I talk to her. Make promises to her we both know I can't keep, but promises I mean nonetheless. Places we'll go together; the dawns I'll ride her through, the roads I'll thread her along under bright moonlight, and most of all how I'll never sell her to another.

Me and my motorcycle, something simple that has always been the mainstay in my life. When those I trusted the most have betrayed me, when life has bent me to the ground, I've always had a motorcycle like this one to remind me that all you need is a big bike and the road. Ideally a big bike, a Chick and the road, .....but sometimes the Chick is the thing that brought you down. A bike is always there. She never leaves.

It's you who sends her away.

So, there I was, taking photos of her posing proudly in the sunlight, unaware we'll never ride in sunshine or under moonlight again. That we won't battle through rain and freezing cold again. That I won't open the garage at three in the morning to sit on her on nights I can't sleep for the bad-shit crowding my head.

That she won't carry me safe and sound for miles and miles and miles and miles, in the reassuringly solid way that is quite unique to her.

That I broke my promise, and she has only ten quiet days left with me.
K. {:o(

Sunday, 8 May 2011

HEY!! I’ve bought an Amazon Kindle Reader

Well, when I say I’ve bought an Amazon Kindle Reader, I haven’t bought it today, but about a month ago or so,……. and, y’know what? It’s fantastic. {:o)

Let's get this straight, right from the beginning. I love books. The paper ones; hardback, paperback, whatever. I have spent a fortune on them, and the house is crammed to the gunnels with them.
I love the feel of them, the weight, the smell of them, especially the second hand ones which have had a life already..... No it's not a fetish, but doncha just love to fan the pages and smell the wafted air from the pages, both new and old?


Ok, It's just me then....... No matter. (Sigh)

I love the expectation of the postman delivering them. (Yes, most bought from the excellent Amazon)
I love leafing through them before I read them, cuppa tea in hand, and with several to choose from.
I rarely lend them.
I NEVER get rid of them.
Covetous of those I don't have.
Possessive of those I do.

So. .....Y'all got that?.... I love books...... I rilly rilly do.

But........ I love my Kindle too.

I never thought I would..... a friend, Suzy, bought one and was soooo enthusiastic about it, that I wound up left-clicking a couple of times and before you knew it, I'd bought one. You know how it goes. All too easy to do. I thought I'd just blown a load of dosh on yet another cheer-up faddy possession I'd soon leave abandoned and unused. Another thing that seemed a good idea at the time.

But I love it. Haven't read anything on paper since. (Two weeks or so)

It really was as easy to use as the blurb said. I had a quick look at the instructions, in the Manly Way we Real Men do...... and hey, waddya know.... It was really easy to use!

It connected to my Kindle account via my Belkin wireless router, independently of any computer and, being already registered to it by those very nice people at Amazon, it downloaded my books onto itself. (I'd already `bought' some free Kindle books on Amazon and downloaded the `Kindle for PC' software, so had an account already set up).

By the way..... I bought the wi-fi one, not the 3G version, as I'm happy to do my downloading within range of the wireless router, and don't really feel I need to be able to do that away from home, which you can do with the 3G. You don't need to have the computer on or be connected to it to download, or to use it to buy from Amazon, or browse the internet. I haven't used it to browse websites on the internet yet, but evidently it will do that too.

It charges from a USB on a computer, or a three-pin 240 volt plug, and both the plug and USB cable are supplied with the Kindle. Battery life seems good. I seem to charge it every two or three days, and I'm using it a fair bit every day too. Takes maybe a couple of hours or so to charge. Haven't timed it, but it's not too long. I’ll give you a possible tip here….. I let it discharge to the point that I got an exclamation mark ‘Low Battery’ warning on the battery level symbol at the top of the ‘Home’ page, and then had a helluva job recharging it. It just would not charge up. I rang the helpline, and spoke to a call-centre helper; unfortunately with a ‘foreign’ accent….. having hearing problems I struggle with ANY strong accent, and so it was a bit of a struggle although her English was actually good and she could understand my Cornish accent fine. Hat’s off to her, whoever she was. Eventually, when we got nowhere with the problem, I was put onto an Irish guy…. Lovely chap, but the accent was a problem still, but not as bad so we fumbled through.

Anyway, that’s kinda not really the issue. I seemed to fix this by ‘restarting’ the kindle again, as in ‘resetting’ it……. I guess like turning a computer off and starting it again when it’s gone all to hell. I’d already done this the once to no effect but after doing it again it finally charged up fully a couple of hours later. I haven’t charged it since, but fingers crossed it’s now ok again.

I’d say not to tempt fate and let the battery go almost completely flat before recharging it. Do it a bit before that.

The friendly Irish guy phoned me a couple of days later, as he said he would to see if the problem was resolved, and I have to say the support was excellent. It was my problem with my accents really, although many people have the same problem with these call centres from what I hear.

Whilst I think of it….. the battery life is weeks rather than days between charges, BUT if you leave it connected on Wi-Fi, and especially with a weak signal which draws even more battery current as it struggles to get a good signal, then the battery will need charging more often. Te other big drain on the battery is when you have a lot of book on there….. I had some 330 books loaded on. The kindle works away in the background indexing all the books, which can take days or longer. It does this even on ‘screensaver’ idle, and will drain the battery more quickly. I was advised to reduce the books I had loaded onto the Kindle, but I didn’t, and I think the indexing has finished, because the battery seems to be lasting longer. I have a friend….. Suzy who got me interested and finally tempted to buy this Kindle, who has over 2,000 books on hers. I haven’t asked her yet if she has problems with battery life.

I always turn my Wi-Fi connection off when I’m not using it, so it’s off almost all the time as I rarely use the connection. I also turn the kindle off completely (hold the power slider switch over for seven seconds until the screen goes blank) when I’m not using it for several hours, instead of leaving it on the ‘screensaver’. Not sure it makes a lot of difference though, as I believe it only uses power when ‘turning’ pages or automatically changing the picture on the screen saver once in a while.

Ok… what’s it like to use?

For novels and such it's just great........ I wouldn't really use it for reference and `information' books where you'd frequently flip to and fro the pages in a paper version, as returning to previous pages some way back isn't as convenient as with paper books, but otherwise it's just fine.

I REALLY like the easy way you can select a word and the dictionary kicks in to reduce my ignorance.... So easy.

As an avid collector of quotes, phrases and such, I especially like the way you can highlight and save words or passages from the book into a separate `Clippings' folder automatically. Very easy to do.

You can read PDF's on it, but I can't comment on that as I haven't done it yet. You can read documents of your own on it too, PDF and, I think, Word .docs. Amazon automatically keeps your books bought from them online, so if anything happens to the Kindle, you haven't `lost' books you bought. Other books and documents, you need to back up yourself onto a computer, which is very easy to do if you're reasonably computer literate. When you connect the Kindle to a computer, the computer `sees' the Kindle as an extra `drive', and you just drag and drop documents to and fro the folders, from either the computer to the Kindle, or vice versa.


When I go anywhere, and I'm usually on a motorcycle when I do, I take at least a couple of books and a couple of magazines; I can never make up my mind completely enough for just one item, but this kindle can hold THOUSANDS of books. Not sure how many thousands, but a thousand would be plenty, surely and I know it's more than two thousand. Suzy has something like 2,500 on hers. So far I have only some 330 on mine.

What would I like to see on it? (Bearing in mind that maybe I'm not fully aware of all its capabilities yet)

I would like to be able to select the chapter heading to be on each page, if I wanted it. I have a rubbish memory, and it would be good to be able to `flick' to and fro the e-book more easily too. Don't see this as much of a problem though; like I say, I have a lousy memory, and I have been just fine with it.

A page number instead of a `percentage' place mark would be good..... although maybe this is available, and I haven't found it yet.

Ummm..... do you know, right now, I can't think of anything else.

I haven't tried it's read-aloud capability, nor it's audio music playing function...... in fact I've done nothing else but just reading the books on it, and there are plenty of free books available, particularly the older books now out of copyright. The other functions are icing on an already delicious cake.... It is a e-book reader, and it excels at that. It's what it was designed to do, and what I bought it for. It does that very well.

Buy a `protective' wallet for it on eBay..... so much cheaper and excellent.... Well the black `leather' case I bought for something like £7.99 inc. p&p was anyway. It's actually easier to hold in a case. The bottom function buttons are very SLIGHTLY fiddlier to use, but the page-turning buttons are as easily accessible as when it's naked. (That's the Kindle, as in out-of-it's-case, not me, y'know, `naked'!)

Whilst you’re on eBay, there are people selling DVD’s packed with books in ‘mobi’ format, which is the format the kindle uses. Many are also in PDF format, which I’ve heard isn’t as easy to read. Haven’t tried to read PDF’s yet myself, so hold judgement on that, ok? A cheap source of loads of books, but try and make sure you know what books are being offered so you don't buy a load of books you'll never read..... I guess if you only read a quarter on what's listed it's still a bargain.

The e-Book really is the future, and that actually kinda makes me sad, because if someone like me can make such a turnaround, ........someone so beloved of the traditional book and so outspoken that he would never prefer something like a kindle reader to the heft of those much loved book, ....... Then the printed book really is in trouble already.

And I feel like a traitor to the book, and I'm sorry for that, so I will still buy those really special books in traditional paper form, ……..but I have been seduced by this lovely Kindle reader.

I doubt you will be disappointed if you buy one. Easy to use, works as well as the blurb says, and the way Amazon have their bookselling tied into it, it is seamless in its function with them. I buy few things these days that turn out to match the bullshit advertising. This one was a lovely surprise. It was more than that….. it was BRILLIANT!

But .........I wish I didn't feel like I was helping to light the fire under my lovely paper books.

I am a traitor. {:oi

 Click on this link and go have a little look..... not that you're going to buy one of course..... {:o)