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)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

The beauty of machines long gone,...... and the bikes we first loved.

I was browsing and came across this lot on YouTube..... Marble and Ball Bearing Machines. I love these things.... real clever stuff.

This guy makes them very well........ look at his YouTube 'channel' list of vids (on the right side)

Brilliant!!! balls land right in the exact spot every time. Shows a different return mechanism halfway through. Amazing stuff!!! {:o)

Soooooo neatly made.....

Real neat elastic band gun..... shows how it's mechanism works, about halfway through.

Those of you who like to fix and 'make' things will especially be able to see the craftsmanship, difficulty and cleverness in making these things. Must be sooooo many prototypes made and much experimentation to get it just right. I'd love to know how he bends the wire so beautifully. No scrapes, no burrs, no kinks.

When I've got my shit together, (should I ever do so), I'm gonna make pointless things like this......just to sit there and watch and listen to it all working away.

Machinery of any kind working away is a pleasure to watch, or rather, these days, machinery that you CAN watch working...... everything now is hidden away from sight, and what machines there are available with a few visibly working parts are pretty ugly.

No brass, copper, and polished steel and alloy gleaming away any more. No oil and fuel minutely weeping from compression joints and housings and flanges. No hot metals gently marinating in the machine's juices seeping out here and there, spread with an oily rag as a watching mechanic wipes it away like a mother tending a child in need of her tender care.

No characteristic smells of those old machines. I cut my teeth, like all us Old Greasers, on old British bikes, and they were all pretty much the same. By the time yoofs like me got our deadly-keen hands on them, they had been through many hands before us, grading ever downwards from experienced hands when they were proud and shiny-new bikes, through those less able, to finally find themselves at the mercy of us youngsters. Keen as mustard, but knowing Sweet Bugger-All.

When we had our first bike, we yoofs of sixteen and younger, were not yet learned in the battle-hardened skills of Old Greasers, so essential to keep these bikes reliable and running as they should. Those poor bikes; the likes of the 175cc BSA Bantams, 250cc BSA C15's, 200cc Tiger Cubs and the like, they gave themselves up to us as cheap and worn out shadows of their new selves. Like old whores long since bereft of any traces of pride, they stood before us tired and jaded, having no choice but to turn tricks for us as we eagerly clutched at them and made clumsy love to them all.

Mine..... she was a 250cc Ariel Golden Arrow Sports, but with a shameful past. She had killed her previous lover.

He was riding it around a field, with no helmet as we all did back then, especially in fields and the like. His father heard the bike go quiet and after a while when it didn't restart he walked over to the field to find to find his son dead. He'd come off it and hit a tree and was lying beside the bike. The bike was undamaged and stayed there leaned against the hedge in shame to die itself, until one day my father took it away for me.

I was fifteen when I first had my eager hands on her and I loved that bike the way you love the first girl you adore. Every bit as much. My every waking moment was filled with thoughts and pure lust for her. I'd wanted her for years. I worked on her and made all my mistakes on her, both in working on her and riding her flat-out everywhere I went.

She taught me well, did that bike, like an older woman would nurture a youth in his clumsy loving of her. She kept me alive no matter how I abused both her and my luck. I rode absolutely flat-out on her everywhere until we both suddenly found ourselves with our luck clean run out one sunny morning. In a split second my life was changed forever. Riding back alone from Damar Bay to Wadebridge, in Cornwall where I lived, we suddenly found ourselves at the wrong place at the wrong time ......... and her second young lover was very nearly killed.

I was hit head-on by a green Mini Van which was overtaking on a blind corner. We were both doing around 60 to 70mph, and so it was a closing speed and an impact of around 120 to 140mph. I never even saw the colour of the car. I was smashed to bits, and made it to the hospital, so the surgeon told my poor Mother, with less than fifteen minutes to spare, and that it was a job to keep me alive.

My beloved Ariel Arrow died that day. Twisted and broken, no one ever rode her again. Never.

It wasn't her fault. Neither was it her fault when her other lover died. He made the mistake, not her. I didn't make a mistake, it was just fate choosing us to hang on the scales of chance with Death in the other pan.

Bikes, they never make the mistakes, they just struggle to keep us all alive and get us home again, despite our wildness and mistakes. So many since that old Ariel Arrow have looked after me and kept me safe, and I've loved every single one of them in return. Hoover most of them all.

God, ............that lot was upsetting to write. Always is. Some things never leave you, do they? God, I was so young. But for nothing, not the slimmest measurable thing, was I nearly dead at sixteen.

Then I did it all again at eighteen. Never once did I not want to ride again as soon as I could get a half-healed leg over a bike. Bikes and women...... you can't keep me from climbing back on before even the dust has settled. What else is there in life? Nothing. Good luck to you if you think there is.

Where was I, before I rolled along that old overgrown and rarely visited track?

Yes, ...... the beauty of machines and the way those old first bikes let us practise on them so we could learn to take care of later loves better. Ride them way better too. We learnt real fast. We were all so young and wild back in those days, and there was no choice but to learn the lessons quickly, those of us lucky enough to survive out on the roads to ride again the next day. Yup, that's pretty much no exaggeration, not for the wildest of us anyway. There was a saying, not unique to us I guess, but very apt nonetheless......

"There are only two kinds of Greaser; .......the Quick and the Dead".

I was Quick. (And, yes, a good bit lucky too) {:o)

Friday, 6 May 2011

Oh dear, ......he's gardening {:oI

Hi y'all,

I can’t believe the last pathetic attempt to gee myself up into action and start writing on here regularly was so bleddy long ago.

Or that I failed so immediately either.

I am sooooo weak.

I’ve just done a Tweet Thing on the Tweeting Twitter Thing website…… I signed up and did a couple Tweet Things ages ago. Not really sure about the point of it really, but there we are. An Old Greaser has to at least attempt to keep abreast of these exciting times we live in. Anyway, if you’re desperately bored senseless, and want to stimulate a couple of brain cells, go you ahead and visit my Tweeting Twitter Thing.

It really will change your life………….!/slurryoffagrape

So………. What exciting news, here on the Fortress Wheelrest front?

Biggest thing…… lost my job……. Well, not as in ‘sacked’ or made redundant, but I finally just threw in the towel. It had got unbearable to carry on. Thirty-eight years caring for people, and poof……… it ends with a whimper.

So be it.

Fare thee well, fellow carers…… I’m gone. End of.

Unemployed whilst depressed is the new deal.

Hopefully it will, eventually, be just ‘unemployed’. Then maybe, eventually, I’ll find some way of making some dosh again…….. Everything is kinda ‘eventually’ in my life right now. I’m faintly having some very faint illusions of being faintly self-employed, although just how or doing what is even fainter in it’s clarity, but, hey ho, who knows what’s around the corner.

Who gives a shit…….. that’s what’s getting me through right now. Who gives a shit.

Ok, ………on a positive note….. a habit I’m trying to muster into my day to day way of being……… Positiveness……… On a positive note….. I’m trying to get a vegetable garden going.

A WHAT!!!!!?????
Yup, a vegetable garden. My New Thing….. An idea stimulated ‘cos Unemployment whilst depressed Plan ‘A’ entails living off savings in a minimal way for as long as possible in the hope that Something Will Come Along…….. I’m kinda thinking like the Calvary always did for good old John Wayne. What’s good enough for good old John Wayne, is good enough for me. Bound to happen. Always does on the films.

It doesn’t come easy to an Old Greaser, though. A vegetable garden is second only, and a very close second, to that of caravanning. I wish to be shot if I ever even get close to doing something other than using a caravan as another shed. The only thing I can think of as a honourable use for one besides that of living in one as a simple way of life. That’s ok too. The holiday towing-them-around-for-fun thing is quite something else……… still, everyone to their own perversions, so don’t get upset if it’s your thing. I just wish y’all didn’t bugger up the ‘flow’ for me and Hoover as we ‘press on’ in blissful harmony along our beloved blacktop.

Where was I? Yes the vegetable patch. There are two now…. Veg patch No.1 and, yes, you’ve guessed it…. Veg patch No.2

Veg Patch No.1 .....early on in the digging struggle.
Helluva job digging them over, and I’ve recently planted a few bits into the mud. Well, it wasn’t mud, but dry earth, until I thought it a good idea to water it before planting…… THEN it was proper mud. Like all my schemes that seem a good idea at the time, it suddenly wasn’t a good idea.

Never mind.

Life is a never-ending learning curve. (Sigh)

Some plant things I'd bought already growing in pot things from a garden centre. Not cheap either. A pot thing with four raspberry stick things in it..... over nine bleddy quit they were!!! Jeeees!!!!

Veg Patch No.1 ..... finished and with some evidence of plants attempting to grow.

What made it worse was the fact that I felt real odd in the garden centre. It wasn't natural for an Old Greaser.

Everyone knew it too. They were all staring, I’m sure-certain. I thought my dick was hanging out for a minute, but you can usually tell...... kinda cold and tingly on the end. I felt like saying “You lookin’ at my Bird?”, ......from habit, as you do, ..........but I was on my own. Right now I still haven’t got a Bird…… (that’s a Bird, as in a Chick). These are desperate times I'm living through, let me tall you. Even if I did have a Chick, somehow it wouldn’t have been a good idea anyway,…. the "You lookin' at my Bird" thing...... Aggression in a garden centre just doesn’t work really, does it? Pretty much for the same reasons as it doesn’t in a Church ……… just not done, is it? So I didn’t get all iffy about it...…. just kinda pretended I was dreaming and wasn’t really there, all nonchalant and cool, but in fact was wandering around looking like a lost soul trying to figure out what was what.

I tell you, there’s a helluva lot to it y’know. God only knows how the planet ever got started, ‘cos you gotta do it just right, or the bleddy stuff won’t grow y’know. It’ll just keel over and die. I've read all about it I have. I tell you, it's way easier to do the timing on Hailwood's racing 250 Honda Six. In the dark too ………..with just an old pair of pliers and a bit of fag paper. Way easier. If you don’t know anything about it, that Honda had six cylinders, and believe me, it would be a right soduvajob to get the timing right with just an old pair of pliers and a bit of fag paper.

No, I’m not going to explain. Ask an Old Greaser …..if you can find one amongst the newbie fairies riding around in disguise these days.

So,........ 'Unemployed and Growing Vegetables'.

I’ve even…… and I sure would appreciate your discretion in this matter……… I’ve even purchased several gardening magazines. Just, y’know, to get the gist of it, and maybe gee-up something akin to enthusiasm for growing stuff. Got twelve six-pint milk bottle bottoms with various seeds growing way past the point where they should be ‘Pricked Out’........ ‘Pricked Out’ I believe it’s the correct term, so I hope you’ll excuse my using it, ………and please stop sniggering at the back there, Peterson…. It’s not smart and it’s not clever.

I fished out some lettuce seedlings from their overcrowded crowded milk tub yesterday(‘seedlings’…..see, I’m getting into it), and shoved them in the mud. Seemed like a waste of time…… they looked like they’d died as soon as I dragged them out of the cosy bit of compost they were huddled up in, and if they last a bleddy week, let alone actually grow, no one will be more amazed than me.

Ok, that’s it for now……. I rilly rilly WILL try and write to this blog more often. I won’t make any more promises to you, dear gentle reader, having been broken more than the once before, I won’t swear to every day, but maybe at least once a week wouldn’t bend a push-rod, eh?

Have to see………

Take care out there, y’all, {:o)

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

On Nothing....... and it's effects on life.

Ok, here I am again…… as promised yesterday, but I have to say, only by the skin of my teeth.

Right, start writing………..

Um…… what exactly?

Just start writing about whatever comes to mind.



Still Nothing.


What about ‘Nothing’?

Ok. (You’re talking to yourself again y’know)

Has Nothing got any power at all…….. most would say ‘No’……. BUT……

Doing Nothing is still doing Something, because if you’re doing Nothing instead of Something, it still changes your life. It STILL has an effect.

Everything changes your life

Every thought, every conversation, every action…….. and every non-action.

All life changing.

There is no doubt though that action, however small brings about the biggest changes, but in a way so does non-action too. It means you didn’t do Something that changed things at that moment, that day, or whenever. That means the effect of the action you will eventually take in the future will be different as a result, because of the non-action in the present.

What is Nothing anyway? I guess I mean Nothing as in No Action, rather than the Nothing we perceive in the vacuum of Space, the Universe…. Up and Out There. Even that isn’t Nothing. There is stuff everywhere.

There is no such thing as Nothing really. Nothing is always Something.

Nothing, in its purest form of inaction, must mean just lying, sitting or standing still, not thinking and with your eyes shut. How many can do that? Is it possible, unless in a comatose state? I doubt it, but maybe someone knows better.

If your eyes are open and seeing something, even a blank white wall, then that will promote some Thinking. If they’re shut, that will promote some Thinking too. Thinking is not doing Nothing……. and Thinking is vastly underrated as far as being regarded as action goes, in my opinion anyway.

Mind you, I would say that, being an enthusiastic follower of The Thinking as I am.

It’s a source of constant fascination to me, the effects of actions and non-actions on each of us and others too. You’re reading this and as a result, directly or indirectly, it might well have some effect on your life and perhaps in a way you will never consider or be aware of.

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of Nothing, when I’m very aware I should be doing Something because I’m sat on the tracks in life right now and there’s a train coming my way. It’s not going to stop and I really should be taking some action, preferably actions, to at least get out of its way. The most I can muster to do is to try and keep my mind from sinking ever deeper into the mire that numbs it right now, which I know isn’t enough, but at least it’s some form of action, however small.

You do what you can do; you can’t do a whole lot more than that at any given time in life.

But I digress.

Ok, I’m trying to make myself feel better about doing Nothing, but in fact it’s real hard to actually achieve the state of really doing absolutely Nothing. Something is always happening in the background, even if It’s only The Thinking…….. and eventually The Thinking leads to doing Something. It pretty much has to.

I actually subscribe to the philosophy that it’s better to do Something, even if it’s the Wrong Thing.

That’s all very well and good, BUT sometimes it can put you in an even worse position than you were in before; maybe one that is murder-hard to put right, or even just to get back to where you were before doing the Wrong Thing in the first place. That’s where doing Nothing can sometimes actually be the best thing.

Right now doing Nothing is giving me the space to not have to handle the inevitable consequences of doing Something, and if you know you can’t handle the consequences, and have the slack to hold back until you can, well doing Nothing can be the best thing to do

Doing Nothing will still, therefore, change your life.

It’s changing mine right now.

Please, God, for the better.

Kx {:o)

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The lies we're told..........

Ok, gonna try and write to this every day, but quite how to write anything worth the while, let alone reading, is quite another thing.

Mad Eddie from the States says I’ve gotta write something in a journal every day, so it might as well be on here as anywhere.



Still thinking………… {:o*

Pete called in, and we’ve, yet again, been wondering how I can survive once I’ve plucked up the courage to tell ‘Them’ to stuff the job…… that’s the job that’s been driving me nuts for the last fifteen years.

Fifteen years.

Think about that.

Ok, never mind……. I will.

That’s at least how long this job has been having a serious effect on my mental state, and so my life here at home. Someone asked me recently why I didn’t leave years ago when I first knew it was screwing me up?

Well, the answer is, I didn’t know at any given moment in time that it was…….. not to the extent that it has. Each and every day was just a drip into the can that was tipping the scales against me. It was my job….. the only one I knew how to earn a living at, and it paid out every month for the privilege of doing exactly what it wanted to do to me. Each month I took that money, and allowed those in authority over me to do it all again for the next month, and the next, and the next………

It’s like a hypnosis, a paralysing hypnosis, where you believe, as I still do now, that you can do nothing against the hold it has on you. You have your bills to pay. You have the things that you like to do, and they all have to be paid for too. The Man wants your taxes to pay for the mechanisms to keep you in line…….. so you keep going.

You were brought up to believe that if you work hard, behave decently and are honest, you will be rewarded.

You will be regarded with integrity, and your efforts will be honoured above those who fall short of those standards.

The hypnosis that started as a child has you prisoner, as do the financial constrictions you willingly pull around you as you gather more and more of the moss of possessions all around you like a cloak.

Then you finally realise it was all a big lie.

You see bastards succeeding with deceit and betrayals, and you realise most of them are above you laughing all the way to the bank; comfortably doing less than you are to hold them up there above you. Telling their lies every day to comfortably pad their nests out even more.

You stand and tell the truths about whom they are and what they’re doing, and no one above you listens, even though they know you speak the truth, and you feel the injustice of it all.

You look around…… and they’re all at it, in every walk of life…….. those at the top, doing it to those under them, and it’s happening everywhere.

You despair.

You wish you’d seen this years ago when you were young and could’ve fought back.

You try and throw in the towel……… but it’s hard.

They keep paying you at the end of the month to carry on……. month after month after month, and the fear of not making it through a month without that financial carrot to chew on holds you like a quicksand.

How many lives….. good lives, have been sacrificed for the bad to succeed?