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Friday, 25 December 2009

Cubbie's Alternative Crimbo Message

I was going to write a funny chucklesome alternative Crimbo message for you, but we've just got back from a hearty stroll down the lane to check on the sheep that we should have had back on the farm by now. It took twice as long as planned due to not being able to walk on the sheets on solid ice. And boy, it makes your legs hurt too. Well, probably not your legs, but mine are certainly sore. So there ain't no alternative speech, and even if there was, well, it's late... So what did you get from Santa? Cubbie got a new Burlen battery, one of those solid ones, with two terminals on, hopefully one won't fall off just yet... Mrs BC got me a new radio alarm clock...now hopefully I won't be late for meetings (maybe), and some cosy warm gloves and socks, oh and a pair of warm slipper thingies which will come in handy (although strictly, I guess I should put them on my feet and not on my handys) because the heater in the hall as stopped working. I got Mrs BC something that I can't tell you about yet, because it's sitting in a depot in Aberdeen, and has been since the snowed started, and to tell you what it is would kind of give the game away. At least the other pressie was something of my own making, so no delays on that one - t'was a nice photograph of Ringo in a hand made frame. Also, a mystery pressie landed for GBC a couple of days ago from a blog reader - a tee shirt with a rather appropriate slogan to do with chocolate on it...thanks for that, and I didn't open it until this morning. Oooooh and from someone to whom I shall refer as GB, a very handy little book about saving money...oooh if only I had any money to save! Thank you.

Right, hope you like the festive piccie of Cubbie, please leave a comment and tell me what was under the tree in your house...I'm gonna pop pop pop off and have a late lunch. Hope y'all had a nice day.

Ok, just decided to stick a few wintry pictures on here, seeing as I won't be able to enter the Winter Photo Competition when it opens...

Thursday, 24 December 2009

T'was the night before Christmas...

Well boys and girls, I hope you've all hung your stockings by the fire and left a plate of mince pies out for Saint Nick. Shorty, if you're going around impersonating Santa tonight I suggest you don't have any more wee tipples, goodness knows where you'd end up. Got a nice wee piccy to post up tomorrow for you, so in between drinking sherry and singing 'Grandma got run over by a Reindeer', make sure you pop in for a look and let me know what pressies you got.

For now, I bid you a Merry Christmas from all at Cubbie Towers - you can wait for the Happy New Year bit until next week.

PS, you might want to turn the volume down a bit...

Monday, 21 December 2009

Oops, where'd it go?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Oh! The weather outside is frightful...(A collection of random photos).

Parts of England have been hit by the snow again, tsk tsk, hope you're all ok down there. It's coming down quite thick and fast here and we were lucky to make it up the lane this afternoon. Yesterday was an eventful day to say the least, what with a slipping clutch (sounds painful (it IS painful, to the tune of a few hundred quid painful!) and indicators and brake lights breaking - again, but due to the weather forecast, we had to put aside these mechanical failures and get some hay and supplies in. Anyway, here's a pic from this evening when I poked my head out of the door.
Brrrrr, is all I can say, glad I'm not going out anywhere tonight.

And while I'm in the mood for posting pictures, here's an absolute cracker for you. Regular Blog reader, Slick, sent this through before he left to take the Cubbie tee shirt on a world tour - well, to Holland anyway, that's a start.
What do you think? Looking good there with his little old Benelli, and this picture, I believe, has landed in the USA and nearly caused a riot! Only a few more tee shirts available but if you want one, you've got to WIN one! Winter photo comp coming up soon, could do with some pics from around the world, seeing as this is supposed to the World Wide Web and all that. Oh, and guess what, Phil Mather, motorcycle photojournalist, has agreed to be Head Judge again (as long as I fulfil the one condition that he's set, guess I'd better go and sort that out then), so it will be completely out of my hands, which is good, 'cos judging piccies is way too hard for a girl to do.

Thanks to Slick for the following pics of the Grampian Classic club Xmas Bash....
And talking of the GCMCC, looks like we have ourselves an associate overseas member - bring on big Frank modelling one of our club polo shirts...
(I hope it's Frank, but it could be Joe - let me know guys!)
PS, I'm a bit upset you haven't noticed the Christmas decorations :-(

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Coming up...

Here's what you've got to look forward to in the next few weeks....

The annual GBC Blog review - a look back at the events of 2009.

The UCAN Xmas get together - incriminating piccies of the committee all having a good time. How dare we?

The annual GBC Blog PHOTO COMPETITION!!! Oh yes, back by popular demand. You never know, you too could win a Cubbie tee shirt... The theme will be announced Shorty, drat, done it again, I mean shortly!

And, as if that wasn't enough, I've got my paws on a selection of pics of a Scotsman in kilt, upon an Italiano motorcycle, sporting a rather nice tee shirteo...and and and...a pic or two of the aforementioned rather nice tee shirteo from across the other side of the globeo. You'll have to wait and see what I'm on about.

Once the festivities are out of the way, we'll have another little snippet from Graham B and his Top Tip Part II.

So stay tuned folks!

Friday, 11 December 2009

Wee pup.

Yooooo hooooo, that's my little 1954 Triumph Terrier home safe and sound. More later.

Well here it is. This was my first glimpse of the Terrier, up in Willie's garage attic, somewhere in Shetland.
Then the next thing I knew, Geordie was in touch to say Willie's son in law, Martin, was bringing a car to Aberdeen, and this would be the transport for the Terrier across the sea. Well, that and the ferry of course. The car was for a customer up north somewhere, but he didn't know anything about the boxes and body bags in the boot, and besides, he couldn't pick it up from the ferry compound until the weekend. So Martin gave me a shout when he was in Aberdeen and we arranged to meet at the harbour and do the transfer.



He opened the door of the car, and lo and behold, there was my little Terrier, all neatly packed in the boot. Willie had wrapped it up well, and not a glimpse of it could I have until it was all home and in the shed, and after we picked it up, Mrs BC made me go a shopping for several hours! Still, I could wait, it wasn't going anywhere.... and here it is....

A box of what looks like a wiring loom, oil tank, battery / tool box perhaps in there somewhere too.
Look at the cute little rear light! It's got Wipac stamped on it, original? Dunno, you guys know more about that stuff than I. And the even cuter little barrel and piston! The bore looks in a bit of a bad state, at first glance, it looks like there are a couple of nasty scores from top to bottom. Also present, a mystery pot of something that rattles, hmmm, Smarties? Skittles? Have to wait and see.
A big sack full of tinware has yet to be unwrapped but here's a quick peek. Looks like mud guards, rear number plate and was that a silencer I saw in there too? It all looks like it could do with a tin or three of Hammerite....
Neatly packed into old mineral block boxes (my guess would be for sheep or cattle) is the head, a few small bits and the front number plate, never really liked the look of those on bikes but now I have one of my own....well..."KRP 60", best get started on the research for that and the re-registration process.
Ah yes, and here's Doolie, lending a helping paw to the proceedings...
And in the other box is the bottom chunk of engine. There's a huge scar of a repair on the primary chain case so we'll have to wait and see what went on there.
As far as I can see, it looks like it's 99% complete (yep, got the frame too), although that petrol tank looks suspiciously like a Cub tank to me, but if the tank fits... A browse through the the Triumph Tiger Cub Bible, as written by Mike Estall, shows the engine number as a 1954 model, although I am slightly confused by something else I read so I shall await confirmation from someone who knows a lot more about it than I do, reckon I'll probably find someone who fits that description on the Tiger Cub forum.
I don't expect to be tackling this one for a while, after all, I've got the trials Cub to work on first, and Cubbie's various minor ailments to 'look at' over the hols, and the Skorpy to fix, and Mrs BC's sidecar to build but I sure am excited to have another Triumph in the shed, and a fairly rare wee beast it is too. So there y'are John, that's a Terrier.

Big BIG thanks to Willie, Martin, Geordie and the owner of the car for all their help.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

RIP Ringo.

Poor old Ringo, one of our rescue collies had to be put to sleep last week after an ongoing illness that wasn't really very well diagnosed. Turns out he had a huge tumour growing in his stomach and various other ailments that he just wasn't going to recover from without a lot of intrusive and stressful treatment. We only had him for two years but I'm sure his quality of life was much better than it had been for the previous ten years after his owner ran him over with his tractor and didn't bother to provide any treatment or pain relief. His little pal Star, who had lived with Ringo all his life missed him terribly for the first few days, but now he seems to be getting on with life. Finn the sheep dog hasn't really noticed that anything has changed - probably because he and Ringo weren't exactly best buddies.


In other news, I'm glad that Graham B's top tip went down well, there will be more to come over the next few months.

Also, there's a boat bound for Aberdeen (from Shetland) with my Xmas pressie tucked away down in the hull. All being well it should arrive early tomorrow morning, but I won't be able to collect it until Friday morning...ok, you've got 3 guesses...go for it...don't tell them what it is Kawa, or you won't be allowed to fix the car headlights!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Graham B's Top Tips, Part I.

Ok guys and girls, welcome to a very new new NEW and EXCLUSIVE feature on this here blog. You might have heard of Graham Blighe, author of two really handy books, Improving Classic Motorcycles and Magnetic Speedometer Repair, both of which I've reviewed for Old Bike Mart and found to be simple, well thought out and instructive guides to doing just what it says on the cover. Now, however, Graham has kindly agreed to contribute occasional articles to the blog, with useful hints and tips to keep your classic (or any other bike, we're not ageist, as long as it's a Triumph it's fine ;-) ) on the road. First up, his thoughts on looking after the shiny bits during winter. Take it away Graham, and thanks for your contribution.


Winter – brrrrr!

Cold, wet, salt on the roads.

What do you do? Hang up your leathers for the next four months and cocoon your pride and joy in the garage or shed? Or wrap up warm and brave the elements?

For me, there is no choice but to ride during the winter as even the cheapest car costs far more to run than I’m prepared to, or can afford to spend.

The biggest problem with corrosion during the winter is caused by the salt used on the roads. If you wash down your bike after every winter ride then that will help stop the onslaught. But you need to dry it off and then park it in a dry garage or shed.

We all know what happens if we take no action. Beautiful chrome turns to orange rust and alloy engine cases grow white dust and the surfaces are never the same again.
Do you have time for the washing and drying? Do you feel like it when it’s freezing outside and a warm up with a hot cup of your favourite beverage inside the house is calling?

The alternative is to coat all parts of the bike likely to corrode with some kind of protective coating so you don’t need to do the wash and dry after every ride.

I use Waxoyl and it means I don’t have to do any bike washing until the spring when
salted roads are past and the Waxoyl is due to come off. The downside is that it takes more effort to remove than a simple washing off of mud. Road dirt and mud will stick to it and so my bikes look ‘orrible a couple of rides after applying the Waxoyl – and they stay that way until spring.

However, the great benefit of using Waxoyl is that every part that is coated with it stays in pristine condition. The salt and rain just can’t get at it. It really does preserve all the chrome and alloy in perfect condition. Come spring I use a degreaser such as Gunk to remove it and underneath … it’s all perfect! Just needs a bit of polishing.

Don’t buy Waxoyl in an aerosol can but in liquid form. It is slippery so it’s important not to get it onto tyres, footrest rubbers and the like. Using a paintbrush you can control where it goes – an aerosol may get it where you don’t want it.

Make sure the Waxoyl is thoroughly stirred before use. It separates out if left standing and if you use the thin watery part that rises to the top you will get incomplete complete corrosion protection. The advice on the can is to warm it in a pan of water to 30C but I’ve never needed to do this – maybe a good idea though to bring it in to warm up in the house the day before you intend using it.

Decant a small amount (10cc ish) into painting pot – an empty and washed margarine container is ideal. Using a paint pot stops you contaminating the whole can if your brush wanders into any areas of the bike that have picked up stones and grit – you don’t want to be brushing grit around on expensive chrome. Put the lid back on the Waxoyl can or it will start to set.

Above - Decant a small amount into a painting pot.

As it’s name suggests, Waxoyl is an oily substance that sets like wax. When set, it will not wash off with water alone (you need degreaser to get it off) and thus it survives the rigours of winter. It smells strongly and can give you a headache if applied in a closed garage or shed so pick a dry day and paint it on outside.

Using a paintbrush (1/2” is ideal), coat all areas that require protection. Don’t overdo it and try to put on too thick a coat. If ever it looks like it might drip down a vertical surface then you have put on way too much. Just a thin coating is needed apart from on exhaust pipes where a thicker coat helps protect them against the extremes of
temperature. As a guide, you should use no more than about 70cc of Waxoyl to
coat a whole bike.

Above - Apply a thin and even coat to any parts that may corrode.

You may end up lying on the ground applying the Waxoyl upwards to areas such as the underside of silencers. Be really careful not to get it in your eyes (wear safety glasses if concerned). It’s unlikely to damage your eyesight but boy does it sting until you’ve washed it out.

Any areas of the bike that you touch while riding should not be treated – you’ll have to keep an eye on these and keep them dry and polished to avoid corrosion. For me the areas I don’t treat are all the rubber, plastic or painted parts (assuming the paint is unbroken) and most of the handlebars and rear carrier rack. Stainless steel does not need to be treated as it doesn’t corrode and just laughs in the face of winter!

You can treat galvanised spokes, chrome or alloy wheel rims and any chrome or alloy parts you don’t touch. The advice on the can is that rubber and plastic may be adversely affected by it so be very careful not to get it onto rubber or plastic parts –
and wash it off before it sets if you do. It smells like the sort of stuff that wouldn’t do my tyres any good so I shy away from coating the edges of chrome wheel rims to avoid getting it on the tyres. The edges of the rims never seem to go rusty anyway – perhaps because they are vertical and water runs off them or gets flung off them by centrifugal force.

Leave the Waxoyl overnight to set. When you next run the bike you will notice an unpleasant smell as the Waxoyl heats up but this goes away within 30 miles.

If you also follow the advice in Improving Classic Motorcycles regarding taping up control cables and levers you should be able to get through winter with the only seasonal maintenance required being the final drive chain.

For more advice on keeping your bike in tip-top shape, visit Graham's site at www.lulu.com/ImprovingClassicMotorcycles

Ps, must just point out that Graham has no direct connection to the sales of Waxoyl.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

GBC OUT OF REACH

Sorry, my email is down at the mo, so for anyone wondering what time the Xmas Bash starts tonight, as at least one person was, be there for 7pm please. Will catch up with anyone waiting for an email as soon as I can.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Thought you'd like to know...

...the first snow of the winter fell today. BRRRRRRRRRRRR it was perishing out there in the middle of Horse's field. Oh well, at least it wasn't snowing inside Cubbie's shed. Hope to get a new battery on order tomorrow and that'll be us ready to roll for the dry and sunny winter days.

Nothing much else to report, other than the fencing is nearly all done, but what a mess there is everywhere. With all the extra wet stuff a-falling from the sky, and tractors, vans and trailers gallivanting around, it ain't a pretty sight. Still, as Mrs BC says, it's gotta get worse to get better.

Oh yes, just putting the finishing touches to the Xmas Bash Quiz for our Grampian Classic club night on Tuesday. Should be a good one, with added technical questions from Graham B - you know, that author chap who wrote Improving Classic Motorcycles and Magnetic Speedo Repair.

Oh, by the way, heard on the radio that we're not allowed to wish people H_ _ _ _ Y C_ _ _ _ _ M_ _ any more because it might upset someone who is less well off than oneself. I don't suppose we're allowed to say "BAH HUMBUG" either!!!

Friday, 27 November 2009

BigBob's Day Out

On October the 4th The Virginia British Motorcycle Club held it's annual Rally at a new site in Manassas, Va. T'was a beautiful day to bring the British Iron out with new Hinckleys almost equaling the Meriden Trumpets in number. Other Brits and European bikes rounded out the entrants along with the odd XS650. Vendors inhabited the road ringing the display field along with the caterer for this Chat & Chew event.
Words and pics by BigBob from New Jersey, USA.







Looks like a familiar title in the pile of books in that last photo...Graham B, you're an international author!
Got about the same amount of pics again, so will split this post up and pop them up later, so keep your eyes peeled for BigBob's Day Out Part II.

Thankful.

Ok, so it was yesterday, but I can still wish everyone who wants to be wished it, a happy Thanks Giving.

I don't know about thankful, but I sure was embarrassed yesterday. Nipped in to my local garage (where that bloke I met at the airport works, and yes it was him by the way), to buy a bottle of gas, and as I was paying for it, my PIN completely went out of my head. It didn't help that Roy Cameron, owner of said garage, was muttering figures and numbers to another customer at the time. I had two attempts but chickened out on the third. No sooner had I got in the van and driven a few yards up the road, the number burst into my brain. Typical.

PS, don't go away, got some pics from BigBob's day out coming right up.

PPS, but in the mean time, while you're waiting, have a peek at this trailer vid from Watermill, the guys who were making a documentary at the Indian rally I went to in the summer - www.youtube.com/user/Watermill2010. Looks like the full prog will be out some time in 2010.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

VMCC trips.

No sooner had I got back from Shetland, recovered from mild piggy flu, been back to work for a few days, then it was time to head to Dalserf (somewhere south of Glasgow) for the AGM of the Clyde Valley VMCC Section. This went well, I stayed with Paul and Lenora and Davy Crockett. Must say, Lenora makes a fine lasagne. Many thanks to them for their hospitality. The AGM went well, and it was good to meet all those from one of the more southerly sections - especially Gordon who keeps sheep, and rode in the Beamish Trial this year, and is looking for more of us from Scotland to pop down to it next year. Apparently, they're all looking forward to my next visit, in the new year, which will be a talk or perhaps even a video presentation about sheep. You see the sheep theme here?

A couple of days after the AGM, it was time to head south again to the VMCC HQ in Burton Upon Trent. Up at 4am on Friday 13th and along to the airport. They've changed the parking arrangements! I nearly got lost. Had to take the van as the indicators on the car had decided to pack up, and only noticed as I walked past, that Mrs BC had somehow collected a huge chuck of scenery on the tow bar. Cute. Decided to leave it. All those fancy posh motors in the car park, do them good to have a real work horse parked next to them. Could have sworn I spotted Roy Cameron, he of my local and most favourite garage, Cameron Motors, but assumed it couldn't be him. Too much of a coincidence to see someone you know at the airport at that time of the day.

The flight, although delayed somewhat, was fine apart from the gentleman sitting next to me a) kept sniffling and coughing and b) kept putting his elbow on my side of the arm rest, oh and it was too hot for my liking and because of chummy taking up one and half seats, I couldn't get the full benefit of the air con. Had a few hours to spare once at Birmingham so had a wander round the NEC. No one told me there was a huge classic motor show there. A combination of the mile long queues at every entrance and the £25 entry fee put me off going in, as I didn't really have time to do it justice. One of the security chaps told me there were only about half a dozen bikes anyway, so another reason not to waste my £25.

Tried to get on three wrong trains to get over to Burton. Why do they have to keep changing platforms? Is it just to confuse me? Managed to find the right one, and ended up sitting next a chap who kept grunting. They're an odd bunch down that way. Arrived at HQ with loads of time to spare, which was good as it gave me time to have a look round and a chat with various people. The Scottish Training Day was a popular subject amongst the other Committee members, and they want to know what bikes we've got, where it will be, how the plans are coming along and the date. Did I mention the date? Of course I did, it's SUNDAY 23rd MAY 2010 at the GRAMPIAN TRANSPORT MUSEUM in ALFORD. I'm still looking for bikes by the way, if you have a pre1930 hand change, lever throttle type of machine and you want to help introduce other people to the delights of these oldies, then give me a shout. And we'll need some marshals on the day, so if you fancy getting involved, joining in the craic and getting to meet not only the President of the VMCC, Colin Seaton, but the Chairman Kim Allen too, then stick your name down to help out. Contact me at cubbiescounties AT aultan.com but change the AT to @.

It would seem the mid morning flights from Birmingham to Aberdeen are quite popular, and I couldn't get a seat on any for the following day, so to get home, I had to go on a little bit of a tour. First a train from Burton to Leicester, then change to the London train and get off at Luton Parkway, hop on the free bus (I think it was free, although I didn't book my flight through a certain website, so it might not have been free for me, although no one asked for any money, so technically, it was free) for a transfer over to Luton airport and a flight home. Apart from the lady in front of me making use of the little paper bag tucked into the seat pocket, the journey north was much better - three seats to myself and full access to three cool air blowers.

Well, I'm glad the travelling is over for a while, it probably doesn't sound like much to you, but all that packing and unpacking, and remembering to work in between makes life a little more hectic than usual. Since I've been back, we've caught both the rams and applied the raddle to them (loads of brightly coloured gooey stuff, go google 'sheep raddle') and put them in their fields with a selection of ewes, the fencers are still here, well, not living here, but visiting when they feel like it and have finished the top field and will move onto the veggie garden next week, depending on the weather, oh, and I've re-done my nails. So my apologies to all who are waiting for an email reply or a phone call, I'll catch up with you soon. Meanwhile, it's time to batten down the hatches and get through this next nasty batch of wind and rain. Hope none of you are caught up in the floods.

PS gotta say a BIG welcome to Redhunter from 'way up north', perhaps that could be Shetland...who knows....and what about a BIG welcome to all those who just pop in every now and then, just for a read. Why not sign up and follow the blog, or at least leave a comment sometimes, we're not that scary.....are we?

Sunday, 15 November 2009

A terminal terminal. Subtitled 'Shetland'. Take 2.

It's probably easier if I just start from the beginning, even though you're probably, and understandably, completely fed up with waiting. But anyway, here's the gen about my VMCC trip to Shetland in the first week of November. Not the best time to be planning an overnight ferry journey really, especially as the preceding few weeks had been full of strong winds and heavy rain. At least I had ruled the camping option out. My original intention was to go in the summer and make it a club camping / exploring sort of trip, but what with finishing Cubbie's Counties and being in my first few months of Area Rep-ship, time didn't permit. Then we got to October, but that turned out to be just as busy as the summer, and then I wrecked my back, and then I found myself staring at the page in my diary that has a thing called 'Christmas' scheduled in it. So it was all a bit last minute really, I got in touch with my island contact, Geordie, who got in touch with Joe Gray, Chairman of the Shetland Classic MCC, and word came back that they'd love to see me (honest, that's just what they said, ahem), and that I could do a turn at their next meeting if I so desired. Well, desire I did, so they booked the venue and I booked a ferry, and the next thing Cubbie knew, I'd dragged it out of the shed, hooked my luggage on with bungees and sticky tape, and we were off. But only for a few feet and then Cubbie died. Fired up no problem but seemed to have great difficulty pulling away. Which was a little embarrassing as the two burly chaps doing the fencing were eagerly awaiting my departure - they could hear the noise but couldn't see the bike from where they were working. Turns out one of them is a Cub man, used to have one in his yoof.

After many attempts to get up the drive without stalling, we were finally hurting along the main road to Aberdeen, on a very blustery, not to mention damp, cold and rapidly darkening November afternoon. I had planned to leave early, before it started to get dark, but had found a mountain of things to do before I left, including double and triple checking that the ferry was sailing as the one on the previous day had been cancelled due to inclement weather conditions. So it was about half three, I think, by the time we were on the road. Just moments before that, Geordie emailed to say that Northlink go by the early sailing times in the winter so I'd better get a move on. What a wind up! Phew, glad November doesn't count as the winter, as that would have meant getting to Aberdeen for a 5pm departure, not likely to happen. Given the poor visibility and failing light, I had decided to give my nearly new, bright orange with reflective strips, Kevlar (or Goretex, can't remember, and they're in the other room, and I can't walk that far today) water proof over-trousers a try. Very nice they are too. Ok, I might have looked like a numpty off the bike, but when riding through angry stressed out rush hour traffic, I felt a whole lot safer. Which is probably why my filtering left a bit to be desired! Cubbie doesn't tick over. Cubbie requires blipping of the throttle when stationary. Cubbie tends not to appreciate being held in gear with the clutch lever in for any length of time. And besides, it's a motorcycle for goodness sake, when you see a line of dawdling cars, you just gotta go past. A brief stop at Asda for some air in the rear tyre, stupid machine, how the Devil do those things work? Then it was straight to the ferry terminal, rode up to the kiosk, cut the engine and the lady at the desk knew exactly who I was. Possibly because I was the only person stupid enough to be taking a motorcycle to Shetland at this time of year. And maybe because I was the last one to arrive. The 'assistants' (what else would you call them?) who are responsible for strapping the bike down all paid the greatest attention to Cubbie, so I left it in their capable hands, removed my inflatable pillow and blanket from the bungeed on pile of luggage and found my way upstairs. By choice, I grabbed a pitch in the Forward Bar - yes, that's the bit right at the front of the ship, primarily because it was pretty much empty and has fairly comfy seating. And a tele. And if it's empty, you get to watch what you want on the box. But being at the front of the boat does mean it gets a little choppy during a rough crossing. I'm quite a good sea traveller and my greatest irritation was that I almost kept rolling off the sofa.



We docked in Lerwick at some ungodly hour, about 7.30am I think, although I wasn't really caring, I just knew it was early and I had hardly had any real sleep. Cubbie started first kick and we rolled off into a haze of sideways rain and wind. The street with the B&B (yeah I know, luxury this time, I deserve it, I'm nearly as owld as you) was conveniently close to the road up from the harbour, and the very nice proprietress let me go straight to my room to drop my bags and have a bit of a rest. It was still raining and I didn't have any firm plans for the day, so headed over to the community centre, located right behind the B&B, to make use of their free Wifi connection. Then Mike Grundon from Radio Shetland phoned and asked if I would like to pop over for a chat, so I did, and the chat turned into an interview to be broadcast later that day. I would point you to the 'listen again' feature but the my interview has apparently been snipped from the end of the programme. Ho hum. Still, Mike was quite impressed with Cubbie, although not as impressed with the rather pretty patch of multicolouredness it left on the wet pavement outside of the Studio.

After a bit of lunch with Mike and a good natter about bikes, I mooched around town for a while until it was time for Tom Morton to come off air. He kindly read out many a Cubbie's Counties related email on his Radio Scotland programme over the year that I was 'on the road', and although he didn't have long to chat, I did get to thank him and put a face to the voice. Back to the B&B and time for tea, although I, er, well I have to admit, I dozed off for a while, and awoke, absolutly starving, with rather a shock, panicking that I'd missed my talk.

So I grabbed my bag and rushed out into the wind and rain, across the road to the community centre, had a bite to eat in the small cafe, and then started to set up for my video presentation. And that's where things started to go ever so slightly awry. My lovely, shiny, new, nearly top of the range, was-the-latest-model-when-I-bought-it-a-few-weeks-ago netbook decided that it didn't want to work. More specifically, Media-blimmin'-Player refused point blank to run. And that meant I had no other software on there suitable for playing a slide show. By the time I had tried a few tricks, the guys were arriving, and over the course of the next hour, two of them rushed home to get laptops for me, and I feel really rather bad that a) Maurice's laptop gave up the ghost and died on the spot, and b) the other chap (who's name I have in my notebook) arrived just as I'd fixed my netbook - sorry guys, and thanks! I finally managed to download a free media player using the very handy free Wifi access and all was well with the world, although that hour will rank as one of, if not the MOST embarrassing and humiliating hour of my life. Apart from the time when I....ah, no, can't put that here. The guys from the VMCC and Shetland Classic MCC seemed to like the videos and despite the late start, we had plenty of time for a chat afterwards. Can't tell you any more about that as I've got to write something for the VMCC Journal.

Proud prize winner Robbie with his limited edition Cubbie's Counties tee shirt.

In fact, can't tell you much more about any of it really, as there might just be an article in the pipeline for Old Bike Mart. Apart from...Geordie picked me up the next day and very kindly acted as a taxi driver, taking me around the island to meet various people, and then on the third day, he turned up with Joe Gray and they both ferried me round to look in sheds and garages. Oh, the tea (or in my case, cocoa) and the biscuits, and the lunch by the loch, and the fish and chips, and the food at Mrs Joe's house, oh, it was all such a hardship! NOT. Despite the weather, which was absolutely vile for most of my stay, I had a great few days in Shetland. Thanks to the B&B owner for allowing Cubbie to stay tucked up in a nice warm and dry garage, and thanks to everyone I met for the hospitality. I'll be back....for the show.



Oh, Geordie and I popped over to Whalsay too, so have some pics while you wait for the article...


The home leg from Lerwick to Aberdeen was equally, if not more rough than the outward crossing. I'm a good sailor, but even I had to call it quits and pretend to sleep rather than read or watch the box. I had a much more comfortable pew this time though, a lovely leather double seater sofa. Cubbie purred into life while the men in overalls waited for us to leave the car deck, and we pop pop popped our way into the practically empty Aberdeen streets. T'was very quiet in town at time of day (another early one) apart from an annoying taxi driver who wanted a closer look at Cubbie at each set of traffic lights. Up Market Street, right onto Union Street and under the Xmas lights that hadn't yet been switched on, left onto whatever that road is called that goes past Marischal College, stop for a photo, can't remember why now though, head out to Dyce, this is brilliant, no cars, no-one else to get in the way, just zoom around round-abouts as I please. Right, past the BP garage, marvel at the low hanging mist and how pretty it looks over the trees, suddenly realise how cold it is, and then just as we left Dyce, I had to stop for another photo or three. A couple of horses prancing about in the mist, with the rising sun casting just enough light to catch their warm breath at they snortled and danced at each other. Onwards to Newmachar, looks like a bit of frost last night, the verges are still white and crispy and salt is all over the road. Just thinking how well Cubbie was going....zooming along and a top speed of 56.1mph showing on the digital speedo...and then POP...splutter.....pop...crackle...dead.... It had to happen right in the middle of a fast double bend, but there was a handy lay by into which we silently cruised.



You know what it's like. Before you've even stopped, you're mentally checking things. I couldn't think of anything to check apart from fuel - yes, nearly full, and then the main fuse. The pop and crackle was a very similar pop and crackle to the time when the fuse blew at the National. Unfortunately, this time, it was still in one piece. Next up, check the lights. Zilch. Horn? Nope. Ah. Battery then. I bet you, anything you like (terms and conditions apply) that you would never have even considered that one of the terminals on the battery had snapped off, if you had been me, standing in that lay by. I'm not sure whether I was relieved or angry. Probably both. I couldn't think of any way of fixing it, seeing as it had snapped off flush with the plastic, so a quick text to Mrs BC had the Cubbie Rescue Vehicle mobilised and eventually, she came and picked us up. Silly me, I thought she was rescuing me, but we then went to the Doc's for our piggy flu jabs, where I came over all dizzy and faint. And that was before getting the jab. The Doc was satisfied that I wasn't going to collapse on the spot if I had the injection, so we went ahead, and I'm telling you, you think ordinary flu is bad? Stay away from anyone who has swine flu. Our reactions were only mild, so the full blown thing would probably knock you out for weeks.


That's about it for Shetland. Now where else have I been? Ah yes, Glasgow. Coming right up...

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