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Friday, 30 April 2010

To see a man about a dog....

...coming in the next few hours, or at least by the end of today....another cracking wee story from our man Kawa, out and about on his MZ Skorpion.

And by Jove, have we got some fantastic new ideas lined up for this old bloggy!!! You'll have to wait and see how it goes, but I think you'll like it, well I hope you'll like it....more on that later too...just off to ring some lamb bits...

Well here it is, get yer sarnies and sit back and read...

To see a man about a dog. A Short Story by Kawa McKwak.

Saturday morning arrives and its time to give the Skorp a quick check over, oil, chain, tyres, all where they should be. Just a pity I was running an hour late, but then again I wasn’t in too much of a hurry, so by 7am I was on the road heading for Stirling and beyond. Before I knew it I was passing by Lochearnhead and thinking to myself this is the time to travel as I only had to pass a handful of cars so far.
First stop was at the Green Wellie Shop at Tyndrum to top up the fuel and stretch the legs. It always puts a smile on my face how little fuel this bike uses.
The rain was still with me as I neared Glencoe, stopping to take a couple of photos just before entering the Glen. The place still looks great in the rain and low cloud, and with that special feeling you get as you ride through the Glen. I think it comes from the sheer size of the place, you feel so small compared to the surroundings, maybe a bit of the history plays a part in it for some of us. A chance to put the feet up for 20mins came as I waited for the Corran Ferry, a nice wee time saver as it cuts out a longish ride up to Fort William and back down the other side of the Loch. First off the ferry and not a car in sight as I head along a fantastic stretch of road that takes me to Strontian. As I came in to the village, I think to myself, this place has hardly changed since I used to come here for part of my summer holidays many years ago as a boy. (Er, how many, Kwak?? GBC)

The road soon turns to single track as I head for Salen, most of the time the road followed along the edge of Loch Sunart and with the sun now out, the scenery was looking great, just had to try and keep my eyes on the road. Soon I was the other side of Acharacle and at the house of the man I was to see about a dog, well not really a dog, just a figure of speech. The deed was done, I was fed and watered as well. The sun was doing its best so a plan was hatched. Instead of just heading straight back home I’ll go up to Mallaig, get some fuel and see if the ferry for Skye was in. In no time at all I arrived at the head of Loch Ailort and joined the road for Mallaig. It had been a couple of years since I travelled this bit of road and what a difference they’ve made to it, nice wide sections with fantastic corners, you could play on this bit of road for days. Sorry, just me getting carried away. Arrived in Mallaig at 2.30pm, I know this because I pulled in to the Petrol Station then to fill up, only to see the sign ‘Saturday closed at 2.00pm’, grumpy mode was engaged, didn’t even notice if the ferry was in, and started to head towards Fort William. I stopped at a couple of villages that had fuel signs up but weren’t open, very handy on a Saturday afternoon.

A quick stop at Glenfinnan station (Railway) for a few pics and a bite to eat, a quick check of the fuel before heading off and there seemed to be more in the tank than the last time I looked, very strange, but not so grumpy now. As Fort William neared you could see the Nevis range in the distance, still with its covering of snow, just reminded me of the weather we had not so long ago. Fuel, then off down through Fort William towards Ballachulish Bridge. Coffee stop at Onich just before the bridge, then turn off for Kinloch Leven and yet another motorcycle designed road, seems to be a bit of a theme here, Scotland = great bike roads ;-)
((Glenfinnan Station looks busy.)) ((Bang goes the diet then...GBC))

Every man and his dog seemed to have stopped in the car parks near the south end of Glencoe, but there was just enough room to park the bike and take in the views, even better than earlier as the sun was out and could have sat there for hours.
Looking south along Glencoe...in the sun...

Kawa gets a prize if he can get this wee lassie to join the VMCC!
Another hour and a half and I was back down the road to Falkirk and the best bit was the sun was still out. Just got to get the bike ready for a wee run on Sunday now……

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Ivan...again...

Woohoo!! That's the first five ticket enquiries in today. If they continue at that rate we'll be fully booked very soon - so come on guys and girls, get in touch and book your place! Shorty spoke to Ivan at Stafford and reports that the Roarer is looking forward to stretching its little leggies at Alford....you don't wanna miss it....

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Hoppy Birdie

Would just like to say.....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to U.N!!!

A regular and loyal follower of the blog, and sender of chocolate gifts, it seems only right to wish you all the best for your 21st ;-)

If I hurry up, I can just post this before midnight, when it will no longer be your birthday!!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Ivan Rhodes SCOTTISH TOUR CONFIRMATION

One of the most respected names in the vintage motorcycling / engineering fraternity, Ivan Rhodes, will be touring Scotland in May, stopping off to present three talks around the country.

The main focus of these events is the world famous Velocette ROARER, a machine that was developed in the late 1930s to take on the mighty BMW at the TT. A supercharged 500cc race bike with twin contra rotating crank shafts, and shaft final drive, the restoration process undertaken by Ivan and son Grahame, makes for an interesting story.

The first talk is on Saturday 22nd May at the Grampian Transport Museum in Alford, Aberdeenshire. Not only will Ivan be talking about the six year rebuild process that saw all of the engine internals being replicated from old sketches and magazine articles, but you will have a rare opportunity to actually see and hear the ROARER in action on the museum track.

After attending the Scottish Vintage Training Day on Sunday at the same venue, Ivan will present his next talk at the Strathmore Arms Hotel in Glamis, Perthshire, on Monday 24th May. The evening will consist of an illustrated talk, followed by a chance to chat with Ivan, and a browse through some of the photographs that capture the history of the ROARER.

To round off a fabulous few days, Ivan will travel further south to Stirling University where he will present another evening talk on Tuesday 25th May, giving anyone who missed the more northerly talks, a chance to experience one of Ivan’s informal lectures.

Please get in touch for more details about any of the 3 events, and to book your place.

Sat 22nd May – Alford for the LIVE ROARER experience, contact GBC gorgeousbikerchick AT aultan.com.

Mon 24th May – Glamis evening talk, contact Stan Williamson stan.williamson AT btinternet.com

Tues 25th May – Stirling evening talk, contact Martin Shelley marticelli AT hotmail.com

**The ROARER and any other bikes that Ivan can bring, will only be fired up at the Alford talk, but may be on static display at the other venues.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Stafford.

Just a quick note for anyone who was due to meet me at Stafford this year - very sorry but due to 'circumstances' as they say, I won't be there. Still, that'll save you buying me lunch. What, you didn't know that was the deal? Anyway, hope y'all have a good time next weekend and for those of you who are taking my shopping list with you....keep those eyes peeled....

Monday, 19 April 2010

Lunch, anyone?

I think we're on the 3rd or 4th Large Lunch now. Whichever, it took place last Saturday, so as not to clash with the autojumble at Forfar or the VMCC AGM, or the jumble at Alford, as it has done in the past. The sun was out and the sky was blue and lots of lambies were born too!



Keeping to tradition, I was a little late for lunch, but I do have a good excuse this time. One of the ewes decided to drop her triplets as the time was approaching for me to leave. Mrs BC had to pull the first one out, a huge chappy he is, and once he was all cleaned up, the tail of number 2 appeared, but that's all we could see, so Mrs BC had to help with that one too as he was facing the wrong way. Boys eh, directions are never their thing. Number 3 was a little girl who had to be popped in a box in the bathroom to warm up and all this takes far longer than you might imagine.
I'd fired Cubbie up the day before (started first kick after I'd remembered to give it a wee bit of a tickle - not bad considering it was shoved in the shed upon my return from Shetland last November) so I was confident all would be ok, and for once, it was! I donned my *NEW* pink gloves that I bought at the Ingliston bike show last month, plus full winter gear as although the sun was shining, the air temperature was a bit on the chilly side. That popopopopopbang is just the best music. Plenty of petrol still in the tank, and a quick check in the oil tank showed it didn't even need a top up (odd 'cos what's that black splodge on the floor all about then??) so it was a case of key on, fuel on, tickle tickle KICK and we're away.
I arrived at the Sheiling Tor in Fyvie, just a few miles from Cubbie Towers, in good time for the food, although I'd missed Bob's Treasure Hunt. A few Grumpy-Ones were having a cuppa while they waited for the return of the Hunters...just a quick mention to Eden, Geoff & Julie, Captain Bill and of course, Bob. Felt a bit sorry for Geoff 'cos he was in the car because his Triumph had, er, this pains me to say it, but it had let him down big time. No more will he laugh at Cubbie - or so he says! Peter the leader soon returned on his Ariel Leader, and seemed to have enjoyed the route, and he was followed by Dr Jim, Stuart (he's a Triumph man ya know), Kawa and Iain. A couple of new faces also arrived at the same time; Peter and Frances from Ballater astride a mighty Norton, good of you to come all that way just for lunch, glad you got the right day this time Peter.
So that was it really, the turnout wasn't as good as it could have been but it was the first ride of the year, so maybe bikes weren't ready or people actually listened to the weather forecast which wasn't too promising. Next up is the VMCC Founders Relay Rally on 2nd May, look out for more info about that, as the NE Scottish Section hosts a checkpoint in the wilds of Deerhill. Ha, bet you don't know where that is!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Pop pop popopopopop bang!

Will Cubbie start? I'd better go and find out....I need it for the Large Lunch tomorrow...


Everyone cross everything please! Fingers...toes.....and all the rest of things you can cross...


Well, it's now 'tomorrow' and Cubbie started first kick after I remembered the tickling thing. Good Cubbie. I'm late for lunch as Misty was having triplets since the early hours, but they all seem fit and fine now, so I can head off for lunch. Looks like I'll miss the treasure hunt but one can't have it all, can one.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Newton's Third Law, plus the AGM trip.

"Every action has a reaction equal in magnitude and opposite in direction". Or in plain English, that means that if you have a good day, you sure need to look out 'cos you're gonna have one heck of a bad day to follow it up. Farm life is a bit like that. For a couple of weeks Hilda the Herdwick and her daughter Henryetta were poorly. Some times they reacted to the treatment we gave and some times they didn't. Henry seemed to be in a coma for a number of days, finally coming around last Saturday morning. She sat up, had a drink and ate some hay, plus two dishes of freshly picked grass and greens. Then while I was away, having a really rather good weekend at the Vintage Motorcycle Club AGM, she suddenly got worse and was barely alive by the time I got home on Monday. Hilda slipped away to Herdwick Heaven peacefully but the vet had to come and help Henry on her way. While he was here, he treated one of the little Shetland ewes too. She was off her food and not keen to do much. He gave her a few jabs and a drench, but said one of the jabs might make her abort her lambs - we would know within three days.....

....First thing Tuesday morning, there she is, with two healthy little white lambs at her feet, but still a bit wobbly and unenthusiastic about life. We popped one of the lambs in a box in the bathroom with the heater on full as the poor wee chap was a bit on the cold side, and after getting some colostrum into him, he came round and is doing fine. His sister had a warm up too, plus some colostrum and they're all back together in the steading, although they'll have to be bottle fed as the ewe isn't up to that job.

On the same morning, Squirrel popped out two healthy and strong white lambs - a boy and girl, swiftly followed by Shirraf the Jacob rolling around and looking like something was going on. Sure enough, a couple of hours later she produced a whopping big black girl, as strong as you like and up on her feet instantly. Unbeknown to us, during this time, Flora McD had started popping them out like there was no tomorrow. Well, she'd had one black one that didn't survive, another teeny black girl that was huddled in the middle of the windswept field while Flora carried on grazing, and by the time we'd made her a pen in the building, she'd produced a white girl too. Shirraf then had another lamb, a white girl, just as big as the first one, but sadly it didn't survive. So by the end of the day we were run a bit ragged trying to get all the ewes and lambs in pens, fed and watered, and Flora's girls had to be thawed out in the bathroom as the poor little mites were frozen, and make sure the lambs who needed bottle feeding were properly sustained to get them through the night.



So I suppose Newton was right. We lost two ewes and two lambs, but gained 7 more little 'uns.

If you're fed up hearing about sheep...read on to hear about the AGM trip.......
This April AGM marked the first year of my Area Rep'ship. With all the bad weather and run of bad luck with vehicles, I really didn't think I was going to make it, but with a little help from a friend, the car was up and running and ready for the long drive down south on Saturday morning. Well, it should have been morning, but after the Henryetta moment, and a visit from the farrier, it must have been gone two by the time I was away.

I arrived at Kawa McKwak's place a little after five, and he joined me for the rest of the journey. I get the impression he thought I'd get lost, well, why else would he have taken his sat nav with him? Mind you, when we arrived in Preston, the little gadget did come in handy for finding the hotel, after I'd got used to Paddy talking in terms of 'turn right in 200meters', well come on, what does 200meters look like??? As mentioned in a previous post, there was no accommodation anywhere nearer to the National Motorcycle Museum, so that left us with a couple of hours to drive on Sunday morning. I like to squeeze as much into life as possible, and that goes for trips south too, so it was at this late stage that I arranged a visit to my friend Willium on the way, to see his recently restored 1966 Triumph 6T. Oh yes, you know where this is going, don't you?

We got to Will and April's abode in Coventry, but only had about half an hour to spare before we had to meet Andrew the Guzzi man, at the Museum for lunch, prior to the AGM. So Will finished setting the ignition timing, and Kawa admired the Kawasaki in the shed (but I also saw him casting a sneaky glance at the Triumph), and April and young son Nate patiently looked on. Will fired the bike up and reversed it into the daylight. He seemed pleased with it and it certainly sounded 'sweet'. April produced a helmet, jacket and gloves for me to wear, and the rest, as they say, is history. Put GBC on a Triumph and away she goes. More about the ride later, as I think it deserves a post all to itself.



After bidding farewell to Will, April, Nate and the Triumph, which Will wouldn't let me keep, it was off at a right old pace to the museum, which is only about 15mins down the road. Andrew the Guzzi man formed the reception party - or I think 'waiting outside anxiously' would be another way of describing the scene. We got there at 1.15, raced into the cafe, grabbed some lunch, I finished mine and made it to the AGM for the 1.30 start, leaving the boys to eat at a somewhat slower pace. The meeting passed quickly, with various positions being voted in and handshakes given, then it was time for a Management Committee Meeting afterwards.

So what about my first year as Area Rep? I've thoroughly enjoyed it. I've been up and down the country to shows, riding events, winter meetings and AGMs, doing the miles on a bike, in the car and even on a ferry. Every couple of months I've popped down to Burton on Trent, either by train or plane (neither of which are particularly pleasant journeys, it has to be said) for the Management Committee meetings - I can't believe I'm actually on the Management Committee! I get to meet the Chief Executive Officer, James Hewing, the Financial Controller, Helen Bensley, and Kim Allen the Chairman - plus all of the other Area Reps, Directors and Presidents Past, Present and Future. More than that, I get to pick these peoples brains, find answers to peoples queries or glean information. The next meeting is in June and I'm looking forward to discussing ideas and suggestions about how to get younger people to join the VMCC - or even just to ride old bikes - so if you have any thoughts on the subject, drop me an email or leave a comment, the more the merrier as they say.

Talking of meeting people, thought you might like a few pictures so you know who I'm talking about....you've got the new President, Bill Phelps, whom you can meet personally, face to face, at the Plus1 this year, the Immediate Past President Colin Seaton, whom you can meet personally, face to face, at the first Scottish Vintage Training Day at Alford this year, and the President Elect, Colin Bell, whom you can meet personally (picking up a theme here?) at the Scottish Double Plus1 this year. If you ever thought that meeting the President of the Vintage Motorcycle Club was out of your league, or it only happens to other people, or in other parts of the country, then think again, these guys are all approachable and willing to come to events around the country, all you have to do is ask, and if you ask in time, you stand a good chance of having one of these guys at your events.






With Andrew on his merry way back to Guzzi land, Kawa and I set off north. A pit stop at Westmorland services in the middle of Herdwick country (Cumbria) provided some grub, albeit a bit manky grub, but then it was quite late. By the time we hit Kawa-town and I'd dropped himself off, tiredness, accompanied by a general feeling of malaise kicked in. An overnight stay with a friend seemed the sensible option, meaning I finally got home around midday on Monday, rather then 3 or 4am.

Sorry if you're reading this and thinking that a) it's all back to front, and b) it's not really about bikes. That's the life of GBC I'm afraid!

Thanks to Kawa for some of the above shots, and for your company on the long drive. Sorry I wouldn't let you drive, they call me Miss Independent ya know. Thanks also to Andrew the Guzzi Man for lunch, be seeing you in August for more lunch!
**Sad addendum. It's taken all week to get this written up, and while everyone seems to be doing well now, I'm sad to say we lost one of the little white Shetland girls yesterday. I've decided to call her Poppet, 'cos she was a little Poppet.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Pavlova.

Well that sort of sorted out that some of you are bikers, some are motorcyclists and some are gentlemen motorbicyclists. So however I refer to you in future, will no doubt offend some of you! Never mind, tis all a bit of fun.



You would not believe the pavlova this last week or so, what with sheep, cars and other issues, but despite not leaving until gone 2 o'clock today, I've managed to get as far as Preston, Lancs, on my way to the Vintage Motorcycle Club AGM, which is at the National Motorcycle Museum, tomorrow afternoon. Just thought you'd like to know that.



Had to stop in Preston, even though it's a couple of hours away from the museum, cos there ain't no accommodation to be had anywhere closer and it's a heck of a long drive all the way.



So I'll bid you goodnight, got a promise of a Triumph 6T test ride tomorrow morning, so best get me gone. Feel free to carry on the debate about biker Vs motorcyclist.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Biker or Motorcyclist? DEBATE!

There's an interesting question, are you a biker or a motorcyclist, or maybe even a motorbiker? Leave a comment and let me know, I need to know how to address my audience.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The GBC Returns!

Cor blimey, as they say, that was some trip from Leeds. Left home late Monday morning, Mrs BC dropped me at the train station, got down to Leeds some time around 9pm. Rather than give me directions and send me off into the night on my ownsome, a nice guy at the station information desk walked me to my hotel.

The meeting on Tuesday started at 12pm, and if it had finished at the scheduled time I would have had to stay another night in Leeds, but we were all so well behaved that it finished early. So I sprinted to the station and managed to get on the 3 o'something train, straight through to Aberdeen without having to change. Nice one, or so I thought...

We got as far as somewhere between Berwick-upon-Tweed and Dunbar, and then the train stopped. The guy came on the talkytalky thing and apologised for the delay and informed us that there were two landslides and a flood up ahead, and we had to wait for the engineers to come and assess the situation, or if the southbound train came through then we would get an update from the driver and see if it was safe to proceed.

To cut a long wait short (if only) we sat there for about 2.5hrs, no food as the hot buffet that was supposed to be on this service, wasn't, and a free plastic cup of orange juice each, to placate us.

The next announcement was that we would return to Berwick where another train would take us to Glasgow and then across to Edinburgh. Then another announcement followed, saying that we might travel by coach to Edinburgh instead. So we chuffed back to Berwick and all stood around waiting on the windswept platform. Shortly after, a train pulled in to the other platform and just sat there. The doors didn't open and no announcements were made, until suddenly two paramedics arrived and boarded. Then they came back to the platform with a lady who looked rather pale and wobbly. Seems this was the Glasgow train, but they weren't letting us on. Still no announcements and still no food other than overpriced chocolate bars and crisps from a vending machine. After about half an hour, and still no railway staff to be seen, some of us wandered through to the waiting room in case there was a human being there to speak to, and luckily, a coach had just arrived. But the driver wasn't able to let us on the coach, until he had the go-ahead from a member of railway staff, and so it went on. In the end we just followed him back to the coach and boarded.

As the coach meandered through the flooded Berwick streets, with the gale force winds rocking and tugging at it, we could see the muddy brown waves parting at either side, and washing up over the parked cars at the sides of the roads. This wasn't Berwick-upon-Tweed, this was Berwick-IN-THE-Tweed. There was no point worrying about it, so I stretched out on the back seat and slept. It was gone midnight by the time we got to Edinburgh. And thank goodness we made it safely. One guy who was sitting in the front seat said he didn't know how the driver could see where he was going or how he managed to avoid hitting the flooded bits of road. Guess this was the mighty A1 route.

Once in Edinburgh train station, there was at least a Man with an orange vesty thing on, who seemed aware of the situation. Once he had established who was trying to go where, I kept an eye on the Aberdeen group and nipped into Burger King just a second before they shut the doors. I managed to get the last chicken burger which was cold and chewy but better than nothing, seeing as I hadn't eaten since lunch at about 1pm the day before. By the time I got back to where the Man was, everyone had gone. Fantastic. Great. Don't panic. Fortunately, a by-stander had heard them say that anyone going to Aberdeen should board the Dundee train. So I did. Once on board I attached myself to a trio of oil workers from Newcastle, as they seemed rather adamant that they weren't getting left behind or fobbed off.

Pulling out of Edinburgh we got our first glimpse of the weather that was causing all the problems - white stuff everywhere and water laying between the tracks. The train was rocking a little too. The ticket inspector seemed to think we were going to be happy to be dumped on the deserted platform in Dundee. No way. The oil guys gave her a polite talking to, and she scuttled off saying she would phone Control. Apparently, the problem was that we had all travelled north on Virgin or Cross-Country, and we were now on a Scot Rail train, so as far as they were concerned, it wasn't up to them to honour our tickets. I dozed off after a while, it would be close to 2am Wednesday, by the time we got to Dundee and I wanted to at least have my wits about me. Ticket lady finally come on the talkytalky thing and said she was still waiting for Control to get back to her. So as we pulled into Dundee, we still had no idea of where we were going or what would happen. It was only once we were on the platform that a guy came up to us and asked where we were going, and then said there were 4 taxis outside waiting for us.

Great idea, if you think about it. All other forms of transport were being cancelled or held up and it was 2am and they were expecting us to undertake a good hours ride in a taxi. Well I wasn't going to get left behind, so we hopped in, me and three different oil workers this time. It seemed that two taxis were going north, and I've no idea where the others went. We sped off, trying to keep up with chummy in the first taxi. Through Dundee and onto the A90. Some stretches of road were clear with just high winds and sideways rain, and then we hit the blizzards. Passing lorries wasn't fun either as I couldn't see where we going and I'm mighty sure the driver couldn't either. We even passed a gritter, and then the taxi driver had the nerve to complain that there weren't any snow ploughs or gritters out on the roads....

About 10 miles south of Aberdeen we ground to a halt. The snow was about 5inches deep I would say, and the dual carriageway was down to a single lane, and we were following (rather too closely for my liking) a Royal Mail lorry. The traffic stopped, and the lorry began to slide sideways and backwards as the wind got hold of it. The reason for the stop was a jack-knifed caravan up ahead, followed by a jack-knifed Tesco lorry. We nipped up the inside along the hard shoulder and were soon on our merry way again. Until all of a sudden, we were parked in the central reservation, facing the way we had just come from. Luckily, the gravel trap did what it's there to do and stopped the car from smashing into the barrier. Our driver tried to pull away, but no go. The wheels were buried deep in gravel and snow and even with the oil guys pushing the car, and ripping up trees with their bare hands to put under the wheels, that car wasn't shifting. The police were called and the 'incident' reported, and then a few minutes later another taxi stopped, and we all abandoned ship and got a lift into Aberdeen with him.

We got to Aberdeen, this driver being far more cautious and sensible than the last one, but it turned out he, and the oil guys, didn't know how to get to the city centre. Good job GBC was awake and on the ball! One of the oilys had phoned ahead to the hotel where he was staying and asked if they had a spare room for me, which they did, so we got dropped off there and the others were left to find their own way. I checked in, for the princely sum of £50 for half a night, had to climb four flights of stairs as the lift was broken and the lift fixing man came from Dundee and had only just gone back there that evening after proclaiming the lift fixed. Got to my room, swiped the door card, blinking thing wouldn't open. Tried every conceivable way to get it to work, but it refused. So on with the two rucksacks and back down the four flights of stairs, the guy at the desk swiped the card in his reader and then it was back up the four flights of stairs....this time it worked and I stumbled on to, rather than into, bed around 4am. I then proceeded to have weird dreams about my room being flooded as I'd noticed the radiator was leaking and there was a soggy patch on the carpet. Ho hum. Missed breakfast that morning, but who can blame me, and after getting the relevant updates from Mrs BC and the trains etc, decided to book in again for Weds night, as it looked like I wouldn't be going anywhere for another day. So I spent most of the day in the new shopping centre, located right opposite the hotel. Starbucks do a grand hot chocolate and the roast chicken sarnies with herb mayo are yummy, if a little pricey. But this was a special occasion, I was feeling a little unwell from not having eaten enough and it was all I fancied. The day passed remarkable quickly, I had a little poddle around up on Union Street where I purchased a new mobile tellingphone. For some reason, my old one won't text Mrs BC's phone, although when we switched sim cards, they both were found to be working faultlessly, so I thought a new phone would cure the problem, but it hasn't.

Several phone calls from my Boss throughout the day resulted in a plan being formulated. I would get the bus from Aberdeen to Fyvie on Thurs morning and then a lift home from there.

By the evening, I was flagging. I ordered room service in the hotel (let me point you to the picture my previous post) and watched the football before retiring for the night. Thursday morning, overslept, missed breakfast again, made it across to the shopping centre to pick up a hot choc and a roast chicken sarnie before joining the queue for the 305 bus. And what a queue! It seemed to stretch half way round Aberdeen. The reason being, it turned out, was that there were no trains running due to frozen points last night and a derailment somewhere near Inverness. A very kind gentleman, to whom I got chatting in the queue, heard my tale of woe and let me ahead of him in case there weren't enough seats. Bless his kind soul. We both got a seat but were the last two who did.

The bus ride was uneventful, and I had the pleasure of listening to the man sitting behind me, as he related his story to the local paper. It wasn't anywhere near as good as mine, as he had only visited Aberdeen for the day from Elgin, where he was on holiday with his family. He was complaining that he and his son were on the train the previous night that was cancelled due to frozen points, and had to stay in an hotel. Well anyone who sets off in the middle of a blizzard (which going by what he was saying and his timings, he must have done) to go to a museum for a day out, has to be nuts. Me, I just wanted to come home from a briefing.

While I was away, Hilda the Herdwick sheep had made some progress on her road to recovery, having been poorly for a number of days. Mrs BC reported that there were no more lambs in the snow and we were able to get the trusty truck up the snow-bound drive where we wouldn't even have dared try the van for another few days. After the night of blizzards, the snow was up to the top of the trucks wheel arches.

So I was finally home on a sunny Thursday afternoon, feeling a little tired but not too bad. Friday morning I woke up feeling awful; temperature, aches and pains, not eating and generally unable to get out of bed. That's the first time I've been confined to bed due to illness for several years. Today though I seem a little better, providing I pop paracetamol regularly to keep my head from exploding. Just as well, as Hilda's daughter, Henryetta was ill this morning and had to be brought in and medicated, and then this afternoon, Ditzy was the next to decide she was ill, but only after we'd got back from getting the hay and some feed troughs. So it was back in the truck and off to the vet to collect some jabs for her, then put her in the building with the rest of the sickly crew.

Hungry now. Hope y'all have a happy Easter weekend and don't eat too much chocolate.

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