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Monday, 26 July 2010

Anyone seen GBC?

Yep, I'm here, busy preparing stuff for the Plus1 - only 16 days away and still loads to do! Being multi talented though, I'm also writing the Skorpy update that I promised, so that'll be up very soon. Maybe tomorrow if you're good.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Busy busy at Cubbie Towers!

Well it's been a busy few weeks. I can't recall everything in the right order, but in recent weeks I've been cleaning Skorpy in preparation for fitting all the new bits and pieces, and I heard from Peter yesterday that the swing arm is now ready for collection. And then there was the bad news.....he had to punch one of the rusty holes out to about 3" to find some solid metal. While I was cleaning, I discovered a few more bits that need attention, such as some rust spots on the mirror stalks, a few chipped areas on the painted wheels and an awful lot of rust on the thing that connects the zorst into the engine. But they're all tasks that won't stop it from going through the MoT, so I can put them off a while longer......

The NO NUT bit was nothing to do with me. I left it there, and when I went into the shed one day, I found a little man messing around with a torque wrench and UN's hair dryer. I tell you, it all goes on the in country! At least the stupid nut is off now and I don't have to wreck myself fighting with it. I've got the new sprocket and chain ready to fit, but must concentrate on doing the wheel bearings before I forget.

We've had the annual Grumpyones BBQ over at Mintlaw. The weather was fine all day and then come the evening, it was perishing and blowing a gale force wind. Those who went on Mr P's rideout enjoyed the good route and fine scenery, and those who were only able to come and eat all the food enjoyed eating all the food! Thanks to Peter and Lesley for doing a magnificent job of hosting the whole event and also to everyone who made the effort to attend.




Mrs BC and I have been BBQing again when we, well, I, went down to the VMCC Stirling Castle Section BBQ and as Mrs BC happened to be with me, she went too and was made most welcome by the hosts Jill and Iain. And then we went to another barby - this time for the Rare Breeds club that Mrs BC is in. We started off at the New Deer agricultural show, which was on the way to the BBQ, but got there about an hour before the end. We had a nice chat with a friendly Traffic Warden on the way in (it never hurts to chat a Traffic Warden up), but at the gate the little jobsworth tried to charge us full whack to go in for the last hour! So we sulked and went round the corner to watch the showjumping - no charge for that oddly enough! When it started to rain a little and the temp dropped severely we made our way to the location of the BBQ and enjoyed an entertaining evening meeting the ferrets and watching people who should know better blasting up and down the track on a quad bike.



At some point in the last few weeks we went to see a sheep dog trial. It was quite good fun and not quite as depressing as we thought - it showed that even those who trial and work dogs in a much more serious manner than we do, still make mistakes and even their dogs sometimes do what they think the owner wants them to do - much like our Finn.

Muckle Flugga Man (MFM) popped in for a cuppa. And while he was here he built me a shed (I suppose I should clarify, it was the shed that John from Bikeshite.com gave me, the one that was covered in about 6ft of snow for what seemed like months and months and months....), what a nice thing to do. We nearly fell out though when he instructed me to take the less heavy end of the section that had to be heaved up high, but after considering his threat to down-tools if I didn't give in gracefully, I gave in, but not quite as gracefully as I could, or maybe should have. Trouble is, I'm used to taking the heavy end. We nearly fell out once again when he tried to kill me by dropping one of the panels on top of me. The last time someone did that to me I ended up with a broken pelvis - I was a bit luckier this time and caught the darn thing one handed - an image of Superwoman has no doubt popped into your mind.

Voila!

It was around this time that we lost little Red Top, one of the orphan lambs that we'd rescued from certain death after mum Ditzy managed to give birth but was so ill she couldn't look after them. She and her twin, White Top were born early on a cold and misty spring morning, and could easily have been taken by a fox or buzzard. We don't know why she died, which makes it worse as we don't even know if the treatment we gave her was right, or if we could have done anything else for her. RIP little tiny Red Top.


I've also been thinking about the little jobs that need to be done to Cubbie. The front forks are a bit leaky and I think they need more than just new seals, and I'll have to investigate whether or not the rear end is seized. Just before the epic Shetland trip in June I noticed the rear light was sticking on, so that will need some attention. Ivan Rhodes gave me a good tip, which I've failed to do, which is if you find a fault with a bike and anticipate not having time to sort it straight away, just write a note and stick it on the bike somewhere, so that the next time you're going to be working in the shed, you know exactly what needs to be done. I reckon that would save me a lot of time, so must make an effort to try it.

The garden is coming along nicely after the refreshing downpour the other day. I helped Mrs BC plant some tatties (better late than never) and for a while they didn't do much, but with some water and warm sun they've shot up. Looks like we'll be looking forward to new tatties in the winter!

And the wheel fell off my mower. Bother.


So I think you're all up to date now. When I'm not polishing Skorpy I'm writing reports for Old Bike Mart, and when I'm not doing that I'm making or preparing something for the Plus1 and when I'm not doing any of those things, I'm at work. Or writing a blog update.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Grampian Convention...5th Sep...forms available!!!

Roll up, roll up, get your entry form for the magnificent GRAMPIAN MOTORCYCLE CONVENTION at Alford, Aberdeenshire from GBC. Yep, it's that time again, and entries are open to any bikes in the following categories....

ENTRY CATEGORIES – GCMCC Awards
Machines will be judged in the following
categories :-

VETERAN - Manufactured prior to 31st December 1919.

VINTAGE - Manufactured between 1st January 1920 and 31st December 1930
(The Wormald Engineering Shield).

POST VINTAGE - Manufactured between
1st January 1931 and 31st December 1944

POST WAR - Manufactured between
1st January 1945 and 31st December 1959 (The John Bell Pipeline Shield).

CLASSIC - Manufactured between 1st January 1960 and 31st December 1977
(The Castrol Shield).

MODERN CLASSIC - Manufactured between 1st January
1978 and 31st December 1989 (GCMCC Shield).

ENTRY CATEGORIES – Transport
Museum Awards

VINTAGE - Manufactured prior to 31st December 1930

EARLY JAPANESE - Manufactured prior to 31st December 1978

BRITISH TWO STROKE - Manufactured prior to 31st December 1978

CLASSIC BIKE - Manufactured prior to 31st December 1978

To enter
a Modern Classic (1978 to 1983) you must intend to take part in the GCMCC Alford
Run.


Drop me an email to cubbies counties AT aultan . com but remove the spaces and change AT to @, but you knew that, didn't you. I don't like to hurry you, but the closing date for being listed in the show programme is 30th July - - - entry is only £5 so don't delay, do it today!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

What if...

Do you ever wonder how your day would have gone if you'd left home 5 mins later, or taken the long route instead of the short? Or had the cheese sarnie instead of the steak pie? Well a few days ago, Mrs BC and I nipped into town in the truck and trailer to drop some stuff at the skip, I then had to wait while she 'nipped' into the Post Office, although if that's 'nip'.... Anyway, turns out it was lucky that she took so long as on our way home, we were about 3rd on the scene of a serious bike crash. As we pulled up to the scene, we could see a biker laying across the road, the bike mangled some feet behind him, and a car with a huge dent in the front wing. A guy was with with him, and a lady from the first car that arrived was looking after the driver of the car involved, but it appeared that nobody had phoned 999, so I did. After sprinting back to the truck for the map to give them a road number, as it seems you can't just say "we're on the road from Turriff to Cuminestown about half a mile from the castle by a house called whatever it was called, oh and here's the exact postcode", I was instructed to stay on the line (good job I'd charged my phone the night before) and report on his condition. He was out cold, literally, sort of a pale shade of blue, so it was just a case of monitoring his breathing and the blood loss from his mouth and nose until the ambulance arrived. The second thing we did after calling 999 was to get blankets from cars and keep him warm. Then it was just a case of waiting. And waiting.

The police turned up, eventually, and proceeded to display an amazing lack of intelligence and coordination. Six of them spilled from two cars, one marked and the other, a fancy unmarked silver BMW - I made a note of the number of course. They marched around, ignoring the poor bloke laying motionless on the ground. They tried to send Mrs BC off home (big mistake for a 12yr old with a funny hat!), and it was only after she pointed out that she was with me, and the fact that I was on the phone reporting back to the control centre, that they even noticed me!After about 20mins the ambulance arrived, just split seconds after a medic turned up and then the cops kicked us out. Call it gory, but what we really wanted to see, was how, and if, they did anything with his helmet because obviously, we didn't touch it. We've had first aid talks and demos at the bike club, but it's one thing practicing on someone who has the giggles and quite another to witness it first hand. It got me to thinking, when would a member of the public who arrives on the scene ever have to decide whether or not to remove the helmet? In this case, the way the guy had landed was almost in the recovery position, and although he was bleeding from the mouth, his breathing wasn't obstructed. I think it's time to refresh the first aid skills.

You wouldn't believe the amount of idiots who tried to get past the accident. With a police car blocking the junction and an 'accident' sign, there were still people driving up to the back of the unmarked cop car, wondering why they couldn't get past. Numpties.

Anyway, I'm up at 6am tomorrow, so this'll do you for now and I'll put a Skorpy update here as soon as I can.

**I should have added that the guy was whisked away in air ambulance to Inverness hosp suffering from serious chest injuries. I haven't heard any more news yet.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

WAKEY WAAAKKKEEEYYYY!!!!

Rise and shine, it's Sunday morning, places to go, things to do. Come on, chop chop, let's be havin' you. I want to see some pics of the places that you lot go to today - I don't mean the weekly shopping, or visiting Aunty Ethel, but any bike related things....send em in please to cubbies counties AT aultan.com

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Skorpy progress.

As you might have read somewhere on here, I've decided to get my 1994 MZ Skorpion back on the road. It just needed a new bush or bearing or whatever it's called in the suspension linkage, and new bearings in the back wheel. When I started to dismantle things, I poked a screwdriver at the swingyarm only to find that those little paint bubbles were hiding something slightly more sinister, and a chunk of rust fell off, leaving a small hole. The hole doesn't go all the way through but I'm advised by my fellow MZers to just get it fixed, so I will. Then I thought I'd fit a new chain and sprockets. So I set about loosening the rear sprocket bolts while the wheel etc is still in place, they were easy, but the front one has been giving me hassle for about a week. I've been soaking it in diesel as per instructed, hitting it, jumping up and down on a long bar attached to it and generally getting nowhere quite slowly. I'm sure one day soon, it'll just mysteriously slacken off and the next time I try, I'll be wondering why I hurt my back and shoulders fighting the stupid thing.

So today I ordered a nice new sparkly chain, a gold one you know, and a new front sprocket (ever the optimist!) and a kindly fellow MZer has found a nearly new rear sprocket in his box of bits, and I'll get the swingyarm to a little man to weld it, and oh, I mustn't forget the wheel bearings in all my excitement.



Monday, 5 July 2010

Still having email probs

By the way, I still seem to be having a spot of bother with my email, so for anyone going to the GCMCC BBQ on Tues 6th July, if you have not received directions via email, give me a ring. And for any members who haven't booked a place, give me a ring before Tuesday morning and I'm sure we can squeeze you in.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Mad Monday on Shetland.

I didn't quite get round to finishing the Big Shetland Report, so here's the tale from my last day there after the super dooper classic show in June. I got as far as saying....

...the Grumpyones seemed to have a plan, and I had the offer of a pillion seat again, and as the sun was shining, and I had to go to Whalsay, I decided to see if the owner of the pillion seat would mind a trip to the Bonny Isle. Turned out he and his mate Pete didn't mind where they went, so off we set...

Up the A970 past the Loch of Grista (beautiful, stunning, amazing views, esp from the pillion seat when you get more time to stare) and hang a right at the junction for Vidlin and onto the B9071. That's not a bad road, it has to be said, some nice bendy bits and more top scenery. The ferry terminal is well signposted and we head down the hill to the sea. There's a boat sitting waiting and after being waved at by the guy in a boiler suit, we ride straight on. I also stop to ask him if he knows Willie. Which Wille, he says. You know, Willie who used to have a Triumph Terrier. Ah yes, turns out there is some family connection and Boiler suit Davy knows Willie well and gives me directions. The short crossing (about half an hour I think) passes smoothly with some more stunning views as we look back to the mainland across the sparkling blue sea. Its a sudden and stark feeling that hits me; what must it be like in the Mexican Gulf right now. In a selfish way, I try not to think about the fish, birds, coral and all other forms of sea life that are being killed slowly by the oil, every hour of every day.


We roll off the ferry in Symbister and The Man from Muckleflugga thinks I know where we're going. We find our way out of town using the age old comms system of a poke in the ribs for one way and a poke in the other ribs for the other way, and follow the instructions given by the guy on the boat, meandering off into the countryside. I'm also trying to recall to memory the hand drawn map that Geordie scribbled down for me at the show. Pete, on his BMW, dutifully tags along behind and after a few lefts and rights, and oohs and aahs at the views, I recognise Willie's house, so we pull up in his front yard. He switches off the mower and comes to greet us and we spend a while engaged in a healthy 'bikes / engines / fishing / island life / youngsters in old bikes' orientated conversation before Willie's grass starts to grow again and we have to be on our way.

We hop back on the bikes and decide to go for a tour around the island. It's only 5 miles from tip to toe, and 2 miles wide, with a population of just over 1000. There's a mixture of farming and fishing going on, although the islanders rely mainly on the sea for their livelihoods. These days the local fish processing factory has had to lay off many employees and others, though still employed, are struggling by on less hours and less income. With no particular place to go we follow the road to wherever it takes us, passing people cutting peat at the sides of the road, and small white houses dotted around each corner. We end up at the most northerly golf club in the UK, at Skaw. It's interesting how many places in Shetland are called Skaw. Cubbie and I have been to Skaw, but it wasn't this one. Maybe that should be the next challenge - visit all the places called Skaw....



There is also an airstrip in the middle of the golf course, and some more stunning views out to sea. The information board informs us of neolithic sites, rare plants and sea birds but I've got a better plan, so I wander off down the road and take a few pictures of a shed. You've got to look at the picture to see why I wanted to photograph it. I whistle for my chauffeur and although Pete and Muckleflugga Man make me wait, they do eventually turn up and we head off to find somewhere for lunch, which has to be back on the mainland unless we're happy with a sarny and a bottle of pop. Frankly, I was starving so it was back to the boat, where I thought it would be a good idea to whack my head on a huge and very solid looking piece of metal. I would just like to let you know, THAT HURT. After the pain subsided slightly, and I could see what passes for straight, it occurred to me that it might be fun to ask if I could venture up the metal steps to the bit where the Captain was in charge of the boat. Egged on by Muckelflugga Man who had the very same thought at the very same time, I went and asked, and the answer was 'yes'. See, if you don't ask, you don't know.



Up the stairs and into the wheel house. Surprisingly, there isn't much in there to look at. A couple of radar screens with green blobs and flickering lines, and a bank of buttons combined with a few levers. Oh, there is a steering wheel too, but Captain David Anderson told me that these days, that's just for backup. I didn't mention the fact that I'd just smacked my head so hard my ears were still ringing, which is probably just as well, or the Cap'in probably wouldn't have let me take control. Yes, you read that right, GBC was allowed to drive (is that the right word?) the Whalsay passenger ferry all the way back to the mainland. I couldn't quite believe my luck! I preferred using the wheel rather than the modern gizmo they normally use, and keeping an eye on the thing that showed me what course I was on (might it be a compass of some sort? Perhaps, perhaps), and the other eye on the approaching ferry on its outward leg, I steered a course for the mainland. Muckelflugga Man and Pete felt the wobble of the boat as I took the helm, and I take that as the compliment it was intended as. Ahem. The Captain and Joe Kay, his First Mate talked me through the various controls and explained how the radars worked. I would share that info with you but I've forgotten most of it, no no no, I'm sworn to secrecy, that's right. The half hour crossing passed even more quickly and my head wasn't hurting nearly as much as I thought it might do, so after a nifty handbrake turn into the harbour, we (ok, the Captain) parked the old girl up and I nearly fell head first down the very steep steps back to the deck.



MFM (Muckleflugga Man) and Pete had directions to the nearest eatery, so we toddled off, up to the T-junction, turned right, and ended up in Vidlin, before carrying on to Lunning, just in case... But no joy, so about turn, back to the main road, and take a right there instead. We ended up in a small village where the only place that looked like it might serve food, was the hotel, and luckily for us, they did. Whether it was the bang on the head, or the adrenalin rush from having just driven a passenger ferry, or the hot sun, or that I hadn't had any breakfast, I don't know, but I felt a little light headed by this point. Not helped by the long wait due to the Chef having to go and grow a potato and catch a Tuna for me, but MFMs impression of a biking Viking made us laugh. Well, ok, made me laugh, I think Pete had seen it all before.

After lunch, I took the T'bird for a quick spin up the road and back, and when I returned to the hotel, ready to jump off and let MFM take the controls, he decided he'd like to see what it was like to ride pillion on his own bike. Before I had a chance to dismount, he was on board and ready to roll. Did I mention, that apart from blasting around off-road with my brother on the back, I've never ridden with a pillion before? That didn't seem to bother MFM though. Some numpty let the bike stall, and then couldn't start it with a pillion behind her, so I saw my chance to swap places, but MFM wasn't having it. He fired the bike up again, and quickly claimed the pillion seat. Well what could I do, not one to wimp out, I snicked it into first gear and we were away, sticking behind a line of cars at a steady 50mph would do for a while, until I got used to the very odd handling. It made it wonder if that's how it feels to the rider when I'm a pillion. Eeek, scary. After what felt like the longest and most mentally draining ride of my life (it must be what being pregnant is like; you're responsible for another life), we made it back to the campsite in Lerwick for around 3pm. I needed some chocolate but didn't have any, and the shop was closed. I needed a sit down on something that didn't move and couldn't be broken if I did something daft. I was having a bit of bother thinking clearly. I needed chocolate.

It was a lovely surprise however, to find that the other members of the Grampian Classic MCC had taken the executive decision to take my tent down and pack it all up for me. There it was, with my luggage that I'd already packed prior to my little jaunt, sitting in a pile next to Cubbie, and all I had to do was load it up. The ferry didn't leave until 5.30, so I had plenty of time to make sure it was all fixed on securely before leading the gang off to the terminal. Cubbie started first kick, and had oil a-plenty, but would need petrol once in Aberdeen. We bade farewell to MFM and Pete who were next to us on the campsite, and Cubbie pop pop popppped into the lead. Change of plan. I forgot, I had to nip into the Co-Op to stock up on food for the journey. By the time I got to the ferry the rest where still queueing and sweltering in the hot sun. Our man Gordon seemed to be very much better after his bout of ill health over the weekend, and Maurice (he of the show organising team) came down to see us all off. Not just us, there were quite a few show goers heading home on that day.

Once on board we secured the best seats in the house, a nice U shaped sofa arrangement with tables and spare chairs. Some of us not having had much sleep were a little tired, others were a little thirsty and consumed a fair few tins of something they smuggled onto the boat (tsk tsk tsk, bad boys) and I managed 40 winks until I got too hungry. Due to one of the boats being taken out of service after a sickness bug, our boat was on a super fast mission to get to Aberdeen, unload and then turn around and head straight back, so the homeward crossing was quite choppy at the faster speeds, but it made it much more entertaining.


Goodbye to Lerwick. I'll be back though!
Some time during the night I found myself a space in the bar at the other end of the boat and although the music channel was blasting out what I assume were the latest greatest teeny bopper tunes, I managed a good bit of sleep, but still woke up a little bitty worse for wear, and with a lump the side of my head. We rolled off into a very wet and slightly cold Aberdeen, and went our separate ways. A couple of us accompanied Gordon home, we were just after a hot cuppa really, which we got (and choccy biccies) and by the time I got back home to Cubbie Towers I was beginning to get a little soggy around the edges. That's one of the problems with having long hair - if it pokes out from under the helmet it seems to wick the rain upwards and starts making the rest of your head wet, which isn't a nice feeling. My padded waterproof trousers held up well and only leaked because of the position in which I was forced to sit due to the luggage pushing me forwards onto the front of the seat. My gloves, well, what can I say. They're about 7 years old and have been worn through hell and high water, and these days, they don't keep out much more than a light summer shower. The same goes for my feet, but my boots are only a couple of years old so they really shouldn't leak as much as they do. I probably should invest in a pair that cost more than £40 but I'm too mean. The inside of my jacket was only slightly damp, and I'd removed anything that was in the pockets before I got on the bike in the rain.

Thanks to the Grampian Classic Club guys for coming with me, thanks to MFM for showing me how to kick start a bike without actually 'kicking' it, and for letting me do the road test on it, thanks to the organisers of the Shetland Classic Motor Show for putting on another brilliant event and also for the personal help and concern shown to our group in what could have been desperate times! Thanks to Captain Anderson for letting me drive the boat, that's certainly an experience I won't forget in a hurry.

It's a bit sad when a trip like this, even though it was just a long weekend, is over, but looking on the bright side, it means I can start planning and looking forward to the next adventure, which might be MZ based instead...watch this space people!

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