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Sunday, 30 March 2008

Hmm, that was an exciting weekend.

As soon as the sun comes out, I'm out too. Outside messing with my MZ Skorpion. A few days ago I met up with fellow MZer, Norman Wade. He's from Glasgow way somewhere but was in Aberdeen working and had agreed to lend me his compression tester, so the Granite City seemed like a good place to meet up - in the grounds of Forresterhill Hosp incidentally. We nearly got our heads chopped off by the incoming rescue helicopter - d'you know, considering how much time I spend in the town, that's the first time I've seen the chopper at the hosp. Anyway, since I've had the Skorp, which must be about 3 or 4 years now, it has used large amounts of oil. I know where its going, its going out of the air box breather and all over the swing arm and shock, but luckily not on the tyre. By way of narrowing down the options, Norm suggested I do a compression test to make sure rings and valve guides and all those techy bits are ok. So picture the scene; the sun is shining, the MZ is wheeled out of the shed, I run the engine to warm it up (as instructed) and get to work removing the fairing so that the tank can come off. All goes well until I have to locate the plug spanner. By the time I find it, the engine is cold and I've had to give in and have lunch before carrying on or I would have turned into a pile of bones. So at last, revived and refreshed, I can get the plug out, and get moving. In with the tester, which needs an adapter on the end as the MZ plug is only a wee thing. Ignition, full throttle and wow! The needle shoots up to around 150 psi. Reset and do it again. And again. And again. And just the once more. Ok, go on then, one more time. Each time I get a reading of 150 or thereabouts which according to Norm is spot on. Good news, so I unscrew the tester only to find that the adapter is stuck in the plug hole. End of play time then, hope it isn't cross threaded.... I can't think of a way to remove it apart from maybe a drop of Locktite on the offending bit and screw it back together until it sets. So in disgust, the bike goes away (so much for my afternoon outing) and I move onto catching the sheep so that they can be wormed, vaccinated and have their feet trimmed.

This was the first time Puppy has been used to actually 'work' the sheep. Oh, we've done many practice runs, gathering them up, and moving them around the field, but this time he had to pen them. He did extremely well (when he started listening to me and not doing what HE thought best!) and only lost one mark for one escapee, which he duly re-caught. So that's half the flock spring cleaned and the other half to look forward to catching over the next few weekends. And at least there was only one hail shower.

A little bit later, Sid phoned to enquire about coming to the Large Lunch - to which he is most welcome, and so are you, but I was telling him of my compression tester quandary and much to my amazement (and relief) he too suggested Locktite. And then so did Norm. And Norm wasn't too cross that I might have broken his tester...oops...So roll on the next fine day when I've time and we'll get it all under control.

On the subject of control, I'm supposed to be collecting Cubbie on Tuesday. The plan was (notice the use of the past tense there) that I would drive to Perth in the van for my work briefing, and head over to Shorty's on my way north. As the tax runs out tomorrow, I went online to renew it....only for the DVLA, bless them, to inform me that MoT either wasn't valid or wasn't computerised (ie "on the system"). Bother. Please everyone, cross all your fingers, toes and anything else crossable tomorrow at 7am, and pray that it passes the MoT, and also pray that I can find the registration docs cos I think the lady at the PO will want to see them before handing me a HUNDRED quids worth of paper.

Can't wait til next Sunday tho....see y'all at the Large Lunch in Fyvie, 11am SHARP!

Friday, 28 March 2008

Cubbies coming home!


Off to pick Cubbie up on Tuesday, I'll be in Perth all day for a briefing, and it's just a short hop to Shorty's from there. But as soon as its back here surgery on The Noise will commence, and I ain't working out there in the steading - too cold! Instead I've been cleaning out the workshop / lounge that I used to used for woodworking in the old days. The trouble is, its one of those areas that is used for temporary storage' of anything and everything from plant pots to paperwork and magazines. Theres also a lot of sawdust kicking around and with open engine surgery that probably isn't a good idea. Now you can see why I needs me a proper workshop! Some joker has christened the new shed "The Cubbie Hole".

In other GBC related news, John and Izz from the Bikeshite website have been off racing in France. No idea why it had to be France, apparently its been raining quite a lot, and one would have thought they could have had rain at Knockhill! They're having a good time, John with his new R6 and gimp suit. His words, not mine.

Another suggestion for Cubbies Counties is Meigle in Perthshire. The name comes from Simon De Miggle who was a close friend of Kenneth McAlpin - king of Scotland from 845AD, and the village is claimed to be the oldest village in Scotland, with a mention in the doomsday book. The Church in the centre was rebuilt in 1869 after a fire but a church has been on the same site since 606 AD, and they have a Prime Minister buried in the churchyard. It is the burial place of Queen Guinevere too, and has an area called Arthurstone, and, as if thats not enough to entice me to go there, they have the largest collection of pictish stones in Western Europe dating back to the 8th century. Shorty says he remembers them when they were new. They've also got the remains of a Roman camp and the McBeth stone. Phew, can you beat that?

Soooo have you seen CBG this month? If not, why not? There's a cracking report on the Scottish show at Ingliston so I'm told....

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Cubbies Counties Ideas Update

Ideas for Cubbies Counties have been rolling in slowly but surely. So far people have suggested Loch Ness (a pic of Cubbie with the monster - apparently I'd do if the monster wasn't available), John O Groats, the Clackmannanshire Council canteen (hoping I'll get a free lunch there), the the 'India of Inchinnan' factory in Renfrewshire which is a former tyre factory, and before that an airship factory, oh yes and Arbroath because someone wants me to eat a smokie, but out of the goodness of my heart I would rather bring that little fishy home for Mrs Bikerchick. Wanlockhead – highest village in Scotland (at least there I'll be taller than Short Stan), Strathpeffer - Scotland's only (?) spa town, the Whaligoe Steps just outside Wick, which are 350 flagstone steps cut into the cliff face. Apparently there is no road into the harbour at the bottom so it'll either be an off road jobbie or a park and walk. My vote is for the latter considering the brakes on the Cubbie aren't too hot. A couple of people have suggested I enter the Round Britain rally which sounds a good idea, except I don't know if that would leave me time in each county to visit particular places of my choice. Another option is the increasingly popular Scotia Challenge run by the Scottish classic club, which is the same sort of idea I believe. Might do that if they let me - it's for members only so I might have to gate crash!

So come on, where else should I go?

cubbiescounties AT aultan.com (remember to change the AT to @)

Friday, 21 March 2008

Our 2nd Large Lunch!

Bleedin' cold today don't you think? Had quite a bit of snow last night and this morning but I don't think it will hang around long. Luckily I've got an article to write up so I'll be tucked up warm and dry for a few hours at least. The dogs are settling in, and Star and Finn (puppy) have been out playing in the garden, getting on not too badly although Star does have a habit of nipping Finn's tail at times! Ringo is still being aggressive towards puppy but on a good note, he has finally started to eat a bit more. Even so, he is still really thin and his little ribs stick out.

Finally found my MZ registration document, which I've been looking for since the end of Feb, the idea being to tax the bike from March. I couldn't think where it had gone until I remembered I'd sent it away as a form of ID for something and when I looked in the right place, there it was! Obviously! At least it's taxed now and the disc arrived in just three days - in time for the snow, excellent timing on my part.

Wanna hear a funny story? Ok, sit down and listen up. I've never bought a new computer in all my life, making do with second and third hand recommissioned ones (awww), but last August my computer geek friend (he won't mind me calling him that I'm sure!) spotted a great deal in one of the PC mags he gets. I can't remember exactly how much it was, but according to him it was quite a bargain. Well I hacked into my Cubbiebank and was soon the owner of a nice shiny mega fast, mega memoried mega everything else machine. Life was great, surfing was fast and I could have umpteen windows (or tabs as they call them on Vista) open at a time without clogging it up or making it crash. Well that bliss only lasted for a few weeks before it developed a wee fault. Every so often, with no warning the screen would go black and I would have to restart it. Mr Geek tried several fixes, updating drivers etc but it began to get worse so I informed the manufacturers who also suggested a few fixes, none of which worked. So about two weeks ago, they said they would have it collected the very next day and have it fixed. Then the next day they got in touch to say the courier couldn't do a next day service for where I live so it would be arranged for a day the following week. Well I wrapped it all up and left it with Mrs Bikerchick 'cos I had to go to Glasgow. No one came for it. No one even left a card in the post box, and no one turned up for it the next day. This saga went on for 13 days, when I just happened to find a white van man, parked in a lay by down the road, studying a map, so I dragged him back here by the scruff of his neck and placed the parcel in the van for him. Then told him in no uncertain terms to put a huge red X on the map because he would be bringing that parcel back to me in a few weeks! The funniest thing is, the following day, another driver called to collect the parcel. Numpties. Oh yeah, and seeing as you ask, it is CITY LINK so if you live in the country, I'd try another courier. I'm still waiting for my Davida goggles to arrive - the ones they sent me in December.

So onto the Large Lunch. Classic Bike Guide have the Big Breakfast down south every year, and indeed, it has become a popular event with hundreds of old bikes and bikers meeting at a truck stop for brekky. Feeling left out, I thought we should have something similar up here, so the Grampian Classic CLub started the Large Lunch. This is on the same day - so if you were a nippy rider theoretically you could have breakfast down there and pop up to see us for lunch at the Sheiling Tor in Fyvie. We ask people to arrive by 11am and order food when you get there, you can have a sit down meal or takeaway we don't mind. There might be a wee dire out after lunch, but the main aim is just to get people chatting and nattering about bikes. The Ed of CBG has kindly allocated me TWO PAGES in the mag for my write up, so you'll know where to come if you want to star in the mag! Ah yes, the date? Sunday 6th April. See y'there.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Catching up!


Sorry about the lack on updates recently, you know how it is, nothing happens, then it all goes off at once. Might as well start at the start with last Saturday, when I was up at the crack of dawn, well, 6.30AM which is plenty early enough for me. By the time the animals were fed and watered, and I had cleaned the car out (which took longer than expected) Fido and Iain had arrived and we were off to Edinburgh by 9am. Just as we got through the two gates and out of the farm, I realised I'd left my moby by the computer, being so young and so fit I sprinted back and got it. Only 15mins behind schedule now. Somewhere along the A90 the weather became appalling with heavy, blustery showers causing visibility to drop greatly, along with our speed. Just north of Dunfermline there was a nasty accident on the other side of the road, which slowed the southbound traffic for some reason (rubber neckers probably), and then, nearly at the bridge, we were treated to some surprise roadworks. It was about 12ish by then, which was the time I had arranged to meet up with the Bikeshite.com crew and a few others so the phone started ringing (good job I went back for it) and I got told off for not being there! For the first time in about four years we found the way to the show without getting lost, only to be greeted by a numpty on the car park gate who tried to get me to pay £3 for parking - not likely sonny, see this here? It's called a PASS so stand aside, GBC is coming through!

Good old Shorty had arranged to meet me at the gate 4, but I told him we were going in at gate 5, then I realised it was actually gate 4....so his legs are a little bit shorter now! His section of the VMCC "Central Scotland", was where Cubbie was displayed, along with some other not-quite-so-good-looking-but-nice-enough-I-suppose old bikes, and throughout the day John, Wildy and Malphy from Bikeshite.com popped along to say hello, as did Gino and Kawa from the Scottish classic club. Even though, as the name suggests, Kawa is a fan of the big green Jap bikes, he is a very nice man. well he must be 'cos he donated a Cubbie engine to the Cubbies Counties fund! Thank you Kawa. Young Timmy the Twister Hastings - an up-and-coming racer laddy from Falkirk took the time to pose with Cubbie for a photo-op, and I think his Dad Tony, was quite taken with the little Triumph. Timmy was rushing off after that to fly out to Spain for testing and his first big race of the season. In fact, just got an update on his progress - Catalunya is where he is, a very fast circuit apparently (they're all fast to me) where his 125 GP bike is hitting 135mph. Tim is the fastest in his team, lapping at 2.00.6secs, but needs to cut that down by another 3 secs, so good luck loon! Rick Parkington (my opposite number from another magazine that features old Brit bikes, can you guess what it is yet?) also had a chat and gave Cubbie a thorough inspection - I think he was secretly impressed with the quality of the Hammerite paint.

Overall it was a great day, I managed to fit in all the socialising along with my work - even though I kept Iain, Fido and Mrs BC waiting by about an hour and a half at the end. There will be a 3 page spread (that's different to a page 3 spread in case you're wondering) in the next edition of CBG so you can see just how hard I was working to get all that info!

So that was Saturday, and on Sunday I was off to Glasgow for a work briefing. No way I wanted to drive all that way after trekking down to Edinburgh the previous day, so caught the train from Dyce. Long story short, met up with a colleague, Morag, who kept me waiting for my tea, as did another colleague, Doris, then we couldn't find a decent looking restaurant and ended up traipsing round the streets of Glasgow in the cold, until we ended up in TGI Fridays, which was ok apart from the fruit flies, and I missed the beginning of Lewis on the box 'cos the waitress was so slow. Grumph.

Monday was boring, you don't want to hear about the briefing. Trust me, you don't.

Jump to Thursday and Mrs BC and I were up at 5AM and off to Dumfries to collect two rescue dogs. It may seem a long way to go, but we have been looking for a friend for puppy for a while, and couldn't find anything locally. These two boys, Ringo, a big collie (aged 10) and Star, a small mongrel (aged 4) used to live on a farm but the guy retired and decided he couldn't be bothered to take the dogs with him. They've lived in a barn all their lives and never met cats. The rescue centre said they would mix well with other dogs. Hmm. After 6 hours of driving we hit Dumfries, then spent an hour getting lost. By the time we arrived, the rain was pouring down not really giving us much chance to get to know the dogs outside. Anyway, we decided to take them both, feeling a little sorry for Ringo as he had been run over when he was young, and has a wobbly back end, and neither of them are the most handsome dawgs I've met. They were good as gold in the van, even with the snow and rain pelting on the roof. For two hours we thought we were going to get snowed in to Dumfries-shire but the further north we came, the better the weather. Come Friday morning, Ringo was growling at Finn (our puppy) through the glass door - not a good start! Star was quite friendly but pup was a bit defensive of his territory, understandably. Both dogs thought the cats were quite interesteding. Ginger Geoffrey just ignored them, Joey hasn't met them yet, and Doolie is a big wimp and ran a mile!

This morning we put a muzzle on pup and let him and Star get to know each other. That went quite well, so fingers crossed they will get to like each other. Not so sure about Ringo, who is blind in one eye and appears to be deaf! He barks and growls quite ferociously at pup still, probably being the older dog he thinks this is his home. Doolie gave Ringo 'what for' out in the garden, so now he knows what cats can do, he will keep his distance. The only thing we can do is give them all a chance and see how it goes. Unfortunately, I'm off to work this afternoon, then heading to bloomin' Glasgee again tomorrow, which also means I'll miss the Aberdeen MAG Easter Egg run, again.

Now all I've got to do is choose which pic to post - one from the show or one of the new doggies??? Oh, sooooo many choices! There we go, sorted, thanks to Mary Whyte for the pic, I didn't actually get around to taking a pic of the bike without people in it, and you don't want people in the pic, do you? Nah!

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

This n that.


Well that were fun so it were. Not so sure Mrs Bikerchick thought so, as she got dragged down to sunny Perthshire to stand around in the rather brisk breeze on top of a hill, while I tested a rather nice AJS Model 18 on the weekend. With the snow lashing down here just before we left, I wasn't too sure if the test would go ahead, but I had to take Cubbie down to Shorty's anyway, so wasn't about to cancel. I never thought I'd see the day when Cubbie was nicely tucked up in Shorty's shed.
After a long and cold day out, all we wanted on the way home was an Indian take away. We stopped in Aberdeen, and you wouldn't believe the amount of Chinese take away places, but Indian? Nope, none, zilcho. Least, not that we could find in a hurry. You'll be pleased to know that Puppy was a very good lad, this was the first time he was left alone for any length of time - no chews or poos or anything else.

Cold and snowing again today, so I'm putting my day off to good use by trying to find a cheap flight to Cardiff or Bristol, so I can cut out a lot of motorway miles when I go to the Moto Piston rally in Spain. Why Cardiff, you're thinking. Well good old Robbo of Wales has offered me a bike for the duration, so I thought it would be cheaper and quicker to plane it down, then hop over on the ferry to Espania. I don't call £250 cheap though. Where do people get flights for a quid? I also need to get to Scarborough somehow, could ride down, seeing as it's a VMCC event I'm going to, but the time limits on me simply don't allow that option. the cheapest I can get to Leeds, which I think is the nearest airport is nearly £200, unless I wish to go via Belfast.

Oh well, maybe I should quit surfing and fill in my entry forms for the National and the S&T! Yes! That's a plan, get those in the post ASAP or I'll miss out on two very popular, and no doubt, over subscribed events.

By the way, the AJS report should be in Classic Bike Guide in the near future, so you can look forward to seeing a frozen GBC practicing the 'feet up' style of road riding!

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Tomorrow.

Yee haaa. Tomorrow I'm off to test a bike for the mag, and taking Cubbie down to Shorty's place, so that he can transport it to the bike show at Ingliston for me. With the show being a two day job, it's not impossible for us northerners to take our own bikes down, just expensive. I would have to drop the bike off on Friday sometime, then either stay down til Sunday PM when it can be removed after the show, or trek home, then back to the show to look round - preferably on Saturday, then pick it up on Sunday evening.

So there y'go. Off to buy some animal feed. Laters chaps.

Well, that didn't quite go to plan. Normally the van requires two turns of the key to do all that glow plug stuff, but lately it has needed 3 or 4. SO in I hopped, 4 turns, nothing, 5 turns, nothing, 6 turns; time to give up. It obviously wasn't going to start, so switch to the car. The last hour and a half has been spent fitting 47 QUIDS worth of new glow plugs - but happily the van now starts after just one turn of the key. They're a right pain to fit though, and I think I've broken a nail and chipped a bit of varnish from my little pinkie nail.

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