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Sunday, 30 November 2008

Bye bye Cubbie.

Sniff. Sob. Took Cubbie to Jim's place yesterday. Sniff. Still, its in good hands and good company. There is a rather nice 1935 (?) 500cc Rudge in one corner, which Jimbo fired up, glorious, what a sound. Over the other side of the garage are two big Triumphs. A Thunderbird I think (although I might be completely wrong) and er, A N Other one. On the end wall, above the bench are all the tools the man will need to fix Cubbie. For example, there is a hammer, a bigger hammer and...a....ok ok I'm only kidding, that is what I have in my toolkit but I think Jim is a little more sophisticated. He seems quite confident that he will soon get to the bottom of all this, so I wish him luck, and pray that he doesn't go down with the bug that most of his family seem to have caught.

Oh, the man made me a spare key too, mucho thankos, and he didn't half chuckle when I told him how I'd lost mine on the morning of the BBC filming that we did at the end of the summer! Check out the key fob he put on it too....

Had lunch with the Bin Yin before unloading Cubbie. What a star, even let me have sticky toffee pudding and ice cream. Guess thats my xmas pressie then.... Was supposed to go to B&Q to purchase a new hot water tank for Victor My Plumber chum to fit when he returns from off't so much didn't get aound to it...still...he's not due home for a week or so yet.

PS Happy St Andrews day.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Oh me, oh my.

Ok, so it wasn't that traumatic on the grand scale of things. But you know the worst of it is, I can't tell you about it, 'cos I'm too blimmin' embarrassed. Apart from that, yesterday was a reasonably good day, 'cos I rescued a buzzard. Well, I couldn't just leave him sitting on the road side, could I? The rest of the population seemed happy enough to do just that, whizzing right by him as he sat, dazed, just on the white line on the edge. So I screeched to a halt, not bad going in the van, parked up opposite in a convenient driveway and crossed over to the poor chap. I thought he would be aggressive towards me, especially if he was injured, so I tried to shuffle him off the road with my foot but he wouldn't shift. So in the end, I had to pick him up and carry him into the field. It was ploughed. I had my bestest work clothes on. I didn't care. He weighed practically nothing, sat him down in the sun beside what remained of a stone wall, tried to shoooo him away but he wouldn't go. Got my camera out of the van, took a few pics for the record, and all of a sudden he took flight and perched way up high in a tree. It then became obvious why he was keeping to ground. Another buzzard, a huge beast of a chap, began to bomb him and beat him from the trees. Seems like the wee one was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just as I thought I was, as another car stopped and a guy approached across the mud. Thought I was about to be arrested for getting my work shoes muddy, but the chap said he'd seen me trying to get run over and doubled back to help with the buzzard. Sorry for writing all over the pics but I don't want any bad people helping themselves to my photos - I know none of you lot would do it but just in case others pop in looking for pics to nick. Tis a story I've heard from others with websites where their brilliant pictures get downloaded and then sold by someone who gets all the credit. You can never be too careful!!

So in other news....Cubbie is going away today. Not to the skip, as some have suggested, but to a Lecterical Guru (no pressure Jim!). I really should nip out and give the bike a bit of a clean for the man....Y'all have a nice day, and thanks for the comments. All better now, thanks thanks thanks.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Snow, snow, glorious snow.

Had quite a lot of snow on Friday, which made my journey home from work at 21:30 quite interesting...a couple of slippy moments...sliding towards the fence...spin the wheel round the opposite way and weeeeeeee....sliding towards the other fence! Still, it gets the old heart pumping. Sat'day morning had to dig my way out to get to work, not a gritter or plough to be seen and the roads were atrocious. Wondered if I'd have to walk the last mile home, its all up hill ya see, but I made it - its all down to the skill of the driver. So the boss at Old Bike Mart had said a few days ago, that if it snows, he wanted a pic of Cubbie out in it. Yes Sir, no problemo. Up early-ish today (Sunday) and out in the snow. Gotta be a few inches deep but threatening to thaw as a light misty rain fell. Small matter of putting the headlight, battery box and seat back on Cubbie before any pics could be taken. Freezing fingers, brrrrrrr, no worries about it thawing just yet. Got it all back together...shovelled the snow from the door....wheeled Cubbie out....gave it a good tickle...kick...kick...hmmm....tickle....KICK....lift off! Warmed it up, climbed aboard, big clunk into first gear, off we, well, actually we don't. Way too deep to ride in, couldn't even get to the top of the drive, had to push the blimmin' thing. Ah well, at least the boss will have some snowy pics.

Spent the rest of the day tidying. Yup. Always seem to end up with piles of paperwork and old envelopes that I don't want to throw away a the time...but then come day of the mass clear out, they all get chucked, so I spose I might as well have binned them in the first place. Exciting stuff eh. We had planned to move the sheep around to their winter locations but tis too snowy for all that.

Think I forgot to report on the Scottish Vintage Vehicle AGM I went to the other weekend. Shudda seen Shorty's face when I arrived at his house an hour early. Well, was either that or be late, and with his strict time management policy I didn't feel I should risk that one. The meeting went well, until I was about to ask a question, then all the lights went out. You think I'm kidding? Haha, well I'm not, honest. No, really, you can ask Shorty. The good news is our club events don't clash with any others, so you lot have no excuses for not coming to the Large Lunch in April, the Cairn O Mount in May, the Plus 1 in August and the Haggis Run in October. Good good, see you there.

Now, can you overseas guys do me a wee favour? I would kinda like to see some pics of the winter weather where you are. In fact, you don't have to be overseas, anyone who feels like it can send me a piccy, doesn't even have to have snow in it. Use the Cubbies Counties addy over to the left there <<<<<<<<<<<<< Go on, I've shown you mine so now its your turn. Time for roast chicken. Over n oot.

Friday, 21 November 2008

A Friday Funny For You.

And no, thats not my phone number.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

The earth (wire) is a moving.

Well chaps, looks as though I might be on to something to go and fit a new earth wire from the headlight and there may be a problem with the right back....

Er, ok, sorry, back now, got a bit lost between here and the steading...One of the things I had to do was fit a new earth wire from the light. The present one is hooked up to the handlebar clamp, so the new one now goes to the same place as the earth from the battery. I took the whole headlight unit to Jim and he connected it to this bike, a very nice silver Triumph. The good news is it works fine on his bike, so it follows that the bad news is there's nothing wrong with the bulb or bulb holder. Now while all this seems to be a huge problem and some of you are starting to think I should just spend a heap of money and get everything renewed, it's just one little hitch with a 40 year old motorcycle. I ain't getting stroppy or owt but I have to defend Cubbie! Yes, I do get a bit grumpy thinking about it, but then I look back at the photos of our achievements so far, and d'you know what, it is simply amazing. Well, tis to me. When you consider that it is pretty much unrestored and cared for by a complete mechanical novice, then getting it to the most northerly point in the UK and the highest church in the UK and the highest village in Scotland and around the Isle of Sky, not to mention a week tackling every hill in Yorkshire and the most southerly counties in Scotland is quite good going. There. Do I have to shout anymore? Sorry, but when people pick on Cubbie it annoys me, and when I get annoyed...oh don't wanna see that! Hehehe. So who was it who left that comment....

Saturday, 15 November 2008

A new CC total!!

So there I was, at the last Grampian Classic MCC meeting, asking all the guys for hints and tips on how to fix Cubbie. Several of them offered to help, if I was really really stuck, and one of those kind chaps is called Jim. He's been feeding me snippets of information for the last couple of weeks, try this, try that, check here and there. Combine that with the advice from other Cub owners, Bantam Cub for one, and another guy called Jim, and my electrical guru, Norm, you'd think I would have been able to track the problem down by now. On Thursday, after looking inside the nacelle and checking the wires in the dip switch, I gave up. Not in a 'giving up' kind of way, just in a 'let's be sensible' kind of way. Club member Jim has drawn the short straw and Cubbie will be transported to his place next week for a full electrical check up. I feel really bad about that. But I'll be right there, by Cubbie's side, looking and learning. We'll get through this together. Jim reckons that he will soon have me back out on the roads, in the freezing cold, dark, wet and wintry weather. Oh, er, take your time there Jimbo! Having said all that, there is one more thing I need to try, so I'll do that Monday before I go to work. Which is where I was today, thought you'd like a couple of pics of where I went - Cullen, Portknockie and Findochty, right along the north east coast. Bit of a breeze a blowing, and no' a nice day for a picnic.

Soooooo on to the new Cubbies Counties total!! I have to say a very big BIG thank you to the Stirling Castle section of the Vintage Motorcycle club for sending me a very generous donation - thanks guys and girls, that boosts the total to £1539.30. I'm thinking that next time I have a daft idea of raising money for charity, I should just shave my beard off and wax my legs. People seem to raise £2000 in no time at all for doing stuff like that. Wimps. Pah. Rumour has it, the editor of Classic Dirt Bike (which featured my Bultaco a couple of issues ago), met someone called Charlie Boorman at the dirt bike show down south just recently. Wonder if he managed to get him to sponsor me, hehe. Well, as if by magic, I did acquire some more cash today, not from Mr B, but never mind. That takes the total up to 1579.30 now.

Off to the Scottish Vintage Vehicle Federation AGM tomorrow, up early and then the pleasure of Shorty's company when he gives me a lift to Perth. what a sweetie. Don't tell him I said that though. Life seems to be full of meetings lately, was at the UCAN charity meeting last week, sometime in early Dec I have to go to Perth for a refresher briefing in something. No idea what, perhaps someone can refresh my memory on that one. Then, deep joy, I have to trek all the way down to Glasgow for another refreshing meeting about the training course I attended in London a short while ago. I think it's Christmas after that....

Right, thankee kindly for reading, off to look for Shortie's books to take back to him....

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Cubbie broke down 'cos of 2 sheep.

Feel a bit bad about the last few posts. Nothing but whinging about broken this, broken thats and broken others. So we'll have a proper post this time. Although, thats not to say that all the broken things are mended, but the van does have brakes again, and a complete exhaust system (car doesn't yet though...). So yesterday, out to the steading, wakey wakey Cubbie, tools out and multimeter ready to go. Head full of ideas about trying this and that, looking here and there for the problem. First job was to put a new connector on the two wires I accidentally pulled from the coil last time I was a-fiddling with it. Old set up was the two wires on one thing, but I couldn't squeeze them both into the new thing, then I realised that the thing (an O connector) was too small for the bit on the coil. No problem, in an inventive "can't stop me now" mood, so back indoors to the workshop. Pillar drill in the corner, found a drill bit the right size, grasped the O connector in a pair of grips and off we went. Easy. Managed to mangle the first one whilst aiming for perfection, so the second one ain't perfect, but it is in one piece. So thats all sorted. Next up, sort that birds nest of wires out, look at the pic, you'd never even know GBC had been near it in the first place. Part 3 of the mornings work, go over the connections on the 3 wires from the alternator thingy. Not very happy with one of them, seemed a bit slack, maybe slack enough to have caused the last breakdown. Can't solve one problem if I keep creating other problems, so out with the knife, chopped some wires about and fitted new spade connectors. Oh, must have been at this point I had to get the washing in. Then back out. Then more rain but tough, its staying out this time. Nearly ready to take a test run. Ooooh, exciting eh. Wanted to check the dip switch on the instructions of Jim, but couldn't get the screw undone so applied WD40. Couldn't be bothered to fit the battery box again, such a fiddle, so sort of cable tied it to the frame in a plastic bag.... Came in to get togged up, message from BC about another fix I could try, which would determine if it is an alternator problem or the ignition / light switch. Too late to try it though, off to work in an hour. DO that one next time! Pleased to say Cubbie fired up, off we went, running with lights off for the time being. Pop pop, bang, ooooooh ain't it just great. Every Cubbie mile equals 10 smiles. Anyway, set off on my test route, probably about 5 miles in total. Running fine without lights, ammeter just flickering about the +/- border, then flicked the lights on, uh oh, ping, right over to minus 12 (well its obviously not an original meter). Left them on for a bit, then the misfire, then the loss of power, all in the space of a couple of mins. Lights off pronto, ran fine. Got to within a mile from home, two sheep jumped out from a hedge, slowed down, rolled off the throttle....died. Great. Snicked it in to second, paddled a bit, let the clutch out, cough cough, died again. Awwwwwwwww. Blimmin' sheeps. There they go, trotting off down the lane, quite happy and unconcerned. Theres me, stuck in a muddy lay by, with 15 mins left to get home and changed and ready for work. Still, thank the God of Cubs for emergency ignition. It got us home but thats not exactly how I envisaged the test run was going to end, when it was all going soooo well. So today, hopefully, I'll try looking in the dip switch for a short (a short what?) and I'll try that idea from BC. Gawd, I just love messing about with green wires.

Other news, still receiving enquiries about sponsorship of Cubbies Counties, thats absolutely great, might make it to the big £2000 yet!

Went to a committee meeting last night after work, hence being home too late to update blog. Somehow have got myself involved with helping to organise the classic bike part of the Alford Convention next year. 2 bags of mini cheddars for tea. Yum. All very interesting stuff, but the rest of the meeting was about the off road events the club hold - didn't have a clue what they were talking about - should maybe brush up on the subtle differences between moto something, superX, hares and dogs, enduro, red routes, blues and greens. Made me want to get the Bultaco running again and do some messing about off road. One day, I might even do another trial. Last one (and the first one) I did was in 2006, the Spring Surprise in Caerphilly, one of those long distance jobbies. Heck, that sure was a surprise, still suffering I think.

Any other news? Oh yes, got something to tell you, but my fingers are cold and its gone 10am and I really need to be outside doing stuff while the rain holds off. Got to put the wheels on the livestock trailer and wave my multimeter at Cubbie again. Breakfast first though, me thinks.

Official Vote of Thanks -
Thanks to all who keep helping me with Cubbie, can't be easy putting up with my silly questions!

Monday, 10 November 2008


Well I know I said it was cold, and trust me, it really was, but after catching the sheep and trimming their feet I was sufficiently acclimatised, so stayed out and attempted, once again, to fix Cubbie. A foray into the wiring loom several months back, resulted in spotting a load of bare wires, which I taped up, and am happy to say they were still all nicely insulated. But thats no help to me. I was looking for more bare wires. Couldn't find any, which I suppose is good, but I was hoping for a quick fix, something simple that I could just say, oh look, this wires rubbing on this bit of metal no wonder the lights make the battery go flat. Zilcho. So now all the wires are hanging aboot, and to make matters worse, I accidentally ripped a couple of them off of the coil so will have that to sort out next time too! Luckily, a club member has offered to take Cubbie away for a short break (ie fix it) if I can't make progress. So all is not lost, Cubbies Counties might yet go on!!!

What is lost though, is the battle with the hot water tank here at GBC Towers. Water, water everywhere.

Time to go and change the rags around it.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Maybe today....

....I'll get a chance to look at Cubbies wiring. Before I forget, just want to say a huge thanking-yoo to everyone who has offered help and advice so far. Had a few emails explaining how to test certain bits, and the guys on have been most patient with me. D'you know, its three weeks since Spain, and when I was coming home from there, I was thinkin' all I had to do was fit the 'new' stator and tick off 4 counties every weekend for the next month. Humbug. Hey Darrell, I'm kinda peckish too, could you nip out and get me a pizza or summat?

Off to see what I can see.
FORGET IT. IT IS ABSOLUTELY BALTIC OUT THERE. I'm sure theres some paperwork I can be doing INDOORS instead!!! I asked Mrs BC if I could bring Cubbie indoors to work on....I'll leave you to guess her response, but I'll give you a clue, it only had 2 letters in it.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Walking is good for the soul. But not the soles.

Well that was a nice walk. Got half way home under Cubbie steam but then a little mis-fire crept in causing power failure, on a blind bend, mid way up a hill. Called Mrs BC to put her on standby, then remembered the emergency ignition setting....gather I'm not supposed to ride for any great distance on that, but it would at least get me up the thats what I resorted to....freewheeling downhill and running on emergency for the up bits. Worryingly, that option refused to work about half a mile from my door, so as I say, it was a nice walk. But I think I'm really lucky. Having a bike that breaks down does give one time to look around and enjoy the world. T'was a beautiful evening, had been crisp and sunny all day, and as the sun hid over behind Bennachie (go on, Google it) it sent up all kinds of rays of orange, pink and red picking out the big round bales of straw left on the fields. A flock of geese streamed overhead, a stray firework burst up into the sunset. The temperature had dropped quite a lot, but that last bit of pushing certainly made up for it. Nearly got run over by our drug taking / dealing neighbour who expected to have the road to himself after dark. Slung Cubbie in the shed and removed the battery for examination. 5.75v. But...but...but I thought it was flat! So what happened to cause the mis-fire and no lights or horn? Options: either Vic's stator is in a similar condition to mine, which would be a bit of a coincidence and an unfair one, at that, or it was my wiring that did it, or there is something else wrong...the light switch? Connection? Broken or rubbing wire (again)? Oh I don't know. Thing is, this happened running without lights, cos as soon as I experimented with lights, the ammeter neeldle threw itself over to the minus side and stayed there. Without them on, the needle hovered around the -/+ border, which is what it used to do when wearing my stator. Oh, and my *new* digital bicycle speedo has broken (again). How am I supposed to work out my Cubbies Counties mileage if it keeps blimmin' breaking.

Any clues from you clued up electrical type people?

Good news is I'm back online, albeit in a bit of a wierd situation but hopefully here to stay. And all without the help of my ISP, the one thats a sort of Orange colour....

Club meeting tonight, so better get gone to work early so I can be home in time. Oh, by the way, did you see my first couple of aritcles in Old Bike Mart? Big fear factor there, all the readers of OBM are very particular about what they want in their paper, so hope it measures up ok.

PS did another section of concrete yesterday...only one sixth to go now.

PPS just added some pics to make my whinging more bearable...enjoy...

Sunday, 2 November 2008


I am not crabbit. Not cross either. Just angry. Very angry. Let me take you back to last Monday (27th Oct). The garage very kindly managed to squeeze me in (and the van) to fit a new fan belt. A half hour job. Already had a belt in stock. Braw. Except my particular model of van has 3 different belts to choose from, and the one in stock was too short. But no worries, the storeman (Sandy?) had thought to order the other 2 on the very next Dingbro delivery for 10am. Sitting in the waiting room there was a huge clap of thunder overhead and all the power went off. Back home, Mrs BC had unplugged the computers and modem. Hail fell, inches of the stuff. The wind roared. A lady came into the waiting room and we got chatting. Told her about Cubbies Counties, and would you believe it, she dipped her hand in her purse and held out some money for the cause. Sometimes you need moments like that to realise that there are still some good peeps left in the world. Big thanks to that annon lady. Van ready to go, power restored to the garage. Back home, plugged pooters in and fired the modem up. No connection. Great. Ran a few tests and tried different things, still no connection. Reported it to my ISP (the one thats a kind of an Orange colour) who said it was a fault with the connection. Said to call back in 24 - 48 hours. Phoned BT next day and they traced a huge fault on the line, at the exchange, which they fixed on the Weds. Made no difference though.

Meanwhile, loads of snow appeared. Temp dropped so that there was a thick layer of ice crystals on my shed, oh woe is me and woe is shed. Orange kept telling me to call back in 24 - 48 hours. Friends down the road had a similar problem and had fitted new micro filters so I copied them, but no change. Took my modem in to the computer shop and the guy tested it, saying in plain terms, that its bust. This is Friday by now. Have been calling Orange every day only to be told that they are updating their engineers, whatever that means, and to phone back guessed it. Man in computer shop sold me a funky new wireless router thingy, but I can't get it to work.

So here I am at Trickys hoosie, borrowing his internet so that I can pop in here and read your concerned comments. Cubbie is outside waiting for me and its just beginning to get dark...and unfortunately the stator I borrowed doesn't seem to have solved the problem so I still can't run with the lights on.... But the good news is the petrol tap leaks nicely again, and theres a huge puddle of oil on the drive, so all normal on the score.

Will I have to admit that Cubbies Counties has come to an end for 2008? After all, it is November now, and I'm having to work most weekends. But it's not something that I want to utter. I'm frantically thinking of ways to solve the situation, but with the car still in the garage (over £400 for a zorst manifold, can anyone out there source me a cheaper option???) and a poorly dog (Ringo) and a poorly sheep to look after and this cold 'snap' stretching on for longer and longer it may be the only option... Now you know why I'm not crabbit, I'm angry!

Right, well, thats me feeling better after ranting for a while. The sun has almost disappeared, I've checked my emails, and I should make a move before I need a torch on the front of my helmet. And Tricky has offered to come over to GBC towers on Tuesday to sort this new funky wireless wotsit out, so with a bit of luck, I should be back a-blogging next week, so y'all make sure you come back. Thanks for the comments chaps, and no John, I haven't banned you, even though I could if I wanted to, hehe.

Over 'n' oot.


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