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Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Coming soon...

There y'go, not just one, but two slide shows to take you zooming into 2009! It has been scientifically proven that looking at them both at the same time will help cure a hangover or two... I just hope it doesn't make Slim's computer run toooo slowly... You might prefer to click on the image and open it in new window, where you can control the speed and the size of the pics.

And coming soon, although not just yet, as I've got to go and get the chainsaw out, will be a slideshow / pics from the Ayr classic show (June) and my famous oh so popular GBC's review of the year, showcasing the events I've been to and my progress with Cubbie's Counties - have you heard about my charity event???

Don't forget, for the Shetland captions you need to scroll down a page or so....

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Shetland Classic show - June 2008

Ok, let's see how this works. I think I'm going to prefer the slide show method, as trying to arrange 35 pictures in a neat and orderly manner seems nigh on impossible unless I've got 78 years to waste sitting in front of a computer. I feel an apology is due to the guys and girls who organise the wonderful bi-annual Shetland Classic vehicle show, as I was hoping the report would have made it into print long before now. I hope this will suffice. Captions are below and as always, your comments are welcome. In fact I might pop the pics into a slide show and run it at the same time - then you can let me know which is best for you.

The Shetland Classic Motor Show happens every two years, mainly because it is so huge that the organisers can’t possibly cope with running it each year. With exhibits ranging from an 1860 Brown & May portable steam engine to a variety of modern day vehicles, and including classic cars, motorbikes and bicycles, trucks and tractors this is an occasion when I can say with complete conviction, that there really is something for everyone. Must give a mention to Tony Perkins who rode his 1938 Rudge Ulster from Worcestershire to the show to raise money for charity, after the bike had only been back on the road for a couple of weeks.

1 – As well as the show, the Shetland trip was part of Cubbie’s Counties, so here it is at Skaw, the most northerly inhabited area in the UK.

2 – When you go to Shetland, you’ve got to camp, and the Clikimin site is most accommodating with beautiful views across the loch, well, when it’s not dark, or raining. And when the midgies aren’t out.

3 – A regular visitor to the island, Peter White’s 1959 Tiger Cub

4 – Mike McGlashan from Aberdeen relives his hooligan days with his recently restored RD250LC. He reports that the roads on the island are ideal for this kind of bike.

5 – Enter the show and you get a funky laminated display card for the bike, a programme – you need one to make sure you know what all of the 700 exhibits are, information on facilities for exhibitors, and a mug to add to the collection.

6 – Rob Jenner does the honours at the start of day one. He was one of the instigators of the show back in 1990, when they had 12 cars and 30 bikes spread between a tent and a wooden hut.

7 – The local Land Rover club decided it would be a good idea to strip a Landy from its chassis and rebuild it on a new one. All in two days.

8 – Triumph Junior and Rover TT Sports both from 1922

9– The Rudge club are regular supporters of the show, good to see so many on
the island

10 – The Landy Boys again

11 – Dean Mitchell became the owner of this 1946 Ariel W/NG in 1977, when he accepted it in payment for a job he did on a croft. The guy played a smart move though, and only handed over the log book when Dean had got the bike back on the road - three years ago. He says it might only be a 350cc but he has fun joining in on the classic runs on fine sunny evenings, and although the other guys may be faster, they often have to stop to fix things or pick bits up off the road! The mudguards, you may be aware, are supposed to be black, but ended up being colour matched to the tank by mistake – I think they look good in red! The previous owner is now wheelchair bound but still thoroughly over the moon that his old bike is back on the Shetland tarmac once more.

12 – Mr & Mrs Robinson from Lincolnshire show off their rather fine outfit, a 1951 Vincent Rapide. Travelling to the show in a 1971 Atkinson Borderer, they also brought a 1929 Essex Super 6, and, yes, there’s more, a 1951 Douglas, which Richard acquired on the way to the show. Once at their destination, the rear section of the lorry is converted into living and sleeping quarters. Talk about organised!

13 – The Robinson’s Douglas…

14 – And the Essex Super 6…

15 – You wouldn’t believe how much it costs to put this thing on the ferry from Aberdeen…let’s just say it’s several hundred quid…now that’s dedication.

16 – A sports hall is a rather unusual setting for a classic motor show, but it’s way better than a tent!

17 – There were only 250 of these Portugese Casal K270s brought into the UK. These little 125cc two-strokes were used by the Carlisle post office (amongst others?) to replace the faithful old BSA Bantam. Colin Fraser is the owner of this smart 1975 model.

18 –This little Honda PC50 started life with Hugh Arthur at the North lighthouse at Fair Isle, before being sold to uncle John in 1973, who lived at Girlsta just north of Lerwick. These days the bike belongs to the original owners son, Ian Arthur who states on his display card that the 50cc overhead valve engine puts out enough power to make the pedals redundant.

19 – Joe Gray’s Norton 19S on the left, Mike Mills’s 77 in the middle, flanked by Frank Johnson’s 99. Sounds like a selection of ice creams!

20 – Defiant by name, cute and blue by nature. Belonging to Peter Hall from Shetland.

21 – We’ve got all shapes and sizes here, from trials machines to road racers with everything in between.

22 – Hmm, that was clever, I haven’t got a clue what these ones are, but I like the tanks.

23 – Kelvin McNish brought his 1940 M20 all the way from Chester-le-Street, looking good in the colours of the 11th Durham Light Infantry.

24 – Local enthusiasts Geordie Jacobson (seated) and Gordon Stark are more than pleased with the 1936 Calthorpe Ivory Major. In the possession of Geordie’s uncle until 1955, it was relegated to the barn when the temptations of a car got too much for him, and there it stayed until his death in the 1980s. It’s a bit of a standing joke that it only took Gordon 18months to complete the project after Geordie had been fiddling with things for two decades previously – by his own admission, you can’t rush these things! “My only connection to the job really was I polished the pipes” he confides. He also sent the original Amal Smooth Bar to a specialist to have a new one fabricated. Gordon takes up the story, “The engine only needed one main bush, but the valve gear needed re-bushing. We sent the mag away, Joe in the club did the dyno, and the local coach firm Leasks just happened to use that Ivory colour which is Hellelfenbeind, they use that on Mercs you know, so the local painter did that for us.” Just on the off chance of retrieving the smooth bar, Gordon contacted the specialist Geordie had sent it to 20 years ago, and wonder of wonders, it was still under the bench! They still need a few of the levers and various oddments, but overall the bike is nearly back to as good as new.

25 – 1952 Thunderbird owned by Bertie Tait, previously owned by George Henderson, both of Shetland. Somewhere along the line, someone lost the gearbox but it was easy enough to find a replacement.

26 – John Cousins used to live in Shetland but these days, hales from Inverness. He’s owned this little Adler Favorit for 20years after having his interest in the marque ignited by a friend who raced them. Some parts were hard to find and it looked like his basket case challenge might get the better of him, until he started sourcing spares from Germany. Only 360 of the 250cc Favorites were manufactured.

27 – Martin Green’s trials Cub looks smart, must be plenty of places to try that out on the island.

28 – When Hughie Hughson was a lad, he had a Velocette MSS. Keen to have another Velo in his garage, he nipped down to Yorkshire and came home with the Venom. Unfortunately Hughie is unable to ride bikes much these days but still enjoys getting out and about to chat about the good old days.

29 – In the main hall the bikes mix it with some old cars. Oh dear, that’s me in trouble!

30 – Come to Shetland and not only can you look at 160 or more motorcycles, you can see 8 Beans too. On the left is a 1926 12hp Model 4 Open Tourer next to the later Hadfield Tourer.

31 – 8 Bentleys in a row, starting off with a big juicey 4.25 Litre Derby Drop Head from 1937

32 – One of only three Golden Bentleys, and the only known one with the original paintwork.

33 – Nearly finished…

34 – Captions on a post card?
35 – They’ve got ‘em all here, from Harley choppers, to 125cc Portugese imports, to the usual Nortons and Hondas.

Thursday, 25 December 2008


Well that's the shed base finished. Good day for it, nice and mild, almost balmy.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Ok, that's me done with work for a few days. And that's the end of the Moto Piston slide show, hope you enjoyed it. The next one will be a 2008 review for you so hang tight and check back soon. Thanks for all your support this year, for putting up with the whinges and the whines and for sending Cubbies Counties all your spare pennies and for all the funny cheeky comments some of you are brave enough to leave. Big Cubbie hugs 'n' Cubbie Christmas kisses to you all. And little Mrs BC hugs as well, hehe.
Also coming soon to a blog near you.....
And yet more thanks are due to Star from for the sheep banner!
PS, there might, just might, be a little surprise for you on Christmas morning...
PPS, sorry about the red and blue writing on the green, I'll change it back after I stop being festive.

Sunday, 21 December 2008


You miserable lot! Come on, what do you think of the festive decorations? I made it all by myself...apart from the Cubbie smiley that Star from let me borrow....

Half a day off today, hmmm, what shall I do to pass the time? Might I be bored if I can't go to work 'til 4pm? Think I'll just go find my nail polish...

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Where she gone?

Here she is. Sorry about the gap in transmission, since the Xmas Bash all kinds of exciting things have been happening, one of the top ranking events I'd say was on the Thursday following our hugely successful meal, but let's do that story first.

Nothing particularly gory to report, apart from one of the quiz teams didn't know what GBC stands 500 points were deducted from their score. The food was yummy - melon fan followed by a nice piece of salmon, rounded off nicely with orange and something fool - can't remember if it was cranberry or raspberry, but it certainly wasn't prawn cocktail, Meeps! The raffle had some great prizes donated by members and our local bike shops - Shirlaws gave us 5 Triumph tee shirts, top of the range gear, and I'm hoping that I might be in line for one if it's a little too little for our Bry...and Bikesmart gave us a deal on some open face helmets and goggles...and Eccosse Yamaha/Honda gave us a gift voucher, plus there was a free subscription for Old Bike Mart (you should have been there BigBob!) and a free entry to ride in the 2009 National Assembly of Vintage Bikes at Blairgowrie (aka The National, I went last year and broke down...but I also went the year before and made it round in the pouring rain, much to a short persons amazement) courtesy of the VMCC Central Scotland section. Not a bad haul, and huge thanks to the members for bringing the bottles and chocs and biscuits and so on, and to Bry and Briano for helping out and collecting /arranging some of the prizes - couldn't have done it without you all. The quiz seemed to go down fairly well, apart from the incident mentioned above. Thanks to Captain Bill for taking the flak and reading the questions out - no one argues with him ya see, and if they do, they end up giving in. Oooh, nearly forgot to say thanks to Mr Meeps too, if he had not come to my rescue when both of my printers stopped working, then there would have been no quiz and no free OBM subs and no entry to the National.

So it was home late, and away early on Wednesday for work, home late again as I had to attend the AGM of the Bon Accord MCC. That's the trials / moto cross / super moto bunch who are organising the Grampian Convention in 2009. I wasn't feeling particularly well, having contracted the lergie from Mrs BC a few days before, but stayed long enough to be voted on to the sub committee for organising the Convention (to be referred to from now on as Alford, 'cos that's where it is held each year.) and even leaving 'early' I still didn't get home until gone 11pm. Then a bit of admin had to be done, didn't get to bed until 1am, and the alarm was set for 5am. Yep. That does say 5am. Got up, bright and sparky, all ready to head to the station and catch me a train to a briefing in Glasgow. Took the van through gate 1, got out to shut it, van rolled back, door swung open and bamm! Door and gate post came together with a nasty crunch. Ho hum, managed to get it shut, went back to bed. Phoned the garage later, took it in, and the clever clever guys at Cameron Autotech managed to sort it out with minimum fuss. Luckily the door itself didn't get damaged, just the door post had sort of, well, erm, bent. But it shuts and locks and to be honest, you wouldn't know anything had happened. Phew. On the Friday I found out that because the door post is now in a slightly different place, so is the switch for the 'lights on / door open' alarm, so I have to shove a thick bit of card in there to stop the alarm screaming at me any time the lights are on. It's a little annoying. Think I'm going to have to find the fuse for that and remove it.

Cor, just looked outside, its a beautiful day out there, warm as toast. But I'm dedicated to you lot, I promised I'd update you, so I will...after I've nipped out for a breath of air....

Ok, so Saturday was work again, Aberdeen in the morning, which is about 40 miles south, then north to Peterhead, then west and north a bit more to Cullen. Then home by 5pm at the very latest so that we could head out right away, this time south again to Banchory, for the UCAN Xmas meal, hosted by Chris and Val who are heavily involved in the cancer charity. Had been raining all day, non stop, making the roads quite treacherous. Still, just about got home in time for a scrub up, quick change and off for our supper. Made it. Just in time. Just as the rest of them were gathering in the bar. That was a good night out, sat next to a guy called Owen who is a fell runner....yeah I know....made eh! Why run when you can walk (or ride a bike)? Took some pics of the do for ya, but following my run of form recently, my lovely digital camera seems to be broken. Don't know where the time has gone since then, I think it's Thursday already, but I can't be sure. Took the van to the garage again yesterday as the brake light keeps coming on. A quick assessment from Ian and Lee, two cheery little Christmas elves, revealed that I need two new rear cylinders and pads, and new pipes all round. So that's my Xmas pressie list - don't feel you need to wrap the items, just fit them to the van while I'm not looking, that way it would be a nice surprise. Hopefully I can get the exhaust manifold for the car down to McKwak's friend who is going to try and weld it, so the car might be back on the road in the new year...probably about June! Hehe, it's all a bit of fun eh.


Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Time for the Santy Hat.

Right, there are some pics from the Xmas Bash for you. I've got to nip out and collect some hay and pop in to the Post Office to collect a 'Special D' that no one could be bothered to deliver as a 'Special D'. Then I might do a bit of a report for you when I get home, or I might have to go straight to work.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

And Jim said, let there be light.

Don't worry, you're not seeing double. You might be seeing triple, but not double. Picked Cubbie up from Doctor Jim yesterday but didn't have time to go for a test ride when I got home. Oooh did you hear that? That was Mrs BC sneezing. Yikes. So after the farm duties this morning (catching Ditzie, Debbie McGee, baby Frank's sister (she does have a name but I can't remember it right now) and Boudicca / Boadicea MkII and trimming their feet, then catching the boys and trimming their feet, then putting the girls up in the boys field, and stuff like that) I finally got a chance to go for a spin. Twas quite an exciting moment really. Jim had started Cubbie up when I collected it, so I knew it still worked, but I was still a tad apprehensive. Petrol on, key (complete with Rolls Royce fob) in the reconditioned ignition switch, turn it on, big tickle of the carby, Cubbies a thirsty beast and needs a good drink to get going - no choke y'see, then....kickeddy kick broooom broooom. Oh yes. New ammeter (or is is an amp meter? Is there a difference?) is a thing to behold, look at the needle, hehe, its actually in the + side and showing a healthy charge. The old one that the Doc removed would only move once the bike was in motion, and even then it was usually only from side to side like a metronome, or more recently, way over on the negative side. Looking good so far, lights on and its still on the + side, and this was with just a small amount of revs. Checked oil flow, gurgling back into the tank nicely, check petrol, just enough in there for a lap of the test track....

Helmet and gubbins on, waterproofs we go. Half way down the lane and the steering feels a little light....oh gosh, thats ice I'm riding on. Solid ice. Sheet ice. Fun. Make it to the main road, cruising along with lights on full and that shiny new ammeter is still showing a nice lotta charge, stable and consistent. Beautiful. Awwwww listen to that Cubbie!!! Had to stop off at the neighbours on the way home to pick up a parcel that Wimpy White Van Man hadn't been able to deliver, because our road is too bumpy. Assumed it would just be the usual A4 plastic envelope full of paperwork, so took a rucksack to sling it in. Reggie had a good chuckle when he presented me with 2 huge plastic envelopes bursting at the brims, plus a box full of yet more paperwork. Soon fixed it all on the back of Cubbie though, such a versatile little thing. You can just make it out in the pic - if the headlight doesn't blind you.

Soooo, apart from re-wiring the ignition switch 'cos all of the wires in and out were corroded rather badly, and re-doing all the earths to one central location, and fitting my original stator back on (with nice new bullet connections) and sorting out a slight confusion between a couple of green wires (I'm sure theres a nasty little elf around who comes along at night and moves things around. Ahem.) and lining the battery box with rubber, and making up a nice little bit of pipe and bracket from the oil tank overflow/breather so that rather than spray the wiring loom with oil, it now goes on the chain, and fitting new bulbs front and rear, and insisting that I have one of his spare dry cell batteries so that it can sit any way up and any way round in the box (my other one used to spill fluid with the bike on the side stand, so great is the angle of lean) and fixing the rear light (I had it taped up with insulating tape to hold it in place, but the Doc is a man who does things properly!) and fitting the new ammeter and a new tax disc holder (nothing wrong with a jam jar lid, cardboard and sellotape, is there?) and a new gear lever rubber, there wasn't much wrong. I have learnt a lesson though. And thats gotta be good. Don't always fear the worst. Start with the simple things. Check it all carefully, even if you think you have already checked it carefully 16 dozen times. Maybe the best lesson is that a fresh pair of eyes (and a good few years experience) can see what you can't.

Huge big Cubbie Thank Yous go to Jim for his help and insistence that I take the bike to him, and of course to everybody else who has suggested fixes and helped or offered to help in one way or another. You're all such loverly blog readers, even if one or two of you do prefer BSAs, hehe, ooops, now I've done it!

And now, in other news....had 260 hits since Friday PM. Coincidence? Or are you all Old Bike Mart readers who've dropped by to look at the Moto Piston Rally slide show? Welcome aboard, feel free to click on the "comments" bit under this post and say hello. Could post a lot more of my pics from the Scottish rallies and events I go to if you'd be interested....

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Home Coming.

Wooooooohooooooooo Cubbies coming HOME!!!!! Well, in the next few days when I'm not snowed in. By the way, Jim's Rudge is a 1938, so I was close, and both Trumpets are Thunderbirds, 1950 & 1958. I reckon they quite like having Cubbie for company.
If you've just decided to pop in after reading about the Moto Piston rally in Old Bike Mart, and are looking for the other pictures, then scroll down a bit until you see the blog archive info on the left, select October, and bingo, there they are. Sorry I couldn't put any more of the bikes up until the report had been in OBM, so gimme a chance and I'll see if I can pop a few more of the funny/interesting/bad/good ones up for you. Feel free to browse around while you wait....
There y'are, don't you say I'm not good to you. Another 63 photos from the Moto Piston rally, for your enjoyment in a special one-off slide show. It's best if you click on the "View All Images" button which will open it in a full window. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

20,000 and there she goes.

Well chaps and chapesses. Thanks for reading. GBC's little ol' blog has now clocked up over 20,000 hits in just under a year and a half (did anyone notice if they were the 20,000th person?). I can't believe I've known some of you for that long. I think you (yes YOU cos without YOU I wouldn't be sitting here writing this stuff) should all go and celebrate. I'm not paying though, oh no, 'cos you'd rather I put what I would have spent on you, into Cubbies Counties funds, wouldn't you? YES! Talking of which, I think you've probably all realised or perhaps considered the thought that I shall be extending the 'year' to sometime around next April / May so that it is a full 12 months, rather than the year 2008. Would have been super brill if I had managed to do all the counties in just 8 months, but I didn't and there's no point sobbing over it. Had a call from Doctor Jim and he has checked the very guts of the ignition switch - all fine in there, and the wiring to and from it - all fine there. He's moving on to check the stator wiring I think and cast his eye over the rest of the leccy bits and pieces so I'll let you know what he finds. This break from riding has given me the chance to catch up with a few things on my weekends...mainly working...and I'm putting together a Cubbies Counties Part I DVD to send out to my corporate sponsors (and anyone who wants one) so that they can see a record of my travels so far.

Now then Darrell...did you say you've sent me some pics already? I haven't got them...where have then gone? Who knows. I expect the Blog Monster has eaten them. Did you use the cubbiescounties AT address?

Snowed in today, had to cancel the Grampian classic club Xmas Bash tonight. :-(
Trouble is, while we're stuck on top of a hill, some 800ft up, the rest of the guys are saying that the main roads aren't too bad... Heading out to the meal at 6.30pm is one thing, but coming home at 10/11pm is another. Black ice, freezing fog and more snow showers were forecast (Mrs BC has just come in and informed me that it is chucking it down with the white stuff again) and we don't want our guys going out there risking their lives just for a bit of roast turkey. Good news is, it looks like we can reschedule for next permitting. Also had planned to take some big sheepies to the place where they, er, how can I put this...ok, I'll just say it, the abattoir. Sorry, has to be done. They've got a reprieve for a week though so they can carry on pigging all the winter grass that is supposed to be for the rest of the flock! Oh, and another up-side to being snowed in...I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go to Perth on the train!

You're probably sick and fed up of hearing about my car troubles. So I won't go on about it. But it occurred to me the other day when I was taking a second hand car for a spin (sorry, test drive) that you lot might find it mildly amusing. Was coming home from an early work appointment, had Ringo in the van and Mrs BC 'cos we'd also just been to the vet on my way to work (if that makes sense) and stopped in a small village called Maud, where there were some cars for sale on the road side. Saw a nice looking Vauxhall Vectra Estate but the guy who was there - didn't work there but had a business on the same premises warned me off saying it was very high mileage. How about that P reg RAV4 instead? Hmmm, he was pushing that one a bit too much, good chassis, high ground clearance, nice and safe, 1.9L petrol, good condition, yeah yeah yeah, called the owner who lived nearby and turned up within minutes. Mrs BC and the dog were sitting in the van in the car park around the other side of a building, and this guy got the keys and said "wanna take it for a test drive?" Well not really, seeing as you're asking £1200 for it and I think that's too high, but go on then. Oh, don't have my glasses with me...didn't tell him that though, would have meant walking back to the van and getting them - long walk. Hopped in, took it for a drive, slowly, cos I couldn't really see much. "There are 5 gears you know..." he said. Are there? Golly gosh, fancy that. Was alright in a straight line but couldn't see the junctions too well! MAde it kinda difficult to judge the width of the road too, when other cars came at me on the narrow country lanes. It's a 4x4 so a little bit of mud won't hurt. Did get out of 4th eventually, but had to test the brakes rather sharply at the next turning. Hehe, still, made it round but couldn't stop grinning at the thought of blogging this wee story.


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