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Monday, 23 February 2009

We have a winner...

Ladies and Gents, Bloggesses and Bloggers, we have a winner - I'll pass you over to Head Judge, Phil Mather...

Hello - I've made my choice for the Winter Photo competition winners!

I see now why people say it's been a difficult job because there were several shots I would genuinely like to hang on the wall - if I was in a winter frame of mind that is.

Okay, with my motorcycle hat (boots, gloves and thermal underwear) on, the overall winner had to be No. 33, the sidecar outfit in the snowy lane - that's a magazine front cover without a doubt! ((Congrats to MZ MARK for this one!))

Second place goes to No. 18, the wonderful snowman because I've never seen one so slim and tall and it makes me smile every time I look at it. ((John from bikeshite.com))

For third place I get seriously professional - No. 12, the view across the snowy landscape with the fence running down the left-hand side (leading the eye in, as we say) and the mountain in the background. It ticks all the right boxes! ((Our Shetland blogger, Geordie claims the last spot))

'Fraid I can't go without mentioning No. 17, the close-up of the multi-coloured leaves ((Jake from Scottish Classic MCC)), and No. 26, the waves rolling into the bay ((little old Slim)) - two totally different approaches to the subject, but equally fantastic in their own right.

There were lots of other good shots too, some pretty traditional, some cleaver, some thoughtful. But that's just the way competitions go.

Thanks to you all for taking part - Phil.







Well there you go, congrats to the top three, especially The One, The Only, The Winner, MZ Mark, who says "The outfit is a 1974 BMW R75/6 with a Russian Dnepr chair, small wheels all round and leading link forks based on those from a BMW R69. It is currently in disgrace due to the failure of the Boyer Bransden ignition unit - I frequently wish I had stayed with MZ outfits!"

I'm working on a little prize or two but I can't tell you what it is, cos I haven't got it yet. Big thanks to all for taking the time to send in a few pics, and thanks to Phil for agreeing to the challenge of judging them...hmmm...I wonder if I can rope him in for a Summer Photo Comp....

Monday, 16 February 2009

County 19 - Orkney












I thought the streets of Thurso looked familiar, and then I suddenly realised I'd been there a few years go. But I'm ahead of myself. Last Thursday morning, I loaded up my converted Cubbie ramp with three big packages containing all the clothes and work stuff I would need for a week, well wrapped in bags and bin liners, then between us, Mrs BC and I dragged the load up the drive. Then we went back for Cubbie. Me oh me, the driveway is quite steep when you're pulling or pushing a heavy load. With no wheel tracks in the deep snow it was impossible to ride the bike up there, so push it we did. We dragged the 'sledge' half way along the lane to where the terrain levelled out, then Mrs BC was under instruction to wait for me while I went back and got Cubbie. Turned the key, gave it a tickle and a kick and the beautiful little bike started. It wouldn't run too well though, but I think it was due to a lack of a choke - if I held the tickler button down for a while it kept it going until the engine warmed up enough to run more evenly. It only took a few minutes and soon we were slip-sliding along in the deep icy ruts. Somehow in the snow, the pot holes seem to be even deeper. Soon caught Mrs BC, who had disobeyed me and was nearly at the top of the hill with the sledge. Cubbie and I pop-pop-popped past her and we slid down the hill, my feet dragging in the snow acting as my only from of braking. The encroaching shrubbery on the verge cut and bashed my knuckles and even drew blood somewhere along the line. Shows why you should always wear gloves... Finally at the van, got all the stuff loaded and set off to Camerons, the local garage to have a new tyre fitted to the van. Big thanks to them for fitting me in at short notice. I was slightly early getting to Aberdeen ferry terminal, but checked in and they signalled to go straight on board. The crossing was 6 hours, and got a little choppy towards the mid point. I wasn't sure if I was hungry or sea sick, so I had supper with the Captain (well, at the table next to him) and felt all the better for it. Landed, or whatever the nautical term is, at Kirkwall a little late, some time near to midnight and headed straight to the B&B in Stenness, where the traditional Scottish greeting of food and drink was offered, and accepted of course.



So, to the day of counting Cubbies. No hang on, that's not it. Counting counties? Well that's sort of right I suppose. Cubbies Counties hits the road again! I couldn't quite believe that I was on the island of Orkney, to the north of Scotland, and only 50 miles south of Greenland,in the middle of February, riding my Cub. Brilliant. I went to Skara Brae, a 4000 year old village, which I'm told was built by the folk who came across the sea from Caithness in their wee fishing boats. The guys and girls in the visitor centre were most helpful and informative, even though there was a howling gale going on outside - thanks to Ian, Diana and Margaret.





Also stopped off at the Ring of Brodgar, an absolutely stunning and atmospheric standing stone circle, followed by a call at the Stenness stone circle which is a bit smaller and in a field with some sheep, but I'm used to sheep so I didn't mind. Met up with a couple of local classic bikers, Donnie and Mark - both of whom seem very involved in the vintage vehicle club on the island, hopefully we (me and any club members who fancy a trip abroad) can go back sometime and partake of their annual show or even just meet up for chitter chatter.





They are Mark's too.

**I shall add a bit more info about their bikes when I get a tad more time.

Now, steel yourselves, I'm about to tell you of an experience that is not open to just anyone who visits Orkney. Virtual slalom skiing in a church hall. Now there's a thing. Have you heard of that before? I would like to thank my coach Penny, and her two collie dogs (their names have escaped me for now but they'll come back to me...Tess? And...N...Nel maybe? Oh dear, I was determined to remember!) for all the encouragement and support. And laughter! I think the dogs were more keen on my throwing their ball for them, bless. The B&B I stayed in, "Cromlech", Stenness, was one of those lovely, homely, comfortable places, run by Lilias and Alfie, though to be fair, I think Lilias does most of the running - she certainly does the cooking, and very nice my brekky was too. Sausages...mushrooms...tomatoes...and bacon....toast...homemade rhubarb jam...honey....homemade oatcakes.... Not all on the one plate, you understand. Oh yes, nearly forgot, I was invited to the local ploughing match awards ceremony one evening, which was followed by a dance. Lilias did her best to find any local classic bikers but they seemed to be few and far between in the ploughing world. Oh, and guess what? I personally, escorted a new tractor to the island, which then took part in the ploughing competition. Oh yes, must thank the postie who insisted he show me how to get to one of the addresses I was looking for, when it would have been funny to draw me a map and send me off into the darkness!



For the home leg, I decided to take the shorter ferry crossing from Stromness to Scrabster (Thurso) but that meant I then had a 6 hour drive to get home. Usually it would be a nice coastal sight seeing drive but it was dark by the time the boat got in. So that's me all unpacked and ready to go again, think I need to attend to Cubbie's primary chain case before the next adventure, most of the oil that I put in there ended up on some fancy flagstones and people's driveways.




So, what do you think of all that for just one county then, eh? Hmmm?

Pics to follow too, but we've got to go get some more hay in tomorrow.


Thursday, 12 February 2009

What an exciting day.




Yesterday was really exciting. I didn't win the lottery or anything dull like that, no, no, I got stuck in the snow coming home last night, had to dig my way out with a blizzard whipping across the open hillside, then, I towed 10 bottles of water up the hill using only GBC power. Mind you, Mrs BC had earlier towed a huge sack of dog food up using only Mrs BC power, so if she could do it....

Right, off to Orkney today, hoping to conquer the county while I'm there but the thing is, I have to get Cubbie down the hill (deep snow) first to even stand a chance of doing so.

Your deadline for the photo comp is FRIDAY 20TH FEB - and my head judge, Phil Mather is popping in regularly to look at the photos. I should be back on Wednesday so take some pics and you can email them to me cubbiescounties AT aultan . com while I'm away (but don't make them tooooo big please!!) and I'll publish them to the blog.

Y'all have a nice week without me :-(

Sunday, 8 February 2009

A few more random ones.

A couple from Shorty...





Some more from Our Darrell, including a shot of what winter biking is like across the puddle...





And good old Slim was out and about with his camera today, somewhere in the region of MacDuff by the looks of it.


Saturday, 7 February 2009

FOUR TONNES.



In case you're wondering what a snowed in GBC gets up to, here's a little snippet. After dishing hay out to five different fields of sheep, and traipsing all the way over to the far side of the sixth field to check the other lot of sheep who have the big round bale of hay, we set about moving a couple of the old girls to a better, more sheltered field and organising a hay rack for them. The three older old girls in the steading were fed and watered too, and a count of the remaining bales of hay was done. Only 6 left, and we're using at them at 2 - 2.5 per day... Came in for some food, then togged up again and went back out to start shovelling snow. Our driveway is about 200 meters long, all up hill. Dig dig dig, shovel shovel dig, for around two hours, back breaking work so it is, had an attempt to drive the van out but it bottomed out about half way up. Time for lunch, a nice pot of homemade leek and tattie soup and garlic bread, mmmmmm! Went back out about half two and already it was beginning to freeze. Carried on shovelling, with difficulty as the snow was starting to freeze in blocks to the ground. Gave it one last try and managed to get the van out on to the lane. Stupid numpty that I am, then had to carry all the boxes of work stuff from the van back down to the house, in a blizzard! Just got back from taking the van down the hill to the main road so that hopefully, tomorrow, we can go and get some supplies and hay in. Thanks to Mark and Tones from the Grumpy club for offering to come and help.

Looks like we have a top Judge for the Photo Comp...none other that Mr Phil Mather, a top photographer who's work you may have seen in some of the bike magazines. To make the most of this spell of wintry weather you've got until....I say your time is up....then I'll call the Judge and he can decide who gets the non-existent tee shirt. I must just stress that I am not partaking of the competition. My photos are there so that you can marvel at the Arctic wilderness in which I live.

Well, after two Tunnocks caramel bars and a strawberry milkshake I'm feeling slightly better, although I suspect the pain in my back won't be cured quite so easily.
PS, my mathematical genius friend just calculated that I shifted 81 cubic meters of snow. Or approx 4 tonnes of the stuff. Time for a kip.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Ello ello ello.

Ok ok I'll own up. The nice policeman you see there was our speaker for the Grampian Classic club night. We had an interactive quiz thingy about road safety and the highway code - sounds a bit dry but actually it was quite a laugh.

A few more from Kawa...looks like he's taking this winter photo comp seriously - suggest you get out there and get me some more winter shots you lot or Kawa will be walking away with the prize....


A wee bit o snow on the way hame

The Ochils

Summer seat

And I thought I'd put a few of my own up today, seeing as "snow is playing havoc with life in the north east today..." or so they say on the news.

Mr & Mrs Goosie are first...they don't much like the snow...understandably...
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Followed by the view from the sitting room window this morning when I pulled back the curtains...

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And rounded off with what I found when I let the dogs out the back door. Er...that tree isn't supposed to be hanging over the drive like that...now where did I leave the chainsaw....

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The scene was pretty much the same all day, we spent about 2 hours outside in the morning putting hay out for the sheep, checking hat everyone had water / straw / haynets and so on, then I cancelled my work for the afternoon as there was no way I as going anywhere. Made some good progress with a little bit of writing I'm doing though. Needed a break from the computer in the afternoon and took Star (our dog, not Star from bikeshite.com) for a walk down the lane to take some more photos for you good people...

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Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Weather forecast was wrong. Again.

Well there y'are. Some place called London under 10 feet of snow yesterday, all the forecasters said it would hit Scotland early this morning. So where is it? Rain, rain, rain is where it is. Couldn't resist adding John's (he's the one from bikeshite.com) contribution to the Winter Photo Competition - hope you like the 'before' and 'after' theme.



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