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Sunday, 29 March 2009

County 22 - Banffshire

Saturday morning, didn't want to get up, weather was howling outside, and snowing. Opted to go to Mintlaw and do some Plus1 arrangements instead of Cubbies Counties, followed by a spot of work. Sunday morning, didn't want to get up, but this time I could hear birdies tweeting outside my window. Just to really confuse me, we had to put the clocks forward an hour on Saturday night / Sunday morning, and I wish I'd done them all before going to bed, as waking up and looking at three different time zones is a tad perplexing. Still, turned out to be a braw morning so I leaped up and out, gave Cubbie some breakfast, hunted high and low for my thermal top, still can't find it, I expect its the same little elf who hides Cubbie's key from time to time... My original plans for a trip to MacDuff to go a fishin' were scuppered as all the small boats were laid up due to the rough weather that had been forecast, then Slim suggested meeting the Harbour Master for a chat but he wasn't available on a Sunday, so instead, I had it in my head to go to Tomintoul. That's more or less on the southern tip of Banffshire, and is in the Cairngorm mountain range, and here's a GBC fact for you, it is the highest village in the Highlands. No idea what time I got away, but I think it must have been shortly before 11am. Cubbie was purring and I promised myself I wouldn't hurry, wouldn't just stick to roads that I know and I would not turn back if I made a wrong turn, just follow the road and see where it goes.

All was going well, although I was roasting in my two thick tee shirts, a long sleeved zippy top, a fleecy jumper and of course my big thick winter jacket, oh, and my padded and lined waterproof troos, but keeping on the move the cool breeze meant that the temperature just right. Out to Rothienorman, back roads to Insch, then a different route to the way I'd normally go to Alford - but only because I missed the turning...still...what did I say about not turning back? I'm glad I didn't, as I stopped to take a photo of the Dunnydeer monument and spied some reindeer grazing on the hillside. Carried on to Mossat, didn't stop at the tea room though I was tempted, but I thought I'd made enough stops for photos and I wasn't even in Banffshire yet. To be honest, I'm not entirely sure where the boundary between Aberdeenshire and Banffshire is, but who cares, I've done both now so it doesn't really matter if the lines are a bit blurry! The countryside around Strathdon is simply glorious, bright spring sunshine, blue skies, little baby lambies hopping and bouncing in grassy parks with daffodils on the verges, and to cap it all, Cubbie was popping along quite happily. Stopped for a few pictures of the small church in the village, then couldn't resist stopping just yards up the road to pose next to the Lost signpost - you wouldn't believe me if said I wasn't really lost...see, I'd remembered to take a map with me this time. The road climbs out of Strathdon and crosses the River Don some three times in fewer miles than that, on it's way from Druim na Feithe through many, many miles of vastly changing landscape to it's end in Aberdeen. It's hard to imagine that you're riding along quite happily in the sun, then just around a bend you're confronted with SNOW.
Yup, everywhere. In every direction. I'd branched off of the A944 and onto the Cock Bridge to Tomintoul road, a route that is notorious for being blocked more often than not in the winter. But this isn't winter! This is the end of March. And there had been no warning of snow on the travel / weather forecast for today. Heck. Still, it made for good pictures, and I had seen the snowy tips of the mountains in the distance when I'd left home a couple of hours previously. The road rises suddenly and almost vertically out of Cock Bridge, and up through the snow gates (which luckily were open!) around a series of sharp bends. There was about a foot of the white stuff on the verge, and a snow plough was turning at the top of the hill. I carried on. The weather had suddenly changed to dark and dramatic, wild and windy, and I was glad to be wearing so many layers. Ignoring the fact that the plough had tried to run me over, I carried on, cautiously; there hadn't been much traffic around all day, but now there seemed even less. All of a sudden over the crest of a hill, Cubbie was confronted with a line of stationary traffic. I waited a while to see what the situation was, and in the distance I could make out flashing blue lights and more cars queueing on the opposite hillside. It was plain to see that we were going nowhere for a while, as the snow plough came roaring up behind us and went past to clear the section of road that was blocked by the drifting snow. Two policeman were controlling the traffic, letting a couple of cars through at a time, talking to the drivers and making sure they knew how to handle the situation. I decided against filtering to the front and instead took the opportunity to get some more photos. After about 15mins it was my turn, and the copper came up and had a chat. Was I sure I could manage? Did I really want to risk it? It was quite deep and there was another patch of snow on the other side... I simply said, this is Cubbie, and we're going through! Ok, well, maybe I didn't really but that's what I wanted to say. He signalled to go, so I kicked. Gracious, my bike won't start, Officer. Another tickle and another kick and still nothing. Great. He let a car go first, and by the time it was away Cubbie was fired up and ready to go. Second gear all the way and it was easy. Over the top of the opposite hill and to my relief, the Lecht Ski Centre appeared in the middle of the road. By the time I found a space in the packed car park I was shaking, my arms were weak and it was as much as I could do to walk to the cafe. It's one thing riding Cubbie down our lane in the snow, but with two policemen watching - one of whom was a biker, and a row of car drivers to hold up if I did anything stupid, the adrenaline was pumping. Time for a cold hot dog and a photo of the Banffshire sign. Phew.

You really can't imagine the scenery on the other side unless you've been up there. The blue sky was back, the water was shining with melted snow, and the fields all around were still covered in perfect powdery crispness. Amazing. I don't often get gushy about this sort of stuff but this was a one in a million moment that I doubt I'll ever be able to do again. I was so impressed that I'd put the video function of my camera on before I set off, but by the time the dratted bike started it had switched itself off and I have no moving footage of the journey down the hill. Humbug. At the bottom, it was a quick spin around Tomintoul; my goal, my aim for the day had been achieved. Wasn't too sure about fuel, but it was only 18 miles to Dufftown. The roads were great again, no snow to be seen anywhere, no cars either, saw two or three bikes though, braving what was now a bit of a chilly afternoon. Dufftown was founded in 1817, although the Picts were there long before that. Whisky is a big part of the area, with heaps of distilleries nestling around every bend (Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Glendullan being some of the names you might recognise) and a whisky shop in the town that stocks hundreds of single malts. Nice clock tower too. After that, it was on to Keith on the small side roads, a quick stop at a small non-existent railway station, waved at a couple of pocket rocket riders in town, before heading out to Rothiemay, Bridge of Marnoch, Foggie and then home. Some six hours and about 150 miles later, that was another county ticked off, and Cubbie only needed one oil top up about half way round - that stuff Kawa used to seal the wotsit certainly worked.

That's yer lot, I'm no' doing the pictures tonight, it's past my bedtime. Hope you enjoy the read, and don't forget, anyone can post a comment, just click on "COMMENT" and fill the boxes in - I'll be checking in the morning.

PS, told you there's snow on them there 'ills.

Friday, 27 March 2009

My 30 seconds of fame.

Might even be a bit less than that. But that's probably a good thing! You might remember last summer I, along with a bunch of guys from several VMCC sections and classic clubs, took part in the filming of Britain's Best Drives, with Richard Wilson (you didn't believe it? Neither did he) and last night it was shown on BBC4. That's some sort of digital channel thing I think, we don't have such modern luxuries here in hillbilly country. I had a quick look for a replay of it on the internet last night but couldn't find anything, then good old Kawa came up with a link to the BBC iPlayer. Of course, why didn't I think of that? Anyway, get a cuppa, sit back for half an hour and enjoy the Scottish scenery. If you don't have half an hour to spare, fast forward it about 15 mins to see the bikes, and no, there are no prizes for spying the lesser spotted GBC and Cubbie. Oh, sorry to our overseas viewers, apparently you have to be in the UK to watch the film. Maybe you techno-clued up chaps can find a way round that...

I'm off to feed the sheep and then over to Mintlaw to make some arrangements for the Plus1. Y'all have a nice day now.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

So much to do.

Well there ain't never a dull moment. I've got county bagging plans for the weekend, probably Banffshire but maybe Nairnshire too, but then again I might have to work on at least one weekend day. Although the 2nd Haggis run isn't until October, we're delving headlong into checking venues and looking at how best to advertise it and get any necessary sponsorship this year. The Plus1 is in my diary for the 12th August, and it should be in yours too. We're putting together the literature for entrants right now and hope to have something on paper by the beginning of next week. Then of course there is the route to finalise, VMCC permits to organise and the Sun God to bribe. Slightly closer in the calendar is the Large Lunch, a sort of unofficial gathering for anyone on any bike. Ideally it will bring all the classics out on to the roads, but in reality we tend to get a mixture of both old and new bikes. It's a good chance for the modern riders to admire the real bikes in the spring sunshine. Then I'll be heading south to the National Motorcycle Museum - never been before, quite looking forward to it, wonder if there are any Cubbies in there... Apart from organising things, it's time to check the diary to see which events I'll be going to. Trouble is, the easiest thing to do is to go to the same shows and rallies as last year, 'cos I know when there are, I know how to get there, I know who'll be there. But doesn't that sound a wee bitty dull? I might try and squeeze in a couple of different ones this year. Then I've got the sidecar to build for the 250cc MZ, Cubbie to lavish some TLC on, while I'm gadding about on a nice Moto Morini - or the big Skorp if I can get those jobs done to it. Hmmmm, Robin of Wales is pencilled in to bring a supply of chocolate Hobnobs at some point in the summer, looking forward to that one, might leave the shed building 'till then... Lambing is booked in to start in the middle of May, fingers crossed the girls will all do what they do when they're supposed to do it. Bound to be other things happening too, just had a phone call from a potential club member, a lady who sounds as mad as me - she's ridden to the Arctic Circle so I think that qualifies her! If you promise to come back afterwards, you can pop over to that You Tube place and watch her video of the group arriving at the Circle - this is part 5 but all the other parts are there too
As well as that, she's involved with a local animal sanctuary called Willows, who have just posted a short vid about their animals on that very same site - As if she doesn't have enough to do, she has also just taken possession of a 1970s Honda 400/4, which she intends to do up and ride on our Cairn O Mount rally in May - oh yeah, forgot about that! Luckily there are three good chaps in charge of organising that one this year, I'm sure they'll do a grand job - you can now enter online at Then of course there's the book to finish, as well as the Cubbies Counties video to finish.... Me oh my, how am I going to find time to paint my nails again?

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Plan A.

Ok listen up, here's the plan. What I'd like you to do - that's YOU - not him sitting next to you, or your neighbour, or another guy in the club who looks at the blog - YOU - is when you visit for the first time this week (starting today, Saturday 21st March, until next Saturday 28th March) you just need to click on the YES button and then click the VOTE button. This will register one vote and if everyone who visits does it, I'll have a better idea how many people are visiting in a random week. Of course, I might be very disappointed and would probably prefer not to know that only 3 people visit this coming week. But I don't think that's likely, given that the site clocks up over 1500 visitors a month, and I'm sure that's not just BigBob and Darrell clicking on and off all day, all week, all month long. Well it better not be! I'm asking this of you because last night I was at the monthly meeting of the Central section of the VMCC and so many people came up to me and said they read the blog - people that quite honestly surprised me - in a good way, that I thought it would be good to do a little experiment. Remember now, only one click per person for the whole of the week.

Before dropping in on Shorty's meeting Mrs BC and I were in attendance at the first UCAN Fun Run (on bikes!) 2009 planning meeting at Ballater. Organised by the rather appropriately named Chris Norton, the aim of the event is to raise loadsa money for a local charity called UCAN, which tries to increase peoples' awareness of all of the urological cancers, as well as improving the quality of life and support for people who are affected. Not a cheery subject to talk about really, but when you think that 1 in 5 of all cancers in men and women are urological, we need to know about it. I can't quite recall how we got dragged in to help, but we were and we don't mind, it's a good cause. See more here - Last year's run was pretty successful and all we need to do this year is build on the good reputation the run is getting, but there are venues to consider, routes to sort out, advertising and promotion to look at, a website to build, and people's arms to twist for favours along the way! It was a glorious morning for a drive out west to the mountains and just before Tarland is the Queen's View (one of two in Scotland I believe) where you round a bend in the road and a most stunning view across to Lochnagar, Morven and Mount Keen opens up. The light was just like that of a late autumn day, hazy, misty and lazy; lovely. Anyway, the meeting at Chris's place went well with a full compliment of committee members tuning out for Val's superb luncheon spread! Afterwards Mrs BC and I popped into Banchory where I had some work to do, then on to Aberdeen for more work, where a nasty thick blanket of fog came down. We grabbed a sarnie at Sainsburys (usually it's Asda but the diesel was cheaper at S'burys for some reason) and ploughed on down the A90 in more thick evil fog, arriving absolutely HOURS before Kawa who had the nerve to text me earlier in the day to say there was a bet on whether I could get there on time or not. Really, one should not make such remarks unless oneself is sure of being there on time, nah nah nee naaaaah naaaah!! The meeting was a good 'un, with Geoff Brazendale talking about Sunbeams and showing a few pictures. One of our members has a rather prized model apparently, I can see I'm going to have to go and take him up on his offer of trying all his bikes some day, especially the Sunbeam.

As well as an overwhelming desire to see Mr B and witness his talk on Sunbeams, part of the reason for going was to bring Cubbie home. Kawa had kindly been accommodating the wee bike since the Edinburgh show, and had even more kindly ripped the primary case off, pulled the clutch apart, fixed the leak with some fancy black gungee stuff and a couple of new screws, laughed at how much the case is warped and cracked and then stuck it all back together. While he was at it, he just couldn't resist the washing and polishing job, the bike looks like new now. I think he even washed the number plate. Tell you what though, it started up first kick today and while it still sounds good, it also sounds slightly different. I reckon all that muck has been masking the true sound of Cubbie. Thank you Kawa for the work and the pics/evidence.

Well, that was yesterday and today is today, sunny Saturday. We got a load of old branches cleared and burnt up and I even found time to drag the old MZ Skorpion out into the fresh air. After Cubbie it feels big, bulky and unwieldy but still so handsome. I really do believe this is a classic of the future. Look at that lovely stainless silencer - they came with those as standard ya know, boomboomboom, and the Grimeca brakes were standard fitment complete with braided hoses, I mean, this is quality gear people, and all on an MZ. The big single 660cc Yammy motor is plenty powerful enough for an average road rider who wants to have fun yet keep on the right side of both the law and life, and look at those light weight 3 spoke wheels - blimmin' difficult to get tyres for I'll tell ya! The battery was completely dead so borrowing Cubbie's tool kit, I whipped it out and will charge it up in the next couple of days. A few odd jobs need to be done, probably ought to strip the calipers as the main job before getting it back on the road, oh, yes, nearly forgot, it's gonna need some new bushes somewhere in the midst of the suspension - don't think Mr MoT man will let it slip through as it is, and I reckon I'll just live with the excessive oil consumption for a while longer. So so so so SO let's go peeps, get those bikes fettled and ready for the new season - I'll be seeing you around up and down the country.

Don't you just think it's a yummy scrummy looking big bikey?
PS The Rooster Booster has landed!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Oh! What a beautiful morning!

The weather is soooo lovely today, I'm going outside to enjoy it. Might even post some pics of 'peace and quiet' on the farm.

Well here are some pics for you, real, genuine, Scottish Sunshine. A heat wave almost.

T'was difficult to find things that I could do outdoors, as I had to keep sitting down to get my breath back. Oh, and then there is the fact that I've lost my voice and all that is left is a squeak and a cough. But between us, Mrs BC and I carted a load of old wheels over to the veggie garden, and used them to weigh down some more black plastic to keep the weeds at bay, then we tidied up the shed site so that building can start any time soon - well, when I can breath more easily. The birds in the garden were chirp-chirp-chirping away, the buzzards were crying overhead, Doolie was making holes in the black plastic and all the sheep were happily munching away on the new shoots of grass. Bliss. I had promised myself that I would get the MZ out and fire it up, but after my morning exercise I began to feel weak and snivelly again, blimmin' 'eck, hope I'm better by Friday, got a VMCC thing to go to - and it might well be Bring Cubbie Home Day. Feels kinda odd not having Cubbie here, but Kawa is looking after it for the time being. Rumour has it, he's going to wash and polish it too....I won't recognise the poor wee thing!

Sunday, 15 March 2009

The Edinburgh Motorcycle Show 09

I don't want to whinge about it, but I've been ill all week, and Mrs BC most of the week before, so we weren't exactly looking forward to getting up at 6.30AM yesterday (Saturday). But my alarm rang so I leapt out of bed straight away, well, nearly, just a few more minutes... Of course, before we could leave we had to feed / check / water 60 sheep, and make sure the dogs had enough time outdoors, make a space in the van for both of us and our food supplies, and finally make sure the cats had been in, eaten and gone out again. We finally got away by 8.43, 18 minutes earlier than planned and arrived at the show, which is based at Ingliston, next to the Edinbugh airport, just before noon. My plan was to get a burger straight away as I knew if I started working and chatting to people I wouldn't get lunch until goodness knows when, and that would be too late. Feeling kinda poorly, one needs to eat when one feels 'able'. But that plan didn't work as we ended up heading to Shorty's Central Scotland VMCC stand - home of one Triumphant Tigery Cubbious. I can't go in to detail about the bikes (apart from the three other Cubs I saw...) as I've got to write a report for Old Bike Mart, but this is the biggest motorcycle show for both modern and classics, in Scotland, so you can probably imagine what it was like. Had a chat with Kawa, and saw my 'next bike' as he put it. In my confused state where I was running a rather high temperature and my legs were wobbly I didn't realise for a while what he was on about - sorry for being so dim Kwak! What he meant of course, was his 1980 Moto Morini 250cc 2c, which he has very kindly offered to lend me in the summer - it looks like my sort of bike, so I'm looking forward to it, and it'll give me a chance to do a few repairs to Cubbie...perhaps... Being the new VMCC Area Rep for Scotland I had a busy time meeting and greeting fellow members and taking note of any points they raised, so thank you to everyone who came and said 'hello', I think between us, we're got some great ideas. Thanks also to those who pushed money into my hand for Cubbies Counties sponsorship - and get this, even Eric Boocock, former British Speedway champ, has been following Cubbie's progress! He was impressed with the amount of road grime and oil on the bike and awarded Cubbie a special prize, something that perhaps a lot of exhibitors wouldn't want to be awarded...but a prize is a prize...see pic.... Some of the usual suspects were missing, but I did manage to catch up with the Ayr classic club and confirm that I shall be at their show in June to dish the awards out, a quick peek at Kawa's club stand, which was something to do with Kwakkysakkys, oddly enough, bumped into Dave, "Our Man from Morpeth" and his good lady Stella, who you might remember came to the Haggis run last year (er, they're from Morpeth, which is near Newcastle, which isn't near Alford, hence giving them a good mention. I dunno, try and keep up please!!), Joe from Shetland was there too (Edinburgh, not the Haggis run) and who else did I meet? Oh yes, Allan from somewhere to the south of Scotland who says he reads the blog regularly, and Jimmy Steel who does a lot of work in the borders club organising the Jimmy Guthrie Memorial rally. Finally got my burger at way past Hungry Hour, and had to put up with some stupidly loud and very very inappropriate for an indoor venue, 'drum' band. Bang bang bang flippin' BANG. By the time 5pm came I was ready to go home, apologies to those who thought I was just weird, or not very bright, I put it down to the temperature. Shorty was so concerned he even asked me if I felt as bad as I looked. Hmmm, something odd about that question now I come to think about it. Doug and Paula, the organisers of the classic section did a great job (again) of sorting everyone and everything out - I don't envy them! I might add more later if anything springs to mind, still not feeling 100% but seem to be lasting better today than yesterday, big BIG thanks to Kawa (you can give the bike a rinse now if you like) and his chum Fer, and to Shorty for helping to get Cubbie to the show, and hopefully home again.

PS, can't seem to get the hang of posting pictures these days. But I saw this choppy thingy and immediately thought of Darrell and BigBob. Enjoy.

Ah yes, forgot to mention the really high winds that made travelling a little difficult, and the three bikers we saw on the hard shoulder who had been stopped by the cops - probably just for their own safety no doubt. Mrs BC, I wasn't going to mention that you ripped Eric's name badge from his jacket!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Counties 20 & 21 - Kincardineshire & Forfarshire

Hi honey, I'm home. Couldn't find my thermals on Saturday morning, which set me back a bit, but decided to wear two thick tee shirts and a big jumper instead, and finally got away, just a few mins behind schedule. I had been looking forward to riding Cubbie through Aberdeen, I just love filtering, pop pop pop bang!!! But then as I was heading to Aberdeen, I suddenly thought I didn't fancy the trek down the dual carriageway to the south, so we steered a course cross country, out to Inverurie, then Dunecht, Westhill and Peterculter, before crossing the hills on the Netherley Road and into Stonehaven - birthplace of the inventor of the pneumatic tyre, a certain R W Thomson, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. They had a rally there each summer to commemorate the connections of the town to Thomson, never been but hope to get the club to go this year as we've been invited to have a club stand and to apply for the title of Club of the Year. The response from members so far though has been just a little come on guys! The rain had started by then, and the oil leak from the bit behind the primary chain case was humongous. Topping up the tank took over 300ml of my precious spare Q8 reserves, of which I normally only need a few spoonfuls for a top up, so I nipped in to the garage to get some more. But they didn't have any, and the lady I picked on to ask how far / how long it would take to get to Montrose has never driven a car in her life so didn't have a clue. Rain was still on, but I didn't care 'cos Dr Jim has fixed my lights and I can ride all day with them blazing away. Couldn't resist popping in to get some shots of Dunnottar Castle on the coast, then carried on, rattling away down to Montrose, where I would meet Smokey Child. He's from Arbroath but agreed to meet me in Montrose for the guided tour. We went down a 'no vehicles' pathway to a lighthouse, before wandering around the back lanes, past Lunan Bay and Red Castle ruins to Arbroath. The rain had gone but the air was full of a nasty grey drizzle, making my glasses huff up. Smokey certainly knows his local history, and took me to see The Ness at Victoria Park, the harbour with its brightly painted rows of houses and piles of creel (things) with the signal tower in the background. With the daylight fast slipping away (along with Cubbie's oil) we made one last stop at the birthplace of David Dunbar Buick, yep, that chap who went to America and made a few cars. Well I thought it was the last stop but Smokey had one more place to take me, Keptie Pond. A nice, peaceful setting, ducks and swans swirling around and the rain drops pinging down on the water. Generally what you might call a grey day, it was getting on for dark by the time we reached Smokey's abode, popped the bikes in the garage, Cubbie with a super size drip tray - I meant to say, the bike Smokey was on, was a rather nice 193? Panther, 250 I think he said. A really nice sounding chuff-chuff-chuffer of a machine.

Time for chocolate, back later.

Where was I? Oh yes, we got back to Smokey's place, and soon Mrs Smokey arrived home from work. She cooked up a super plate of fish and chips, followed by cream cakes, nice and healthy biker grub! Got a good sleep that night, despite the rain and wind absolutely hammering and howling on the window, and woke up to hear the birds twittering away outside. They were slightly misleading as the wind was still quite strong and bitterly cold, but after brekky Smokey and I togged up and set off on the bikes. He chose to ride his Suzuki V-Strom this time as the Panther would have trouble keeping up with Cubbie! We had planned to see a few more of the Forfarshire sights, but a combination of the severe oil loss and the not exactly enjoyable riding conditions, we decided to head straight to Shorty's house. Judging Cubbie speed is a difficult task these days as the cheap bicycle speedo that I bought has ceased to function and the original item is in bits, some bits are still on the bike and the rest are in a box in the lounge / workshop, so I had been going by the rate of charge. A fairly novel way I think you'll agree. I had somehow come to the decision that if Cubbie was charging at +3 with the lights on, in top gear, on level ground, then it must be close to 50mph, that's what it felt like anyway, but following Smokey, who was travelling at a very precise 50mph on his Suzuki, the rate of charge was only showing at +2. Hmmm, seems I was bashing on a bit going at +3, but it felt 'ok', I would have known if it hadn't felt 'ok'. We popped in to Glamis on the way for a few more pictures - you'll be aware that I had already been to Glamis on my Perthshire visit, but a malfunction with my photographic equipment meant I wasn't able to get all the shots I would have liked, so I got a few more, and who says I can't re-visit a county if I like, it's my game and my rules, so there! Most of the way to Shorty's we were riding headlong in to a gale, but hunching down over the tank and tucking my elbows and knees in tightly, aided by my rucksack performing as a racing hump, Cubbie managed splendidly. Of course, when we arrived, I got nothing but abuse from the two guys, they probably felt there was safety in numbers. Shorty even left Cubbie out in the snow! Poor ikkle Cubbie, goes all that way only to be treated like a second class motorcycle.

So that's Cubbie, half way to the Edinburgh show, and just waiting for a lift from Kawa on Friday. Then I'll have to work out how to get it home again. Talking of which, I came home on the train and was stung for £30 for a ticket. Not funny, I was expecting it to be a tenner, like it said on the website the previous day. Then the wifie at the snack bar tried to charge me £2.99 for a drink and filled roll, when the sign advertised it as £1.99. I only had £2.70 on me in cash, the cash machine charged two pounds for making a withdrawal, and the WH Smith kiosk didn't do cash back, so I snuck past the snack bar (where my order was waiting for me) and got some junk food from the machine, only to find 30p in the change/refund bit, which irks me somewhat because if I had checked in there first, I would have had enough to get my hot filled roll and a drink. Then the train was full of smelly stale people, there were no seats and I had reached my energy gap.

Still, Mrs BC laid on a corker of a roast dinner plus pudd to celebrate my appointment as Area Rep, followed by a box of Milk Tray, all to myself. And, the best bit, there are no horrible coffee flavoured ones.

Ok, that's the end, need to get a clutch puller to add to my tool kit so that when I get Cubbie back from the show I can fix the leak ASAP and carry on countying. I might stick a few more pics up tomorrow, and can you guess the name of the dog before then?

Thank you to Smokey and Mrs Smokey for providing shelter, food, help and hospitality.


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