Well it has been a fun few days. I'm afraid you're going to have to listen to this drivel (or at least read it) before you get the story about Cubbie. I recently got the car back after 6 months of sourcing, and then having fixed, through friends of friends, a very rare (I mean the second hand version is rare, buying the new part would require a re-mortgage) exhaust manifold for it. Then after a couple days on the road, the next section of the zorst broke. No problem though, 'cos ignoring the money side of it, I can just use the van while the car is being mended. Well, I could do, if the alternator hadn't gone kerrpuutt. But that's no problem either, 'cos Ill just phone up the local scrappy and get a cheap second hand one and fit it myself. Er, no. These Fords, they're as rare as rare can be, at least, my one seems to be. First of all, I couldn't even get access to the alternator without taking the wheel off and half of the engine out. Then, when I finally found all 17 of my ring spanners, none of them fitted. So I gave up and took it to the garage. I picked up the 'new' alternator from the only scrappie in Scotland who thought they had one, but it didn't fit, so a few days later, when I was passing, I swapped it for another one, that didn't fit either! Ended up asking the garage to re-fit the old one so that I could drive to the scrappie and they could look at the fittings more closely. That was today, and on the way, I decided I just wanted it fixed, ASAP, in fact, I neeeeeed it fixed, as I can't be without a 4 wheeled vehicle, so I diverted to the local auto electrician. He had a look and declared on the spot, that he had a brand new one on the shelf, and that having the old one reconditioned would be nearly as costly as the new one. Don't you just hate it when you end up doing what you were trying all along, to avoid doing. However, I don't suppose you want to know about my car and van woes. But writing this has just reminded me, I must thank the sender of choc and pink things - parcel landed safely at a very good moment, and I hope you got the email. And thanks to Kawa for the DVDs that arrived.
Right, you'll be really upset to find out that I'm not about to do the Cubbie's Counties recap. Oh no, I've got a much better story for you for this week. You can have the recap later - I did start to write it but then it vanished, just like that.
So here we go, Cubbie's Homecoming - I had to nip over to Banchory on the weekend and due to my 4 wheeled vehicle hiccups, decided to go on Cubbie. It's not far, compared to my Easter weekend bonanza, only about 50 miles each way. The weather was up and down, sunny and still one minute and then cold, dull and raining the next, with a strong icy breeze. Brrr. Still, I'd made my decision so I togged up and set off. Down the hill into Fyvie, I love that bit, shutting off the throttle induces a raucous pop-pop-pop-BANG! Hehe, how childish, tsk tsk. Rather than taking the main road to Inverurie, I cut over the back way, through what used to be a small village, Rothienorman, but is now expanding rather too fast for my liking. The road took me past a turning on the left that I keep meaning to explore, but I couldn't be bothered, too cold for that malarkey. A quick peek in the tank at Drum of Wartle petrol station and I thought I could make it to Inverurie - I know I should support the local garages but it's hard when they're a few pence dearer than the big town ones. The were a couple of police cars attending the scene of an accident just outside town, but having only two wheels, I managed to pick my way through the scattered glass on the road. One car appeared to have a road sign growing out of it, but everyone looked ok, thank goodness. A quick petrol stop at Morrisons, a nod from a modern rocket rider, and then down the A96 and onto dual carriage way to the turning for Dunecht. It's quite a nice road, over hill and dale, passing through small hamlets and then whooshing you into the heart of huge estates, lined with towering stone walls and age old trees. Just out of Dunecht, and on the way to Echt, a farmer was busy on his tractor, kicking up a fine earthy dust that drifted across the road, very nice, all over my visor. Nearing Banchory the roads get bigger and straighter, and therefore, less interesting to a Cubbie rider, but we ploughed on. The rain kept threatening but held off long enough for me to make my destination. Funnily enough, I pulled up at the lights just a split second behind a sports bike rider who had blasted past me several miles ago. Business was taken care of, Cubbie started first kick and I set off for home. It was quite chilly by then so I stopped to put my waterproofs on, which made the sun come out and I was roasting. It occurred to me, as I approached the village of Lyne of Skene, that I ought to pop in and see Cubbie's previous owner. It was something I'd been meaning to do for ages, although each time, I'd put it off, feeling a tad nervous about how we would be received, for no other reason than the amount of cable ties and silicone sealer that is holding the bike together.
But I needn't have worried. I rode into the yard, and as luck would have it, a man was just carrying a load of logs into the house. He looked a bit confused at our arrival. I didn't recognise him, so I asked him if he was the guy from whom I had bought a Tiger Cub in several boxes, some six years ago, and it turned out he was. Indoors for a cuppa (mine was a cranberry juice, 'cos as you know, I don't drink cuppas) and a chat. We swapped a few stories and I told Nick and his wife all about the Cubbie's Counties charity challenge. Then he broached the subject of the electrics, and told me of the problem he had experienced during his ownership, where, after riding for about 25 miles, the bike would cease to charge. But if he left it a while, started it on 'emergency' and rode on again, it would be ok for another 25 miles. A weird one that, but due to his self confessed analytical nature, he worked out that it was all down to some dirt and gunk lurking in the bottom of the battery being swilled around. I told him of my charging woes from last year, when I undertook an unsuccessful search of the country to find a 3 wire alternator / round thingy that lives in the primary case. You may remember all the trouble that caused, and in the end Dr Jim fixed it by cleaning up some connections, and fitting one of his prized gel batteries. He also insisted on giving me a new tax disc holder, which looks very nice, but I don't think it helps the charging...or does it?
Amongst other things, Nick commented on the rather good handling of the Cub, but I had to update him on that one, with a seized swinging arm and leaky front forks the handling these days is a bit, erm, bendy? Bouncy? Bumpy? All of those really. Apparently the swinging arm had seized in his day too, I think he said he pressed it out and fitted new bushes, which helped. You should have seen him wince when I said I pressed it out with a lump of wood and a big hammer....hehe! That was when I didn't know any better. Which is implying that I DO know better now... The subject of the lime green undercoat on the rear number plate also cropped up, and I'm glad, because I've often wondered about it. It was like that when Nick bought it, and he was stopped by the cops for it, so painted it black. After an hour or so of reminiscing, I handed Nick The Key. I don't often give up The Key willingly, but this was different. I'd be delighted if someone I'd sold a bike-in-bits to, came back with it all done up and let me have a spin. The sun seemed to be out permanently now, and by the time Nick had run around the house looking for his helmet, boots and bike jacket which I don't think he had worn for about 30 years, it was positively warm. His wife seemed quite calm about the idea, but it was only after Nick had ridden off into the distance and she had captured the moment on her digital camera (video and pics to follow soon, I hope) that she said he hasn't ridden a bike since he'd last worn that jacket.... Oh. Right. Well. Gulp.
We could hear him coming well before we saw him. And as we did see him, he came tearing straight past us as if to head off around the circuit again. With a loud back fire and a bit of revving (he'd quickly got used to the fact that Cubbie won't tick over) he did an about turn and parked up in his yard, with a humongous Cubbie grin on his face.
All in all I think it was a most successful visit, I'm glad I popped in. Not only did Nick give me an old receipt (and some spark plugs found in the pocket of his bike jacket) from when he purchased Cubbie, but he's put me in touch with the guy who owned it before him, so look out for more Cubbie history tales.
You can have the Cubbie's Counties update next time. And some pics of Nick riding Cubbie just as soon as they land at Cubbie Towers.