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Saturday, 8 May 2010

Catch up with GBC.

It's a hard thing to do you know, catch up with me. Even I can't manage it sometimes. What with the various seasonal tasks that need to be attended to here at Cubbie Towers (which should really be called Lamb Towers at the moment), my full time employment, my part time employment, running two bike clubs, trying to look after / build bikes, plus a little of the usual eating and sleeping, it's little wonder I'm keeping quiet on the blog. Sorry about that. When I get the time to sit down and rattle off a story, I thoroughly enjoy it, and I especially enjoy the feedback you guys give (when it works). So here's a couple of tales from the last few weeks - pull up a pew and here we go.

VMCC Founders Relay Rally - heck, why do I get such stick for being in the Vintage Motorcycle Club? You all think it's full of grumpy old blokes who do nothing but polish their bikes. Well it is, and it isn't. It's like any other club, whether it be a bike club or a model train club - not that I've ever been to a model train club meeting, honest. So last Sunday, the plan was to leave Cubbie Towers at 9am to head to our NE Scottish Section Checkpoint at Captain Bill's abode, near Keith, meeting up with Slick along the way. Bleary eyed, I reverse Cubbie from The Shed, careful not to get my shin trapped between the bags of rock hard cement that's stacked in there, and Cubbie. I managed that, but lining the back wheel up with the 'temporary' ramp at that hour of the morning was a little more difficult, especially as I also had to swerve around a metal oil drum at the bottom of the ramp, and miss the sticking-out bits of the trailer. Down to the front of the house and out of the wind, I unwrapped the special bundle of Cubbie-spanners - the ones I always strap on the back of the bike as a preventative measure - and started to freeze my fingers off by going around the bike checking all the nuts and bolts were tight. Everything seemed fine, so I squirted some WD40 into the levers and any other moving parts that looked rusty, and set the tools down on a cloth while I nipped in for a hot sausage sarnie. And down came the hail stones. Big ones. By the time I went out again, all the tools were wet, the cloth that I wrap them up in was soaked and Cubbie's seat had a fine layer of soggy hail stones on it. Off with the oil cap, tip a drop of finest Q8 in, same goes for the primary chain, and I almost just poured a few drops into the gearbox, but then decided I'd better check the level first, and do it properly. Remarkably, it only required 50ml to bring it up to max. The lights worked, so did the horn, and I finally remembered to wind some sticky tape around the back light to stop it rattling. I can't stand those annoying little rattles. Just as well I was running a little late, as I came back in to email Slick and found an email from himself, just a-waiting for me. He was going to have to cancel meeting me due to circumstances, but he might make it later. Hmmm, what would I do? I know, I'll have some more breakfast and have a think about it. Some other local members, Tony, Mark, Alan and Bob (I think), had set off at Sparrow O'Clock to venture south to the Checkpoints hosted by the Stirling Castle and Central Scotland Sections at Crieff, Doune and Pitlochry, and they estimated that they would be back up to Captain Bill's by 15:15, after first having called in at the Highland Section at Culloden. I formed a Plan B - I would leave about 1.30 / 2ish and wander over, arriving at the same time as all the rest.

Ah, I forgot to mention. When I'd got Cubbie out of The Shed, the 48 year old spring on the side stand gave way, leaving me with only one option - string plus a bungee as backup. Cubbie fired up first kick, and ran oh so sweetly. We pop-pop-popped up the drive, trying not to frighten the living daylights out of the lambs, and after Mrs BC had assisted with both gates (well I couldn't just hop off the bike and flick the stand down, could I?) the first port of call was Turriff, for fuel. A whopping £5 filled the tank, and after leaning the bike against the brick wall, I went in to receive the customary mouthful of abuse about my rusty old bike, blah blah blah. First kick again and we were off. Out onto the twisty road to Aberchirder, known locally as Foggie, first over, and then alongside the river Deveron - prime salmon water that is - until the two routes split for a while, and then once as far to Bridge of Marnoch, I could see the river again. I couldn't resist stopping for some photos, and even found a convenient telegraph pole to lean Cubbie against.

The sun was rather warming by now, but there was still a nasty chilly breeze. Still, the perfume of the gorse bushes in full flower, combined with being able to sit and watch a buzzard swooping and soaring above the valley, with the sparkling and twinkling river at the very bottom made it quite bearable. I could have sat there all day, but I had a checkpoint to get to. First kick, away we go. After crossing the main A95, up past the small church, the road narrowed to single-plus-a-bit track, with gravel strewn all over the place. Nothing coming though so we're able to plough on down any bit of the road we feel like, slowing by the house that usually has chickens and ducks roaming freely outside, before roaring off and leaving a cloud of dust behind. I have to stop again for more pictures, enticed by the glint of a wind turbine on the far hill - hadn't noticed it before. Down the hill, up the hill, right at the top and there's a sign for Captain Bill's place. Slick is already there, and so is John H (with his smart Douglas) and Paul Tebbet who had come all the way from Spean Bridge, via Culloden on his 350 BSA. It must have been something I said, or maybe it was because I didn't take a cake, but John and Paul upped and left as soon as Cubbie pop-pop-popped into the driveway. What I say??

All was soon a hive of activity as Maurice turned up on his Velo, and we ganged up on Bill and persuaded him to let us have a look in the shed...lots of lovely things in there.... With the day coming to a close, Maurice went home, and Slick waited for me while Bill found a nearly-suitable spring for the sidestand.

It needed a few tweaks and then it was the perfect fit. Slick and I had a great run back to Turriff, along a route I hadn't been down for years - not since Mrs BC and I broke down there when I was learning to drive and we bought some petrol from a garage that unbeknown to us, had a bit of a reputation for having dirty / contaminated fuel. I remember it well, it was a dark, dark night (probably raining too, although I obviously don't remember it that well if I can't recall what the weather was like), and this particular bit of the road was tree lined with tall eerie beech trees. Owls were a hooting....strange sounds could be heard - ok, so that was just the poor car coughing and choking on that dank fuel! It was a much more pleasant experience in daylight, and while Slick stopped for a nicotine boost, we sat and listened to a wood pecker hammering out his tune. Oh, and in case you're wondering, Tony and Mark were the only ones from the other group to make it as far as Bill's, and after clocking up over 400 miles they were in desperate need of a generous helping of the hot soup that was on the stove. The estimated 3.15pm arrival time was a little out, I think they said they got there about 8pm!

So there's the first bit of the catch up, will post some pics when I can - off to check a ewe who might be lambing now (00:24) and then on Monday proper, I'm booked in to give a talk at the Stirling Castle VMCC Section. Also, I apologise now but I haven't had time to re-read this post so it might be a load of rubbish!


The Chief Bodger said...

As busy as ya get it's a wonder you have time to post anything, but we is glad ya does 8)

The sign in thingy is still acting up though. Bah!!!

Darrell said...

Wow. I can barely handle 1 job, a few hobbies,and a second job.
But, as always a good post.
Looking forward to more pictures, since I can't make it to see/hear the Roarer.

Lindsay said...

If you have a gmail account, sign into that first, then open another browser tab and come to this site on it. You will then be already signed in to post comments on the blog.

Good read BC. How many lambs this year?

Gorgeous Biker Chick said... idea how many lambs!! LOTS!! The one figure I do know is that there are only FOUR more to go...4 and counting...

Don't worry Darrell, there will be pictures a-plenty.

Bodger, sorry you're still having probs with this thing, I'll go back on the help pages and see what the story is.

Lindsay said...

How many have you had to hand rear? And can you get them back to mum after taking over for a while or are you stuck with them until they are weaned?

Anonymous said...

Nice to hear Cubbie's fit and well and cantering round Scotland's glorious countryside.

Let's see if this one appears, all my comments seem to get lost too these days :-(


Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Good to hear from you again Stu, sorry you're having all this bother. Every day, I get a spam comment or 3 - how come they get through!!

Linds, once they're off their mums we're stuck with them. Got 6 at the mo to feed - various age gaps too, so some will need feeding after the bigger ones are's all good fun...still...lots of mutton and mature lamb available in time!

sfb said...

Nice piccies. I like Slick's Guzzi.


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