Thursday, December 27, 2007

Eleftheria the Greek word for freedom. I could not resist putting this item into the sack of "gifts" destined for Peaslake.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Annual All Ireland Scrabble Challenge

Mother (winner)
Uncle Bill (runner up)
Nikos (loser)
Chris (loser too)

Of note was Nikos' clever use of "REV" twice in one game.

Bookshelf Retrospective of 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Beemer GS Territory

December in Southern Greece and we can see the Gulf of Nafplion from the road to Aghios Petros - and what a road to travel on two wheels.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mythos is Good for You

Actually Amstel isn't bad either.

A Villagistic Salad

Here is what is known in Greek Tourist Industry circles as a Horiatiki.
Prince Phillip was born in Corfu in 1921.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Unstoppable BMW

The PR man should be shot - the new F800GS should be equipped with state of the art disc brakes rather than those hit or miss drum things with leading and trailing shoes and all that stuff.
The punters at the NEC don't seem to care - it was almost impossible to get my leg over - In desperation I had to manhandle small snotty nosed children off the saddle only to discover that all the machines on the floor had the low seat option only.
In true BMW fashion even the centre stand is an extra - Never mind I can't afford one so that is that.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Adenoid Hinkel "Project"

Heinkel Tourist

From the potential restoration project to an Africa busting Long Way Down contender: Probably not.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Steer, don’t brake… steer, don’t brake… steer, don’t brake…”

Nobody wants the Spanish inquisition: Your enemies in panic are: roll-off the gas, tighten on the bars, a narrowed field of view, fixed attention, steering in the direction of the fixed attention, no steering (frozen), or inadequate steering, and braking errors, and a fanatical allegiance to extreme road positioning....


I always thought that the Smart Blade was pointless. This decal conversion at least retains the roof. I'm curious as to the views of BMW Motorrad regarding "passing off".

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sods Law Lives

Dear Kevin
I'm sorry that I have not completed my practical braking and counter steering exercises. I had been looking forward all week to Sunday morning and the solitutude of my favourite large empty car park.
But no, 10:00 a localised and heavy volume of rain descended on Guildford (just look at the blue bits on the weather map).
B***** and Blast.
No doughnuts.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I tried to think of an approach that wouldn't involve stroking courgettes

Catherine Townsend - is she real?
I must spend more time lingering around the organic vegetable section at Waitrose.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Filing Cabinet from IKEA

Oh my God!

Competitive Dog Walking

A Swiss Sunday activity in the Jura but not for me.
Pour moi a brisk stroll from the car to the restaurant with distant views to Mont Blanc, a cheese fondu soaked up with a bottle of Pinot Noir.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Survival Skills Rider Training e-course

Beats getting cold.....

Survival Skills

e-Course Syllabus

October 07 16 Oct

  • Your Profile—Getting to know each other
  • Hazard Awareness Video—What did you spot?
  • Highway Code Quiz—The Rules of the Road
  • Stability—Bikes don’t balance naturally, they need help
  • Posture—Are we sitting comfortably?
  • Braking Quiz—Before you learn to go, it’s a good idea to know how to stop
  • Practical 1—Braking Exercises
  • Why do accidents happen?—Minor errors stack up
  • Risk Assessment—To ride safely we have to understand risk
  • Using speed and direction changes to advantage—Defensive Riding Skills
  • What is a Hazard?—two different ways of thinking about them
  • Reacting to the Clues—where to look and what to look for
  • Grading hazards for risk i—some familiar accident scenarios
  • Practical 2—Identifying hazards
  • Grading hazards for risk ii—assessing junction accidents
  • Survival Reactions—when instinct takes over
  • Practical 3—simple steering exercises
  • Conspicuity Aids—some important questions
  • Reading the Signs—using road signs and markings
  • Reading the Informal Clues—what else can we see?
  • The Proactive Approach to Riding—not leaving things to chance
  • The Safety Bubble—positioning choices
  • Practical 4—Safety, Stability, View
  • Dead Ground vs the Vanishing Point—what you can see, what you can’t see
  • The Vision Line—opening up the view ahead
  • Practical 5—Finding the Vision Line
  • Throttle Sense vs Positive Braking—pros and cons
  • Advanced Braking Theory—alternative techniques
  • Gears—the forgotten link
  • Practical 6—gear exercises
  • Throttle Control—using the right throttle/gear combination
  • Throttle Use in Bends—ensuring optimum machine balance
  • Practical 7—throttle exercises
  • Understanding Bends—what are our goals?
  • Understanding Bend errors—what goes wrong?
  • Machine control and Bends—how it works
  • Bends and Lines—pros and cons
  • Practical 8—slow, look, lean & roll
  • Practical 9—reference points
  • Practical 10—thirds
  • Putting it together—Point and Squirt
  • A complete system for Bends—in table form
  • Restraint into a Bend—knowing where to go slow
  • Planned Riding—’tick list’ or ‘holistic’?
  • Progress vs Restraint—how close is well judged to “oops”?
  • Overtaking—progress or restraint?
  • Practicing Skills—how do we get better?
  • Conclusions—winding up the course

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

The First Environmentalists?

Joan and Robert - it's a hard rain that's gonna fall.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

BMW Herald

My successful second tour of Woodley on successive Sundays at least was rewarded with a cheery welcome "are you lot still at it?" and a waived entrance fee at the Berkshire Aviation Museum. Some interesting stuff displayed there - the gyrodyne helicopter is quite unique (the main rotor blades were powered by little jets in the tips).
Operational notes:
Encouraging news: Low fuel warning light does work - the bad news is there's only 2l remaining contents - call that a reserve??

Clarkson Claptrap

I don't want to be rude Jeremy but surely you have produced enough - now you are all at it, James and Richard too. I even saw the motoring thoughts of Boris at the airport book shop. Who buys this stuff?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Prick of the Week

2 floors below Macca you were doing the Am Drams proud.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Babel Fish "translates" a German insurance claim....

open brook Damage caused by water Nr.:88407187/ 101 BBV insurance

Dear Mr. Jung,

gladly I answer the questions to them to the damage course of events after best knowledge and certain.

Ad 1) when installed the company Frensch the dishwasher of KW onto the WW- line?

Mr. Frensch and Mr. Vangioni were to 13.7.07 of 10:15 17:00 o'clock here and too secondly worked. I had service, my nut/mother was in the house. Mr. Frensch and Mr. Vangioni move freely in the house and you are permanently controlled here, I cannot not say, what one worked.
Mr. Frensch was to 20.7.07 of 10:45 - 16:45 o'clock here in the house. It little things made, with the waterclock, with handwashsink etc., I had service and has it not seen which it does not make, my nut/mother was in the house and has sometimes after Mr. Frensch looked, since you also must settle things in the house.
Mr. Frensch was to 28.8.07 of 13 18 o'clock in the house and differently discharges worked on here. Thus it attached z. B the single kitchen under the roof to the discharge and sealed the wash basin in the blue bath with white silicone (outside). This it showed me personal, because I was there, I had a physician date and came in former times of the work as otherwise.
Mr. Frensch criticized himself over the connection of the dishwasher at KW line, this is no "German standard" and without my permission, this connection changed! This must have taken place at 13.7., 20,7 07 or 28.8.07, I had in each case night duty at the 13.7 and 20.7.07. My nut/mother reports to me that about the warm water, which is fed over the solar plant it was spoken with my nut/mother. Mr. Frensch says: "it is so unfortunate, which was not used in the best way the hot water, then the heating with this water was also not fed, I the wrong heating machine would have been gotten, one can however the hot water for the dishwasher use". Thus the connection was exchanged, I came at night from the work and was posed before "completed facts".

The kitchen became of my friend, "Nikos", which lives in England, on the long weekend 01,3. - 04.03.07 and on weekend 17./ 18 3 07 inserted. It is Dipl.Ing. for electronics, mechanics and Aeronauitic and in Oxford studied, moreover it is trained as an engineer for airplane machines with Rolls- Royce. It has to attach the knowledge and the capacity a dishwasher duly. The machine was used by me rarely, ran however perfectly without damage caused by water. Understandably was nods hereditary east, which Mr. Frensch everything changed, which functioned: I had to pay also still expensively.

Ad 2) credit it seen that company Frensch, in person of the Mr. Frensch, whom silicone drop inserted into the water pipeline for KW (chilled water)?

Ad 3) of case the company Frensch this plug did not bring in, has you an explanation for the presence of this plug who could these have brought in?

No, I did not see this, since I work by day as a lady doctor. My nut/mother did not see this also, since you permanently beside Mr. Frensch it cannot stand in addition Mr. Frensch already once over the fact criticized itself that my nut/mother checks again and again, which the workers drive in such a way. (we had very bad experiences with workers, and Mr. Frensch and Mr. Vangioni are very slow and very expensive). It is not an hour proof note February 07 was delivered.

Only who is to have inserted the silicone except Mr. Frensch into the hose connector screwed onto the tap of the chilled water line?? How already mentioned live does my friend Nick Laskaris in England, why he should do a so illogical, consequence-fraught thing as a trained engineer? Why should I do silicone potting in such a way into that, on the tap screwed on, hose connector or my nut/mother? A correct screw-type cap cost only 3, 95 € ?!! I was gladly that I can live slowly in a normal house, I am as a lady doctor a very hard working Mrs., I need a normal dwelling to be able to recover a cosy at home around me from the work and my very responsible work duly, for the well-being of humans, I work with LIVES and DEATH, to complete. Why should I destroy my nearly finished house voluntarily???? Why should my heart-ill nut/mother do this, those to peace needs??

Mr. Frensch forgets again and again material, I must then wait, until can be continued, I must the Arrivals/departure costs expensively pay, with the next time has he again something forget. Thus z. B runs. Waterclock already since eternities backwarts, because he again and again the wrong "direction change-over switches", how he says, has!! Why e.g. Mr. Frensch cannot have forgotten "simply" the correct screw-type cap for KW of line, it was to date on the tap of the chilled water line the screwed on hose connector! So it has f.e.. "fast times" "silicone into the hose connector inserted", and wanted to correct this with the next time, has it however times again forget? This would be a possible explanation. Further company or installation is not here busy.
To mention is, Mr. Frensch, as would above describe, with a substance, which looks like silicone, also the discharge of the wash basin in the blue bath "sealed" from the outside has, this can one see still. Why Mr. Frensch forbade to me (I am the owner of house!) To show the strange damage. He said: "it wants to see and photograph first the damage". I asked myself that, and said, first the insurance, and/or your adjustment office had to see Jung GmbH the damage. The eve of your coming on the part of Mr. Frensch a telephone terror was operated, the telephone rang to ca.10x. What did it want to aim at thereby? As a Mr. Frensch permitted was on the next day to be come to come i.e. then, even if you are before places, came he not, he came not to the agreed upon date. (a witness: Mr. Naumann, and it Mr. Jung).

Ad 4) when was exactly the damage day and to which time the damage by whom was determined?

The damage day is Sunday of the 16.9.07. My nut/mother and Nikos were in England and for me with the car an old iron bed with mattress bring along. They arrived over Belgium at 12 o'clock to 15.9.07 at Wiesbaden. I made a beautiful midday meal (roast with supplement) cooked. We ate comfortably on the balcony. Because so much table-ware had resulted, we wanted to use the dishwasher. Nikos the dishwasher granted and employed. Everything functioned normally. We held a Siesta and undertook then a bicycle route. At 23:00 o'clock I eliminated the machine. Over approx.. 2 o'clock was at night my nut/mother in the kitchen and which to drink got itself. Against 4 my friend in the half sleep water heard, thought however it would rain and continued to sleep. I did not hear and slept nothing at all through. At 8 o'clock in the morning to 16.9.07 my friend wanted to cook the and saw the damage. He closed the taps under the rinse, it came for water from the KW line. We caught immediately to
the water on to wipe, the tenants Mueller, Mr. Frensch (it acknowledged only at 15 o'clock!) to inform and Mr. Naumann. When wiping I discovered the silicone small sausage. We have to reconstruct then the act course of events tried. At 18 o'clock Nikos had to go to the airport /Ffm, since its machine flew to England at 19 o'clock.

Ad 5) who has the dishwasher on this day switched on and opened the inlet for the water?

My friend Nikos the dishwasher granted and employed. He means that he only controlled the inlet. At this time nothing was noticeable to it.

Ad 6) was not used the dishwasher, since the assembly by the company Frensch, therefore he was taken for the first time in enterprise, since the assembly?

After Mr. Frensch made the change, i.e. the waterbringing of KW line attached to the WW- line, it it once briefly tried (my nut/mother says). We again used it then only to 15 9 07.

It stands firmly that the master for sanitary -, heating engineering and installation Mr. Frensch the functioning connections of my friend without my consent changed. It took the waterbringing of KW line to the WW- line, for ecological reasons, forwards. KW of line became secured only with a hose connector screwed onto the tap, which was locked with a silicone small sausage. That ARRANGES was not used would have had to be used screw-type cap by the master Fresch, however, if the work had been completed correctly. Would the CORRECT screw-type cap, that costs at PRAKTIKER 3, 95 € , attached, would have I now not this mad damage. Since I assume a master makes correct, good work, I did not check naturally, which one can make for me in addition, not reproach.
No other company or installation was in this house.
My friend Nikos was in England and came once to 26.7. - 29.7.07 with its son Christopher and to 15.9.-16.9 07 to attendance, here, the iron bed recovered brought and NO work at the house made, since no need was there in addition, it was here everything so far finished! My nut/mother did not make installation works (cannot do you also) and I am most time at working and nightshifting "to push", I am glad, if I may recover finally times on weekend!

The damage will ever larger, the cover of the kitchen molders and we sit here and to become ill. I hope that the work can begin immediately.

With friendly greetings

Monday, October 1, 2007

Until next week, you are all my sunshine.

Just get me reception of XM's Deep Tracks Channel on Wednesday evenings PLEASE.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A tale of very Mixed Transport Modes and Grommet

It started at Woking Station at 17:25 on Friday - there we all stood a motley collection of expectant Railair passengers with flights to catch at Heathrow that evening. Whilst I savour fresh air, standing in the rain with water dribbling down by neck next to an informative notice stating "This Room is Closed" on the door of the waiting room was unpleasant and made only slightly tolerable by the excuse for me to examine closely two BMW G650 models parked behind the building - one was a 2004 model Dakar that looked somehow nicer than the current model and the other a 2000 standard model with funny looking engine casings and front fairing.

It had transpired that 17:30 bus had departed at 17:20, according to a Virgin pilot - he had seen it driving out of the station courtyard as he had emerged. Station staff were clueless - operated by National Express. Naional Express staff said nothing to do with us - it's Railair. I have only ever missed a flight once before - from Stansted and that was the M25's fault. At 18:30 I raised a shout from the taxi rank "anyone for Heathrow? - we can split the fare!". The Virgin pilot and a smartly dressed management consultant type lunged forward and we arranged to pay the cooperative driver £10 each. The Virgin pilot was meeting his daughter at Heathrow to fly her to New York! The Management consultant type was returning home to Gozo, where he is able to live for £200 a month! He commutes to England every month and stays for8 days a to work. I do enjoy these chance enounters. It's started me thinking...Anyway, British Airways were 4 cabin attendants short so the flight was delayed 2 hours. Total Journey time Guildford to Frankfurt 7 hours.

The reason for today's picture? Simple - the second notable sight of today's motorway drive from Germany to Surrey was observed somewhere near Bruges where I chanced upon a motorcycle and side car driven by a bearded man bespectacled in goggles, sporting a jet style helmet, and with a dog standing nose to wind in the side car thoroughly enjoying herself. The Belgiums are eccentric and that's great! The first notable sight was a LJK Setrightesque figure clad in smart one piece leathers and sporting a Ducati 749 who swept into the service area where I was sipping a coffee, hopped off his machine . After dehelmeting, he lit up his pipe and puffed contentedly for 5 minutes before jumping back on the 749 and performing an extremely accelerative exit onto the E40 probably hitting the ton on the slip road. Very nice to watch. He was probably stopping off on his way back from Church.
Oh yes, journey time Frankfurt to Guildford via Norfolk Lines 11 hours.

Monday, September 24, 2007

BMW Club Forum (oilheads tech q+a)

Don't you just love forums:

PAULY750 asks
"I have a 98 R850R, love the bike but the slow speed steering is rather directional......"

Nikos says - What else do you expect from steering? The ability to knock up a meal for four people from a piece of mouldy cheese and a rust encrusted tin of sardines 15 years and 3 weeks past its sell buy date?
R1100RMAN responds
"........ The R models are very quick steering compared with the other models....."

Nikos says - Stone the crows, the "other models" must handle like the Titanic!
"....When you say "directional" I assume you're talking quick steering and needing little input to move away from a straight line?"

Nikos says - He probably means that the bike is so sodding top heavy that it keeps falling over!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

RBR Sortie #1

I have realised that it is admittedly a little late in the calender to start RBR : I am nevertheless determined to score more than a duck. I set off at crack of dawn (09:30) to bag some landmarks close to home. I'm borrowing the verb "to bag" for this activity from a fellow blogger - I'm actually taking up an invitation to visit suggested landmarks on the "enclosed" list. By 11:00 two landmarks bagged - Holmbury St. Mary and Handcross. Maybe I would have gone for Cooling too had my ABS warning lights not started blinking (actually that was only part of the reason because they stopped again - other excuses include a headache brought on by very noisy visor seal, not pre-planning a route properly and not finding Cooling on the rather inadequate map that came in my my tank bag - and the distance seemed a bit of a there and back slog for 20 points). I now realise that this RBR thing is a good thing to do!
I need to address a rather annoying sartorial and waterproofing issue that came to light this morning when I put on my expensive REV'IT! overtrousers, size 156 long for the first time in anger - there appears to be an annoying 1/2 inch ventilation and water scooping gap between the top of my boots and the lower seam of the trousers (Editor: This is caused by crotch lift syndrome caused by sitting down and bending legs): Could it be that I need gaiters? Today's picture is courtesy of the wraps-chaps knee-necks website and these fine leather creations look rather nicer than the Goretex (tm) gaiters for sale in Millets.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Yes We Have No Ping F***its

Well we do actually, there's a little spring thing that lets the footpeg articulate and return and I need to replace the plastic bush that locates the spring (I had to modify the existing bush for the the footpeg lowering kit but cut far too much off). At least the new shift lever retaining bolt aka countersunk head screw part number 46521454158 went in OK.

Flemish Breakfast

Not bad for €1.90 the pair - kept me going from Gent to Wiesbaden. I normally take XXL so I bought two.....

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Fawlty Mechanic

"What's the bloody point of having a countersunk head screw part number 46521454158? It's there for bloody months and when you need to unscrew it to replace your shift lever, It just bloody blows your head of! " oops no meant to say ..."it just bloody knackers your tools and won't shift for love nor cursing".

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sailing By

The Dunbrody famine ship seen moored at New Ross.

The River Barrow

Other than my red RIB cruising along at 20mph/3200rpm/108dB, the Barrow presented itself as a tranquil unspoilt spot in S.E. Ireland.

Troublesome Two-Strokes

Takes me back 30 years - changing oily spark plugs. Some twat (me) thought that 2 year old 2 stroke mix from the flymo would be OK.......

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Tomtom Advantage

Through skilfull operation of the Tomtom "roadblock in 1 mile" function, the ferry did not sail from Pembroke Dock without the Editor - an accident on the A48 held up these losers who obviously did not follow me down narrow lanes, through farm yards and unknown villages.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Missing Link

Hopefully I can now change gear with a sensible area of my foot.

Sending Coals to Newcastle

Just received on the wake-up Radio 4 dozing in bed make me chuckle news feed download service:
Two goat breeders from Staffordshire has been marooned in Bulgaria for three weeks because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak. Keith and Christine Ball were transporting a herd of sixty five pedigree goats overland to Cyprus when the herd was impounded. Keith, Christine and their animals have spent the last few weeks living at a control point on the Bulgarian border. Tests on the goats have just come back but the couple don't expect to get home until September - more than a month after they left.
[What on earth are we doing exporting goats to Cyprus? - Ed]

Monday, August 13, 2007

Calling No. 99

No you dummy, Portmeirion is behind you and to the left.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Touristy Tattful Tintagel

Tintagel met all my expectations - it was crawling with grockles, its shops sold the usual tat and there was a an English Heritage cafe which served passable chocolate cake. Oh, and the castle seemed to have fallen down.

Norwegian Summer

Summer in Norway

I'm pleased to see that they are having a good time there too.


I is for the subject, me is for the object.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Better Aircraft Museum the Fleet Air Arm and a welcome tea stop just off the A303 at Yeovilton.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Looking for Sharks

Diving with sharks in the UK? Not really but an improvement from the 2006 fiasco- this time we made it to the mouth of the estuary before turning back. Mountainous seas and black clouds are not good for cage diving. Not a Sun reporter in site in Padstow - they were all at St Ives. As a consolation Richard treated us to a meeting with Mabel.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The New Throne

It looks like Grant at Surtrim in Haywards Heath has done a splendid job in raising my seat! Most of his clients have seat lowering surgery performed but I like to be different.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Is it a 'plane or a washing machine?

Come off it Jim French (MD British Europoean airlines aka, who are you kidding with this misleading piece of inflight literature - people collect this stuff you know!
Did I really produce almost my body weight in CO2 flying to Frankfurt last Friday? I had better eat some more apfel strudel. I agree with seat pitch bit tho' - bloody uncomfortable!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Spare a thought for those RBR's out today

True all weather souls by the looks of it -:(
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