Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Crisis

To each and every one of you, my wife and I wish you a happy crisis and may you avoid volcanic fall out in the New Year.
Or, as they say in Greek:
Καλά Χριστούγεννα και Καλή Xρονιά με Υγεία, Χαρά και Ειρήνη!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Boot Fetishism: How to do Everything.

A box of  bits arrive from Motorworks masquerading as a highly prized set of Authority ("Plod") engine protection bars for a BMW K75RT motorcycle.
Rarely in my 30 year career as a professional Engineer and part time motorcycle mechanic, have I had to resort to fetishm to acheive an end result.  In the absence of fitting instructions but with the heartening knowledge gained from the legendary oracle of Pensylvania Jack Riepe that the best way to fit BMW OEM parts is to drink a quart of Bourbon in the house whilst a mate struggles in the garage, I scoured the internet for clues.

First port of call is the excellent RealOEM website where an exploded parts diagram may be found for probably every BMW car or motorcycle ever made.  These diagrams are generally extremely useful. The trouble is the diagrams tend to be generic across different variants and certain parts such as item 19 below do not seem to have a home. The parts lists are specific to a variant and revealed that I need 2 part 19s but part 6 is in fact  a 10 x 65mm fillister head screw.

The BMW OEM parts list obtained from

I am indebted to Jean Bootsservice in Paris for showing me how Plod bars look installed on a K100.

Left hand bar complete with klaxon.

Right hand bar complete with klaxon.
Nice boots...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Another Place, Another Iconic Art Deco Renovation, Another Birthday.

Back when I had more grey hair on my head than today, I went to Antony Gormley's  Another Place.

On Mrs Nikos' recent birthday, I saw it as fitting recollection of our time in Cuxhaven to revisit Crosby beach on our way to another place.

No.97 is feeling the effects in this brass monkey weather

The drive from Crosby Beach to Windermere (not the another place but another place on route to another place), took us through the grinding suburbia of Southport and miles of semi-detatched squalor that seems to take away the feeling of being beside the sea.

Lake Windermere, another place but not the Another Place - the Cumbrian mountains form a backdrop.
We drove into the town of Windermere and made a stop for a traditional English lunch of chicken tikka massala.  After paying the Polish waitress and as the sun was  setting we headed for yet another place, but not Another Place a place where we would spend the night in non decadent style. Skirting around Lake Windermere we headed south with Coniston Water to our port beam.  I told Mrs Nikos about Donald Campbell, Bluebird and Mr Woppet.

Yet another place on Mrs Nikos' birthday tour of North West England.
This would be our first ever stay in a fully functional Iconic Art Deco Hotel dominated by a sea horse motif.

Shower drain

Clever staircase would work if the hotel listed by 90degrees
Early morning view of the prom and Cumbria.
Trouble is, the railway stopped coming to Morecambe Promenade.
The Midland Hotel Iconic Art Deco Hotel from the Promenade
The sun is eclipsed by the light of the Lighthouse cafe where overpriced Asda* instant coffee may be consumed.

* A typical ASDA shopper with her master.


Following a clarifying comment I present to you another typical ASDA shopper:

Friday, December 3, 2010

World Cup Euphoria

Nikos' soccer adverse pussy has been hiding for weeks now in the cat treat cupboard.
Hearing the news he emerged to steal milk
Brought to you by Pussyleaks (tm)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Autumn Leaves

"Autumn Leaves" offers a popular way for beginning jazz musicians to become acquainted with jazz harmony as the chord progression consists almost solely of II-V-I and II-V sequences which are typical of jazz.

The approach to Knutsford where shortly Sainsbury's and Waitrose supermarkets will appear.

Birthday treat at the office

Tubbyballs is introduced to free parking in Manchester
The GS gets colour coordinated Hel brake lines for the 2011 model year.
 And winter has arrived.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A baedda benwythnos am Portmadog

Cathrenwn i mewn 'r car heibio i Caerlleon a ar hyd 'r A55, llwybr damsangedig at lawer Gwyddeleg 'n feddw acha 'r ffordd at Caergybi. Ond hon amsera chorddwn at Betwys - y - coed a edmyga 'r 'n arddun 'n hydrefol banerau sprayed onto 'r allt barwydennau at 'r chreawdwr.

Cawn adolwyn at chyrch Mrs Nikos 'ma acha 'r motorcycle a Fi 'n dawel 'n felltigaid a ni i mewn 'r car. 'r lesewch chan 'r beic ydy a I’m mo wynebedig ag 'n ddianwadal hymarwar i mewn 'm ar ôl hoda yn bod a wnelo â 'm prolapsed choeten.
'r squalid gwesty 'n gyfnesaf at 'r chrychneidia chyfloga gorsaf

Chyraeddasom Porthmadog Travelodge , a benderfynedig at chymer bnawn de i mewn 'r 'n frasterog bath chan chwgn cair i mewn Tourist cynical Cymru. Cymraeg rarebit 'n ddiweddarach rhodiannwn am 'r dref a ca 'n grwn sodden i mewn 'r torrential bwrw glaw. Gorfoledda a daethom at car.

Ddes at Eryri achos 'r 'n flaen amsera 36 blynedd yn ôl a 5 fis at cathl chledrffordd adrywedd †“ awron a I’m 'n briod ail Fi don’t angen at cathl acha chysgaduriaid

'r heula ddisgleiriedig fel cerddedig am Portmeirion †“ chread chan  Clough Gwilym - Ellis a was 'n fawr i mewn 'r 'n bensaerniol salvage ddiwydiant.

Balfalai 'n gystal at bod 52!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gods and Monsters

The Glory that was Greece: coming soon to your TV screens but meanwhile here are some views of my odyssey to see all aspects of the Acropolis on a sunny November day.

View of the Acropolis looking NW

View of the Acropolis from the Pnyx, the seat of democracy.

Mr Apollo

Ms. Athena
Pussy Vespa

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

October at the NW Man Lab

There is nothing new about James May's Man Lab TV show - I have been acting this dream for what feels like a century with knowledge handed down by my Father and before him Michalis the gardener of my Grandfather in Πρίγκηπος .  In short, James May lacks that cutting edge that distinguishes a true Balkan Bodger from the boys:  but I don't benefit from the BBC licence fee.

First off, this is Jodrell bank, located at the Southern boundary of the NW Man Lab - I use it for micro waving IKEA meatballs at a range of 8 miles,

I needed to develop this sophisticated high pressure apparatus for removing the pistons from my GS front brake calipers - the cunning trick here is that the opposing pistons must be restrained by the use of the worn out brake pad and a piece of wood.

A pristine R100GS on display but not for sale at my local BMW Motorrad dealer photographed moments after I had spent £140 on 20 rubber O rings to overhaul my GS brake calipers - hence the slight camera shake.

One of my GS front brake calipers before overhaul: This is why its important to keep the brakes clean and not to rely on the servicing skills of an official BMW Motorrad workshop. Logically this should have appeared as the second image. Sorry.

NW Man Lab personnel on a a rest and resuscitation break on the River Rhine.  The air temperature is hovering around 32F.

These motorised barges plough up and down the Rhine between Basel and Rotterdam carrying essential spare parts for BMW motorcycles.

The flight deck of the Draco  at speed - I am at the controls of this opulent Volvo powered vessel previously owned by the third cousin twice removed of Aristotle Onassis' hit man and it featured in the pilot James Bond movie "From Stoke-on-Trent with Love".

We travel faster than a bouncing bomb through the spans of a reconstructed bridge.

For some reason the crypt of the Church at Oppenheim contains 20,000 human skulls and bones

The paint finish on the front forks of the GS shows signs of repeated attack by Greek goat shit so requires some attention.  Here is the application of Hammerite Special Metal primer that ensures that the top coat falls off within moments of application.

Back to the NW Man Lab kitchen where junior apprentice aka "dopey son" screws up the cooking of pasta.

Back to the front forks, having been painted with Hammerite smooth silver paint. N.B. image taken at 1/1000s to capture the moment just before it all fell off.

A truly splendid example of why the use of stainless steel fasteners in aluminium alloy is a very bad idea. Here I am drilling out the seized bolt on the left hand cylinder head that will need to be reconstructed with liquid metal filler and retapped.  Good luck to me.

Spanning the river Dane Twemlow near Holmes Chapel, the brick built viaduct is constructed of 23 arches each spanning 60 feet and 2,580, 191 bricks or so and stands at a height of 105 feet  and was completed in 1842.

Built in 1996, this fine BMW K75RT exhibits very little damage to either side as this picture clearly shows.
The next episode of NW Man Lab will include an update on the GS cylinder head catastrophe, new brake pads and lines and much much more of little general interest.
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