Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Red Mythos, Mr Bean and Austerity

Casting aside the doom laden FCO travel advice, I travel to Athens to visit my inheritance aka my Big Fat Moneypit Greek Ancient Ruin (please feel free to rearrange that into some acronym or other).  By the way acronym comes from the Greek words acro, meaning high, and nym  meaning nym - thus proving that virtually all pretentious words used in English come from Greek.

Whilst browsing the Διαδίκτυο free of charge in Syntagma Square I discover the pleasure of Mythos Red, a sort of Newcastle Brown for the thinking man (on holiday in Greece).

A BMW R75/7 purrs past for the third time as we eat at the most traditional family restaurant that we can find, the rider wearing  the obligatory crash helmet in the customary way.

There now follows a little piece concerning the Corinth Canal whose construction was started in AD 64 by Nero and completed just in time for the 2004 Olympic games.  The logic for this is that Mrs Nikos arrived and wanted to visit her winter cottage that nestles high in the mountains of Arcadia and the journey involves passing over the Corinth canal - geddit??

The charming hamlet of Isthmia sits at the entrance to the Saronic gulf where a specially constructed sinking bridge allows tourist buses to sample over priced fare either in the prefecture of Corinthia or in Attica (actually both sides may be in Corinthia but as nobody ever reads this stuff so what the hell).

The bridge has just been raised to allow me to take a down the canal low level photograph - the canal is blocked.

And here we are  - a  view towards the Gulf of Corinth complete with a distant bungy jumper.

The obligatory dog with a collar

We travel on the E65 through Argolis towards Arcadia - the sign posts have been renewed but due to austerity measures distances cannot be displayed.

 Chateau Mrs Nikos

 The way to the local (actually the way back from the local)

At the local we are treated to Mr Bean on a TV nestling in with the bottles of Metaxa -  funding for decent programmes on Greek TV has been terminated due to austerity measures (in fact they have never had decent programmes).  The locals don't quite know what to make of Mr Bean but they seem impressed when I tell them that I once studied at the same University as Rowan Atkinson - they can relate to Manchester United quite well as football is a national obsession.

 This is the view from the coast to the village where Chateau Mrs Nikos is located.

 On the way back to the airport we stumble across a Polish HOG fest.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Nikos and the Arse of Motorcycle Maintenance

Or to put it another way how one man's 10 minute job can take 2 days and 6 hours whilst wearing hideously coloured Landsend plastic clogs.

The logic system and the reasoning of how to approach a task such as replacing a blown fork seal is clearly laid out in the famous Pirsig work but this is of little application when working on a BMW motorcycle.  Rather we must take  benefit from the the heavyweight pessimistic Clymer Workshop manual (take the whole of the fork assembly off including the fuel tank) or the applicable works of Steptoe on the UKGSers Forum (it's a 10 minute job guv).

1. Acquire parts: elapsed time 2 days. Cost £17.38 including VAT at 17.5%.

2. Remove a rubber cover, lose it, apply 14mm socket to seized nut whilst sticking a 22mm open ended spanner around the bit where I'm sticking it sort of thing:  elapsed time 20 minutes and a  grazed knuckle.

3.  Push fork insert down and wiggle it then pull it out.  Pull out and drip corrosive and highly carcinogenic special BMW fork oil all over clothing and front of motorcycle: elapsed time 10 s.

3 again.  Rush into kitchen to get a ramikin that a Gu chocolate pudding came in to catch remaining drips of corrosive and highly carcinogenic special BMW fork oil for reuse later: elapsed time 2 hours (why does the Mrs Nikos always call when I'm half way through a  delicate job?

4. Remove push fit nuclear toleranced dust seal that will not budge without extreme brute force: elapsed time 45 minutes.

5. I cheated here as I removed the circlip really easily; elapsed time 1 minute.  Notice the crafty kitchen roll shoved down the bore so that debris would not fall down into fork oil that remained ( Steptoe didn't mention that one did he?)

6.  Could I get the old oil seal out, tried to shift it couldn't even lift I was getting nowhere.  Coffee break.

8.  The remains of the oil seal covered in volcanic ash - I knew that I should have kept off the roads last month.

9.  Removal of the kitchen roll with my mechanical fingers.  I was given this wonderful grab whilst working on jet engines and many an errand nit was fishes out of an RB 211 with these!

10..Then as the wisdom goes, reassembly is the opposite of disassembly followed by welcome Chinese food buffet  at Emperors Court Northwich (all you can eat for £10.50) to celebrate γιαγιά Nikos 75th birthday.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The First Leak of Spring

I had anticipated posting a blog full of Thundersprint impressions, this being my third year and Mrs Nikos' first. Instead I am in deference to the splendid piece produced by former Daily Telegraph blogger of repute Highwaylass and fellow founder member of the DT Bloggers Thundersprint visiting detachment (very) .

Whilst waiting in Frank's collecting box for  the cavalcade triple lap blast around the normally Citroen Saxo filled streets of Northwich, I discovered that what at first sight appeared to be a weeping brake calliper was in fact a blown fork seal:  fork oil pumped out by suspension movement finds its way to my front braking system - a sort of enhanced ABS.

A fine start to the planned Nikos World near world tour!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Writer's Cramp

Here there and everywhere in April.

Conservative HQ Tatton - A bull shit pipe is being installed.

An airbag hi viz jacket - the last word in optimism as one is launched from a motorcycle (or horse) ...

Canterbury Cathedral - having spent my formative years in Kent I pay my first visit 30 or so years later.

A pedestrian swing bridge across the River Weaver near Northwich - in need of restoration (obviously).

Dawn patrol in search of volcanic ash action over the skies of England.

Ah yes, here we are!

My beautiful Rhine maiden poses next to the Loreli

My flying lesson is thwarted by the aeroplane being built for small people.

Now this is what I call a pair of riding boots.

Not much of a choice.

The scene on my mantelpiece at 09:45 today.
Site Meter