Monday, 24 September 2018

Old Yeller Tales

Managed to fix a waterproof USB connection to the Old Yeller yesterday, without drilling a hole in the fairing or having unsightly cable ties all over the place. I have a phone RAM-Grip on order (again from China and due to arrive next week), which actually includes a USB connection, but I thought that if I connect a separate one under the seat (which is a locked compartment), connected direct to the battery, rather than the lights, it would enable me to leave my phone safely on charge whenever I parked the bike. So, two USB connections - one somewhere in front as part of the phone holder and connected to the lighting circuit - the lights being on when I'm riding the bike - and another locked away under the seat for when parked, but nevertheless needing to charge my, or Hay's phone.

Managed to snaffle a nice tank bag on Facebook market, which was rather sad looking when I bought it for £10 - manky as hell and a bit mouldy. Some soap powder and bleach spray brought it up like new. Unfortunately it's a magnetic one for metal tanks, whereas my tank is plastic - there's no way I'm Supergluing magnets or metal strips on Old Yeller. Easily fixed, however, with some additional webbing and quick-release buckles I've ordered from eBay for under a tenner.

It's an Oxford Sport Lifetime Luggage item; there are another two smaller bags that go with this one, zipping one on top of another to form a pyramid, one of them doubling as a small backpack. Must have been quite expensive when new. Might eventually go for a Quick-Lock system that goes on the tank filling ring, but the bags fitted with this device are an arm and a leg. I suppose I could buy a ratty, 2nd hand one off eBay and adapt the Quick-Lock so it fits on the yellow bag.

Until I sort out a permanent home for the bike, it's languishing in a shed at the top of the garden, about 100m away from the house and all my tools. Yesterday's little job took 10 times longer than it should have done as I had to do innumerable trips up and down the garden to get all the required tools. "Oh, I need an Allen key," so a trip up and down the garden. "Now I need a pair of scissors," and another trip up and down, etc, etc. Might end up simply taking the shed apart and moving it near the house.

First chance for some fun yesterday, once the sun came out.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Diesel Rock

I inadvertently committed a cardinal sin the other day - I put diesel in a petrol car. Luckily I realised the error at about £18 worth of diesel. I immediately filled the tank with £52 worth of petrol to dilute it. Didn't seem to have any deleterious effect on the engine, or its performance, although it might dirty the plugs.

Putting diesel in a petrol car is the lesser evil and, if it's a reasonably small amount and is immediately diluted with a much larger quantity of petrol (twice or more times the amount of diesel), one tank isn't likely to do irreparable damage. Petrol in a diesel car is an engine killer and requires the tank emptying before firing up the engine.

So Chas of Chas and Dave has died. Chas and Dave are celebrated for producing what has been termed Cockney Rock, or Cock Rock for short - a rather unfortunate term.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Self-Service Battle Vest

Before going to bed last night we watched a bit of Die Hard. Whenever Bruce Willis strips down to his trademark Battle Vest, you know something is about to kick off.

Self-service supermarket tills - do you use them? The queues at them can be as long, if not longer, than at the manned tills. Invariably several people, usually pensioners, are faffing about in some trouble or other, which adds to the time to get through them. Not only that, but they mean someone, if not several people, have been put out of a job. They're not exactly a competitive advantage as far as customer service is concerned, though they may feasibly lead to cheaper prices; however, I suspect they're more of a ploy to boost revenue for the supermarket. Lidl seems to do well without them.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Gurning Gregg & Lotus JPS

Last night we watched a few minutes of Masterchef by accident. It's not something we have watched for years - Hay calls it Mastershout. You can see why Gregg Wallace is television gold; when he's questioning contestants about what they have prepared there are alternating shots of the contestant talking and Gregg making facial contortions that remind me of a gurning contest. On looking up 'Gregg Wallace facial expressions' on Google. I discovered he's noted for it.

I had occasion yesterday to sit in a Mini Mayfair and it was like sitting in a chair at a London gentleman's club. Loved the retro leather look.

It was somewhat akin to sitting in an old Wolesley Hornet. I had a Wolesley Hornet in the 70s Originally it was white, but I had it resprayed black and gold and put gold pinstriping on it, thus giving it a Lotus JPS livery to add a bit of pizzazz - God knows why. I ended up totalling it on Gladstone Dock in Liverpool on the last day of a radar course. The sump hit a grid and I bent nearly every panel on the car.

My mum had bought me the car as she was worried about the deathtraps I was driving, which were held together by sheets of metal from empty tins and body filler. She phoned me at college to say she'd bought me a 'mini, but not a mini' - she wasn't very conversant with car marques - and I spent the next few days in a very excited state thinking she'd bought me a Mini Marcos, or at the very least a Mini Jem. No, she's bought me the most pedestrian version of a standard mini, albeit with a walnut dash and plush, leather seats - 2nd hand, of course. I wasted no time in trying to improve its looks to give it a bit more street-cred, hence the Lotus JPS colours.

The difference couldn't have been more stark, although a few Lotus JPS minis were actually produced.

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Poppy Subjects

I was listening to some radio station other than radio 4 today - one which played pop music. It struck me that the vast majority of pop music is about young love, which covers a very brief span of a person's life, yet seems to be the most creative and appealing period for the purposes of pop songs. No wonder the vast majority of pop stars don't last that long - they get married and have to face reality.

You never hear songs about divorce (however, lost love can feature in pop songs and Phil Collins was at his most creative when he split from his wife), the problems of parenthood, the death of loved ones (although Mike Rutherford was one of the very few who a good stab at that subject), the tribulations of home ownership and mortgages or the medical complaints one gets as one ages, such as one's first hip replacement or the onset of incontinence.  I suppose any songs covering the aforementioned would come under the blues genre, rather than pop.

New helmet and hands-free arrived yesterday. Had hours of fun fitting the hands-free (the little box on the lower right), but still can't figure out how to hide the wires without half destroying the helmet lining. The colour of the helmet is almost exactly the same shade as the Strontium Yellow of the bike.

The hands-free actually works, much to my surprise, but I have to remember a plethora of controls to switch between music, FM radio, intercom and simple phone answering - all with my hands encased in thick gloves. Good grief - I have enough trouble remembering where my keys are, never mind half a dozen different ways of instructing the hands-free with taps to a button.

The waterproof USB charging connection also arrived but, naturally, there were no wires supplied for the cable run to the battery. While it would be aesthetically pleasing to put the connection on the bike fairing, I don't really want to drill holes in it and there's not really enough space behind it to accommodate the shank, so I have decided on a cable-tie solution in an out-of-the-way position where it's not obviously seen.

Just the boots left to arrive now, which should come today and in time for a nice day, weatherwise, tomorrow. The weekend, however, is looking to be a washout and thus the bike won't see the light of day.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Biscuit Dogs

What do you think when you see a bloke walking one or two miniscule dogs? My immediate thought is that they're either his wife's and he's a bit hen-pecked, or they're a child substitute. Thinking about it though, they can't be child substitutes as dogs are loving, faithful, can be trained very easily to obey commands and will continue to love you even if you kick them. To be child substitutes they'd need to be rabid pitbull terriers. Nothing, but nothing would induce me to walk anything smaller than a labrador.

I see Lidl have their stollen bites back in store in preparation for Christmas - I'm addicted to them. It also means it won't be long before they are stocking Dutch speculaas biscuits. I inject them intravenously.

Should be starting to get a load of eBay deliveries from China for the bike from today.... Hay won't be pleased. I did snaffle the motorcycle boots which match my leathers that I was after on eBay - got them for £27.50 with a snipe at 5 seconds to go. Helmet should be here any day now. Then there's the phone holder, USB charging point, another baseball cap, a snood, the hands-free thingy, etc, etc. Pity it's going to be raining all weekend.

Those boots would be good for walking dogs in...

I've decided that, following this year's challenge of Rollerblading and the bike; next year's challenge will be surfing - we visit Cornwall and North Devon often enough. Hay, however, isn't too keen on the idea, plus she's not looking forward to the house being filled with a myriad surfboards bought off eBay - from China - and me calling everyone dude...

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

The Problem With Islam

Got a name for the bike that I think is apt - Old Yeller. This was sparked off by a suggestion of Rebel Yellow by a reader called Boromax, but I thought that a bit too Confederate. Old Yeller just flashed into my tiny brain.

Question: do Christians have a greater issue with Muslims than atheists?

I would contend they do - not only do they have a problem with Islamic fundamentalists, but they also have a problem with Islam in general. They don't seem to make any distinction between the two.

Atheists, on the other hand, only have an issue with the fundamentalists. Providing Muslims go about their business without harming anyone, they're no more annoying to atheists than anyone else, including Christians.

It may only be apocryphal, but I've heard more vehement condemnation of Muslims in general from friends who profess to be Christians than from atheist friends. The more fundamentalist the Christian (which usually means hypocritical), the more condemnation is forthcoming. It's almost a competition to see who is the more holy.

Perhaps I should add a rider to that; I have some very genuine Christian friends, but they don't appear to condemn anyone. Perhaps that's why I consider them genuine Christians - they practice what they preach, or rather what Jesus preached. Possibly it's the faux Christians who are the loudest condemners. 

Monday, 17 September 2018

Comparative Accessories & Tanks

While outside Tesco yesterday I saw what I at first believed to be an old Triumph Bonneville.

That is, until I saw it was a 2010 plate and realised it was an modern SE. Spoke to the bloke who owned it and he's had it 8 years - hence from new. Nice, but not an original Bonneville.

Trying to find a popup tent for the bike. There are loads of tent-like structures for bikes, but not of the popup variety - the ones that are impossible to collapse when you've opened them, Perhaps that's a whole new market of frustration.

Hay's getting a bit annoyed at the amount of bike paraphernalia that's appearing in the house - T shirts, jackets, covers, leathers, gloves, hats, etc. Women just don't understand the amount of work that goes into being a bloke with a man-toy. It's not only the things I've already bought, but the things I have yet to purchase, like a Bluetooth headset, etc. and the stuff ordered but yet to be delivered.

Our neighbour and tame builder, Colin, is working out a price for a bike hut that will fill a corner of the outside of the house, jut large enough for the bike and a few gewgaws, plus sufficient room to move around the bike. It will be clad in oak and have a slate roof, so it matches the house and doesn't look an eyesore. 

I'm not sure whether modern bikes have fuel gauges, but older bikes certainly don't, the Daytona included. Never understood why - it's a simple addition, surely? Perhaps not required for a race bike, but it's an easy optional extra for one that's destined never to go near a race track. All you get is a warning light when you have about 20 miles of petrol left, which may not be enough  to get you to a filling station in certain situations.

I've discovered that Daytonas have issues with ethanol in petrol and the paint on the plastic fuel tank bubbling in places - personally I think it's down to all the Novichok in the petrol these days. The advice is to keep the tank only half full and drain it when the bike isn't in use for a lengthy period, or find zero ethanol petrol - do they even supply that in the UK? Of course, I fully filled the tank over the weekend.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Names Please

Well, I'm not dead. Came back from Walsall after picking up the bike via Ross-on-Wye, where Hay took this photo (she had to collect a garden table and some chairs she'd bought there a couple of weeks ago for her father - and no, I didn't carry them on the bike).

It was a bit hairy testing the bike out, as the roads around the seller's house were plagued with speed humps, but she seemed fine at the limited speeds. Once on the M6 I had to get used to the cramped riding position, which was a bit wearing on the arms and legs, but you can rest your chest on the petrol tank occasionally to gain some respite for the arms.

Getting used to the instant throttle response to is also going to need some getting used to, as my old cruiser just wound up speed gradually. This beast takes off like a bat out of Hell. The wing mirrors are next to useless, as all you can see is your arms, The only way in which you can see if someone is behind you is to draw your arms in at the elbow, or thrust your elbows out and look through the gap between your body and your arms.

Overall, the Daytona is an absolute scorcher and I'm well pleased with her.

I'd forgotten about the bikers' code whereby bikers nod at each other when passing. It's a bit like owners of particular marques of classic car flashing each other when they meet on the road.

The Daytona 955i was Triumph's very credible effort at taking on the Japanese superbike manufacturers, which was achieved by the use of 3 cylinders instead of 2, which was a distinct innovation. You simply wouldn't believe this bike is 20 years old. She now needs a name - any suggestions welcome. The Yellow Peril? The Flying Banana? Suggestions in the usual place, please.

Spotted this nice Merc 380SLC in my local petrol station while filling up the Trumph. I'd happily divest myself of my '94 Merc 500SL to get one of the earlier generations like this, but an SL would be preferred and not an SLC, although beggars can't be choosers.

Saturday, 15 September 2018

Imperial Bluetooth Kitty

Something that has always confused me - why does Japan have an emperor when it has no empire? Must be something to do with the translation.

Hay found a Californian Malbec at Aldi, the review of which says that it's a 'real drinking wine'. What else are you meant to do with the stuff - polish your brass with it?

Off to Walsall in a few minutes to collect the Daytona. I realised last night that I should have invested in a helmet with built-in Bluetooth. Never mind, I'm sure I can cobble something together that will work. I dug out an old Motorola Bluetooth earpiece, but it has a very old mini-USB connection for which I no longer have a cable.

I bought a motorcycle phone holder yesterday on eBay - something called an X-Grip RAM - but this time intentionally bought it from a supplier in Hong Kong, as UK suppliers want 3 times the Asian price. Blood rip-off merchants!

Talking of helmets, I remember as a teenager riding along on a country road near where I lived on my Lambretta scooter (an SX 225 in Arctic White and English Electric Blue) at 60 mph, wearing an open-faced helmet with a peak - as was popular in the early 70s among the scooter fraternity - and a bee flew up one of my nostrils and stung me. I looked like Urco from Planet of the Apes for the next week.

Seems Kitty has taken over the new chair....

It would seem that wherever I plan to plonk my arse, Kitty decides it's hers.