Sunday, 21 August 2016

Norton Applecross weekend

Another highly successful Applecross weekend for the mighty Norton Owners club (Tay Valley Branch) , a great turnout, especially nice to see Tim & Linda Harrison make their first trip to the Peninsula, as well of course our visitors from far and near. The run up on Friday was good, rain threatened but never came to anything until we got over the Bealach. Fi was piloting the chair with Gill in the tub so progress was at times impeded by the moronic idiots let loose on our roads for their holidays, the curse of the Motor-home, caravan and badly driven car is still evident. The midges though were having a field day, Alan from Hull seemed to be a target and was suffering, nothing worse than the Scottish midge when they are after blood! The rain on Friday ensured we spent all night in the pub which isn't a bad thing. Saturday Laurenne masterchef prepared breakfast and the sun was out shining brightly, most of us sat around all day talking nonsense some took the advantage and went for a bimble around. Norrie then decided it was beer o clock so pub again to sit outside (unusual for me) a great meal with 20 of us at the walled garden and copius amounts of banter and beer then back to the pub for last orders. I wasn't drunk but somehow managed to leave my wallet in the bar, I never noticed at all but when I stopped at Ballinluig I got a text from brother John saying he had my wallet. The staff (Caroline I think) had come up to the campsite looking for me, Luckily John was still packing up! A fantastic weekend with great company, good laughs and no issues with the bikes, all good!
The V11 running particularly well after a service and tune up!
Our latest member Jim Flannigan's bike
Simon, up from Coventry
Looks like summer! L-R Davie Jim Simon and Ian (all the way from Ireland) 
Norrie announcing beer time
Alan the midge's favourite person
I never tire of this view
Rain on Skye & the cullins to the left
Sunshine over the church to the right
pretty and sunny
Highland cows and deer happily co existing
It did rain later so I could get a rainbow photo
Bert arrived with his truck, luckily for us a he carried the kitchen! 

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Bert & Laurennes Party

That time of year again for the annual "Bert & Laurenne" party. Despite taking 2 hours to ride the 30 miles due to an accident on the bypass (we were in the sidecar so couldn't filter) the excellent hospitality and great banter from the assembled throng numbed my anger at the incompetence of the council and Police. Scotland is quickly being brought to a standstill by its under developed road system and lack of thinking by the authorities when an accident or roadworks block any artery. The powers that be would be incapable of running a piss up in a brewery never mind a country. Rant over, the party was excellent and some very tasty bikes were there (mainly Berts!) an evening spend drinking beer and talking nonsense whilst looking at bikes, whats not to like? Instead of the usual photos I've done a time lapse video of part of the evening to give you a flavour (can you smell the smoke?)

Friday, 29 July 2016

Time Lapse Sicily

Thought I'd share this time lapse, first part looking over Taormina with Mt Etna smoking in the background, second sitting on the balcony at Inspector Montalbano's house in Punta Secca, enjoy

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Bill's bikes in the garden & Erics Arbroath smokey classic meeting

Just recovering from the holidays and right back into the Classic/ Norton scene. First a get together of the mighty Tay Valley Norton club, a meet at the Clattering Brig cafe on the Cairn'o mount road Saturday lunchtime, no time yet to get a Norton sorted out so the Guzzi T3 was pressed into service to carry the two of us. A nice blether and small Norton gathering followed up later by the most superb hospitality from our Luthermuir member Bill Parr, we had a fantastic evening in Bill's company, the stories flowing as freely as the beer and then later the whisky, great to see everyone but unfortunately Phil & Forfar John couldn't stay the night, they still kept us company till quite late though.
A bit of a "sorry heid" this morning for those of us who had overdone the imbibing but Bills culinary skills brought us back to life. We then headed for Arbroath for Erik's wee smokey gathering, over 100 bikes at one point so not so wee and a big thanks to Erik for putting it on, great to catch up with many of my friends from the North East some of whom I haven't seen for years, too many to mention but we both thoroughly enjoyed the day. My brother John appeared with Lesley just as most people were leaving, need to get up earlier John!
The run home was fine for a bit then we got rain so headed home on the main road, the congestion coming into Edinburgh was a bit crap but didn't detract from what was a most excellent weekend!
A stop at Perth motorcycles for some great after sales service on our Interphone's (Thanks to Gareth) and gave Fi a chance to try the MV Augusta for size (again)  
Nice we spot and turnout
David and Phil captured by my on board camera woman 
Bill and Sandy going through the Royal Arck
Bill's Flat tanker, 100 years old soon 
Bill's JPN
Sandy smiling so there must be food on the go, Bill masterchef and master host also looking happy
Talking nonsense probably, the temptation of the whisky proved too much eventually
At the wee Smokey
Restored FS1E
I raced against these back in the day, evil handling when pushed
Aerial Leader
Super shiny GS
Jake's mighty Falcone!
Erik's BSA, nice!
Murray on his V11 Le Mans
Shiny Velo
Used 1931 KSS Velo
Tony's Nimbus (eagerly awaiting the unveiling of Bert's Nimbian!)
Triumph with a mix of original Patina and new parts

Monday, 18 July 2016

France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Holland and home

So as I said previously the plan was to make steady progress home, the problem with that is as soon as you leave the South of France it gets colder, I don't like cold!
We also to begin with decided to stay in bigger cities in case my Guzzi needed to go to the Doctors. The temporary repair was holding up well and we made it to Dijon, nice municipal campsite near the town centre (walking distance in fact) The old town is nice but really just a collection of shops selling crap you don't need on a motorbike or in a tent. A meal in a city centre café was a bit more expensive than the Italian / Croatian side the petrol as well was as much as 1.56 Euro on the highways. We had a beer stop at a café obviously used by the locals, fun pub full of mainly men and all seemed half pissed, a collection of characters, no different from a Scottish pub really apart from the better suntans and they were speaking French!

Another day another service station
Dijon, another church
Nice square
Another photo to add to my exotic telephone exchanges collection
Very old methinks
We eat in a café that used to be a printers, so for all you printers out there an old Heidelberg
Don't know why?
No campfire just TUC biscuits and whisky in a tin cup
There was a weather front moving in so we played it safe and had an early night. The following day was cloudy, very cloudy, we headed up the road and then the rain started, some of the heaviest rain I've ridden in, we were down to 40mph terrified we'd get shunted as visibility was almost nil. At one point the Gendarmerie were behind us with their blue lights flashing, they followed us for miles but I wasn't stopping in that weather, they eventually passed us which is when I realised they weren't tailing us but escorting a military truck, the shame, overtaken by a wide load. We stopped to get our bearings, my Interphone F5 which we use to speak to each other on the move was doing strange things and turned out to be completely beyond repair due to the rain, bugger, more stress then as we set off my oil light came on, remember I had a split breather pipe earlier in the trip, I thought "bugger that'll be the engine knackered then!" but a stop and check it seemed to be circulating oil and the level was ok so I did what any Guzzi rider would do, I pulled the wire of the switch as I was too nervous riding with a big red oil warning in front of me. We stopped that evening in a hotel to take stock and try and fix things. The Interphone was not fixable, the oil switch I only replaced 3 months ago seemed to be faulty but I was at least confident the bike was fine. We taped up Fi's waterproofs which had melted on my exhaust earlier when her hands turned white with the wet and the cold and she was trying to use the heat of the Guzzi cylinder heads to restore feeling. Not the best day we'd had and challenging for many reasons but hey ho, that's life on the road, you can take the odd bad day as long as there's no one hurt and the sun eventually returns.
We pressed on through Luxembourg (Shite drivers) and camped in Belgium for a couple of nights at a nice campsite not far from Namur. The site had a high proportion of residential vans and was obviously an escape for people from Brussels. A day off on the Friday and we were horrified to see the news about the lunatic in Nice the previous night, we've been there often, it's such a nice place and not one you'd expect to be associated with this level of violence.
Saturday we awoke to find out about the Coup in Turkey, we were thinking the world is going mad.

Unloading the bike while I relax in the tent
Dinner Al Fresco
Clear sky it was going to be cold
Fi has been in Italy too long, speaking to our neighbour with full hand gestures
We headed to a small seaside village near Ijmuiden for the Saturday night, problem was the tunnel is closed and our Dutch is non existent so at one point we were 5 miles away from our destination but after several u turns, much swearing, a couple of laps of the town, a few rides up and down the A22 we finally made it haven done over 20 miles going round in circles, Mr Garmin can be such an arse at times!
Sunday we reluctantly took the DFDS ferry back to the UK, the usual shoddy treatment by DFDS, they are masters at pissing me off, they use cheap Filipino labour (unlike the ferries in Croatia and Italy which appear to be staffed with friendly and helpful locals) and you get the feeling the dour faced European staff don't really want to be there and probably spend their time off having meetings about how to make it more difficult for motorcyclists! I think in future we'll use the Chunnel more. We arrived home after a dry final leg, bikes away, washing machine filled up and a decent cup of tea. 4000 miles, 3 minor (but worrying) mishaps with the Guzzi, the Kawasaki as always never missed a beat although I did adjust the chain once, it also passed the 60,000 milestone so only another 40K before Fi retires it and buys a new one. Fantastic trip, nice people, nice food and I proved to myself you can easily tour on what many think is an impractical touring bike, just got to get my physio sorted and I'll be ready to do it again.

What do you mean we're lost again?
Just hanging around
Watching stuff
BMW Wasp outfit, Germans on tour of Scotland, now with a better route planned, an ignorant cyclist knocked a bit off his handguard as he cycled up his inside to get on the boat, I was too slow to boot him off, never stopped, never saw him on the ferry, I hope he suffers terrible saddle sores!
Waiting for another crap DFDS experience