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A Shock for CRF250 Rally

Now would you just look at this lil beauty new arrived from it’s German manufacturers and handed to me by the helpfull ferryman t’other day.

Wilbers rear shock for Honda CRF250 Rally

She should give the wee bike and I a whole new lease of life as the original would barely cope with any rider over 12 stones (old money) and I weigh considerably more that that.

Can’t wait to bolt her in there and try her out — Don

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2019 in out and about

 

Don’t fence me in

With two days to go before Loki’s first birthday it’s only a matter of time before our big boy get’s a whiff of a bitch or even a visiting roe deer and takes off for places he is not supposed to go.

The flapping Tibetan flags do little to dissuade dogs or deer from roaming and with Loki growing by the day it’s time to increase the height of the boundary walls and fences around our patch as seen here from our perch on Rowan Hill —

His two room kennel with small open run is tucked away behind the shed on the far left where we can watch one another through the kitchen door. He has a reasonably sheltered spot for windswept Bardrishaig which is what I thought I had chosen for our ‘Instant Garage’ boat shed.

More fool me! We had little warning of the gales to come but I should have known as it is March after all and had spent a few hours yesterday putting extra pegs and anchors at strategic places around our tent.

They must have helped – but not enough. At midnight I wakened to the crack of flapping canvas outside the bedroom window and a quick look from above showed that the downwind end of the tent had blown out and was vigorously flapping and cracking in the 60+mph gale. There was nothing else for it but to pull on some rough weather gear – grab my big torch and get on out there.

It took me two and a half hours of scrabbling around in the semi-darkness with gusts that threatened to have me off my feet at times – but a quick shufty this morning showed I had been successful and had managed to anchor the tent to the boat in quite a few places in addition to the cross-braces ties I had secured across either end.

The 20×12 tent has obviously taken a hammering but she is still there. A ‘hammering’ is what I almost got from the wee wifie when I woke her with a cup of tea at 2.30 this morning and told her where I’d been for the previous two and a half hours.

‘Foolhardy’ is a polite way of interpreting her views on the subject but at least our visions of the boat sailing across the island suspended from a tent shaped kite came to nout and everything remains safely anchored in our backyard till the next Big Blow.

 
 

Life in the Old Dog yet

Last year might never have happened. I put my blog on the shelf and it feels as if I virtually hibernated. Oh I know I must have done something useful but not a lot. So much inaction must be bad for the body – it culminated in my being lifted by helicopter from the island where I live just a couple of days after Christmas 2018 and whisked off to hospital in the middle of the night.

We didn’t even get our boat in the water last ‘summer’ – having rashly stripped the paint and varnish from her during an early spell of sunshine. Unfortunately this was followed by a never-ending wet season – leaving nothing else for it but to put the boat cover back on and pray for another dry spell so we could splash a bit of fresh paint and varnish on her. We had no such luck and she lay forlorn in our backyard all through the winter too.

With my 77th birthday fast approaching next month I reckon I can’t afford to miss out on another year so things called for drastic action. The old boy’s long suffering wallet had to be prised open and that ‘grassed’ area of the backyard is now home to one of those —

No – not only the horsebox but a 20ftx12ft shelter – or ‘Instant Garage’ as the marketing blurb called it.

Best bit of all was that I erected the shelter – pegged her safely down onto 8×4 timbers and had our boat under cover all by myself in about ten hours flat. The ground there gets rather boggy in the winter so having found a source for cheap pallets she is now sporting a full wooden floor. After the boat is done I can get up to all sorts of mischief in there but I best not get too comfortable or the boat might not make it to the water this year either.

No worries – there’s obviously Life in the Old Dog yet.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2019 in boats, Isle of Luing, out and about

 

Suzuki V-strom 650XT for yamahista

Javier I know you have a banana coloured 650XT now but all I can make from that little bit of info is that they don’t sell the Bonnie Black XT in Spain.

I had our purty black Strom out yesterday for a jaunt across the island to Toberonochy – yes that’s the sweetly named village on the eastern shores of the Isle of Luing – so I popped a pic for you and here she is —

OK – I know it isn’t Barcelona but I managed to fit in a couple of little boats and a bit of seawater for you.

The first third of 2019 promises to be very busy as Helen has a family visit to Japan planned for March and there are various other things like a new knee for me and (at the risk of upsetting the squeamish) removal of knackers for Loki to be fitted in.

No doubt the new knee will require training to ride a bike and Loki will also take time to adjust to his new station in life but Helen and I are hoping to put a few thousand more miles on the Strom this year so who knows —–

It could be a case of ‘catch you on the road sometime’ —

Whatever happened to Shortie? We have lost touch completely! But this pic was taken back in 2002.


Javier and Shortie on the ‘King’s Rock – somewhere north-west of Madrid.

 

Loki – our Flat Coat Retriever

Loki – named after the Norse God of Mischief – here he is guarding my walking stick while I take his photo on the hill behind our house —

He emerges from his kennel every morning as shiny as a shiny thing and at eleven months old he is a picture of health and happiness and looks as if butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth —

Particularly when he has a toy in his teeth – stolen from the wee collie dug next door.

Yes he can be a handful but he is well worth the effort.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2019 in out and about

 

King of the Castle

Just had to stop on my way into Oban this morning and take a pic of this fine fellow feeding at the hay rack ‘abune them a’ as our bold Rabbie wrote in an early poem in reply to a letter from a Mr McAdam of Craigen-Gillan —

‘I’ll cock my nose abune them a – I’m roos,d by Craigen-Gillan!’

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2019 in out and about

 

Blue Skies over Mull

Looking across a calm Oban Bay under beautiful blue skies to the Isle of Kerrera and the mountains on Mull between wild snow showers today —

Feels good to be alive on a day like this.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2019 in out and about

 

Castle of Gold

Castle Stalker on Loch Laich by Appin – North Argyll. Back in the 14th century it was the home of Clan MacDougal – Lords of Lorn and also of Dunollie Castle on the outskirts of Oban. They had the misfortune to back the wrong side when Bonnie Prince Charlie arrived from exile in France on an ill-fated mission to reclaim his throne for the Stewarts leading to the rout of the Highland clans by the Hanovarian backed English at Culloden in 1745.


Pity I did’nt have my shovel with me today as I could have dug up the pot of Macdougal gold at the end of the rainbow – buried there by the defeated clan after King Robert the Bruce took his revenge at the Pass of Brander for an earlier mugging by the MacDougals in Strathfillan.

 
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Posted by on January 13, 2019 in out and about

 

Big Horns on Loch Tayside

I’m taking a chance with this Post as we’ve recently had a trigger happy dame from the States posing in the National Press with a ‘Wild’ Blackface Ram she claimed to have shot on one of our neighbouring islands.

Now these guys aren’t exactly ‘wild’ as most of them have been bottle fed from babyhood and hand reared to become the fine specimens they are today – such as the fine fellas we spotted above Loch Tay during a recent visit to the area.

I hope you readers understand when I don’t give an exact location – just in case our lady decides to visit with her hunting rifle at the ready. Hell these Highlanders over the fence are so tame you could knock them down with a stick if you were so inclined.

It’s a beautiful part of Scotland tho’ —

But the way things are going I’m pretty sure that this proud but hornless woollyback is quite happy with his situation.

Somehow I don’t think our gun toting ‘lady’ would consider mounting this unadorned ‘Head’ on her wall back home.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2019 in out and about

 

My Last Bike?

My last bike – how many times have I said that?

I said it to my son at the TT on the Isle of Man in 1993 or was it ’94 after he had cut enough plaster off his damaged wrist to wheelie my precious new model BMW1100GS off a Ramsey campsite and give me a nervous couple of hours waiting for his return from what I thought would be a five minute ride into town.

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Not my James – the wee bugger cleared off and did a fast lap of the whole TT circuit. When I remonstrated ‘mildly’with him on his return – saying amongst other things that this was probably my last bike his casual reply was – ‘ well I didn’t expect you would give me another shot of it’.

Too Right!

So – that ‘Last Bike’ toured Spain and Portugal several times before being pensioned off when I decided to startup a Rider Training enterprise down in Shropshire. Then there were five Yamaha 125s after that – a 600 Bandit – a GPZ 600 – a GP 750 – a BMW 1100R – and a Mick Andrews replica 250 Yamaha based Majesty Trials —

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There were at least three rider friendly – off/on road Yamaha XT 600s. Two mean off-road Honda 600 Rs and a very pretty Yamaha 375 Virago —

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A too-small (at the time) Yamaha Serow —

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and a 1200 Bandit – seen here in Brittany disguised as a sheep. The bare seat was a pain in the jaccsy over a distance!

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Five XJR1300s – this one with the ijit embarrassing his friends in Spain was favourite and featured in many a mad foray during it’s years with the Owner’s Club and reached Dubrovnik amongst other faraway places —

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A very nice old BMW R100GS I imported from the States after an aborted ride from Bar Harbor Maine to Alaska via Oregon due to hospital trauma. A bit agricultural compared to Jap bikes – I didn’t keep her long after she arrived back in the UK at Thames Port. She does look nice amongst my roses.

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Ahh – America – how could I forget the whole Ducati Racing Equipe I bought from the late David Jeffrey family. The 956 Corsa was raced for me at the Daytona 200 in 1995 by an up and coming Neil Hodgson who would go on to become World Superbike Champion on a works Ducati a few years later.

Well – what did you spend your divorce settlement on? At least I got more than a few free airmiles out of it and I did get every penny of my outlay back when I sold the job-lot to the Irish division of Scania Trucks within weeks of coming back into the country.

I don’t have a photo of the Ducati but I do happen to have a painting of the 500cc Roc Yamaha raced by Neil in GP’s worldwide that same year. We did the Australian – Malaysian – Japanese and Spanish 500 Grand Prix’s together with some success. The spots in the colour scheme were considered bad luck and the acne was ditched for the remaining European rounds —

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On and on the list goes — and that’s only since 1994. In my lifetime I reckon I’ve owned and ridden over a hundred bikes which brings me nicely to my current stable consisting of —

The smallest – my Honda 125 MSX which will go for her first MOT on Monday —

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The biggest – the mighty V4 engined Honda Pan European ST1100 – still a lovely ride if a bit of a heavy handful to balance  on our small ferry crossing over Cuan Sound on a rough day. Tiedown straps are only for oil tankers and cissies around here —

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The tallest – my trusty Yamaha Tenere 660Z – should come complete with stepladder —

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The easiest to ride – my sweet Honda CRF250 Rally – especially now that I have lowered the gearing making it easier to keep the smooth little motor in it’s sweet spot —

The dirtiest – looked fresh enough the day I bought her but underneath those plastics lurked thirty years of grime —

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My current ride for all reasons – our hardy – non complaining 650cc Suzuki V-strom —

The toughest? My 1994 all-alloy Raleigh Maxim Hybrid.

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Together we did the Dairi-Pak Challenge event over some of the toughest mountain roads in Wales and came through it alive if a bit sore behind and red in the face. I still have that bike but there are times I wish she had an electric motor in her.

So what about this ‘last bike’ thing? Well have you seen the latest 125cc Scrambler version of the Honda Monkey Bike – dial it up and have a look –  –  –  –  – 

Now that could be my last bike – pity I’m ot ready for her yet 🙂

.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2019 in Motorcycling

 

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