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Category Archives: 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

 

CRF250 Rally – the Bike from the Horsebox

Well that was a long break – I switched my blog off on 28th Feb 2018 for some daft reason I can’t remember and here on the first day of 2019 and after a recent health scare that involved a midnight medi/vac from the island by whirlybird I’ve decided to kickstart her into action again.

No worries – having walked the dog over the hill late morning there was still enough in the tank to think about riding the CRF250 Rally over to Ardnimar and wish Jim and Gaynor a Happy New Year. Tea was just fine Gaynor – thanks.

The Rally currently lives in the old horsebox by the backdoor where she is easy to access for minor maintenance jobs.

But – did I mention walking the dog? More like a bit of a hobble with the dog as I wait to be notified re my date with the surgeon for a new knee. Yes – after delaying the inevitable for over four years – just in case the new knee can’t ride a motorbike – I decided to bite the bullet and get it done.

At least Loki – our ten month’s old flat coat retriever will be happy if I can walk a bit quicker when we are out.

Wishing you all the best for 2019 – givitsum.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2019 in out and about

 

Honda 250 Rally on Wishing Tree Lane

A quiet Monday after what has gone before – time to take the covers off the CRF and go for a spin.

There’s a hill way over there I would love to cross —

But first there’s a spot of TLC to attend to – the final drive chain for instance – she looks to be on the dry side. I’m using Putoline Chain Lube on this bike – a first for me. I’m quite impressed with the flow from the aerosol and the job it does.

But – the CRF hasn’t got a centre stand and up till now it’s been a bit of a wrestling match to get the rear wheel off the deck – spin it and spray chain oil with my third hand – which I haven’t got. It’s probably why I needed a wife but they are seldom around when you need them —

No worries – a couple of wood blocks and my scissor jack did the lifting job just fine and set the 250 Honda up in the air quite safely.

Even the hill crossing turned out to be a piece of cake on the 250 Rally —

Some of the steeper parts on the far side had been torn up by tractors or four wheel drive vehicles but they were of little consequence to the CRF which just sailed up them —

I didn’t even bother switching off the ABS on the rear wheel for the long – loose surfaced downhill section with it’s occasional steep bits leading into tighter turns and cruised on down —

The wee bike is proving to be as sure-footed as a mountain goat —

The downside being that tea break arrived far too early —

and the reminder clipped to my binos was hardly necessary as I never raised a sweat on the whole ride – sorry about the picture quality —

just could n’t get ’em right today —

which is a shame —

 

as the views were out of this world 🙂

 

Pan Euro to get a Chance to Shine on the NC500

With that good allrounder – the Tenere XT660Z once again Sorned as a result of the CRF 250 RAL taking over local and off-road duties – the ST1100 Pan European will get another chance to shine on the serious stuff.

Who knows – it might cover itself in glory on the NC500 this summer if we can string a few dry days together.

Yes my long distance rides in any weather are probably a thing of the past.

But I have suggested to H that we look at heading up there this summer – should we get one – and the rider stays fit.

Shouldn’t be a problem really as I did it clockwise as far as Bettyhill back in 1995 on my BMW 1100GS.

Now there was a bike for any occasion – she could tour two-up complete with the kitchen sink on the back – plus – give a good account of herself while scaring punters on their new Fireblades as she scraped her pots round the Isle of Man TT course on Mad Sunday.

I seem to remember clocking up 42000 miles in her first year including an all-time high when I galloped her down a dried up river bed in Andalucia – stood on the pegs – whooping like a wild thing with 100mph showing on the speedo. Judging by that sheepskin on the seat I was bothered with a sore butt way back then too. For once I couldn’t argue with the dealers when I tried to trade the GS in the following summer. Their standard pitch – ‘but your BMW is above average mileage sir’ had a ring of truth in it 🙂

 

No worries — if there’s one thing the Pan has it’s a comfy seat —

After all – it is why I bought her in the first place 🙂

 

 

Honda ST1100 Pan European – leccie fault

My very low mileage 1995 ST1100 had an obscure electrical problem when I bought her two or three years ago and they have come to the fore on a few occasions since.

She looks good and generally is good but occasionally refused to recognise that I had pressed the starter button. The supplying dealer’s answer was to throw a new battery at it – and it helped – but not forever. Last time I was on the ferry with her I had to suffer the ignominy of being pushed off and bump starting her down the ramp. That was on the awkward Grey Dog where a reverse gear would have been useful.

So – it was a relief to see that our regular ferry – the drive on – drive off Belnahua was back in action after a three week sabbatical while it underwent it’s annual service. She is at the North Cuan jetty across the water but will be over in a few minutes. The little motorboat passing down the sound is our Passengers Only ferry for Sundays and evenings. Looks like it’s heading for Easdale where they have a similar ferry. They can be temperamental little things and often break down.

No worries – there was no pushing heavy Pan Euro today – my time spent on battery maintenance seemed to have done the trick – sort of. My multi-meter still showed an unexplained voltage drop when I switched the headlights on even with the battery charger connected. My friend Ali at West Coast Motorcycles in Oban had his theories and I had mine. I saw it as a cheap fix – if we could find the obscure fault – which could take hours on a Pan with so much bodywork to remove.

I thought I was dropping into WCM on a social visit with thoughts of blagging a cuppa before heading for the return ferry with my panniers laden with cat food. Before I could greet Big Ali with the magic words – ‘how’s it gawnn Big Man?’ he had the sidepanels off the Pan and was playing tunes on his own multi-meter in the wiring. Frighteners were thrown around like ‘700 quid for a new alternator’ or ’70 -90 quid for a pattern rectifier’. Hell doesn’t he know I’m getting married next week and all those fish suppers at the prosecco lunch will cost a lot.

Thankfully – after much head scratching and beard pulling the main items were passed as fit for service leaving thoughts of a wiring fault as being the culprit.

And there they were – a hidden bunch of connectors that had been subject to a botched wiring repair leading to overheating  long before the Pan came into my life.

In the time it took me to dander round to Tesco Hole-in-the-Wall for some folding stuff Ali had renewed all the connectors and pronounced himself satisfied the job was a good ”un.

As for me – I was more than happy that the wedding will still be on without having to tell H that prosecco is off the menu as Ali’s bill for the electrical repair on the Pan was well below what I expected for the work 🙂