Tuesday 28 June 2016

Icelandic Victory - The Scottish Connection

The most surprising team in the UEFA European Championship currently being played in France is Iceland. They are in the finals for the first time in their history. They qualified from the group stage with draws against Portugal and Hungary and a last minute victory over Austria. This is remarkable for a country of only 330,000 with no professional football league. In their first game of the knock-out stage they defeated England 2-1 to set up a quarterfinal match against the hosts, France. Another remarkable fact is that an estimated 8% of the Icelandic population travelled to France for the Championships.

So what's the Scottish connection?

Well the Icelandic fans have a distinctive synchronised chant. They clap & shout Hoo! at an increasingly rapid rate. Some ancient Viking war cry? - maybe not. It is thought that the chant was borrowed from the Scottish side Motherwell when Icelandic team Stjarnan met them in the qualifying rounds of the Europa League in 2014.

This commentator seems happy!

Monday 27 June 2016

Three Lochs Forest Drive

Last November link I took a run along the Three Lochs Forest Drive - off the Duke's Pass between Arrocher & Callander. I didn't see much due to fog so last week I returned and make a video. 

For some reason I can't upload it to YouTube, so I've put it on Vimeo.

video here 


eventually it loaded


Friday 24 June 2016

Magic Bus

On my travels I came across this old bus in Peebles. It is owned by the Peebles Hydro Hotel and used to ferry guest about. Helpfully there was an information sheet displayed. It's a Bristol KSW 5G dating from 1953. It is powered by a 5 cylinder 7 litre Gardner diesel engine. It was a service bus in Essex until 1980 when it went to Holland before returning to this country last year.   

Tuesday 21 June 2016

Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth

I avoid political posts but this is worthwhile. On the Graham Norton Show Charlie Sheen explains that an impromptu wedding gift from Donald Trump was not all that it seemed. 

Wooler Pie Run

Would you ride 300 miles for a pie? Well yesterday I did just that. Last year I was over the border in Wooler and had pie for lunch from the local bakery. It was so good I had to return. Actually I ended up buying pasties. The run there & back was through the beautiful Scottish Borders on my new SV650. As usual I sought out the back roads and had a great day out.

The pie shop in Wooler

  Cornish pasties (beef & veg) and chicken, ham & mushroom pasties.

The back roads - where the SV wants to be.

Countryside near Yetholm

Kirk Yetholm….

....and nearby Town Yetholm

River Tweed at Kelso

Thursday 16 June 2016

It's not much, but it got me home.

It's a short length of brass tube.

Today I rode into town on my Yamaha FJ1200 for my weekly lunch with a former work colleague. Near my usual parking place the bike started to splutter, but I got there ok. I had lunch and decided to go home via the town rather than the motorway. You do not want to break down on Glasgow's Kingston Bridge. The bike ran fine until very close to home. I'd have pushed if wasn't uphill. I had an idea what was wrong and that's where the tube comes in. The fuel pump was failing intermittently. It is a mechanical pump with points to make & break a circuit. These wear and stop the pump from working. The FJ doesn't actually need a pump, gravity will do. I by-passed the pump and the bike ran ok. I have a spare pump and it's simple to fit. 

I knew the pump was suspect because when it's working ok there's a rapid series of clicks when the ignition is switched on and this wasn't happening.

The hiccup in April link could have been the early signs of the pump failing. 

This got me home.

The fuel pump (bottom left) with fuel hoses attached.

The fuel pump by-passed. Fuel hoses joined with pipe.

In the News - Legal Name Fraud

When I was over in Dundee picking up the SV650 I noticed a number of billboards with this strange text:

I had no idea what it meant. Turns out neither does anyone else. The Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) have received a number of complaints about the posters but the ASA said that they can't ban them just because they are confusing. Billboards have appeared across the country so someone must be paying for them.

There is a website legalnamefraud.net that explains things. Or maybe not. It is 100% certifiably bat-shit crazy. Here's a taste,

When pair-ents (two minds) or payer-rents choose to REGISTER their children, they are LITERALLY trading off the life source of the being that is SUCKED into that body in this reality for the whore of Baby-loans LEGAL NAME dead child, in essence, ADOPTING Satan’s child in LLEU of heaven’s child. The Laws-R-us effect, raising the dead NAME DEMON and razing the living consciousness you THINK of as YOU and every other human being as well as all sentient life in this reality. In short, YOU offer up your living child as a sacrifice to Satan while your living child commits sign after sign (sin upon sin) and ADOPT the dead LEGAL DEMON literally breathing life into evil with every creation thenceforth.

This may be the work of a cross-dressing Canadian conspiracy theorist going by the name of Kate of Gaia - but for what reason?

To be fair this cocktail dress really suits him

Tuesday 14 June 2016

Run Round Loch Awe

This morning I went for run round Loch Awe on the SV. I was up early (by my standards) Sunrise in Glasgow today was 4:31 am and by half seven when I got up it was like mid-day. I'm going have to get blinds or heavier curtains!

Inveraray on Loch Fyne on the way there

I found this splendid old road sign. I hadn't seen it before because I usually ride round the loch in the opposite direction.

The road is mostly single track so you can't go fast and have to keep a close look out for oncoming traffic. Luckily the road is very quiet.

Looking north across the loch to Ben Cruachan (left, I think)

I took a walk to Finchairn Castle on the banks of the loch. There's not much left of it.

Foxgloves at the castle

I stopped for small picnic with this view to the north of the loch

Monday 13 June 2016

SV650 - Shopping Trolley

The SV is a sporty little hooligan but it does have a practical side as shown today on my weekly grocery shopping trip to Lidl.

will it all fit in?.....

.....no problem!


Friday 10 June 2016


It doesn't happen very often but I got a new bike. When I say "new" I mean new to me. It’s a 2006 Suzuki SV650.

As you all know I currently run a Yamaha FJ1200 for runs & touring and a Honda CBF250 for getting about locally and winter use. Both these bikes are getting on a bit in years and/or miles. Also I fancied a middleweight bike that was nibbler than the FJ and faster than the CBF. This makes sense because I spent my time riding mostly the back roads.

My friend Malcolm bought the SV new and when I rode it ten years ago I thought it was great and said that if he ever came to sell it, give me a call. Well that time came and when I rode it again this week I had a grin all over my face. What a brilliant little bike - light, good brakes and handling and what an engine! It feels strong and eager to rev but flexible enough to pull from low revs. It is definitely best in the twisty back roads where it is pretty damned fast. Malcolm prefers to ride his MZ Rotax 500 these days (some people are strange!)

It's in great condition with 15,000 miles. I know that Malcolm looked after the bike well.

V twin engine means a slim bike
 The bike also has some useful extras & mods.

Nitron shock

Centre stand. The SV doesn't come with one or have provision for fitting one. This is by SW Motech and attaches onto the suspension linkages. Handy for maintenance.

Fender extender, loud horns, engine bars

Rack & comfort seat. Malcolm bought a spare seat and had it re-upholstered.

Bar risers

The luggage system by SW Motech has quick detachable pannier loops.

I don't intend touring on the SV but I have that option. The slim Givi E21 panniers look good on the bike.

The SV in its natural environment - a twisty back road.

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Borders Car Show

Lots of interesting cars at the Borders Car Show in the grounds of Thirlestane Castle on Sunday.
Lancias are rare in the UK now - I think that they dissolve in the British climate but here are two nice examples.

(top) 1992 Delta Integrale - the road version of the successful rally car with four wheel drive and a 2 litre turbo engine

(bottom) 1981 Beta Coupe 2000 FL

1962 Jaguar Mk II in Bronze with wire wheels

Bristol 401 from about 1950
1971 Marcos 3 litre with Volvo engine

1958 Austin 101 van
A pair of German modern classics. 1972 BMW 2002 (top) and 1971 Porsche 911S Targa (bottom)

Ultima GTR - built in Britain using a Chevy 6.2 litres LS3 engine. A race car for the street and one of the fastest cars on the market.

An AC Cobra - there are lots of replicas out there but this seems to be the real thing

A couple of bike-powered three wheelers (and what great names!)

Pembleton Grasshopper SS with 750cc Moto Guzzi Strada engine

Berkeley Bushcricket with BMW R80 engine
1970 Jensen FF. An advanced car in its day with four wheel drive (FF = Ferguson Formula) and anti-lock brakes. Powered by a Chrysler 6.3 litre V8.

My favourite car at the show -  another Jensen a beautiful and rare 1961 541S

Fancy polishing these wheels?