Saturday 30 September 2017

Run over the Queensferry Crossing

This morning I took advantage of the fine weather to go for a run over the recently opened Queensferry Crossing. 

In this panorama you can see the new road bridge, the old road bridge and the rail bridge in the distance.

Thursday 28 September 2017

Garage Vacuum Cleaner

When we bought our current house 16 years ago it came with an old vacuum cleaner in the garage. This got used for cleaning the inside of the car and the garage. In recent years it's been getting a bit rough and finally had to be replaced. Dragging the vacuum from the house for use in the garage would cause domestic strife.

I did an autopsy and found that a bearing in the motor has gone allowing the armature to rattle about. While in there I found the date of 1982 on a component. So 35 years of use. Not bad.

Yeah, I know. Last time I strapped something onto the back of the bike I ended up in hospital. But lightning never strikes the same place twice*.

Knackered motor

Stripped vacuum

It was called the "Electronic" because it had variable suction based on this circuit board

Period adverts.

It was a simpler time. Give a woman an new vacuum cleaner and she'd be happy. While the husband gets on with more manly tasks like sawing wood. Although he looks a bit confused by what he's doing.
The new one. Tesco's cheapest bagless vacuum.

I found a 1984 advert that proudly boasted that the vacuum was made in the UK and cost £89.95 - £280 in today's money - so quite an expensive item. The replacement was £35 - made in China (of course) Will it last 35 years? - I doubt it, but then I'm unlikely to be about if it did.

* in fact lightning frequently strikes in the same place multiple times.

Tuesday 26 September 2017

Sometimes the Sun Won't Shine (much)

After my soaking on Sunday at the Distinguished Gentleman's Ride I was keen for a more pleasant run. The weatherman could offer dry and warm(ish) weather but no sun. This is something you have to accepted when you live in one of the cloudiest places on earth. I headed southwest. 
Girvan Harbour - well, it started off bright

The coast road

Ballantrae (and the sun is still shining)

Misty in Port William

Fisherman statue surveys the sea in Port William

Lobster pots in Port William

Gloomy Isle of Whithorn

SV at Garlieston

The church in Wigtown. I've mentioned it before but it is common to have the ruins of an old church in the grounds of a newer one.

Here I helped the lady warden move cones that had been used to control traffic at a big funeral earlier that day. So, I suppose, if I ever get to the pearly gates I've got that going for me.

Graveyards are always interesting. This one has "martyr's graves" containing five locals who were executed during the religious conflicts of the late 17th century. They include two women who were tied to a stake and drowned in the nearby Solway Firth.

On a lighter note there is a memorial to a man who died in 1846. It states that he was "Removed in the midst of his usefulness" It shows how language changes over the years. Also the stern warning "Reader, be ye also ready".

So, despite the dull conditions, it was a nice day out. At this time of year I try to ride when I can because I know there is a lot of crappy weather ahead.

Sunday 24 September 2017

Distinguished Gentleman's Ride

I took a run into town today to see this year's Distinguished Gentleman's Ride. This is a worldwide charity event where riders get a chance to dress up.

I was spectating only. This isn't my sort of thing and none of my bikes are hip or trendy enough to pass muster. But since my brother was dressing up like a fool I thought it was worth attending. It was wet, but that didn't stop a large amount of riders attending.

A very damp George Square

Dress code for the day

My brother arrives on his Bonneville

Not looking foolish at all

Facial hair was de rigueur

At the dealers - Triumphs and, er, Triumphs

Meriden metal

Keith on his Nimbus

David and his BMW R60/2

Classic Brit café racer

Thursday 21 September 2017

Ana Carrasco

Congratulation to Spanish rider Ana Carrasco who has become the first woman to win a FIM World Championship motorcycle race. The 20 year old rides a Kawasaki Ninja 300 and has been completing for four years. She won in a very tight finish in the World Supersport 300 race in Portugal on Sunday.
Ana on the podium. The guys don't seem happy to be there. *thinks* " a girl"
Ana in action

As you see she left it very late to take the win

Tuesday 19 September 2017

River Run - South Esk

An idea I had a few years back was to do a "river run". That is follow the course of a river to see what I find. This turned out to be a good idea and I discovered some great roads and interesting places. I've run out of rivers in central & southern Scotland so today I went a little further afield. I went to Angus for a run along the South Esk. The river didn't turn out to be that interesting itself but I found plenty of other things to photograph. I don't know this area so much of what you see is new to me. 

I started where the South Esk meets the North Sea in the town of Montrose.

The mouth of the South Esk

There is a busy port. The ships here service the North Sea oil industry (I'm guessing)

The sun shines on Montrose! The lighthouse marks the mouth of the river

The Traill beach pavilion dates from 1913

To the west of the town is a large tidal lagoon - the Montrose Basin. It is a habitat for wildlife. When I stopped here a local lent me his binoculars to look at seals basking on the sands and a huge flock of geese.

West of the basin the Bridge of Dun crosses the river. Completed in 1787 it has many interesting features. I particularly like the prow shaped refuges supported by quartefoil columns.

The approach walls have recessed double crosses

In Brechin I visited the cathedral. But I was more interested in the adjacent round tower. These are associated with Ireland and there are only two in Scotland. The tower dates to the early or late 11th century (depending on where you look) and their purpose seems not to be well understood. Old as it is…..

….this is older. The sculptured stones at Aberlamno are Pictish and about 1,200 years old. It is kind of amazing that these things are just at the side of the road and not in a museum.

I came across this pile in a pleasant setting. It's called Finavon Castle. It's not a castle, of course, but takes its name from the old ruined castle nearby.

Any excuse for a bridge photo

My next stop was Kirriemuir which has statues of two former residents. Firstly Bon Scott, the original singer in the band AC/DC….

….and a Peter Pan statue to commemorate JM Barrie

The river & Glen Clova from Gella Bridge. I'm now heading north towards the Grampian Mountains

From Gallows Knowe Bridge

The road ends a few miles from here so I called it a day

I hope you agree that whilst the river wasn't much the stuff around it was of some interest. This really is a beautiful area with nice towns, great scenery and fine biking roads. I'll be back soon.