Tuesday 28 August 2018

Run to Fife

I'm out & about on the FJ again. It's cloudy and coolish, but this is Scotland and if I were to wait for perfect weather to ride I'd likely wait a good while. 

When going for my healthy (ahem) breakfast I parked next to this Suzuki.

The owner was waiting for the recovery service because his front brake lever had fallen off. I offered sympathy and advice (ride it on the rear brake) but he wasn't keen on that.

Balvaird Castle. I'm sure I've never passed here before.

In quite good condition for 500 years old.

Old as it is this is much older.

How Scottish is this? - a clootie dumpling shop! I vaguely remember my mother making them when I was a child. It's a fruit pudding boiled in an old pillowcase (cloot = cloth in Scots)

You can just about see the sills in the Lindores Abbey distillery.

The old abbey entrance. About all that left because the abbey didn't survive the Scottish reformation.

The site of a great Scottish victory…..or was it? Historians question whether this battle actually took place.

The River Tay at the (maybe) battle site.

Direction signs to the secret bunker - this always makes me chuckle.

The fishing port of Anstruther.

Wednesday 22 August 2018

Another Wee Run (with some Architecture)

I'm out on the FJ again. At this time of year I have a minor panic. Although still August, the chill of autumn is here so I try to get out when I can. Today I'm in Galloway, a favourite area of mine in South West Scotland.

By chance I came across a couple of buildings of interest.  
Firstly Corseyard Farm, known as Scotland's "Coo (cow) Palace". This was a dairy farm build by a wealthy retired merchant. Constructed in the early 20th century in the style of a castle. Details & old photos here

The building had become derelict but luckily a developer is converting it into holiday accommodation (and using the Coo Palace name!) see here

Across the road there are still cows about (and the Solway Firth beyond)
Kirkcudbright Bay

At Borgue I noticed that the parish church was being sold. It's a 200 year old kirk, a sturdily constructed building but it's hard to see what else it could be used for in a small village. A bit large for a home….and surrounded by a graveyard. Still, it'll give me an excuse to revisit the area to see progress.
The village of Parton on my way home

Monday 20 August 2018

Just a Wee Run

I was up early this morning. Gwen donated an unwanted sofa to a local charity shop. Yesterday she got a text "we'll pick it up at 7:30am tomorrow". That's the middle of the night to a man of leisure and I had to be up to hand it over to them.

Anyway when I thought that rush hour was over I headed to the Highlands. If you read my posts and are not from these islands you might get the idea that Scotland has a sunny, Mediterranean climate because I try to pick nice days to ride but today was much more representative.  

The village of Arrocher reflected in Loch Long

Bienn an Lochain shrouded in clouds

Inveraray on Loch Fynne

I crossed the Connel Bridge. It's favourite of mine. Built as a rail bridge but now carries road traffic

Fishing boats on Loch Etive
Build a house with a view?

I found this old stone bridge at Inveresragan. Nature is slowly reclaiming it.

Castle Stalker is in a fine location on Loch Linnhe.

Monty Python fans may recognise it as Castle Aaargh from the film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  

Monday 13 August 2018

In Search of an American Hero

I've past the signs previously but today I visited the John Paul Jones museum at his birthplace near Dumfries in southwest Scotland.

Jones was a naval captain who fled to (then) British Virginia after killing a crewman. When the War of Independence began he commanded a ship in the Continental Navy and has been called "the father of the US Navy".

During the war he operating out of France and audaciously attacked British ships & ports. He was taking a risk, the British considered him a traitor and pirate and he would have been harshly punished if captured.

His cottage is on an estate where his father was a gardener

Period interior

The sea is visible from the cottage

In the gardens

This baptism font was donated to the local church by US seamen stationed in Britain during WW2

After the Revolutionary War Jones became an admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy

I previously joked that he was also the bassist in Led Zeppelin and there is a connection.
Manager Andrew Loog Oldham suggest to John Richard Baldwin (as he then was) that John Paul Jones would make a good stage name after he saw a poster for a film with Robert Stack as the titular hero.
Jones died and was buried in Paris in 1792. In 1905 his body was exhumed and reburied at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.  

On the way home.

I can't resist riding across a ford

Atom Heart Mother? - Younger readers see here

The old lighthouse at Southerness
Loch Urr

Sunday 12 August 2018

CBF250 Engine Problem - Part #4 - Back on the Road

After the engine work the CBF fired up and ran ok. I think the little bike has a bit of life left in it.

The CBF was a pleasure to work on. It's well made, access is good and things came apart and went back together without any problems.

Was it worth it? The cost of the parts was fairly small - £115. I spent some time doing the work but, hey, it's a hobby and time isn't an issue for a "man of leisure". Most people would have scrapped the bike after such an incident. This is understandable. But if I get another couple of years out of the bike it will have been worthwhile.  


Saturday 11 August 2018

CBF250 Engine Problem - Part #3 - Putting it back together.

The new valves must be "lapped" into the valves seats. This is a process to ensure a good gas seal. For this I need a lapping tool (a wooden rod with suckers on each end) and some abrasive paste.

I must have bought this grinding paste 25 years ago - I suppose it doesn't go off.

Luckily I've got a factory manual to help me. I bought it as a pdf file when I got the bike. A slight problem - it's in Portuguese - the bike was built in Brazil. Not a problem, Google Translate is my friend. Later I got an English version but it wasn't that good. It looked like it had been translated by a computer or someone who didn't speak English….or Portuguese. All part of the fun, I suppose.

The valve lapping procedure according to my "English" manual. Note "Out of windy" is its translation of the Portuguese "Cabo de Ventosa" = suction cup.

Then,as the manuals are wont to say "reassemble in the reverse order of disassembly"
I had to fit the new valves and I also had to refit the undamaged exhaust valves I removed to fit new oil seal and lap them in. I borrowed a valve spring compressor from my friend Ron (I mean, a man with two Velocettes and a Norton MUST have a valve spring compressor) 
Unfortunately his compressor didn't fit (the prongs were too wide to fit into the bike's head) He said I could modify it as necessary but I didn't want to mutilate his long serving tool. I made one based on Ron's tool out of some scrap steel sections.

The things you can do with a cheapo MIG welder and some scrap steel.
I made a stand from timber to hold the head while I worked on it

Head with new valves

When re-assembling the cams they are timed using the IN & EX marks

Working on the valves throws the clearances out. The CBF uses shims to control the gap. The size marking tend to wear away so a cheapo micrometer is needed.

So did it work after this? - See final enstallment coming soon.