Monday, June 15, 2009

Willie and Toms Lecht adventure

The route south from the cafe window
The cafe was packed not a seat to be had!

Mountain bikes

Willie has got his bike back on the road so we decided to try out our new "bike to bike" radios which worked very well! We headed for the hills and apart for a couple of heavyish rain showers had a splendid few hours taking in the spectacular Lecht Ski resort,the road past Billy Connollys estate and got home in time for tea!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Re-discovering the fun of cycling ( Non motorised )

The outward leg. My strange facial expression is due to an extremely hard saddle.
The path home

Middle aged macam, Gennasus, bicycles and a Vizsla.

The Hopeman heist ( Villains in the village!!! )

The Memsahib suggested I should try to service and restore her dusty web covered "Velocipede" ( Bicycle ) to a roadworthy condition so we could enjoy the rapidly improving weather and enhance our personal fitness by cycling together whilst exercising our Hungarian gun dog Jana.
Gennasus has an ingenious device to attach said Vizsla to her bicycle to ensure that the bits of the ride which involve other road users are completed safely. It took an incredibly short time to sort the bike out considering how long it had hung on the garage wall and apart from a very slow puncture in the front tyre it was almost as good as new!

Yesterday we ventured out for a shortish ride, a sort of test flight to the local cycle path, not more than five miles (ish) We returned to the village and a scene that would not have been out of place in " The Sweeney" or "Ashes to ashes". Police everywhere, Scene of crime tape across Harbour Street, Helicopters hanging in the sky! the sound of distant automatic gun fire! (Ok so I exaggerate a bit!) Our local post office had been robbed! Such excitement has not been known in Hopeman, at least, not since the chip shop burnt down some years ago! Thankfully no one was injured and the police have good descriptions of the b******s involved so hopefully they will get their just deserves in the fullness of time!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Chicken Run

Speedy, agile and totally unprepared to surrender!

For the past few weeks there have been suspicious goings on within the flock! Furtive sideways glances when we approached their penned enclosure. One hen would be standing innocently watching for our appearance in the garden, she would then cluck in a particular manner and the other four would appear, covered in soil, whistling the theme from a famous movie starring Steve McQueen as an American POW.

It came as no surprise, therefore, when I received a text whilst at work from the SIPB (slightly insane papillon breeder) I am married to. It informed me she was off to work and one of the hens was missing!

I finished work within the hour and rode home. Whilst parking the bike on the driveway, prior to garaging it for the night, I removed my crash helmet and instantly spotted a hint of movement and two beady little eyes peering at me from next door's garden! Okay, no problem, just hop over the fence, retrieve the chicken and return her to her sisters in the pen!

Fifteen minutes later, my neighbour returned to find a middle-aged, scarlet faced, breathless, leather clad apparition, cursing foul (fowl) threats at a perfectly composed hen, who was trotting along (do hens trot?) just out of reach whilst shrieks of chicken laughter floated over from our garden. No doubt her sisters were cheering her on! Naturally at this point the escapee became totally docile and allowed me to scoop her up while our neighbour looked on with a slightly nervous smile which told me she was considering calling the police if only she could work out what infraction of the law was being committed! I don't blame her as I did resemble an exhausted extra from a leather bondage movie! (not that I have seen one of course). I summoned what dignity I had left and, with chicken clasped under my arm, took my leave via the garden fence.

Thick protective leather and big boots. Ideal clothing for chasing a hen...........NOT!

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'm so lucky

Just when I get a bit blaise about my life and circumstances, the slightly insane woman I have lived with for 28 summers takes a photo on our local beach ( two minutes walk from the front door.) I then get things into perspective. What a lucky old macam I am!!

Euan and Grandah Macam enjoy the Easter Sunshine

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Paul and Chewy

The Easter egg run

We arranged to meet at the main gate of the base at 10 45 ready for an 1100 start. I was one of the first to arrive as I had set out early to refuel the Blackbird prior to setting off.

I hadn't realised there were so many interesting bikes in the club! Apart from the usual Hondas,Kawasakis, BMWs and Yamahas I spotted Ducatis, Triumphs and a Moto Morini which was the pride and joy of a colleague of mine Adam Hardman. Adam I have known for at least three years, he is an amiable" gentle giant" of some 6 foot 6 inches and must weigh in at 16 stones minimum! He is affectionately known as " Chewy" at work, ( Star Wars ) It wasn't until I saw him and Paul Sowden in the local paper advertising the ride out and egg delivery that I found out the big guy shared a christian name with my youngest son.!!That's the Air Force for you!

I refer of course to my twenty something student son Chewbacca Gray currently studying at Edinburgh University.

We set off approx on time into the light rain and cool wind. After an incident free trip south to Grantown on Spey we headed towards Keith. I had volunteered to be " Sweeper" and bring up the rear to ensure none of our number got left behind in the event of breakdowns etc. This was a cunning plan of mine to remove any pressure on me to ride outside my comfort zone, because although I probably had one of the fastest bikes in the group, I am a self confessed "Captain Slow." I should not have worried however as I was behind two law abiding lady riders who only exceeded the legal speed limit a couple of times. Derek, owner of my old Yamaha Diversion kept me company at the rear of the group.

We passed through Rothes then took the twisty road towards Keith, I was behind a Ducati Monster with illegal but lovely sounding exhaust pipes when we entered a sweeping set of double bends and came upon a scene we definitely did not want to see!!

A Kawasaki Ninja at the end of a set of skid marks, on its side on the verge! The rest of the group blocked off the road and we controlled the traffic whilst the now unrideable bike was moved to a safer location. A lady traffic warden appeared from nowhere( passing car we think) to help. Collection was arranged for stricken bike and unhurt, but severely fed up rider. It wasn't until we had to bump start Derek's bike which had flattened its battery on 4 way flashers and main beam with the engine off. ( Doh) That we realised how slippy the road surface was! Wet tarmac and spilled diesel fuel are as bad as ice! We were lucky only one of our number had gone down!

The incident had put us behind schedule for the egg handover so we missed out our coffee stop at Keith and headed straight to the Elgin council offices, via Fochabers.

The van containing over six hundred chocolate eggs was already there, we all helped to unload then some of our number set off to Burger King for a healthy lunch, whilst others decided to get home before the weather got worse, which it did!

Lots of photos were taken so if any come my way I shall include them later.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Easter Egg Run

The weather was cool and wet, We delivered in excess of 600 chocolate eggs to the council office in Elgin following an eighty five mile ride out.

Kinloss motorcycle club Easter egg run

This is my old bike with my boss it's owner!
High in the highlands

The Delivery van

The club members start to arrive

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Apparently so!

Something to fill long weekend night shifts then..Good Oh!

First attempt at adding to blog from Work Computer

Don't know if this will work?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Winter Biking

A friend and work mate recently passed his bike test, tactically avoiding the new "Euro" inspired test which sounds a complete pain. I do not think I would pass it! He has bought himself a splendid Suzuki 750 and naturally wanted to go for a longish ride out as the longest ride to date had been Elgin to Lossiemouth. (8 miles) As we were both on stand down we decided on a circular trip from Kinloss via Elgin, Rothes and all in between to Grantown on Spey, Aviemore and back up the A9 to Inverness then back to Kinloss. Approx 100 miles I think.

I met Willie at his house after he had a problem getting his steed to start up, this turned out to be nothing more serious than his unfamiliarity with the choke. One thing you are not taught at bike school as the bikes are usually warm when you get them for lessons. That's his excuse anyway!

The weather was nice and mild with hazy sunshine, great! We got onto the busy a96 towards Elgin and encountered a nose to tail queue of slow moving traffic heading East. Bikes were the the only vehicles making any progress. At Alves we caught up with the problem after several very satisfying overtakes. It was a convoy transporting wind turbines!

After fueling at Tesco we headed South, stopping just short of Grantown for a "Comfort Break" The temperature had plummeted as we progressed and snow was to be seen everywhere except on the roads.

We parked up and had burgers and a drink at a fast food place. No tables to be had at the cafe.

Willie being Willie, he met not one, but two ex- comrades as we were strolling through the town and had a short chat!!!!! NOT!!! I was looking for a place to wee. Finally threw myself on the mercy of the British Legion whose barman was more than nice. My riding companion finally returned to the bikes and we set off to Inverness via the A9 at Aviemore.

The trip north was an exhilarating fast blast but my hands, clad in thin summer gloves, started to get cold so as we crested the Slochd summit I pulled into a parking place to change into winter mitts. Willie pulled in behind me and managed to find a pile of human poo, complete with tissue. With his foot!!! Oh how we laughed!! Well I did anyway.

We stopped at Tesco Inverness for a quick stretch and warm then headed for home. A splendid day out!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Blog Widowers Anon

Is the only thing you have seen of your wife in the last six months the back of her head, framed by a computer monitor?
Join BWA ( Blog Widowers Anon )
Contact me via this blog, we will support each other brothers.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Crowded House

Your festive Macam trying to organise a rota for using toilet/bathroom. Our house/human ratio was up over the holiday period because the boys, daughter in law Lynne and grandson Euan came to visit. Great fun despite some winter coughs and sniffles.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I hate computers!

AHappy stress free Macam on the left............................. On the right me now!!!
Before and after! It has taken me four "- @&*%"#-" days to get AOL back up and running after my spouse suggested we delete and reload it as it was looking a bit "Big". Argggh!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Warning to Lady dog walkers

This was taken shortly after the Cullen Bin tea room "debauch" the poor man in the photo is the cafe owner trying to close up his shop when the cakes ran out!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Christmas just around corner............... SHRIEK !

This is the card I shall be sending out. View full size to read plaque

Thursday, October 30, 2008


The beautiful woodland walks almost make up for the dreaded wet leaf/cold road/Motorcycle skid scenarios

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Why Motorcycle?

Me , Sue and David at Knockhill race circuit.

A young work colleague of mine was watching me getting ready to ride home following a 12 hour night shift. The rain was steady and wind brisk so I was pulling waterproofs on over my normal riding kit.

"What a fuss, just to get home!" he said, waving the keys to his car at me, "Couldn't be bothered with all that."

It made me think, I had had the opportunity to use a car for travel on that particular shift, I had known the weather was going to be bleak, so why had I elected to ride?

I have decided that it is because when I don my leathers and helmet and climb aboard the Blackbird, I am temporarily no longer a 55 year old with aches and pains, grown up children......... and a grandfather to boot! I am actually that 19 year old airman, just out of training, riding his first motorcycle, which he had paid for in 'Pounds, Shillings and Pence'. Ten shillings (50p) filled the tank of my CB175 in those days!

So, as my colleague sprinted to the car park and into his 'hot hatch', I climbed aboard my Honda, fired up the 1100cc, 140bhp engine, selected first gear, which transformed my bike into a time machine, then rode off looking forward to my 20th birthday.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Euan and Great Granny

I can remember my mam singing this to my brother and sister when they were babies.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Uncle Bob R.I.P

We were really saddened to hear that my uncle Bob Galloway had passed away yesterday. I'm so glad that we managed to get to see him and my Aunt in July whilst on our bike trip, the first time in years. I shall always remember him as a great, fun uncle who gave me my first experience of biking at the age of seven. A pillion ride around the block, I can still remember it forty eight years later.

He will be missed by all the family.

The Last leg.

Home again. Our own wee place

The "Dreaded" A9

We reached Lynne and Ian's in record time, it was a good job we texted ahead otherwise they would have been out with the dogs, I was surprised at our rapid progress, all thanks to the expert navigation from the pillion.
We stopped for soup, sarnies and a warm as the temperature had taken a tumble and the rain was, if not a constant companion, certainly always popping out to visit. I have recollections of crossing a bridge somewhere in heavy traffic and monsoon conditions. I'm sure Sue knows where exactly.
Our grandson was on his usual good form and kept me entertained until it was time to go. We headed north about 2pm, the weather was dull and overcast but we made good progress until half way up the A9 where we encountered a bumper to bumper queue of cars and lorries which stretched to the horizon and beyond. We found out later that a fatal accident had closed the road in both directions for a least six hours.
Some careful filtering got us to the front of the jam eventually and then it was a simple matter of cruising along on the almost deserted remainder of the road until our turn off at Aviemore. We stopped at Carrbridge for a comfort break (wee) then followed the familiar roads to Forres, then home. The last 30 mins or so were a bit of a blur for me, I think the week was catching up and I felt very weary, it was quite hard to concentrate, which is a bad state of affairs on a motorcycle, so I was very relieved when we finally pulled up at home around 6pm.

The last night.

After a journey over some interesting back roads that Sue had discovered, we arrived at Alex and Robbie's to find the master of the house at home, but both ladies absent. Young Sarah was putting in a 23 hour working day at the Salon and Victoria Wine, whilst her mum had been shopping with her sister for three days. (According to Robbie).

Mrs Robinson eventually returned and we had a lovely meal followed by an evening of dogs, cats, reminiscence and lager (in my case). Did Sarah ever find out who ate her lasagne, by the way?

Poor Sarah got home around 11pm just as us weary travellers were thinking of sleep. We had a quick chat before she left to do her night shift at the shipyard.

Robbie was guarding Jackie Bird's teeth and wig during the morning Scottish TV news and had to be away early, so it was up for photos at the crack of 9am. Sarah had finished her night shift and had popped home to collect the keys to the bulldozer she was driving at the building site that morning, before the afternoon shift at the salon. She had time to pose for a photo just before her paper round.

We got away about 10am, our destination Kinross, a week on the road behind us!

B&B at Chez Robbo.

Two ex warriors. One now works for the BBC, the other pretends to work for the MOD Civil Service.

A rose between two....etc etc

No comment

Sorry, no photos of the Frenchies who thought my motorbike was German and surrendered, also too many pixels required to upload ginger cat photo.

Goodbye England

I have visited the Lake district many times. My parents used to bring us en masse to Ullswater where my uncle Tom had a static caravan and kept a small sailing dingy. Lots of fond memories. This was the first time by motorcycle and of course it rained! The journey and couple of stops were still enjoyable. As they say: " There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing!".

We elected to avoid the M6 and travel North via the A6 which runs almost parallel to the busy motorway with its lines of HGV traffic. It was a splendid decision and we sped towards Scotland at motorway speeds with hardly any other vehicles to accompany us. Highly recommended!

We did have to complete an hour or so on the M74 to the North of Carlisle, parts of which were in heavy rain, in the company of half a dozen motorcycles also heading to Scotland for the week end. We fueled with latte and unleaded at a services then left the motorway and headed west for our friends new house in Darvel, Ayrshire.

We arrived, as if by magic, just around tea time.

The Lake district.

Told you you would see my romper suit

Just in case you missed it

The scenery was magnificent................ when the clouds lifted!

Bed Breakfast and evening meal at Woodlands.

The rain had never really stopped all the way from Bakewell to Otley so when we arrived at Chateau Lamb the roads were wet and a bit greasy. It had been a long while since my last visit and it was my first on two wheels, Sue had mentioned earlier about the imposing driveway but I had shrugged off her concerns and blithely turned the heavily laden Blackbird into the entrance with a jaunty blip of the throttle and a downward gear change.................... EEEK!

Driveways designed for horse and cart have three surfaces. Two outer ones for the cart wheels and an inner strata of big knobbly stones designed to give Dobbin some grip for his iron shod hooves. Naturally the outer surfaces are the ones that car tyres use and have been worn down and have traces of grippy rubber left on them. The middle knobbly bit has green algy, oil from the sumps of delivery vehicles and frog poo!

Guess which one your Macam hero chose?

The first ten metres were accomplished through sheer good luck and adrenaline! I managed to get the bike stopped half way to the house without the use of brakes! Can any other biker reading this stop a fully loaded Honda Blackbird, complete with passenger, by using only wide eyes and clenched buttocks? I think not!

"Everything okay?" A query from my pillion.

"Get off " I squeaked through the intercom.......... "Carefully!",

With Sue following, I paddled the bike to the house, switched off, put it on the stand and had a nervous breakdown (quietly).

Adrian, Suzanne and middle son Philip took us for a splendid meal to a gastro pub with a magnificent view. We returned and enjoyed a lovely evening in the billiards room, playing pool. Philip was undisputed champion, sign of a mis-spent youth, students....hah!

I went to bed wondering how I was going to get the bike down to the road without embarrassing myself and woke up thinking the same thing! However, after breakfast Adrian and I manhandled the unloaded machine to the gate with no problems.

The next leg of our journey would get us back into Scotland........... to be continued.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Overnight with the Lambs.

Chez Lamb. The Lady of the house with dog and Lions

Adrian, Suzanne, me and bike posing at the bottom of the driveway that was almost my "undoing"

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Appleby Magna to Otley.

The rain had eased off by the time we were ready to leave so, as we hadn't needed waterproofs thus far, we decided to risk it. Sue had planned a route that took us through the Peak district on the opposite side to that which we had travelled down from my sisters some days earlier. (Was it only days? Motorcycle touring, especially when you are on the road every day, does strange things to your time elapsed perceptions, felt like months since we had seen Alison and Lee!) Before the day was out however, I was to be found in my Frank Thomas fully waterproof all in one romper suit.

Lunch time found us in the famous tart town of Bakewell, we found parking with the usual ease on the main street then I just had to try a tart with my coffee. Sue, being a hater of all things almond and marzipanny, had something else.

Afterwards we had a stroll around the picturesque riverside (see Wye jokes elsewhere) large brown trout and cute ducklings did abound.

Back on the road the heavens opened and, after a while, I started to feel chilled as my leathers absorbed rain and the slipstream started to steal body heat. Sue was in a textile jacket and shielded by my magnificent Macam physique so was quite cosy on the pillion. We pulled over and I donned my over suit (photos later in the blog).

We rode through the famous town of Holmfirth but didn't see any of the cast, Norah Batty would have been my choice.

Late afternoon saw us approaching our long term friend's small bungalow in Otley. The only time I came near to dropping the bike was on their minuscule driveway. See photos.

To be continued.....