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.....

Almost forgot, we rode through Last Of The Summer Wine village.

Holmfirth. Where they film LOTSW series.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tarts and Ducks.

A small tart

A bridge on the river Wye ( Apologies to Alec Guiness )

A duckling on a rock on the Wye

I was hoping a passer by would ask me if I knew the name of the river so I could say:

Why aye!, Wye, why?

Over night at Appelby Magna.

We arrived at David and Gill's, expecting to find him still trapped on a train somewhere, commuting back from the "Smoke". Happily though, he was home and, as is his wont, was deep in home maintenance. On this occasion he was repairing one of the many lavatories, using a BBQ lighting device..... ?? (Don't ask !)

The great thing about visiting my brother and sister in law is that no matter how long the interval since our last meeting, (Sue tends to see them more often due to her annual pilgrimage to Crufts at the NEC, which is only 30 mins down the road) we can pick up almost instantly where we left off months or, sometimes in my case, years before. David and I do communicate quite regularly via e mail which helps I suppose.

As our arrival time had been a bit on the vague side we had elected for a take away from the excellent Chinese restaurant they sometimes frequent. This also gave David the chance to show off his new green mode of transport, a Toyota hybrid electric/petrol car. I left Sue doing things on the computer and went along with Dave and Gill for an environment-saving trip to the restaurant.

The charming young Asian lady who was serving recognised David but did not believe his claim that I was his grandfather! The meal was going to take about 25 minutes but by purest chance (my bot!) there was a pub next door!

It was the strangest of sensations when we set off on the return journey - to pull away in almost total silence! The 15 minute trip to the take away had charged the Prius's battery packs and the petrol engine was not required for a while. David said that he had to be a lot more aware of dozy pedestrians with this car, especially when parking and pulling away on electric motor power!

Many hours later we prepared for bed in the conservatory, happily replete, food had been consumed along with a modest amount of beer and wine. Although tomorrow was a relatively short hop up the road to Yorkshire and an early start not essential, I didn't want a thick head to contend with.

We were awakened by the sound of torrential rain on the conservatory roof in the early hours, "Probably sounds worse than it is" I muttered to my sleepy navigator. We looked out a few hours later.............. it didn't ................Arggg!

To be continued.....

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Grays visit the Grays

We arrive at "Lil bros"

Elvis and adoring Hons Graduate try to nick bike !

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Frome to Appleby Magna via Wells, Weston, Stratford.

Le Clock Anglais

We fueled on the outskirts of Frome then headed off to Wells. The "Nav" had done her homework and, following her directions, given at intervals through my headphones, we arrived and got parked, after a bit of a tour through the slightly confusing streets, just adjacent to the market square, which was in full swing. Lots of fellow tourists and interesting smells greeted us as we made our way to the Abbey.

Sue had done some research and wanted to see the famous clock tower perform its hourly display. Apparently George Lucas had based many of the Star Wars battle scenes on the spectacular antics of this ancient masterpiece! I was excited and waited impatiently with Sue under the tower, elbowing French school kids out of the way as they turned up en masse and stood in front of us at a minute to the hour, whilst we had been waiting since a quarter to !

At precisely 2 minutes past 12 ( ??? ) a whirring was heard, the clock went "Bing" once, the bloke with the spear jiggled it half heartedly and the one with the sword did nothing! We retreated to the market to the sounds of youthful French sniggers "Le clock Anglais, c'est merde n'est pas?" (excuse my Franglais). Silently agreeing, we found an impressive burger stall, Sue had a cheese burger the size of a small hat, whilst I bought an authentic Cornish pasty.

We found a picnic spot near a church gate where swans ring a bell rope when they want to be fed. Didn't see any swans but were soon besieged by pigeons, with whom we shared our lunch. It wasn't until afterwards we found the notice prohibiting such actions.............. oops!

Fleeing the wrath of the Pigeon Police, we left Wells behind and set off to Weston Super Mare, where Sue had spent some of her schooldays . The journey was uneventful and we arrived at the seaside and discovered a parking area just for motorcycles right on the prom and it was free! It was still warm but with a strong wind coming off the sea and a lot of the substantial beach seemed to be airborne and was sandblasting the holiday makers and us as we made our way along the prom for the obligatory 'pirate and fat lady in a bathing costume' photos on the doomed pier.

The day was whizzing by so, after using the public toilets and chuckling at the notice prohibiting child and foot washing in the sinks, we returned to the Blackbird crunching our (nutless) ice cream cones! Sand is probably good for the digestion.

A couple of hours later saw us entering the town of the famous playwright. One of the great things about motorcycles is you can always get parked approximately where you want. We did so, took some photos, then found a roadside cafe and ordered two lattes to sustain us on the last leg of our journey to my brother's house. I fumbled in my pocket for change, then hastily sought out my thinning wallet when asked for £6.00 !!!!!!! I thought I must have been misunderstood by the exchange student who served me and had booked bed and breakfast!

Time was against us so we were soon back on the road. Guided expertly by my pillion passenger, we arrived in Derby just in time for tea.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stratford upon Avon ( The town of Willie Waggledagger )

Me in front of the Avon
Statue of Bill Rattle-Javelin contemplating price of coffee

One week later!

Nothing to do with us honest!

That was the Pier that was!

Macam on the pier
The Pier one week to "Live" !
Sue ( Not to scale ) on the doomed pier!

Illegal feeding but I won't be doing "Bird"

All's Wells that ends Wells.

Me in front of a big Church thing in Wells.
Me again , illegally feeding pigeons
We arrived at Lizbeths ahead of schedule so whilst tea was cooking David took the Blackbird, devoid of luggage for a blast. I turned down the offer of a ride on his "Pan" not because I was "Wuss" but because my ancient body was crying out for a stretch and a seat on something that didn't have to be steered! The accrued mileage was starting to tell! Sue and I tried the Pan for size on the driveway and we both decided it would be an acceptable replacement for the Blackbird, when the time came.

By the time he returned we were on good terms with the chickens and my cramped extremities were just about back to normal. A nice , very welcome meal followed then David set off for home, his pathfinder duties complete. Thanks mate.

Cousin Graham stopped by having spent the day burning cows and a couple of hours at a gypsy funeral! ( I kid you not! ) By the time he was fed and watered we were all thinking of sleep, which for me actually occurred just before my head hit the pillow.

Morning found another biking cousin, Greg , just finished night shift, awaiting us in the sitting room . He had swapped his large capacity sports bikes for more economical transport , ( see photos ) but still had the approval and sticker to prove it , of the Hells Angels MC ..... respect!

We were on the road in continuing good weather just after 10am , the historic town of Wells and the soon to be no more, Pier , at Weston Super mare ahead of us. Then on to Shakespeare country hopefully arriving at my baby bro's house around tea time. ( Appelby Magna Derby )

To be continued:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Corby Glen to Frome

On the way to Frome

Our first obstacle after leaving the Nav's sister's house was negotiating a roundabout on the "Great North Road" (A1) before heading vaguely South West to pick up the Foss Way en route to Somerset. We seemed to sit in a queue for ages "giving way" as nose to tail lorries ( mostly ) trundled over the junction going North and South.
"Some people have to endure this every day of their lives" Sue commented.
The empty highland roads North of Inverness could have been on a different planet, it must have been the earliness of the hour that was making me wax Phil O'soffical, because before long we were off over the roundabout and making progress along some of the excellent English "B" roads that at times put the Scottish "A" roads to shame. Everyone down here seems to prefer the speed and convenience of dual carriage and motorway leaving these excellent routesrelatively traffic free.

As we proceeded some of the town names began stirring old memories of my early motorcycling days as a young airman, newly out of training, exploring the countryside around Brize Norton on my then "cutting edge" machine, a Honda CB 175 for which I was paying the enormous monthly hire purchase sum of £11.00 ! No test needed in those halcyon days, just a provisional licence and a set of L plates. Jeans, Levi jacket and helmet were the dress code of the day!

We received a call from Sue's cousin David to tell us he had got the afternoon off work and was heading for the RV on his Pan European, we set the Tesco car park in Stow to meet and he was to lead us to his mum's new house in Frome as neither Sue or I had visited her in the chez noueveau.

Coming to the end of the old Roman Foss way we entered the outskirts of Stow and admittedly I was dithering a bit as we came upon the superstore quicker than expected and missed the car park turn off. It was at this point the car driver felt justified in his TANGO WHISKEY ALPHA TANGO comment. After dragging him from his car and giving him a damn good thrashing ( in my mind ) we did a u turn and stopped in the car park of the store where "every little helps"

We chatted to a friendly local trolley collector who was also a member of the biking brother/sisterhood until David arrived scant minutes later, perfect timing!

We rode into the market place where parking on anything but two wheels would have been impossible and smugly reversed the bikes into a perfectly sized slot just outside a quaint "Olde Worlde" hostelery. After a quick look round we found a table out the back and refreshed ourselves with food and drink, the interior dining room being filled to capacity with a coach load of diners, dining as only OAPs can dine. ( Refer to Desmond Morris's " Life on Earth, Chapter 2, African veld, feeding frenzy ." )

Back on the road the weather was still hot, sunny and breezy. David rode with skill on roads familiar to him and I more or less kept up, well kept him in sight anyway. One fond memory is of a glorious overtake of at least ten vehicles stuck behind a tractor on a winding country road. Now who were the TWITS? ( Spelling changed to protect the innocent!)

We arrived at Aunt Lizbeths at 5.30pm, about 30 minutes ahead of our eta.

To be continued:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Road to Frome via Stow on the Wold.

Who would have thought that anyone lucky enough to live in a nice place like this would call me a T**T? Must have been a foreign tourist in a British hire car, practising his English in a West country accent. Perhaps the word in his language means: " Nice Bike" ?

We stopped with David for cream tea, garlic bread and a pint of grapefruit and tonic in a quaint pub full of OAPs on a coach tour. We were just about the only ones dressed in leather!

The Road to Frome.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Heading South with company.

Cousin Greg dropped by looking for a race!

We try Greg's Honda for size

Aunt Lizbeth and niece.

David, our escort, and his "Pan"

An interesting grammar school we spotted.

(No comment required)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The road to Corby Glen.

My main recollection of the trip from my sister's to Sue's sister's, was almost succumbing to heat stroke in Nottingham city centre. Moving between traffic lights only 50 metres apart, the weather was hot, the bike's engine temperature was well into the red, the electric fan working over time and sending waves of superheated air up the fairing almost immolating my lower half. Arghh!

Needless to say we shouldn't have been there! One wrong turn at a busy bypass roundabout had plunged us into the heaving city centre traffic, all of which knew exactly where it was going and which lane to be in!

This in stark contrast to the wilderness we had recently encountered, whilst performing possibly the slowest motorcycle crossing of the "Snake Pass" in the Peak district. The mandatory 50 mph limit, warnings of previously killed and injured bikers and my continued crap cornering technique kept us slow and safe!

We saw the bent steeple at Chesterfield, a sign for a pie shop in Melton Mowbray, got some good directions to my uncle's house from my cousin, who is an IAM observer for both bikes and cars, and spent an hour or so with them before cracking on and arriving at Corby Glen around 5pm.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thurlstone to Corby Glen 151 Miles

The Nav's sister's house, Corby Glen. Weather still excellent!

Stopped off in Nottingham for tea and bickies with my Uncle/Godfather and Aunt.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Baby Sis, Hubby and red faced Macam

Enjoying a pint of "Real Ale" after 254 miles !

Remember to click on images to view full size.