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"