Monday, 30 July 2012

A quick Scottish trip

Unfortunately I haven't been doing much bike riding for the last couple of weeks, but to make up for that I enjoyed a wee trip north of the border for a long weekend. My elderly mother often reminisces about her time as a teenage bagpipe player in the 1930's when she travelled the country appearing with the Dagenham Girl Pipers. She often mentions her girlhood friend Eileen who she met aged 11, and has kept in touch with ever since, even though Eileen moved to Aberdeen to marry. As Mum and Eileen both celebrate their 91st birthdays this July, and Eileen is in a care home, I thought it'd be a good birthday treat to fly her up for a reunion.

When asked to pose with a Girl Piper, the Pipe Major volunteered that he'd never heard of such a scandalous idea!

While we there, we managed to get a visit to the Tomintoul Highland games; set in the middle of the amazing scenery of the Grampian highlands, one of the best parts of the visit was the journey there, over roads familiar from my biking adventures a couple of years back. And I have to admit, I was smitten all over again - I had forgotten about the twisty, well-surfaced roads with virtually no traffic and amazing scenery that exist up there; plus the friendly people and the unpolluted air and... I could go on, lets just say I'm contemplating a return trip very soon.

Big Lads these Hammer throwers

Some good Piping, according to Mum

Mum also got plenty of time to reminisce with her friend, and I managed to catch up with a few old friends. We also got in a trip down to Carnoustie to visit the family, all manner of cousins and nieces turned out to see the old lady. All in all, a good time was had with few problems apart from a minor hiccup with the wheelchair at Heathrow. One important thing I did learn though, was that if you want a smooth, quick journey through an airport, take a really old person with you, it works like magic!

Old lady posing on Neolithic stone circle at Midmar church, Aberdeenshire

Friday, 13 July 2012

Driving Day out at Dunsford

Last year for my son's birthday I gave him a voucher for a driving day - he drives a 911 and was thinking of changing it so I thought it'd be a good way of letting him try out some options. Finally we got round to going, so today we both took a day off work and drove down to Dunsford in Surrey, the old aerodrome where they film the 'Top Gear' t.v. motoring show. There was a nice selection of cars there, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Porsche, Nissan GTR. His first drive was in a Ferrari, he came in after four laps and said it was OK. He then did four laps in a Lamborghini, and came in with a smile on his face. The laps in the Porsche were a bit of a waste as he has one, but it gave him a chance to put his foot down as he was familiar with the way it drove. The final laps in the Aston were his favourite, he said it was the best of the bunch.

In between driving we sat around eating burgers and drinking tea; it was all quite well organised. While I was waiting for him I thought I'd have a go, although not pre-booked they let you pay for a drive, so I went out for 3 laps (twice) in the Lamborghini Balboni#. The guy said it was £175k# and 570bhp#, it felt and looked like it. I loved it! End of the day and we headed home, it hadn't rained all day - Junior was off to look for an Aston Martin on the internet, I fell asleep in front of the t.v.

### I might have got the name, cost and power slightly wrong. Old age.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Triumphs down the pub

On Thursday evening the rain held off long enough for me to take a ride down into the Surrey countryside. I'd seen that the Surrey branch of the Triumph Motorcycle Owners club was having a bike show and barbecue in a pub in the village of Ripley, so I set off down the A3 after work and had a pleasant ride down. I was early, so took the chance to ride around some leafy lanes for a while, enjoying the relatively traffic-free roads, a relief after my commute into central London.

nice line-up of bonnies

nice BSA

Interesting watching this one come in - not too much steering lock


This lovely old relic was definitely a 'boneshaker'

Very nice condition - Rudge
Couldn't resist the contrast - biggest and smallest engines of the night.
I pitched-up at the Saddlers Arms, still too early as I was the first one there. I parked up and got a large orange juice and a seat on a bench with a good view of the car park. Soon enough, the bikes started rolling in. A good number of Triumphs Old and New, plus a couple of interesting interlopers. Unfortunately my on-going vision issues meant I couldn't stay too late - had to get home before dark! Still, there was a good number of bikes there when I left, and I saw quite a number more on their way in as I was leaving. A most enjoyable little break to the routine.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Spot the difference photo

                         Spot the difference photo comp...tall and skinny Heron in our local pond....

                   ... tall and skinny (dig those white legs!) El D in front of church, Ronda, Andalusia, Spain

                                 Bonus picture - looking down at the Mediterranean sea from a White village

El D's legs about to launch down a river.

Escaped the awful British weather for a week - went to Southern Spain, temperature 40 degC.

Back now to more rain!