27 February 2006

Womble gets sent to Coventry

Off to Coventry today, never been there before, so I've composed a little song in honour of my journey:

Spikey put the kettle on
Spikey put the kettle on
Spikey put the kettle on
or Womble'll kick yer 'ed in.

Tee hee.

26 February 2006

It's 3.39am, I can't sleep and I was bored, so I thought I might as well post some inane crap on here.

Oh yeah, and I'm still in bed and the laptop is burning my legs. I really must get a cooling pad for it. Or asbestos legs.

25 February 2006

A quiet night in

My lovely pal Spikey DaPikey gave me the heads up on a freebie from the Grauniad today - a DVD of The Wicker Man, so I went out and got it this morning. It's one of those films which is nearly always on late at night, and I've seen the first 20 minutes of it several times, but never made it to the end.

So, seeing as I've got the house to myself, I'm gonna crack open a bottle of wine, make a nice stir-fry and then lounge on the sofa and watch the film. The phone will be on silent and the door will not be answered.

Ahhhhh, Womble heaven :o)

23 February 2006

Bird flu precautions

In an effort to stop the spread of bird flu, George Bush has just announced that he is going to bomb the Canary Islands.

18 February 2006

Party time!

I'm off out to Millennium BC's party in Preston. HappyBiker has kindly offered to chauffeur me for the night so I can have a few drinkies :o)

CYA later :o)

17 February 2006

Scotland - part 2

We arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday evening and checked into a rather excellent B&B, and then caught the bus into the city centre. We decided to eat at Bella Italia and then we went on a ghost tour, which was bloody brilliant. Euan, the guide was very impressive, but he wouldn't let me nick his lovely black cloak with the red satin lining. I think it would have been perfect for me.

After the tour, we went into The Tass and listened to a lass called Helen Reeves singing a load of Nancy Griffiths stuff. She's a damn fine singer and definitely worth a listen.

When we got back to the B&B, I once again fell into bed and into a coma until the alarm woke me at something past seven.

It was a lovely day on Friday, and we got to the castle just after ten o'clock. We wandered round for a few hours and waited for the one o'clock gun. Dave took a video of it, which is dead funny cos he leapt about 3 feet into the air when it went off, so he didn't actually capture the moment. However, the super-cool Womble managed to get a photo with no camera shake at all :o)

After we'd witnessed the firing of the gun, we headed off down the Royal Mile and into the Camera Obscura. Now this is an attraction I really think is worth a visit. There's lots of things to play with, including those irritating Magic Eye pictures that I only seem to be able to work out when I'm pissed as a fart. The camera obscura itself is, unsurprisingly, at the top of the building, and you can also go outside onto the roof and have a great view of the city.

After the camera obscura, we continued down the Royal Mile and called in at Mary King's Close. This was an extremely interesting tour of the closes hidden underneath the Royal Mile, where people lived, worked and died.

By this time, it was getting late and we decided to go in search of food. After we'd eaten we headed into Jongleurs for the evening and watched three average comedians and a superb compere (Micky Hutton). I noted that Brendan Riley and Paul B Edwards will be performing there at the end of March, so I might take another trip up there, cos those two are most definitely worth watching.

On Saturday morning, we set off early into Edinburgh and straight into the Museum of Childhood. I found it very interesting, but most of the stuff was more than 30 years old, so there wasn't that much from my own childhood there (me being just a mere young thing).

From there, we went down to Dynamic Earth and spent a few hours learning about how the earth got from the primordial sludge to how it is today. My favourite bit of the tour was the 'Shaping the Earth' video presentation. We sat on the floor and the three huge video screens in front of us showed us a fantastic flight over glaciers. It was so amazing that it almost felt like we were actually flying above the ground, to the point where we all grabbed the floor when the 'plane' tilted. It's a very interesting place and well worth a visit, although I rushed the end of the tour because I was desperate for the bog :o( Given that the end of the tour is in the 'rain forest', it only made my need more urgent! Even the gift shop is ace.

Next to Dynamic Earth is the new Holyrood Parliament building. I have to say that this is probably the most ugly building I have ever seen. It's got loads bits stuck on to the outside which are really unattractive and don't appear to serve any purpose. And what's g
oing on with all the bamboo pole things? I can just imagine those falling off and twatting someone on the bonce.

We headed back up the Royal Mile and off towards the Edinburgh Dungeon. We got there just as it started pissing down with rain and the queue was really long. The sign said there was at least a 30 minute wait, so we thought 'stuff this for a lark' and went round the corner to the Tourist Information Office and pre-booked tickets. We then went off into the shopping centre where we had a Thai takeaway, which was jolly nice, and then back to the dungeon, where the queue was even longer. As we now had pre-booked tickets, we were shown straight to the front of the queue :o) The tour of the dungeon was really entertaining, starting off in a medieval court room, where two people were picked upon to be the criminals - a lass who was accused of being a witch, and poor old Dave who pleaded guilty to cross-dressing a
nd was permitted to choose between hanging or exile in Wales. He chose hanging. We were then led into a maze of mirrors which was great fun watching other people walk into them. The maze led to a torturer's chamber where we were shown a few lovely devices for upsetting people. From there, we went into a section about the ressurection men, and then into the anatomy theatre. From the anatomy theatre, we were led to the vampire slayer, where we all took the pledge 'in the name of Buffy' and sent along our way in a boat to the home of Sawney Bean and his family of cannibals. We were then 'rescued' by a MacDonald who led us into his croft where we were 'attacked' by the Campbells and then we fled the croft and the tour ended. We spent most of the tour killing ourselves laughing. It was a really great tour and is another attraction I'd recommend.

For our final evening in Edinburgh, we went to a tapas bar and ate ourselves silly and drank copious amounts of wine, before heading back to the B&B for an early-ish night. Well, early compared to the other nights anyway.

On Sunday morning, we left Edinburgh and headed back in the general direction of Kinross, calling in at the Falkirk Wheel, the worlds only rotating
boat lift, on the way. I'd tried to visit the wheel before, at New Year, but it was closed, and it was so foggy that I couldn't see it, even though I was only about 100 yards away. This time, although it was a bit drizzly, it was open and we got ourselves on the boat trip. The guide gave us some very interesting information on why the wheel was built, how the location was chosen and also some technical information.

I've always been an engineering enthusiast; I find mechanical devices far more beautiful than paintings and trinkets. The Falkirk Wheel is an extremely impressive and beautiful piece of machinery and, for me at least, it was a wonder to behold. When we were on the boat, using the wheel itself, it was even more impressive. It was so smooth and quiet that if I shut my eyes, I wouldn't have believed it was moving at all, let alone lifting us 25 metres between the Union Canal and the Forth & Clyde Canal.

We then headed back off to Dave's place where we got fed and then I packed the bike and set off for the incredibly boring journey home. It rained all the way home, but I wasn't too tired when I arrived back in Lancashire at 9.20pm, just in time to get online and chat to my pals :o)

16 February 2006

Scotland - part 1

At about 4pm on Saturday 4 February 2006, I set off on the bike, headed for Bonny Scotland. It was raining a little but not too much. However, that was soon to change. By the time I got past Morecambe, it was raining heavily and visibility was getting poor. By the time I got to Shap, the rain had all but stopped, but the fog had come down, and it was so thick that visibility was down to about 50 yards. I slowed down, but cars were still whizzing past me at silly speeds and it was a bit scary. Bikes don't have fog lights, you know.

It was still foggy by the time I got to Glasgow and there was a nasty pothole on a bend just as I changed motorways, which made my teeth rattle. Every time I saw a vehicle with orange flashing lights, I was thinking "please don't let that be a gritter". Being gritted on a bike is not a pleasant experience, I can assure you.

I came off the motorway at Kincardine Bridge and headed off towards Perth. It was quite a nice road, but it would have been nicer if it was dry. I was very relieved to arrive in Kinross, and I was completely and utterly knackered. Dave helped me to unload the bike and then whisked me off to the pub for a reviving drink or three. When we got back to the house, I went upstairs and fell into bed. I slept like a log and didn't emerge until about 10am.

I transferred my stuff into a sports bag and chucked it in the car and we set off for Aberdeen. We drove up the A93 through Blairgowrie, Braemar and Banchory and finally arrived in Aberdeen in the late afternoon. We found Jochan's place and were dead chuffed to find that, not only had he got a supply of bottled beers and a bottle of port, he'd also got the tea on. We had a lovely beef broth followed by chilli and it was dead nice. Cheers Jochan!

After tea, we headed off into Aberdeen town centre to sample some more beer. We finally settled in a cracking real ales pub called The Prince of Wales where I tested a few pints of Old Peculier, just to check for consistency, you understand. There were a few folkie types in the back room, playing fiddles, guitars and a mandolin, so I went in for a listen and managed to comandeer a fiddle to join in with one of the tunes, much to the amusement of Jochan and Dave. I was rather pissed by this time.

On the way back to Jochan's place we called in at some nightclub place that was playing 1980s pop music. Jochan said it was for the novelty value but I quite liked it, cos they played some A-ha and I still like them. Afterwards, we had a kebab and then eventually staggered up the three flights of stairs to the flat.

The following day, we set off again, towards Inverness. It took us all day to get there because we stopped off at several places on the way, including Loch Ness. Loch Ness is a very beautiful place but we didn't see the monster.

We decided that we'd go on a boat trip around Loch Ness and up to Urquhart Castle but when we arrived at the start point, the sky turned black and the heavens opened and pelted us with hailstones, so we said "bugger that for a lark" and got back in the car. We did see Urquhart Castle, for all of about three minutes. Dave did venture out of the car for a few seconds but I dug in and stayed warm. Dave now has a cold and is blaming me for it, cos he says I made him get wet. Nowt to do with me, guv. It's your own fault for wanting to take photos of wet castles.

About ten miles down the road, the clouds parted and it was nice and sunny again. We only stopped at the roadside to take photos about forty times, so it was very dark by the time we got to Inverness. By this time, my ankle was killing me and I was getting very fed up with it.

We had a minor panic when we arrived at the hotel because they couldn't find the booking, so I got a free cup of tea whilst the hotel staff tried to find out what was going on. Eventually they decided we could stay, so we dumped our bags and headed off into town in search of food. We found a really nice (and deserted) Chinese restaurant and stuffed our faces and then headed back off to the hotel and watched 'Life on Mars' before I fell into another coma-like sleep.

On the Tuesday morning we headed off towards Tain and the Glenmorangie distillery. We weren't allowed to take photos inside the distillery, so here's the outside instead.
The tour round the distillery was excellent, very interesting and informative, and the lovely smell of warm whisky was in the air. After the tour, we had a tasting session and I ended up buying a bottle of Maderia wood casked whisky to bring home, and a bottle of Crabbie's Green Ginger Wine, which I have since mixed with a bottle of Bell's.

On Tuesday evening we decided to pay a visit to the hotel's leisure complex, so we had a swim and a sit in the jacuzzi. Dave did venture into the steam room and the sauna, but I can't stand those things so I just stayed in the pool. After the swim, we had our tea in the hotel restaurant, which was pretty nice.
On Wednesday morning we travelled over to the Black Isle and visited the Black Isle Microbrewery. If you're ever in the area, I can recommend it to you. It's only a tiny place (hence the name 'micro') but the bloke who runs the place (Dave) is very friendly and gave us a tour. They do all the brewing and bottling (by hand) on site and they produce a good selection of organic ales. I decided to buy a selection and got a bottle each of Yellowhammer, Red Kite, Heather Honey and two bottles each of the Porter and of their winter ale, Hibernator II, which is one of the nicest winter ales I have ever tasted. You can buy their beers online and they're definitely worth a try.

We then set off towards Fort William and Ben Nevis. Whilst in Fort William, I bought a new jacket, cos it was getting bloody cold and I only had my denim with me, because I'd foolishly left my waterproof jacket back at Dave's.

On Thursday morning we took the cable car up Ben Nevis, and got this very nice piccy out of the window

It was lovely on Ben Nevis. We had a short walk on the soft, powdery snow and had a damn good look at the scenery. Although it was cold, it was sunny and very pleasant. I took a whole series of pics which I intend to stitch together into a panorama, but I haven't got round to it yet.

After Ben Nevis, we headed off through Glencoe towards Callendar. At Strathyre, we called in at the Munro Inn for something to eat. Actually, we drove past it but I saw a sign that said 'Biker Friendly' and 'Internet Access', so I yelled "Stop!" and we reversed and went into the car park. I'm glad we did stop there, because it's a lovely pub, complete with pub dogs :o) We took advantage of the pub's wireless broadband access to book a B&B in Edinburgh and then set off again.

Anyway, I've been typing for hours (with interruptions) and now I'm tired and I'm going to bed. Watch this blog for part 2.

She hit me!

Big thanks to Sam for giving me the heads up on this footage of a car hitting an R1. The rider happened to be running a video camera at the time and captured the event in glorious technicolour. Thankfully she's OK. I'd be interested to hear the outcome of the court case.

The debate rumbles on here : http://socalsportbikes.info/xmb/vie...d.php?tid=34948

02 February 2006

CBT - how it should be done

This is absolute class. I wonder if he could do it on black ice with a heavier bike though? (Not that I'm still sulking, or anything).

Fixed it!

My bike now has a lovely new indicator. It's very clean and shiny, which is making the rest of the bike look rather untidy, but it'll soon bed in and be as mucky as the rest of it. There's a bit of a split in the indicator housing but hey, God Bless Duct Tape!

Oh yeah, and the handlebar switch for the brake light seems to have gone for a burton too. Never mind, the one on the back brake still works, so I'll just have to remember to use it occasionally.

The bike's going to the shop for a service on Valentine's Day (see how much I love my bike?), so I'll get it fixed then. Last service before the warranty runs out. The bloke in the shop said he'd never worked on a bike with as much as 20k on the clock. I don't know if I should be worried about that, or if he's just mixing with the wrong people. My GS had 80k on it before I got rid.

Brokeback Mountain - a synopsis

Gay cowboy 1 - "Yup?"
Gay cowboy 2 - "Yep!"
The End

Courtesy of Grav.

today is...

Tesla day!

I've been boogying round the office like a mad thing, remembering my mis-spent youth. Ahhh, happy days.

I loved Tesla the first time I heard them, and I still do. I wish they'd come and tour in the UK, they've not been here for bloody years.

01 February 2006

weird concept

I've just bought a bag of Maltesers and, on the packet, is written "New Easy Open and Reclosable".

Why on earth would anyone want to reclose a bag of Maltesers? Strange people!

stop asking dumb questions and ...