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"To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour." William Blake

Dislike DIY

June 13th, 2007 by sunflowers

Dislike DIYOk, I finally have admitted it to myself. I really don’t like DIY. I have had a shower rail that I have been meaning to put up since Jan. I finally got around to trying to drill into the ceiling a few weeks ago but the holes weren’t deep enough so I asked my mate to come around with his hammer drill and after another unsuccessful bunch of holes and no shower rail I am reconciled that it is better if someone who knows how to do this type of thing does it. The same goes with all the hems of various work clothes that I have been meaning to fix myself – I am going to take them all to the dry cleaner and pay for them to be done.

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Table Topics

June 11th, 2007 by sunflowers

E FestivalsAt Toastmasters you not only have to do speeches but also other roles within the club and at meetings. So on Monday evening after a mere three hours of sleep I had signed up to be the table topic master which involves asking people at the meeting to come up and speak for a minute on a question that you have asked them. Having been asked to come up and speak on sports (which I know nothing about) and why I liked Christmas (I don’t) I wanted to make the topics as easy as possible so I chose music festivals as the topic and asked questions like:- if you could have any band alive or dead play who would you want to see and if you could chose any location for a music festival where would it be?

I learnt two things that night. That even though I had prepared all my questions I still managed to get up there and look nervous and mix up my words and second that no matter how easy you think a topic is that not everyone has the same reference as you as someone came up to me at the pub afterwards and said that they weren’t into music and would have struggled with the questions.

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Isle of Wight

June 10th, 2007 by sunflowers

Isle of WightIsle of WightOn Sunday morning we got up and took the bike around the Island as it is only 17 miles across. I can see why people fall in love with it. We went through this old town where all the buildings had thatched roofs and then past some amazing gardens before riding out of the town through beautiful lush countryside and a view of the English channel. We went for a swim and had to wade out for ages before we even reached water up to our waists but got to see three crabs on the way and a very kind women let us leave our bike gear in her hut and gave us ginger beer when we got out.

Rolling StonesSunday night was the Rolling Stones which was like hearing my parents record collection come alive. Monday morning it was up at four, pack up the tents to make the six thirty ferry and managed to get home by ten thirty. Though it was a bit of a eye opener how bad the traffic is in London when you see the five lanes on the M25 (a huge orbital ring road around London) crawling.

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Red Arrows

June 9th, 2007 by sunflowers

Red ArrowsThe Red Arrows are the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) aerobatic team and they did a display on Saturday over the festival. I must admit it was incredibly impressive how fast they went, how close they flew to each other and turning upside down and spinning around.

Red ArrowsThe rest of the day was spent lying around eating and drinking. One really nice thing about the festival is that there is only one main stage so you don’t have to run around trying to see people who are playing at the same time. Near the end of the day my mate took off and left me for Kasabian and Muse as I am claustrophobic and she wanted to be up at the front so I phoned up my grandma and bought a bracelet before standing at the back being chatted up by some bloke during Muse.

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June 8th, 2007 by sunflowers

OverloadedI didn’t realise until I started looking at my ticket and directions that we would be leaving from Southhampton to get to the Isle of Wight for the festival so we ended up having to leave at eleven in the morning so I started work at seven. I was quite nervous about riding to work with the big back pack and the fully loaded panniers in the rain but it ended up being fine.

When we were all loaded it I think that we looked a big funny. A London courier actually commented at the traffic lights that we were pretty loaded up. It took from 11am until 5pm for us to get to the festival and set up the tents. Then that evening we saw The Feeling and Snow Patrol.

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Double Trouble

June 7th, 2007 by sunflowers

Two BikesYesterday I picked up my f650 from Burwins. Apparently the cause of failure was old age. The spark plug caps needed replacing and water builds up in your fuel tank over the years so that needed to be drained. But it seems to run fine now.

It is really strange riding it again after spending a week riding the ER6f. I am back to not quite being able to put my feet flat on the ground and I wonder how I learnt to ride on it before I dropped the front forks an inch and a half. Sitting up high again on a comfy seat it is really like being on a tractor.

Two BikesI think I will keep it for a while as it has the panniers and it is quite nice being able to switch between the two bikes. Plus I can then leave my new bike at work and when I need it ride down in my bike gear and swap them. If you had told me a couple of years ago when I had no desire at all to learn to ride a motorbike that I would own two of them I wouldn’t have believed it.

ps. notice the cool Buell esq like exhaust, lovely isn’t it!

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Rapid Training

June 6th, 2007 by sunflowers

Rapid TrainingThe first Tuesday of the month is our bike clubs social night. Again I can’t stress enough how great the Institute of Advanced Motorcyclists (IAM www.iam.org.uk) is . I would recommend everyone who rides to go through one of their courses and a friendly bike club is just an added bonus.

I hadn’t managed to make it along to any of the social evenings but as we had a guest speaker from Rapid Training (the organisers of the track day that I was suppose to do on the 19th June but pulled out of) I thought that I would go.

Rapid Training (www.rapidtraining.co.uk) was started by a traffic accident investigator who were upset by seeing accidents not because the bikers was going too fast but didn’t know how to take a bend so they teach you how to corner and more importantly how to brake correctly.

What I liked is that he said that biking isn’t easy. That it takes quite a bit of skill not only just to kept the bike upright but to use both your back and front brakes correctly. Hear, hear – when they came up with the cliché ‘it’s as easy as riding a bike’ I don’t think they meant a 650cc in London traffic or on ‘no recommended speed’ bends as they have in the UK.

We had a two hour presentation and spent most of the time looking at scenes of accidents and why they had happend. Some of them were amazing like a suski 600 size hole in a volvo that had been turned over and pushed up onto the sidewalk. It has really inspired me to do a track day with them. As they are full this year I will sign up for Rapid Training next year and I have track training day another company in August. The only down side is you have to wear leathers which means getting fit first.

Posted in Preparation | No Comments »

Heartfelt Thanks

June 5th, 2007 by sunflowers

Ove, Billy and MoyraBrianI would like to thank all those that made my trip so wonderful. Thanks to Colin and Carol for organising the whole thing and adding Harley riders to my list of top people. Also Dave and Jacqui for putting me up in Shetland and helping me with my riding skills (unfortunately I don’t have good photos of both couples to put here). Thanks to Brian and his modified Suzuki for looking out for me during the Faeroe Islands trip. Thanks to the rest of the Shetland Island Cruisers that I met including Murray who got out of bed to meet me at the ferry, Christine for supplying me with fruit and water for the ferry when I missed the hotel lunch (good luck with the new F650!), Lucy for her friendliness and Janice and Dave for the hair ties.

MarkNorthLinkAlso to the members of the Eysturoyar Motorcycle Club Bikers for feeding and entertaining us including Elvi for teaching me the Faroese alphabet (it is missing the C, W, Q and Z but has an additional 8 characters), Jackie for showing us around and a special thanks to Ove for the run of his Harley shop (including internet) for four days. Also Moyra and Billy for being good friends and listening to me blather about things as well as making me want to have a Scottish accent. And to Mark in Orkney for taking the time out before he goes on his own European motorcycle tour to show me around.

A worthwhile mention also goes to the Northlink Ferries that gave all participants 30% off the ferry and tie on your bike for you (the only ferry company that has ever done that!

As well as anyone else I met along the way.

Posted in Faroe Islands Trip | 1 Comment »

By Bicycle

June 4th, 2007 by sunflowers

Riding to the gym this morning was weird after spending a week on the motorbike. Actually I don’t think that riding for 13 hours straight yesterday was so great for my hearing as my ears were still ringing this morning even though I had been using my specially moulded earplugs from (www.hearingprotection.co.uk. I had seen quite a lot of people bicycling in Northern Scotland. I actually prefer being on my bicycle and if it wasn’t for the lack of time and amount of gear you can take I would rather do the trip on a bicycle. I think after I retire I will find a flat country to bike around. Maybe Holland and Demark. Though that is for later. Now I am planning my next break away – hopefully to Iceland now that I have heard so much about it.

Posted in Faroe Islands Trip | No Comments »

Test of Endurance

June 3rd, 2007 by sunflowers

Bonar BridgeOn the way back from Orkney I was going to take Sunday, Monday, Tuesday to stop and take photos of the various land marks from the Round Britain Rally. After spending some time perusing the map of where they were I decided to forgo the few that were out of the way and just concentrate on the ones that would be on my way home. So after getting off the ferry in Stromness just before 11am I headed off to Bonar Bridge. After taking the forty five minute detour, trying to find the monument and photographing my bike with a wet soggy place card. I decided that I really did not fancy riding around in the rain by myself for three days (which started my constant internal debate of whether I should find someone to do the Alaska to Argentina trip with). So I decided to see how close to London I could get. In the end I rode 700 miles in just over 13 hours (I took a couple of scenic detours when I missed turn offs) stopping only for two red bulls a packet of crisps and to put on my thermals and got all the way home. The scariest part was coming along the M1 at night in the pouring rain with huge sheets of water spraying off the cars. That and maybe realising my helmet had been undone for about fifty miles at highway speeds.

I think that the long ride blew the rest of the cobwebs out of my head and I arrived back unburdened by the concerns that I had left London with.

Posted in Faroe Islands Trip | No Comments »

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