7 March 2018

TomTom 410 - Update

I connected the TomTom for the first time in a few months and it said there were three updates to install.

Two of them were map sets, Europe v10.05 and USA v10.05 plus the little fixes that are the community fixes.

I let it download all of them and that came to about 12gb. That bit took about an hour with a few hiccups with the internet dropping out. 

And then it seems to have ground to a halt.  At 100% download it sat for over an hour "checking". In the end I stopped it and started it again and it started to do the updates. This time I was able to untick the USA maps update as they aren't going to be needed this year.

The update of just Europe and the fixes came up to take about an hour.

Then it came up to say there were two updates, another community jobbie and the USA still outstanding from the earlier run through.

I ticked that as well and it took another hour, at least it had the USA maps already downloaded.

So after about 5 hours I had all the updates downloaded and installed.


5 March 2018

Amazon - Missing Goods

I know it was a little impersonal buying stuff for Claire's birthday from Amazon. My standard present is earrings. 

When you do use a company like Amazon, you trust that what you have bought arrives when they say and actually does arrive.

So imagine my horror (Yes I am traumatised - not really) and angered to find that when the delivery made it through the snow and not quite next day or the one after with Amazon Prime, that someone had stolen the earrings!

The packaging was the standard folded over cardboard with two fold-in flaps at each end. Neither of these flaps are secured but are superb for trapping a CD/DVD case or a standard paperback, but not a small jewellery box.  

I was out at the time of delivery and so was Claire, so it was delivered to my next door neighbour who takes in all kinds of stuff for us.  We are very much the cause of local shops going bust.... Guilty as charged.

She noticed that one of the flaps looked flattened down and she could see in that the little box was in there.

When we opened it we found that the little box was there and it was empty.  Sans jewellery! 

Once I had calmed down I logged into my Amazon account and logged a call to say that the package had been tampered with.  As you can't supply any evidence, I located their Facebook page and laid into them with the picture above and one of the packaging.  That was Saturday evening. 

The FB people came back and said to log it as a call from my account. Easily enough done but no dropdown box for Stolen/Theft....

I had already done that and applied for a refund thinking that even though I don't expect lightning to strike twice,  I'd manually check shops.  

This morning I got an email (sent yesterday evening) from them to say that they apologised and they had ordered a new set to be sent.  I have to return the packaging and the empty box. Postage paid.

So.  Angry that someone in the delivery chain between Amazon and my house had stolen the goods, but pleased at their quick response. 

Let's ride the lightning and see what happens.

MAG News - Join the ‘holey’ crusade: MAG backs National Pothole Day

The Motorcycle Action Group calls on riders to use National Pothole Day on March 8th 2018 to get local authorities to fill holes and save lives.

MAG is inviting all riders to highlight holes in the road on National Pothole Day: March 8th 2018. MAG's Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, asks bikers to 'make a simple call to the Council or send an email about the road damage you've noticed – and which could cost lives.' Colin is determined to hold local authorities accountable for providing safe road surfaces: 'bikers are a hardy lot, but that won't prevent dangerous accidents because of holes in the road. Hospital treatment is far more costly than fixing a pothole. We're determined to work with the authorities to ensure road-related accidents are prevented before they happen.'

It's worth noting that adverse weather conditions wreck badly repaired potholes, making the investment pointless and the repair potentially more dangerous than it was in the first place. Frost fractures a poor repair, making it an accident waiting to happen. By contrast, a good repair leads to a lasting improvement to the road surface and doesn't need repeated maintenance.

Colin adds, 'MAG asks you to take two minutes to tell your local authority about troublesome irregularities in the road. It's essential to preventing spills. If we don't tell them, they won't know. If we do tell them, then they've got a responsibility to act. It's as simple as that. Let's help ourselves by giving them the information they need to stop avoidable – and potentially life-threatening – accidents.

It's common sense and easy to do.' Find out who to contact by calling your local authority, or follow this link:


You can learn more about National Pothole Day at:


Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org 


In Kent where I live, the direct URL 


4 March 2018


So after last week's debacle and gutless performance against Manchester City in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley and the follow up Premier League game with the same oppositions, and the same 3-0 scoreline, I had expected that when Sunday came around again and Arsenal were plating away on the south coast against lowly (!) Brighton and Hove Albion, that there would be a sea change in the performance.


It was a case of "same shit different day".

Gutless and outplayed by Brighton. They deserved what they got and I feel for the travelling supporters that went down there for the game. Two-nil down after 25 minutes due to terrible defending and ineffective slow build up in attach/offence. Whatever the Brighton game plan was it was working.

Some glimmer of hope when Aubamayang flicked the ball into the Brighton net after 42 minutes was soom extinguished when the second half followed the same script.

Our venerable manager was rooted for most of the game to his seat seemingly unable to muster a damn for the woeful performance on the field. Offering no insight to the tactics that might turn the game around.

Time to go Arsene.  Time is up. Go son whilst your legacy isn't completely tarnished.


3 March 2018

As Seen from the Sidecar - Week 18

Week 18 - Hot springs, hot driving and not so hot mechanics.

Week 18

 2 countries. 580 miles. 20 hours on the road..
Sorry for the delay in getting this week's email over to you, we had bad wifi on Zanzibar!! That's right while you guys have been fighting the beast from the East and battling the snow we've been sunning it up in paradise! But it's not been plain sailing all week...

We kicked off week 18 at Jungle Junction where alot of overlanders in Africa pull in for a pit stop. We used it as a base to do a full service on the scooter. As we didn't bring any spare parts with us at all, we thought we would take everything apart in Nairobi where we would be able to guarantee we could find anything we would need. All was going swimmingly until Matt managed to crack the spark plug while getting it out. No bother, that's why we did it in Nairobi and we'll just pop to town and grab another. It did not go to plan - two days of trawling Nairobi later and we gave up, glued up the old plug and hit the road.

But before we left Nairobi we visited the amazing HAART Kenya. We spent a morning chatting to them about the amazing work they do to support some of the 450,000 people living in slavery in Kenya. We left so inspired and will certainly be putting a blog up about their work as soon as we can.

After Nairobi the next stop was Moshi, at the foot of Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. We did a big drive there so we could afford to spend a couple of nights and enjoy the area. The views of the mountain were spectacular and the scenary in the foothills equally brilliant. While we were exploring the area we came across the Moshi Hot Springs - it's incredible, go there. You have to do about an hour's off roading (in a sidecar) but eventually you end up in paradise. The water is a lovely refreshing temperature and completely crystal clear (as shown in the ridiculous picture above), plus it's not overcrowded and a perfect place to relax if you ever decide to climb the mountain!

While in Moshi we got in touch with our panel of expert volunteer/friends back home who advised us, once again, that we are complete idiot's. Apparently riding on a dodgy spark plug could mean we short the electrics on the bike and even fry the ECU which would be too modern to be fixed anywhere around here. We carried on regardless...

...And made it through to Dar Es Salaam to visit Kuishi na Kuishi - the guys who named the sidecar. Munya, co-founder of Kuishi na Kuishi insisted that we head to Zanzibar to start our visit - we weren't going to decline but first we needed to sort this plug. We spent another few hours looking in random shops around Dar and then decided to admit defeat and look at shipping options. But thankfully, Munya had a friend flying out from the UK so we just had to get a spark plug to them... in less than 24 hours. Amazingly, a friend of ours, John, volunteered to drive the plug to Gatwick at 6am in the snow for us. What a hero - thanks John!

This meant we could relax on Zanzibar in style and enjoy the incredible island. If you've not been then go there. It's nuts. The water is just perfect, the people amazing and it's full of history - which is riddled with slavery but that's a story for next week.
Week 18 | Countries ���� ���� | Kilimanjaro, Hot springs Matts signature pin drop
Week 18 - Hot springs, hot driving and not so hot mechanics. 
Thanks for reading and we'll email you next week from Malawi!

Matt and Reece 

P.S. If you didn't guess, I am just forwarding the html email that Matt and Reece are sending out from their journey.  The two links on the original text from this email didn't work and took me to some Wordpress management page, so I had to Google the places and add the links instead of the originals.

1 March 2018

Allied Memorial Remembrance Ride UK 2018

The run this year is on July 7th. Will probably ride up there again this year and join in the run again. Have put it on the Meldrews' FB page and maybe some of them will come this time.

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