29 November 2017

Oldham Athletic @ Sarfend United

One of the joys of getting old is being eligible for OAP or senior citizen discounts.

My ticket is £15 where any adult up to 59 years and 364 days will pay £22.

The game was originally planned for November 11th but was postponed as Latics had players on international duty.

Lovely jubbly.

A work colleague saw the club badge. She thought the owl looks very angry. I'd never thought of that before. 

Deep Purple @ The O2

What can I say?

I'd not seen Deep Purple for about 40 years and then twice in just a few!

I had to leave work and travel home.  Walk the dog. Then Claire came home and it was a rush to get to Ashford for the high speed train to Stratford. We made it. Didn't have enough change for the very expensive car park. But used the online booking on my phone!!

This time to cut the walking to save Claire's wonky hip we went Stratford International, DLR to Stratford mainline and then Jubilee Line to North Greenwich.  In the end it was a cock-up as the escalators at Stratford International were broken and we had to walk up. Then at North Greenwich the up escalator was broken.

Dinner in Wagamama. Two chicken katsu later we emerged to join a very long queue for security.

This time we had seats in the 100 series lower tier. Unlike the 400 series seats these are gently sloping and still with an unobstructed view. We also had the back row with just the disabled platform above and behind us.  Perfect.

The show was fantastic.  This time I didn't have to go to the loo just as they started "Smoke on the Water"! 

The support was from Europe. Apart from The Final Countdown I had never heard any of their stuff!!

We had to leave for our trains home about 2245 and they were still going. We missed one extra encore song.

Noticeboard at North Greenwich Station
Couple of pix from the night
Support from Europe

28 November 2017

Oldham Athletic @ The Gills

Saturday was the first opportunity to see Latics in the south this year when I could go. I missed the relatively local trip to Gillingham last year as it clashed with something else. This year I got a ticket for my brother as well. 

We met at Gillingham station and walked down to the ground.  It was bitterly cold.  Even with four layers of clothes and a woolly hat it was still freezing.

The game wasn't too bad and a draw was a fair enough result, but Latics could have won had they shot a bit more often and the keeper made a save from a swerving ball and they cleared one off the line.  The Latics' keeper, Johnny Placido, made a world class save from a free-kick in the last seconds of the game.

The journey home was okay. I got a seat at Ebbsfleet. I was home in good time.

Due to both side being eliminated from the FA Cup.  On December 2nd they are once again down south at Southend United.  If the weather is too shitty to go to Ostend. I might go over there.  Last time I rode there but if it is too shitty for Ostend it will be too shitty for that as well.

Luckily though. The journey by train doesn't look too bad. Southend is way outside my season ticket (train not football!). 

London has nine zones forming rings around the city. My season ticket is valid for zones 1 to 6. So I'll need a ticket from Zone 6 out to Prittlewell. The nearest station to the stadium.

Let's see what the weather brings us.

23 November 2017

Evolution of the Ford Mustang

Just have to share this gif I was sent.  It even covers some of the ugly as shit models that should never have been allowed off the drawing board.

I almost bought a 67 model back in about 78 or 79.  It was for sale at work and even with five years driving experience and a full no claims bonus (discount) I could afford the car but not the insurance premium.

The insurance was well over what the car would have cost to buy.  Did I regret not buying it?


MAG opposes 'disproportionate' pillion ban

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has expressed concerns about the prospect of a ban on pillion passengers in London – a proposal which has been raised to combat the scooter crime epidemic currently gripping the city.

The idea has been put forward by Green Greater London Authority member, Sian Berry who said  'A very small number of people are causing large amounts of fear on our street".   A local safer-neighbourhood panel Chair pointed out a tactic used in some other countries: to temporarily ban the carrying of pillion passengers across whole cities.'

MAG's London Regional representative, Tim Fawthrop, has expressed his opposition to any blanket ban:  'As Ms Berry herself states, she isn't sure this is right for London, and we agree.  While all of us recognise the need to find solutions to the scooter mugger problem, the honest law-abiding, hard-working Londoner who takes his partner to work to cut costs and commuting time will be badly affected by this.  It's not as if the criminals will obey this law amongst all the others they are breaking. The Police will be hard-pushed with current staffing levels to enforce it and that will undermine the effectiveness of all laws.'

Tim adds 'In 2011, Honduras banned motorcycle passengers after a series of drive-by killings.  In addition, a ban was imposed in Medellin, Colombia, at the height of drugs cartel violence.  Are we really saying London is comparable to Honduras and Columbia?  I don't think so.  While it may be legitimate to impose a passenger ban on convicted criminals, doing so on a blanket basis is a disproportionate response to the challenge we're trying to address.'

MAG will make these points in December 2017 at the Home Office forum which has been set up to address the moped mugger problem. Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or central-office@mag-uk.org

19 November 2017


I have only lived here since 1999. We have a nice little town. 

Once the town was on the coast directly but over the years our side of the Channel silted up. Resulting in the capital of the "Cinque Ports" becoming further from the sea itself. We still have a beach and a promenade but they are further from the town centre.

In the photo is the Royal Military Canal. Built in case Napoleon invaded and to be used as a moat to delay and stop the invaders. They never came and the canal is a national monument.



18 November 2017

Dainese Scout Evo GTX gloves

After last weekend's ride in just about 2°C air temperature I knew I needed a new pair of more winter season gloves.

Santa unfortunately doesn't come to me anymore so it was left to Mastercard  to get involved.

We dropped into Laguna and after choosing a glove I thought might fit the bill but on the way to see if they had my size, I saw the "sale" bin. The still came in at over a £100.

In there we some Dainese gloves. Part leather part fabric.  I tried a pair on and like Goldilocks one pair too big. One pair too small but the next pair.  Just right.

You simply know. The fit was so "easy". Natural I suppose you could say.

I've worn them about the house and tomorrow if the weather isn't too wintry they'll get the first outing.

Update 19/11/2017

Didn't get to try them out. At 2°C and frosty road and car iced I decided not to risk it.

Felt a bit guilty until on the back road I witnessed a cyclist slide off on an ice patch. That made me feel vindicated. 

14 November 2017

First digital camera?

I was looking through some of the blogs I follow and came across Bandit Rider's blog about cameras.  It kicked off a debate about cameras and when we all bought our first digital effort. 

As the eldest/oldest it seems I had the distinction of buying one first.  Back in 1998 I bought a Casio QV10a. I didn't come with a box just a soft case and some cables bundled in an elastic band.  It was of course new but an ex-demo model. I have no idea where those cables are now!

I still have it and recently took it out of the drawer where it has been residing for at least the last 19 years! In fact the 320/240 pixel output was so poor, and its hunger for 4 AA batteries meant it didn't see a lot of action.

It's first major use was in 1999 when I took it to Austria on my trip to the Wasserbuffel Club Rally near Mauterndorf in Salzburgerland. I used it a couple of times.  But essentially it only worked with bright daylight and ate batteries too fast to use sensibly.  It allegedly holds 96 pictures in the internal memory.  But batteries never lasted long enough to get that many.

The problem is that the cable I can't find has a jack plug at one end and a serial connection at the other. How to connect it to a modern computer might prove difficult.

Time to get it out of the drawer again?

Googling earlier I found the manual is still available!  Linked below.  



7 November 2017

News from the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG)

New low with London acid attacks and Merseyside killing

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has described the most recent acid attack as a 'new low in bike crime' and expressed its frustration at the shocking assault on a rider, potentially leaving him with a visual impairment.

MAG has offered its sincere sympathy to the victim of the attack, a delivery moped rider named Muhammed Nawshad Kamal, who was assaulted by thugs attempting to steal his moped in the Walthamstow area of London. MAG's London Regional Representative Tim Fawthrop said 'there's not much to say which helps in this situation, except that a shudder went through the riding community when news of this attack became known.  We're already working with local authorities and the police to reduce bike crime, but our efforts have come too late for Mr Kamal and that grieves me as a rider and us as a movement.'

MAG's National Chair, Selina Lavender, adds 'after the relative success of preventing mass lawbreaking at Halloween, this incident dampens the mood and leaves me feeling exasperated that such criminal, lawless behaviour still exposes riders to continual danger.  We're drawing up a plan of action which we intend to share with relevant groups later in November, and with the next Home Office anti-bike crime meeting shortly after that.  If ever there was a dreadful example of the constant peril bikers have to put up with, the attack on Mr Kamal is it.'

MAG understands that the police have arrested two teenagers for this attack and that acid was thrown at the victim more than once.  While there are options regarding the penalty, it is worth noting that there have been calls for involving the parents or guardians.  It has also been pointed out that compensation is a factor, given the potentially permanent effect this attack will have on the rest of the victim's life.  There is provision in law to hold people for very long periods if their crimes are serious enough and courts can commit people of any age to detention at Her Majesty's pleasure, potentially indefinitely.

In separate incidents, a man in Merseyside was fatally stabbed by a number of criminals who used scrambler bikes for the assault, and reports are coming in regarding yet another acid attack.  These appalling crimes underline the national nature of this epidemic.  MAG is investigating the situation and has previously engaged with police on these matters.

Contact MAG at 01926 844 064 or EMail Central Office

1 November 2017


"If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die."

We have often been to concerts since Claire and I met back in 1999.  Most of them I have to admit at my bidding it has to be said.

Some have been less than exciting for her, but have actually been very good and she enjoyed the spectacle.  From the Download Festival (where I was lucky to have won £300 worth of tickets) to Motorhead and of course, last week, Metallica.

Motorhead were probably at the lower interest level. The last time we saw them the support was The Damned.  And it is The Damned we are going to see in February at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone.  Only a few miles from home.  No travel to London.

First up in November is a return to the O2 to see Deep Purple. A farewell tour? 

A gig free December leads us into the New Year and  Think Floyd at the Leas Cliff Hall. Another tribute band that get good reviews.

February, see that Damned concert and a few days after the Illegal Eagles.  The latter are a superb tribute to The Eagles.  They don't try to look like them, they simply play the music and play it very well.  They also sing the harmonies as it Glen and the gang were there... standin' on the corner.

And then what?

Carol King's musical "Beautiful" in march, but not at the Leas Cliff Hall but at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury.


30 October 2017


The mild amongst us have the petition.  For years we have signed our names on paper and seen it delivered to the powers that be.

In the digital era we have the online petition. I ignore most but this one annoyed me.

25 October 2017

From the Royal British Legion

Tomorrow marks the launch of the 2017 Poppy Appeal.

This year we are once again asking our supporters to Rethink Remembrance by recognising the sacrifices made not just by the Armed Forces of the past, but by today’s generation too.

Please do look out for coverage of our campaign. As well as advertising in national and regional press, we’ll also be unveiling our brand new nationwide TV campaign.

Starting 28 October, two second teasers will air during peak evening spots on Channel 4 and its associated channels.

Our full 30 second advert will appear from 4 November, but I am pleased to share with you an exclusive preview today - be sure to check it out here or by clicking on the image above.

You can also follow the campaign on Facebook at Royal British Legion​, Twitter, and Instagram​.

Rethinking Remembrance is about remembering servicemen like Harris Tatakis, a Royal Marine injured in Afghanistan, who said of his experience, “When you come home injured, it can feel like you’ve been forgotten.”
By wearing a poppy and supporting the Legion, you ensure no one is forgotten. You are not only honouring the memory of those who have fallen in past conflicts, you are also giving vital, life-changing support to people like Harris who need your help. Men, women and families – here and now – who have served their country and need help to Live On through injury, illness, bereavement or other forms of hardship.

Rethinking Remembrance is all about the past and present, as well as the future. As you read the stories below, of Donna and Mark, Harris, and Tom, please know that it is for their futures – and for the futures of thousands of other ex-Servicemen and women across the UK – that we ask you to support this year’s Poppy Appeal.

Over the coming weeks, the nation will join together to remember our Servicemen and women, veterans, and their families. We hope you will join us, and wear your poppy with pride.

Yours sincerely,

Guy Upward
Assistant Director of Fundraising: Individual Giving

Oz: Around Australia on a Triumph

Oz: Around Australia on a Triumph

Not a review but a place maker. I have read all the previous Geoff Hill books either in paperback or on the Kindle.

TBH I hadn't any idea this book existed until I was checking some reviews and saw it. Immediately I was onto Amazon to see about getting it. A 1p copy plus postage seemed too good a deal to ignore and so I bought it.

Once I have finished my current read I'll be on it, or not. In the hands of the post office at the moment.

P.S. If the image is all blurred. Blame Goodreads,. It's theirs!

Arsenal 2-1 Norwich City

Okay. It was only the Carabao Cup. 
The opposition was only Norwich City from the Championship.  

It is a trophy that can be won and that gives a chance to play in European competition again.

As usual there were lots of changes in the home team's lineup with second stringers getting a start, and the rest of the team made up with lads. Lads under 20 and many only 17 or 18.

A goal down with time running out it was looking like we were knocked out.  But....

Enter stage right one Eddie Nketiah, wearing the 62 shirt. His first touch after only 10 seconds on the pitch saw him prod the ball into the net from a corner.

Inspired substitution by Arsène??

It came after the regular players had toiled to no great effect with Nardge under heavy pressure.
Normal time ended all square. Time for a hero to step forward. "Eddie! Eddie!"

Into extra-time and on 96 minutes Eddie rose like a spawning salmon to head the ball home. 2-1.
After this his name rang out almost constantly "Eddie! Eddie!  Eddie!".

He could have had a third. Passing the ball to his left around two defenders he outpaced them round the other side before lashing his shot on target. The keeper this time foiled him with a marvellous save.

The Arsenal has a new hero. "Eddie! Eddie!"

23 October 2017

Metallica 2

We got the train up. And now that we know where we are going it was really quick to get across to The O2 Arena from Stratford International.  In fact a DLR and a tube only took 15 minutes including waiting on the platforms.   Coming back though...

We decided to "eat out" at Wagamama. Not cheap. Service though is very fast once you get in the door! Although TBH this is the first time we have had to queue. 

The chili fried squid was excellent, so too were the duck hoisin pancakes.  The main courses came first (!) and then we had everything on the table at the same time.  I had chicken katsu. To say it reminds of something my old she cat. Minnie,  used to leave for me in the kitchen sink if she was left in all day..... No don't go there.

However it tasted really good, the katsu, not the cat sh.........

Once that was over we went across to the Dome. Security was quite tight after the terrorist attacks but given that the MEN Arena bomber in Manchester simply walked in the front door, I can't say that I was feeling any safer than the "old days", when they simply wanted to stop you sneaking in your own booze or long lens cameras.

We bought some expensive bottles water. No bottle though, they poured it in to plastic glass, and some chocolate that must have been made of gold powder.

Before taking our seats.  Luckily although the O2 seats are some of the narrowest and and most uncomfortable ever made, we had a good view.

When the tickets went on sale it looked as though the stage was at one end as normal, Instead they had an "in the round" style stage right in the middle of the arena space.  Like a boxing ring without the ropes.

Claire is not a metal fan, and I have managed to get her interested in Bonamassa and she did enjoy (I think) Deep Purple (hope so as we are going again in November) and Black Sabbath.  Even The Damned!

They crashed and banged through the latest album, "Hardwired to Self Destruct" plus the hits from the 80's and 90's.  The sound up where we were in the upper level wasn't as good as I would have liked, even with one partially working ear! The vocals too "lost" in the music, unlike all the albums I have going back to the 80's like "Kill 'Em All".

The stage and the effects were simply magnificent.

The biggest annoyance are the people that seem to catch the entire concert through their phones.  The woman in front must have filmed the entire show.

Due to it being Sunday, and the trains stopping earlier, we had to leave during the encore at about 2230.  It meant we were destined to get the last trains home.  Luckily we managed that.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. The Wagamama dinner and the concert.  Claire I suspect the dinner only.  

So roll on November 23rd and Deep Purple. Hopefully the sound will be better.

Unlike most of the people around me I have a phone that runs the battery down at the slightest touch, so I didn't take many pictures.  A girl in front of me seemed to film the entire show!

Fat Club

Although we hadn't really strayed too much from the Slimming World straight and narrow, after our holiday in France in May we decided to go back to start again.   For me the support is okay but what really makes me try harder is that I have to pay to be weighed and get that support.  TBH the organiser of our local group, Kirsty, is very nice and helpful,  and of course supportive.

So last Thursday after missing three weeks, luckily all of them we hadn't paid for, we went..... With two weeks in Florida behind us I had expected to have put on quite a bit of weight. After all, the portion sizes are vastly greater than here in Europe.  We soon learned to only have main course and no starters. This also extended to no desserts either.

Hardly any ice-creams but we did have bagels, two a day for breakfast reduced to one and a half later, and peanut butter every day for breakfast.

On the scales Claire lost (!) and I put on 1.5lbs!  That's even with a day of no food after my "Sick Man Blues" adventure trip around London's hospitals a few days earlier.

MAG represents FEMA in international working group

Ian Churchlow, the Motorcycle Action Group's (MAG) representative on a European bikers' rights federation, represented the movement at a major working group on riders' rights in Brussels.

MAG Director Ian Churchlow has just returned from Brussels, having attended a full day conference held by the Federation of International Motorcyclists (FIM), to discuss issues affecting bikers across the European continent and beyond.

Ian says, "this was a joint working group between FEMA and FIM and we met at FEMA Office Brussels on 18th October (2017).   We identified many areas where we have common interests and shared concerns.  These include motorcycle exhaust sounds and the balance between the damage irresponsible use of the motorcycle throttle and illegal exhausts can make to the image of motorcyclists versus the right to buy an aftermarket exhaust system without undue restrictions."

"We also covered the question of self-driving cars and whether this could lead to further road space limitations, thanks to dedicated autonomous car lanes.  We have many position statements on matters including Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), motorcycle accident black spots, dangerous roadside crash barriers, motorcycles in the environment, traffic-calming systems and a great deal more.  One of the key areas of common interest is finding a better approach to initial training, licence conditions and tests.'

Ian believes that FIM, FEMA and FIVA (the federation which protects the interests of users of older vehicles) should adopt single-position statements where possible and externally communicate a united position on major motorcycle issues: "Policies like 'Vision Zero' – the goal of achieving no deaths on the roads at all – are logically and practically problematic, and we discussed options.  What's certain is that working together we've got a greater chance of influencing such policies than if working separately.   MAG is just one voice in this international working group, but I think everyone feels we have a lot to offer.  I'm delighted that we now have a place at the table on these strategic groups."

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

NB: FEMA = Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations

22 October 2017


Not really anywhere near Claire's area of experience but it's hard buying tickets just for myself.

As a trade off I am going to a Christmas Fayre or something in November.

20 October 2017

Super Nano Hydrophobic Liquid Repellant

A long title for this entry. Maybe I should have gone with the product name of "No Wet".

One of the guys at work came in with gleaming trainers despite the weather not being thst good. Not a trace of damp or dirt on them.

He said he had used one of these sprays on them as they were new and light grey.  A quick demo to the assembled masses and it looked good.

He didn't go as far dripping something nasty like ketchup on them but water ran off leaving no mark or stain.

I used to use an earlier incarnation of the one he used to try and keep my tent waterproof back in those far off days when I attended bike rallies and camped on holiday.

There is nothing quite like lying in the tent in the peeing rain and hearing it on the outside knowing that's where it will stay. Outside. Claire likes the sound of the rain but never in a tent!!

The one he used was Fabsil.

I wanted one that could be used on smooth surfaces as well as fabrics. And so after googling and researching for a week or so I chose "No Wet".

So today I have tried in on my brand new Skechers trainers.  An even coating and 20 minutes to dry. Then a second coating. Both done. 

It says leave for 20 more minutes or a day. .  I suppose over the weekend I'll get to test it.

New Kitchen

So we have a new kitchen going in.  It's not finished yet but Claire (or rather we) will have more storage space then ever.

It's not cheap either. It might even add value to our house. Who knows?

We have kept our not very old Samsung washing machine and the less old Beko fridge, but all the rest is new. And all from Neff.

Pics for those interested later.

18 October 2017

Sick Man Blues

Got back from Florida last Friday.  Had a couple of hours rest and then got up. A suggestion from my brother, Neill, to beat jet lag. 

Having kitchen fitters in does help with early mornings and no lie-in.

Saturday was a bit knackered and had a lie-in. Sunday up to get to the County for the monthly Meldrews Meeting.

Monday went to work. Feeling okay.

About halfway started to feel warm. Took off sweatshirt. Hotter. Hotter. Sweating. Chilling.

Then apparently I passed out.

I was helped off the train by a kind lady who turned out to be a nurse.  I was sick on the platform. She stayed with me for about twenty minutes. I was so out of it I can't remember her name.

Some British Transport Police came along and called a Paramedic.  She came quickly on her bicycle.  Fully equipped.  Did blood pressure and heart rate. Then when I told her what drugs I am on she called an ambulance. Possible heart attack?

The station guys were excellent and took me to the first aid room. More vomiting on the way. Ambulance was there.

They took some ECG's  and saw some iregularities, but each one they did was the same. 

Firstly under blue lights and sirens we went to St Bartholomew's (Barts) where I was wired up again for more ECG's.  Same result. They decided that there was no coronary problem.  Back to the ambulance and more sedately to The Royal London Hospital. One of the oldest hospitals in the capital.

Loads of tests and they determined that I had a normal fainting condition.  Body temp rising allied with low blood pressure and low heart rate and poof! Sparko!

Still feel tired and as we say cream crackered in Cockney Rhyming Slang. Saw my own doctor and advised not to exert myself and return to work on Monday

Work ain't gonna be happy.

27 September 2017

Decembeard 2017

I have signed up again.  As I still have Decembeard 2016 around my face I will need to shave it off and start bare-faced from November 30th.

So if anyone wants to contribute, this is my fundraising page.

The more sophisticated can even donoate by SMS - Text PAGD50 £5 to 70070 to sponsor me - £5 is their suggestion and it can be anywhere between £1 (boo-hiss) to £1000 (gulp!)

As Seen from the Sidecar - Round the World Blog

An ambitious project to navigate the world on a small scooter with attached sidecar. 

I will be following this and made a donation to the cause earlier today. The donation actually entitles me to ride with them through the Eurotunnel as far as Paris. The first leg of their RTW trip.Whether I'll actually do that is debatable and under discussion with Claire.  The ride is only a week after we get back from Florida.

Slavery exists and needs to be stamped out across the globe. 
It was finally outlawed in 1807 in Britain and its Empire. Yet today it exists in many forms.   

Sign up to the blog and read the entries from the organisations they are hoping to support on the trip.

The guys don't set off until October 21st. Plenty of time to catch-up and even donate.


18 September 2017

Orlando City Soccer Club

I think I have become the 2017-18 season Jonah.

All the teams I have some history with are struggling.  Even the Arsenal.

But with the club of my childhood,  Oldham Athletic,  currently bottom of League 1 in England, and Zbrojovka Brno bottom of the Czech League,  it looked like my new international team in Orlando would be okay.

Sadly from being top of their MLS division they have failed to amass more than 4pts since I booked tickets and have sunk to 3rd from bottom.

Two places further to drop down the table  to match the others!!

At least Arsenal have managed to get to 12th of 20 in the Premier League.

Hopefully, Hurricane Maria withstanding,  they will rally when I am there at the end of September.

Update 30/9/2017

What can I say? Easy drive up from Kissimmee and parked in 55 West. Walked to the stadium along W Church.

Claire had a backpack.  Not allowed. Only see thru bags allowed. Luckily they give them away free outside and a  mobile phone company had a competition where she won a bigger on. Ended up decanting backpack into see thru bags. Also my big packet of Lays got confiscated.  Obviously the bag could have concealed a terrorist.
With pretzels selling for $5 for two, they don't want Lays sneaking in.

Game okay.  Pretty much at English League One level.  The fans in the Fanzone "Wall" made it more of a carnival atmosphere but with a 0-0 drawer it was never going to get the pulses running of European visitors.  At $34 each it was okay.

New Helmet - LS2 Wave

LS2 Wave

I have been looking for a light open face helmet for a while and missed out on some bargains over the summer. As the autumn sets in though, when you maybe don't want face and weather to meet, there are more bargains.

So I bought a LS2 OF561 Wave .  

It fits well and should do the trick for short rides out locally in the summer.   So it's in the wardrobe.

I chose the Titanium colour as another matt black helmet might not work!

17 September 2017

Poppy Zip Tags

Guessed at what they will call them. Look like a good idea.

Bike stuff especially could do with some of these.

The British Legion are apparently trialling them in South and West Yorkshire!

So have to wait and see if they are produced in time for the start of the Poppy Appeal next month.

I could do with a few for bike gear and hoodies.

16 September 2017

The Shard - Been. Done.

We were on the 1002 HS1 train from Folkestone West.  A coffee to sustain us on the 58 minute journey and it seemed that we were arriving.

A few minutes on the Northern Line and we were at London Bridge Station. The Shard View is signposted from in the station and we were there quickly.

Once checked in and through airline style  security we were in the first lift and whisked to the 33rd floor. Then across the hall and upto the 69 floor for the first viewing level.  Another coffee and a base at a table and chairs. Then we could take in the views. And take some pictures.

The difficulty is getting photos without too much glare from the windows.

The views are stunning over London but the weather wasn't good enough to see some of the landmarks they said you could.
From the Upper View there's not much difference except you can look up and see the top of the tower itself.

From here we decided it was lunch time. So down we went again. Two swift lifts and into the street.

We decided to head for Borough Market. Passing some pubs full of Leeds United fans. All carefully watched by police and a fair sprinkling of dogs.

The market is now gentrified. Where it would have been filled full of produce for the locals,  stuff brought in locally,   it is now more international. 

Cheese from France,  Italy and even Spain.  Olives from Greece. Plus restaurants.
We chose Maria's Market Cafe. A steak bap for Claire and a lamb one for me. Lovely. Can recommend.

We had a walk around. Only buying some goats cheese from French Comte.

And then with Reggie at home we decided to walk over London Bridge to get the Tube back to St Pancras.

We got a great view of the Shard and some other buildings. 

Once across the bridge we crossed the road. The view of the Monument is spectacular.

Then off to Bank Station to get the Tube. Our London day trip almost over.

Tower Bridge

St Paul's Cathedral

Thames Sailing Barges and HMS Belfast

Some further information:

St Paul's Cathedral - https://www.stpauls.co.uk

15 September 2017

The Shard

A while back I was sent a free train ticket by Southeastern Trains. Maybe as a reward for their poor service over many years. It covers two people on their services.

Anyway it has to be used by the end of the month and so I thought a day trip to London would be good.

Since we have had Reggie we've not been able to have a day trip anywhere without taking him. We have tailored trips to include him. London isn't one of those places. 

So we have arranged for a local dog walker to come and collect him. Gulp.

He has been for a visit for Reggie to meet him. But hopefully with us not there Reggie won't attack him. One of Reggie's problems is that he can't be allowed to be at the front door when it is answered to visitors.  If he is out back and the visitors are in the lounge he runs in and wants then to play with him. Fingers crossed.

Looking for things to do and Claire saw the Shard was open. A search for tickets revealed many ticket agencies selling discounted tickets. I chose this one: http://www.attractiontix.co.uk/tickets/the-view-from-the-shard

I booked for tomorrow.  We can see about lunch at nearby Borough Market. 

It only recently opened fully after the terrible events of June 3rd when it was one of the scenes of an Islamic terror attack.

Photos etc to follow. 

8 September 2017

MAG supports Anti-Theft Demo in London

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) in London is calling on all riders to back the movement's strong demand for action against the crime wave affecting both motorcycle riders and the general public.
Tim Fawthrop, MAG's spokesman in London, is issuing a call-to-arms over the crime wave affecting riders in the capital and beyond which has directly harmed the motorcycling community – especially in recent months.

Tim says 'I'm asking you to come and join our demonstration this Saturday, 9th September 2017, in London, to show the level of anger amongst riders regarding the continuing crime wave which has blighted biking over the last 12 months.  The ride begins at 10.30 am in Regent's Park before proceeding to Parliament Square and then heading east. The route taken will ride through some of the areas most affected by motorcycle theft and moped-enabled crime.

Tim is speaking for every rider who's been affected by the attacks and thefts.  'As anyone who follows the news will know, there were some terrible recent assaults on riders who were at work doing their delivery jobs.  The injuries to these victims are potentially life changing.  I know many riders who've been affected, and luckily a lot of the time the attempted thefts and assaults have not been successful.  But this is no way for riders to be treated in a theoretically law- abiding society. The anger is at boiling point now, and it's entirely understandable that riders want to strike back.  MAG continues to advise against vigilantism and invites all those who want to be heard to join the demo on Saturday.'

Previously, Tim has called on riders to share what they know about the criminals with police.  'The authorities can and should deal with them, but they need your information to do that.  Call the police now, and help to apply the weight of the law to these lawless and stupid thugs. Let's show a united front against bike crime, by turning out en-masse on Saturday.'


3 September 2017

Sloe Gin 2017

After a remarkable 11 years since we last put gin to sloe, Claire took over this time and started a new batch.

This time we are without the luxury of Gilbey's finest gin and have once again delved into Aldi and their oddly named Oliver Cromwell Gin.  I am not all that sure the Puritan would have been a great drinker, but it seems whilst they liked a pure life, the odd spot of booze was acceptable.

I had a look back through the blog to see when we last made some, and the following link was the result: https://invictamoto.blogspot.co.uk/2006/09/sloe-sloe-quick-quick-sloe.html

In the cupboard we still have a few bottles.  Nearly 3/4 of the Gilbey's, and about half a bottle of  a 2008 brew that was given to me by Chris Spencer, a former colleague at Islington.

We even have a little of Claire's Dad's version from 2006!  

And how does it taste?  It has aged pretty well. Of the three I think the 07 is the best. It is quite amazing but you would never know they were basically gin with added sloes!  They all taste like sherry! 

A glass of the Gilbey's and some olives

Folkestone Triennial

Every three years Folkestone has the arts festival known as the Triennial.

Artists from across Europe and the UK create works that are displayed around the town.

Here are a few of the works.

2 September 2017

Up for the Cup

The FA Cup. The oldest football cup competition in the world.

The smaller clubs began playing early in August and today in the third round of games called the First Qualifying Round my local club, Folkestone Invicta, began their attempt to reach the First Round Proper.

It's this round where the Football League clubs from the third and fourth tiers on the pyramid come into play.

Invicta are in the 7th tier.

The opponents today were Greenwich Borough from the division in the Isthmian League, currently named after the sponsors Bostik.

Plenty of huff and puff.  A mistake ked to the visitors going ahead after only 8 minutes. Invicta pulled level just before half time but were generally the better side but 1-1 was about right.

Into the second half it was more of the same but surprisingly it was Borough that scored first.

Invicta pressed and pressed and a late and clumsy tackle saw the visitors reduced to ten men with a red card for a second yellow card.

It wasn't long before Invicta drew level.  A fierce shot into the bottom corner.

With some time wasting angering the home fans the game came to a head.  A few skirmishes. What we call "handbags".

The pressure continued and after a long break for an injury to the Borough left back saw them reduced to 9 men.

The last few minutes saw them fighting a rearguard action until a corner and Invicta scored a third to win the game, 3-2.

A superb game for home fans and neutrals. For a tenner it was great entertainment.

30 August 2017

The Three Amugos

Not a misprint.  Or a typo.

Given the "Wenger Out!" post earlier in the week. We are still going to spend a tenner** each to sit in our grand (cash not surroundings) seats at the Emirates Stadium to watch the second string and yoofs take on League 2 Doncaster Rovers.

History is on our side. In 8 meetings since 1901 they have come out on top only once, 115 years ago.
More credibly we last played them in 2005 and the game ended 2-2.

Given the "sell, sell, sell" attitude of our under-fire manager and the clowns on the board we may see them extend their winning streak to 2 from 9 in 116 years.

Fingers crossed Amugos!

** plus £1.65 charges on top of the ticket!

Car Insurance - Insignia

It's getting on for that time of year again when my car insurance is due. I used to be with Direct Line but the quote gory higher and higher every year and so I started trawling the comparison sites to get a better quote.

Last year this turned out to be the insurers that sell under the banner of the RAC motoring organisation.  They had the cover I wanted and although not the cheapest quote, were the cheapest of the companies I had ever heard of.

This year my renewal arrived and they quite matter of factly tell me that this year my premium will go up £50.  The car is a year older and therefore less valuable.  The risk hasn't changed much. So it is back to the comparison sites.

What has really happened is that premium last year was a new business discounted amount. This year they are trying to get some of it back. Sadly for them I will go elsewhere.

29 August 2017

Wenger Out!

Sunday 27th August 2017. 

A day of infamy.

Our glorious team of Arsenal Gladiators went out in the Anfield sun to do battle with the Lions of Liverpool and came back battered and bruised.  Humiliated some may say.

The lack of fight from highly paid professionals leaves a nasty taste in the mouths of fans. "Wenger Out!" is the cry on those same battered lips. 

"Wenger Out!" is the cry from even committed Gooners and ex-players like Ian Wright.

The apologists for the French Professor keep repeating the mantra that he has done so much for the club in the 20 years he has been in charge. So many victories. Invincible even.

"It's not his fault" they cry in return, but the "Wenger Out!" Cries begin to double, then double again.

"How is it nor his fault?" The cry goes up. 

His starting eleven contains one of the finest right backs in the country starting on the left. He leaves out a German international centre back and plays a rookie who has been shite in his last two appearances. Another German international isn't even on the bench.  He plays a Spanish Left-back at centre back.

Remember who the World Chamions are? Germany.

He leaves the record signing centre forward, who cost £52m, on the bench and plays a guy that has the ball control of  a snail and the goal tally of a retarded sloth.

On top of those slight errors he plays two players that have been agitating to leave.  

One of whom has been "Mr Sicknote" up to now and the other actually leaves the day after for a rival club - see update below - one game player after he had a stomach pull and then a cold, or was it the other way around.  It means that it was late August before he made an appearance.

The former is huffing and puffing inside twenty minutes as the game isn't going the way he wants. Another German international floats through the game ineffectively and then also starts to wave his arms like a sulking school child.

They ship too many goals to lose 4-0. Each one was a personal cock-up by a player that led to Liverpool taking the ball and a few passes later scoring.

With the game lost and beyond the wit of anyone to look like we can drag something from the burning embers,  the great leader brings on £52m man and the other French striker.  Both of them rivals for the same French international starting place. Both of them see little of the ball as it seems the remainder of the starting XI seems unable to get the ball to them. Or simply are incapable.

The shit and the fan come together.  Wenger looks shaken in the post match interview. He refuses to answer the question about the "Wenger Out!" banners and shouts from the fans that have travelled 200 miles on a Bank Holiday Sunday with little of no public transport available and with expectations of getting home sometime in the wee small hours.  Thank you Frank Sinatra for naming them.

He whispers the usual platitudes about players not being on their game. Once again he defends the clowns he put on the team sheet.

At least there is an international break for a week or so before we have another attempt to play.  With 15 clubs above us in the table we are lucky it's one of the ones below us; Bournemouth. 

Another galling thing is that we were f*cked by a Liverpool side playing the game that we used to play before Wenger numbed all the talent out of the players. Pressing to win the ball. Quick passing and a fast counter attack.

When even Thierry Henry and Ian Wright, the club's two highest goalscorers, are both almost in tears to see this humiliation and both sense there is something rotten at the club, then rock bottom can't be far away.

Monday 28th August 2017. 

We awake on Monday to the news that Want-Away2 has indeed gone to a rival for what last year would be a mind blowing £35 to £40m!   Why the f**k did Wenger play him at Liverpool the day before.  He must have known the deal was done and all it needed was the player to sign and the Russian Oligarch signs the cheque. 

Rumours persist on the sports channels that the German international dropped in favour of the Rookie also wants away and has been talking to Inter Milan of Italy. We are resigned to players leaving. It's no longer a surprise.

The international transfer window closes in about 52 hours after me writing - 2300 on the 31st August - by then "Sicknote" will have f*cked off to a rival and we will have no room to manoeuvre. Wenger will then do as he has already done in the past,  repeat the same error, and panic buy.

We panic bought a Brazilian centre back from Spain. He's gone back already. We panic bought a Spanish striker and he wants away. He wants a chance to play for his country and from the bar or at best the bench at Arsenal he won't achieve that.  It's World Cup next year BTW.

The apologists go on about it being only three games.  We have lost two. We have a -4 goal difference and we are 16th.  Manchester United have spent more millions on players and have won all three games and are already six points ahead of us and how many goals....... 14!!!!!

In modern football - goals are worth a point at the end of the season.

Time for Arsene to quit. Go back to France and buy a nice cottage and spend the years and years of millions of pounds he must have stashed away.


Wednesday 30th August 2017

And the story has changed.

Want-Away2 has decided that he doesn't want to go the Chelsea  (sounds like a song title) but wants to go to Liverpool.  The club responsible for the shafting on Sunday... So are we supposed to think that he knew this before Wenger picked him to play. Or just coincidence.  

Whilst all this is going on we have shifted a full back with long service,  but into his last year of contract, to West Bromwich for £7m.


Sicknote has been pretty quiet after being caught laughing on the bench soon after Liverpool scored their 4th. But reportedly has asked to leave. Manchester City offer £50m. Arsenal turn it down. 

Then WantAway2 is reported to be going to Liverpool for £40m.


The club has apparently received two bids for the Spanish striker. From Deportivo, where he wants to go, and Levante, who are the club's preferred buyer.  Read "offered more money" for preferred. 

So that's £47m today. How much tomorrow on the last day of the window.

And no one coming in.


Thursday 31st August 2017

The transfer window is closed.  At 11pm it was met with a fanfare and a countdown on Sky Sports 1.

In the end the we have offloaded  Spanish striker to Deportivo on loan for the season. OS that should save the wage bill.

Sicknote stays.  The club made a desperate attempt to sign a replacement from Monaco and had agreed a massive £92m fee but that fell through so he stays with us until the January window at least. Some will say this was a token attempt as it was never going to happen.  A kind of "cover your arse" move in case Sicknote left and we were another man down.

A whole host of lesser cast members left as well either free or for the token £1m. At least we have brought in about £73m in revenue and only spend £46m.  

Kerrching again!

And are the fans happy.  Wait and see when AFC Bournemouth come to the big city.


Want-Away2 -  Alex Oxlade Chamberlain
Long Service Full Back - Keiran Gibbs
Another German International - Shkodran Mustafi
German international centre back - Per Mertesacker
Rookie - Rob Holding
Record Signing - Andre Lacazette
Sloth - Daniel Welbeck
Other French Striker - Olivier Giroud
Sicknote - Alexis Sanchez
Spanish Striker - Lucas Perez
Brazilian Centre Back - Gabriel
Spanish Left-back - Nacho Monreal
Finest right backs - Hector Bellarin

Oldham Athletic @ Sarfend United

One of the joys of getting old is being eligible for OAP or senior citizen discounts. My ticket is £15 where any adult up to 59 years a...