15 August 2017

Hythe Venetian Fete

The Venetian fete is bi-annual in Hythe and uses the Royal Military Canal as the base for a series of free concerts and a river pageant on rafts.

The third evening was Abbalicious, an ABBA tribute group but there must have been a falling out as only AA were onstage. What happened to BB we have no idea.

When we arrived with Reggie there was plenty of free parking in Waitrose and we walked along just as they came on stage.

After a few numbers we set off for a walk around over the bridges that brought us back stage.  My arm got tired waiting for them to turn around and not face front only.

A good evening,. And free.

11 August 2017

It's back! The Premier League kicks off tonight

It kicks off again tonight and Arsenal has the inglorious task of being the first new season to kick off on a Friday evening.  I suppose it means we can have football and a free weekend.


Update: 11/08/17 22:00

Won 4-3.  Supporting Arsenal isn't the easy job it might be if you have a tame billionaire from Russia or a middle east oil state that spends money as though it is going out of fashion.

Mr Wenger decided that the potent striker Vardy for Leicester wasn't a threat and chose to play a rookie centre back and no other recognised central defenders.  That proved wrong. As Vardy scored twice.

In the end what he will call "mental strength" seemed to work and we came from 2-3 to 4-3 in a two minute spell in the last ten minutes of the game.

At least we won it.  Usually, we lose or at best get a draw to start the season.

8 August 2017

Community Shield - August 6th 2017

Another chance to go to Wembley Stadium to watch Arsenal. Once again against Chelsea.

Arsenal were in this traditional fixture as Cup Winners and Chelsea as League Champions. Back in May Arsenal had beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup Final also at Wembley Stadium. This stopped them wining the "Double" of League and Cup in one season.

Another warm sunny day when we were glad to be in the upper tier and under cover rather than being burned to a crisp in the sun. The view is pretty good from all around the stadium.

Before the game there was the usual tedious build up but this was relieved by the Choir for Grenfell coming to sing after the minutes silence for those that died in the terrible tower block fire some weeks ago. The Choir and celebs have made a charity record to raise money for the families that lost everything. I took a short video of it.

The game was pretty even although statistics will show that the Arsenal had more possession, 54% to 46%, more attempts on goal and fewer disciplinary cards. Chelsea getting another red card for a reckless tackle. More stupid than malicious.

Both sides seemed to be saving players for the start of the Premier League this coming weekend. But did give new signings a start.

In the end Arsenal won their 9th successive game at Wembley. After finishing 1-1 they won the penalty shootout 4-1.

Pano at the end.  One half very empty

11 July 2017

Reggie Relaxing

What he does very well.
On the bed
On the landing

In the bathroom
In the conservatory

10 July 2017

Folkestone Invicta FC - Season Opener

The football season seems to come a little earlier every year, or so it seems.

Locally Invicta kicked off their pre-season with a game against local rivals Hythe Town. This ought to be a dilemma for me as I live in Hythe, actually less than a mile from Town's ground at Reachfields.   However, I have never been.

When I moved here from Bedfordshire in 1999 my first taste of local non-league football was at Folkestone Invicta as one of the director's at Claire's work was also a director of the football club and we went as her company was sponsoring a game. And I have been going ever since. Albeit only a couple of games a yar.

Yesterday was far too hot for running about in the sun, but perfect for sitting under cover in the main stand.  A tea to start with and a bottle of water when it got too hot.

In the end Invicta ran out 4-1 winners with Hythe scoring their consolation in the 90th (and final) minute.

There are another six of so pre-season games to play before the league kicks off in August.

Invicta in amber and black

The next game for me might well be the other local derby at home to Dover Athletic. Dover are a couple of rungs up the pyramid and currently play in the 5th tier. Just one below the Football League.

As a senior citizen nowadays one of the perks is a reduced price ticket and so I bought a season ticket. Good value at £110 for an entire season.

5 July 2017

MAG - Safer bikers in Wales!!!

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) is pleased to note that the number of bikers killed or seriously injured (KSI) has fallen.

MAG can report that, according to figures released recently by Road Safety GB, the number of motorcyclists killed or seriously injured in Wales during 2016 fell by 7%.  This represents the biggest improvement in KSI statistics in Wales, outstripping figures for pedestrians and cyclists who, along with motorcyclists, are classed as vulnerable road users.

MAG Chair, Selina Lavender, said "this is good news on a number of levels: less KSI means not only fewer families suffering the distress of losing a loved one, but also shows that bikers are riding responsibly and taking care on the roads of Wales".

Figures are currently unavailable for England due to a lack of validated data from the Metropolitan Police for November and December.  Work is under way to rectify this.

Meanwhile, MAG welcomes the evidence showing that, in Wales at least, the "ride safe" message is getting across.

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

3 July 2017

MAG challenges London ULEZ

MAG submits case for user charge exemption for all motorbikes

This version:   2017 06 29                            Embargo: IMMEDIATE

The Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) has responded on behalf of London's 200,000 every day riders to defend an exemption from user charging of bikes in the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).

Selina Lavender, MAG's Chair, has shared MAG's determination to ensure an exemption.  'The bike charging proposal was part of a package to reduce emissions – even though a shift towards motorbikes reduces emissions.  We've made a comprehensive submission to explain why it's utterly counterproductive to tax part of the solution, namely powered two wheelers.  The charge is £12.50 a day.'

MAG made the following points:

•       Commuters on bikes are virtually zero NOx emissions producers – and far ahead of buses.  That's why an exemption for bikes (of all ages) is right – because car drivers who shift to motorcycles and scooters reduce overall emissions due to the tiny emissions footprint of a bike.

•       Research shows if 10% of motorists moved to motorcycles for their daily commute there would be a 40% reduction in congestion.  Air pollution is a feature of congestion. That means motorcycles help achieve air quality targets, so charging them makes no sense.

•       The Government says in its air pollution report published in May 2017: The impact of including motorcycles and mopeds in CAZs have not been modelled. These vehicles only represent a small proportion of total NOx emissions so it is not expected that they will be included in the access restrictions for the majority of zones.

•       Some low wage earners use bikes for financial reasons.  Charging them when they produce almost no emissions – or forcing onto more expensive public transport – is a 'tax' on lower wage earners.  An exemption is socially fair.

MAG is closely following the emissions debate to ensure that bikers are not charged while other vehicles which make no contribution to reducing congestion (and emissions caused by traffic jams), such as electric cars, are exempt.  This remains a key element in the campaigning work of the movement.

For full details of MAG's response go to: https://wiki.mag-uk.org/images/7/74/ULEZ_2017_06_21.pdf

29 June 2017


I had forgotten all about this website that links to Flickr until I got an email when someone had tried to spam one of my pictures.


27 June 2017

Oggie 76 Bike Jeans

I needed a new pair of bike jeans and as I am once again suffering myself to lose weight with Slimming World, I didn't want to spend too much. My budget was pretty low!

I have a pair of black Kevlar lined cargo trousers but they have shrunk a little in the wash. Really.  And I have replaced the metal button already.

So a quick search on eBay revealed Oggie76.  I bought a pair(£39.95) and they arrived in two days. Just in time for British Bike Night.

They fitted rather well. Included in the price are hip and knee armour pads that fit into pockets stitched into the jeans.  The Kevlar covers the arse section and down the thigh.

The stitching on the seams looks pretty strong too.  Of course, you will only know how good they are when you slide down the road on your butt.  

The only bugbear for me, and I have emailed and told them,  is that there is only one belt loop at the back in the middle.  This allows the waist to fold a little and droop under the belt. A bit uncomfortable. There's a repair shop in the High Street in Hythe and I'll see if they can add a couple of extra ones for me. I had a pair a few years ago that had a kind of tube affair instead of a 1/2 inch wide loop. It was about 6 inches long across the back seam. Perfect for bikng.

I chose the 34" leg length although my usual jeans are 32", I did this so that when on the bike, the bottom of the legs aren't flapping about my shins. They are okay when walking.

I have only worn them once and will have a better opinion at the weekend when I go on the AMRR.

15 June 2017

Sound Mirror

Recently the replica of the sound mirror has been painted by some local volunteers. 

It looks good in the dark green rather than the flaking and badly applied grey/beige it was before.

It's there to show visitors how the mirror works.  From the other side of the canal,  maybe 25 yards away, someone speaks and another person in front of the mirror (the grey bit) can hear it.

The original mirror is on the hillside about 200ft above sea level.

This technology was invented as early warning of air raids.

Reggie left his mark.

Read more about the mirrors.

My Photos:

Sound Mirrors

Premier League Fixtures

The fixtures are out already.  Time to plan which games I will attend and which Alex will go to.

13 June 2017

RBLR Non-Attendance Rally 2017

This year's Royal British Legion Riders Non-Attendance Rally will not be held in the Elysian Fields this year.

The money earned after the cost of the badges goes into the Poppy Appeal.

I can't remember how many times I've not been to the Rally. It's quite a few now.

5 June 2017

Motorcycle Insurance

My insurance is due on the 27th June.  Or I should say my current policy runs out at midnight as the clock ticks over from the 26th into the 27th.

So as usual I have seen the forums discussing what people are paying and they are generally  less than me.  I guess the risk is supposed to be assessed on a personal basis. However that is too simplistic.  It's computer generated.

What is annoying is the price for the same insurance. When I say same I mean the same basic cover, plus any accidents (I have the car one in May 2015) and other elements AND the same insurance company.

Once comparison site quoted £156.52. My renewal arrived at £179.79 and another comparison site at £107.22 although the last one doesn't include any extras like legal cover. Wen that's added it comes to nearer £140.

So what to do?

30 May 2017

TomTom 410 - Update

The combination of the "nothing wrong with it" returned from Netherlands 410 and the new car mount means that whilst connected to one of the car's power points the unit is now charging on the go.

On the trip to France we had only one problem where it turned off and wouldn't restart for a few minutes and when it did it thought the route it was following was to take us home.  Home at that time was 560 miles away. Once re-programmed to where we actually going, some 5 miles away, it was fine.

The only fly in the ointment is that the live connection using Bluetooth tethering from my phone to the unit didn't work.  I logged a call with TomTom and with 3UK and it turns out that 3UK blocked it.  3UK being my mobile phone "partner".  

3UK operate a "feel at home" system where whatever you pay for in the UK, data and talk time ( I have unlimited of both & sms) works for no extra charge whilst roaming. But, they block tethering. I guess that stops people downloading huge videos and live streaming over the networks but it also stops people using satnavs and downloading live information once an hour.  The download can be measured in kb not mb or even gb.

This tethering allows TomTom's MyDrive system to keep the unit up to date with problems on the road and allow it to plot a new route to avoid accidents and other things such as traffic jams etc.

A shame that a decent and useful safety item is blocked by the mobile network.

20 May 2017

Tomtom 410 - Update

The TomTom came back from its trip to Holland and back.  The new car mount arrived. And...

Success.  We have charging in the car. 

Hopefully the trip to the Dordogne will be accomplished without getting the Urban Rider out of the bag.

13 May 2017

Steam Trains

Who doesn't like a steam train? It might be an age thing but steam was King when I was a boy.

Then in the UK the government employed a guy called Richard Beeching to write a report on reducing the rail network.

But steam lives on at many heritage sites. One of these passes my garden: The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway.
This weekend had guest engines on the tracks pulling the RHDR stock.

I took some pictures over my back fence. In fact I took about 100 on auto on the Nikon,  but the best pic is from my phone...

By some fluke. The pics are of the same engine in both directions.

12 May 2017

Insignia - New Tyres

Once I had managed to remember the tyre details for the Insignia's tyres I had a search online for local fitters and get some prices.

Tyres now come with a scale from A to F for their efficiency in two fields, fuel consumption and wet grip. Ideally you will look for AA rated but once you see the prices then you start to go through the list to find the best rated at a price you can afford.

In the end I opted for these CA rated Uniroyals. Most of the online places had them but Asda came out the cheapest with an all-in price, and have a local fitter.  The most local fitters are only open weekdays and so I had to pick the second nearest.. A garage that although I have used for petrol on many occasions, I had no idea they did tyres.  We'll find out tomorrow morning.

Asda Tyres

One of the tyres is the original from when I bought the car in January 2014 and at the last MoT it was noted that it would need replacing although legal.  I've done about 25000 miles in that  time (below average mileage for UK) and it was obviously not brand new then.

The left front is newer. The original was destroyed in the accident of May 2015 when it came in contact with the kerb. They replaced it as part of the repair job to the entire right side of the car wiped out by KFC munching van driver. I've not been entirely pleased with it as it constantly needs the air topping up.. 

Having new valves might sort that out but in truth I have become less and less confident in them as they wear down.  I have never heard of the make either!

Start afresh.

7 May 2017

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United

The chance for Arsenal to leave a rival behind and Arsene Wenger the chance to beat Jose Mourinho. My last game of the season as well. So a win was excellent.

I took the little Samsung camera and a few came out in focus.

Selfie at the end
Match Report by the BBC

3 May 2017

TomTom 410 Update - Og sagaen fortsetter

Og sagaen fortsetter!!! The saga continues!

With Hella plus in one hand and screwdriver in the other is fixed the power lead to the plug, ensuring a clean and tight connection.

Then out to the garage.  Plug in the bike's power socket.  I didn't fix the ram mount on the bike, preferring to lay it in the seat.  Sliding the 410 into the cradle I had a brief feeling that all would be good.

That lasted less than a second as the half charged 410 showed the battery icon but it was missing the lightning bolt to show it was charging.  A few moments of the air turning blue later I plugged in the Urban Rider's power lead,  Instantly the UR slid into its cradle it switched itself on as the power surged through it. So not the power socket then!

As the 410 won't charge using the car cradle the obvious conclusion is that it it the charging system in the unit itself from the pins on the back that connect via the different cradles.

I updated the call on TomTom Support. A few days later they replied and said to send it back using the labels they had sent before.

So my three month old 410 has never seen action and as the calendar moves on the warranty expires without it ever being used!  Marvellous.

Update 05/05/17

A parcel arrived from TomTom. Seemed a bit heavy.  They had sent the RAM kit in stead of the Car kit!  Doesn't auger well for sending the 410 back.....

Update 08/05/17

I parcelled the unit up in the bubble wrap lined envelope that came the other day from TomTom and with extra bubble wrap and it went back to them using the UPS labels they sent a few weeks ago.

Update 11/05/17

I tried to track the parcel as I reckoned it wouldn't have got there but I wanted to see where it was.

Unfortunately all the links on the UPS website just say the parcel has been sent to the address on the label!  Some tracking that is #UPS!

Update 12/05/17

Today have an email to say they have sent it back with UPS.  They haven;t said what they have done just that there is a letter in the box!  Mysterious.  Maybe it will work on the Dordogne trip after all?

27 April 2017


I guess we all have our own ideas of what makes a great hotel or restaurant, but sometimes I read reviews (before I go somewhere) and pick out places that I think we'd like to go to.

Of course, you have to sift through and discount the reviews written so obviously by the proprietors best friend and at the othe rend of the scale, those written by someone in competition or simply hates them.  These are the usually the over effusive 5* or totally terrible 1* reviews. 

Some are simply weird.

Today I was thumbing through the Dordogne area, by town, for "dog friendly restaurants". We all have an opinion of that. Personally before I was a dog owner again after over 20+ years of not being a dog owner, I didn't really care. As long as Muttley was quiet and not causing a fuss.

This guy obviously thinks it's a dirty European habit. Forget your heritage bud? Has he never been to someone's house where the dog is inside or maybe they own a cat?  As long as the animal isn't in the kitchen where it can be  licking the plates or pissing on the veggies, and is restricted to the public areas, what harm is there.  Maybe in the Republic of California they don't have indoor dogs?

As a general tool Tripadvisor is very useful.  I have quite a few places reviewed. I tend to not be too critical unless it really deserves it.  After all, as they disclaimer says "This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC"

This is my worst review of a hotel in Coventry.  It was in 2011. The manager commented but it looks as though little has changed as there are more recent damning reviews! Second worst!

25 April 2017

Most Popular Post - VX800 Road test

I just had a look at the stats and am quite amazed that a road test report I wrote on the Suzuki Marauder has had over 15800 views.  An article originally written just shy of 20 years ago!

I do this blogging lark as a bit of fun but I'm glad that someone has actually read something I have written and appreciated it.

And here it is.


TomTom 410 Update

It's been a while since the last update in the Saga of the TomTom.  It's not quite as long or as involved as the famous Icelandic Sagas, but the story has to be told.

On the test runs in the car we had several problems where the unit turned itself off. Not simply going into "sleep mode" but actually fully shutdown.

In the settings there is one that can be switched off that covers it going into "sleep mode" when it detects a drop in the power.

Very inconvenient especially on a test where we didn't actually know where the destination was!  When it does that it actually loses the route that it was following.

On the "front" screen it displays the status of the connections and the battery symbol know to all of us with a mobile/cell phone.  When connected to the car mount the battery shows no charging is taking place.  If the power lead is then connected to the unit itself. The battery shows the lightning bolt image.  

I reported this to TomTom and they are sending a new car mount.   

With very little time to get out in the garage at weekends (no power and dark evenings don't help) I have yet to check whether the motorcycle mount is working. The only time that we have tried the unit went crazy and this whole thread and fiasco was kicked off.

At that time I never saw whether the battery shows the lightning bolt or not!

This weekend I have a trip on Sunday into unknown territory and for peace of mind I will use the Urban Rider as I know that the unit works, has the right mapping and the power lead to the Rocket's socket works!

MyDrive App

On a positive note. The 410 connects to a smart phone via the TomTom MyDrive app.  To connect the phone needs to pair with a Bluetooth tether link.  This was simple.  MyDrive mapping is not as easy to use as Google Maps and for some reason is not a richly formatted e.g. there are no overlays.  

For example. Looking for the football ground at Wimbledon for Sunday, Google Maps shows the street and the ground is there to see, but MyDrive shows the streets but not details of what is there in the blank bits.

With the phone and unit both switched on and tethered planning a route on the phone simply needs "send to device" clicking and a few seconds later the unit announces a new destination has been received.  Note. Not a route has been received but a destination.  Planning needs to be sequential. 

Planning a route from A to B is okay, but if you decide to go via C, you need to remove B, add C as B and then re-add B and that becomes C.  You cannot add what the old system terms a waypoint once the start and end points are determined.

That's okay once you realise but frustrating at first.

24 April 2017

The Key

I started using this ticket at the start of the year. For years we have been expecting Southeastern Trains (SET) to replace the paper tickets with a smart card. After all in London they have been using the Oyster card instead of paper and cash for a number of years.

In the photo you can just about detect the discoloration, bottom centre, where there is a little crack. The card now doesn't work at all. Unlike the Oyster it doesn't have an obvious microchip in it.

I reported this on the 7th April and expected a new card in about a week to ten days, this extended in an email from them to two weeks.  I called them today as the replacement hasn't arrived and they had a look. Twelve days ago the card was being tested. Six days ago it was being tested.  Today?  Who knows?

The Key from Southeastern Trains

Until it went wrong it has generally worked okay. I buy a new monthly travelcard that covers train from Kent and tubes/buses in London as well.   It ain't cheap folks. Luckily a kidney regrows each month in time for the next time I have to pay out.

Whilst the train section of my journey is okay, I show the emailed receipt for the kidney, and the conductor laughs it off , and the gate staff grumble and let me through.  But.  The Tube/Bus staff look at me as though I have printed my own non-working ticket and won't let me travel. So instead I have to use my contactless credit card to buy each journey. I can claim this back from SET once the new card is up an running, whenever that will be.

So far pretty poor service.

Update 5/5/17:

A flurry of phone calls after I had logged a complaint that I was still waiting and in the weeks since I had reported it the ticket had expired and I was now using a paper ticket again.

The upshot is that as it has expired, they will cancel the account and I can then order a new one, which has been done and I have ordered a new one.  Whether I use it of course is another question.

As for recovering my out of pocket tube fares, they say there is a form and I need to send my bank statements in with the amounts and they will pay it back.  Now that remains to be seen!

Latics @ AFC Wimbledon

Although I have supported Arsenal since 1965 when we moved down to the South from Oldham when I was ten years old, my first flirtation with football was with Oldham Athletic - The Latics.

This was primarily as they were my local team, and when I say local, from my house less than a mile across the field next to Fernhurst cotton mill. My Dad worked for the club and supporters club as the Pools Promoter and also helped out at the Bingo evenings they ran. These were very vital earnings streams in the 50's and 60's.  

I started to go with him and then with my Aunt Linda and Anne,  a pal of hers.  For a couple of years I had a season ticket and  then we moved south to Surrey.  

My Dad was an Arsenal supporter and many of the family were too.

Over many years as an "exile" I have tried to get to games when they are in the south and accessible. 

Although I have been to games at Wimbledon before, in their original guise as a non-league side playing in the Southern League at their old ground at Plough lane, and then latterly as they made their way to the Premier League and playing home games at Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park.  

Then an owner took the club to another city and the new club was born from the angry supported back in south London. They have worked their way through the pyramid as far as League One - the third tier in the English game.

They still share a ground before moving back to Plough Lane where they have taken over the land from the greyhound racing stadium.

I've not been to the current ground, although in the 70's friends and I from school did go often to watch the club the share with, Kingstonian, in the Isthmian League, the 7th tier in the pyramid.

As it is difficult to get to from where I live I intend to ride up on the bike. I have checked that there is parking onsite. They confirmed that there is motorcycle parking at the attached leisure and fitness centre.  So now I hope for better weather!!

23 April 2017

The Adventure Goes On - FAC Semi @ Wembley

And the adventure goes on.  

After a disastrous run of games of late that have seen the assault on the league fade and fade with a record, under Wenger, of four consecutive away defeats, Arsenal were definitely underdogs on Sunday in this semi-final. 

In the League trailing their opponents by a considerable margin, the one-off match to reach the final was a different ball game, to coin a phrase.

After a dreadful mistake allowed  Manchester Oil Barons to go ahead in the first half. The Arsenal players managed to rally themselves and equalise through Monreal.

The game went into 30 minutes extra time before Sanchez scored to win the game.

The final beckons on May 27th.

15 April 2017

Walk on the Shingle

Today we had a short drive to Dungeness to take Reggie for a walk.

We go quite often to see the trains and for a walk on the shingle.

As it was a sunny Saturday of the Easter Weekend the place was packed.  Now that some of fishermen are selling their product direct to the public and have small pop-up restaurants, the crowds have increased.

We were lucky to park and then set off across the shingle inland to give Reggie a chance to smell down a few rabbit holes. Luckily for all concerned no rabbits ventured above ground.

The old Lighthouse
The big square building is a nuclear power station!

12 April 2017

11 April 2017

TomTom 410 - Update

The call I logged on the TomTom Support site seems to have fallen into that hole where difficult calls disappear to when no one wants to do them.  Maybe they think that if they ignore me long enough I'll simply write-off the money and forget I bought this piece of crap.

Sadly, they are mistaken.  I have updated the call a few times and maybe asking for it to be replaced as it has never been used has caused them to go silent.

I tried to connect again last evening.  This time I was able to login to My Drive Connect and it went through the "restore" motions and re-booted the unit. But it failed again... and again and again.  In the end I aborted.

I have updated the call, again, on the Support site and also this time added a scan on the invoice from when I bought it on February 1st.

So let's see where this takes us!

P.S. The Urban Rider took me to the parking on the Vimy Trip without a hitch.

UPDATE 12/04/17 11:00

This mornings update is that is had to go back as the internal memory is u/s. TomTom have sent a label and I need to package it up and it has to go UPS to The Netherlands!!   I doubt I'll see it for a while then. They have said 7-10 days round trip. But that will  be longer as we have two Bank Holidays coming up this weekend and May Day.

A little annoying that they simply haven't just replaced it with a new one considering it is brand spanking new.

Better start scrambling around for some bubble wrap and a padded posting bag. Luckily today we had a dog food delivery and that comes with loads of those irritating plastic peanuts to pad the box out. So I might use some of those!  Let the Dutch recycle them!

I might give it one last chance before I box it up. You never know.  Murphy's law will dictate if I don't that it will arrive with TomTom and it will work when they turn it on!

UPDATE 12/04/17 20:00

The law according to Murphy.  I connected the 410 to the same laptop with the same oem cable, and started My Drive Connect and... it connected. The screen didn't come up with the error message but it booted properly!

I have updated the call and said I will keep it until after the Easter holiday weekend and see if there are any problems with it.

7 April 2017

Tomtom 410

A miserable story here.

Ever since it arrived I have been trying to get it up and running.

On the face of it the new software that was supposed to be a step forward seems in fact two steps backwards.

Most of the best functions from the older systems have been lost,  but modern app like functions such as web connections through a mobile phone are better.
Linked to an app on the phone it should mean sending a route to the unit is simpler and does away with having to connect to a computer.

So far so good. Sadly the reality is not as good. The new software doesn't handle waypoints like older TomToms and even my ancient Garmin.  You can add stops though.
When connected to a computer it shows up as a drive but unlike the older generation it can't be browsed.

I spent hours today and all seemed good. I got the route set, and even amended it slightly on the unit itself. Then I fitted the cradle and Ram mounts to Pepe and put the unit on and.... it failed.

Nothing I have tried has made it work and yet another call has been made to their support site. It didn't help that although I could login to the support site, the My Drive Connect desktop app wouldn't accept the password,  even though it is all the same.
Luckily, I still have to Urban Rider available.  Good job I didn't put it on eBay.

A few minutes tinkering and it's setup ready for my trip to Vimy Ridge on Sunday.
The login problem extended to TomTom Home as there were updates to maps but it failed with some connection errors.
Let's see what they come up after the weekend to get the 410 working.

At the moment it is looking like a massive white elephant and waste of money.

The first picture was when it actually worked and shows the route to Vimy. The other is the marvellous screen that popped up when fitted to the bike.

But as they say "The show must go on".

1 April 2017

Aldi bike gear

Once again Aldi have their bike gear on sale.
I'm not in the market for jackets or over trousers so I didn't bother going in on Thursday when it went on sale.
For those of you that don't know, Aldi is a German supermarket chain. They have become very international and you may find their stores in most European countries.
They started off being cheaper than the UK competition and has gradually moved up and with the economy the way it is, people are looking to cut their shopping bill.
Anyway,  as well as food they do household stuff and other goods from time to time. This week they have motorcycle gear. Next week caravan accessories.
Claire went in in Friday and bought me a Base Layer shirt. In XL it is a tight fit but apparently it's supposed to be that way.
Might give it a try out tomorrow if the weather is kind.
UPDATE: April 9th 2017
 I wore this shirt on the Vimy run as it was very sunny all day and although not billed as windproof I didn't feel any windchill as Red Pepé and I cruised at 70 - 80mph on the A26. On the way back I got slightly chilled after the sun went down on the last bit of the run into Calais at about 2200 local time.
I'd rate this shirt 5/5 for performance.

30 March 2017

The Shires

Maybe it is something that comes with getting older, correct me if I am wrong, that country music becomes more interesting?
Although it's always been there I have only toyed with the music of Willie Nelson etc.
Lately we have been toying with George Strait and Zac Brown.  Some really decent stuff. Both have massive back catalogues but we have started with recent productions.
And we come to The Shires. A duo from Beds and Herts. Two shire counties to the north of London. They may have got their name from that basis?
That two English singers can write music that is accepted in the US and the heartlands of country is amazing.
They are on in Folkestone at the Leas Cliff Hall at the end of April and we are going to be there.
Looking forward to it


This morning Reggie acted a little strangely and seemed "off colour ".

Usually he doesn't need any urging to gulp down his breakfast but this morning he went upstairs and lay next to the bed.

When Claire came to go to work he was very odd and wanted to sit on her lap.

We were both worried he was ill but by lunchtime he was back to normal. Phew.

And here he is this evening asking for a biscuit. Paw up. Something that dogs do and that it is self taught by the boy.


26 March 2017

Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Today once we had had our breakfast we decided to have a run out to one of our favourite National Trust places, Sissinghurst.

The gardens themselves aren't open to our four legged friends but there is plenty of other space to walk about and enjoy.

At this time of the year many of the themed gardens are just awakening from winter but the daffodils and their narcissus cousins are in full bloom. Whilst Reggie and I walked outside, Claire went in to look around.

In a year we perhaps go around four or maybe five times to see the changing gardens.

The Oast Houses
End wall
The roof in the old stable area

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