Archive for June, 2014

Finally!

Been a while since I blogged, it’s just been same ol’, same ol’. Things are changing now though.

Wendy has been off work for about 9 months with that gall bladder thing. Since the operation, and the post surgery infection, she was getting a lot better but last week she had some bad pains again. Not the agony of the previous condition, but painful enough to force her to go back to the doctors. They suspect that some of the gall stones were missed when they removed the gall bladder. They’ve booked her in for another ultrasound scan to see if that is the case. If so she’ll have to have more surgery down the road. For now though, they have provisionally signed her as fit for work from a week on Monday. She’s itching to get back. The longer it’s dragged on the more she’s been worried they would sack her.

This is good news for our bank account as well. Bloody SSP is a pittance. Normally that would not be a concern, my wages, although up and down, have been keeping us going (and actually paying off some of our debts! This job ROCKS!)  but I now have an exciting new obsession; the Kawasaki W650 motorcycle.

I need us to get out of debt so I can put us back in to get one. Hence Wendy’s return to work is good all round!

I’ve had my sights set on a Harley Davidson Sportser, just the ‘baby’, the 883 CC one.

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As you can see, very pretty.

It was to be a stepping stone then in a few years move up to the Harley I really want, the big Heritage Softail.

heritage_softail

Obviously the last word in practicality and knee-down performance with that ground clearance. Surprisingly cheap, starting at around £6- 7K. Well, it surprised me, I thought they were over £10K even old.

But I digress.

I have had my head turned, again, by that Kawasaki W650. A retro bike in the style of it’s 60’s predecessor, the styling of which was in turn ‘influenced’ (stolen wholesale) from the Brit twins of the time.

Look at this:

w650

 

Just zoom in and marvel at it’s beauty. The peashooter exhausts, the kick-start (kick-start! Ha!) The faux pushrod covers (silver tubes up the side of the engine) the fork gaiters, the finned, air cooled engine, the tank knee pads, the drum rear brake, the absence of plastic. It is a work of art.

The negative part of reviews can only say that it isn’t a screaming race bike. The engine is ‘soft tuned’. Bah and meh! Missing the point. If you want a plastic fantastic 200mph street screamer go and buy a Hayabusa, they are made for the job:

suzuki-hayabusa_key_7

They are not without their own charm, just not what I’m after. They may look as ugly as sin, but ridden right no-one will ever know.

 

However,the W650 is what I want. ‘Only’ good for 110 mph, looks drop-dead gorgeous, and performs day in day out with the fabled Japanese reliability.  It’s like time travelling back and getting a new Bonneville, but one that works. Great electrics, lights you can see by and by which you can be seen, no oil leaks, engine doesn’t go ‘pop’ every few weeks… as the man said, ‘As near as you can get to the real thing without pushing it home at night.’

Told you I was obsessing.

Then, as if that wasn’t good enough, it lends itself perfectly to being ‘cafe racer-ed’.

Cafe racers were a 50’s/ 60’s thing. At the time, I’ve read, the working man couldn’t afford a car so had to get a cheap bike for running around. These mostly had the sit-up-and-beg riding position of the one above.

When people wanted to make them into boy-racer machines on the cheap (to race their mates when they met in the biker cafes) they simply put ‘clip-on’ (dropped, racing style) handlebars on so they could lay over the tank to reduce drag, they moved the foot controls to the back (rearsets) put a 2-into-1 exhaust on (to lose weight) ditched the fat knacker off the back and put a single seat on. Job done. Your pedestrian Volvo estate turned into a smoking hot-hatch Golf.

Look at this then:

Cafe Racer

(Sorry about the quality, I’m trying to source a better picture of this exact bike.)

*That*, my friend, is a cafe racer.  And it’s the Kwak W650. That transcends beauty, it is sublime. Simple, elegant, clean lines, the perfect modern retro cafe racer.

That is going to be an inspiration* for my design. (*I’m going to copy it exactly and fear not the sin of plagiarism.)

Sometime you have to just say ‘that is as good as it gets.’

Everything now is a means to that end.

Must. Have. Kwak!

Just re-reading this. I should point out it’s purely an aesthetic thing. It looks beautiful. If you want to go fast you need the aerodynamic plastic and a different engine. I refer you to the Hayabusa. This is just for pottering around thinking you’re a 60’s rocker on his way to the Ace Cafe.

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Like ya do.

A final point I suppose I should mention; Wendy is intractably opposed. Not out of innate git-ishness (as I supposed) or because I selfishly want to blow the best part of four grand of our money on something she’ll never use and I might be chucking down the road, but because she thinks I’ll kill myself.

I think I’m old enough now to ride sensibly. If I’m not and I start getting points then the bike has to go, I can’t lose my job. Nowadays I read the road and am far more aware of things that are going to happen then any car driver. I see situations before they happen and anticipate other people’s reactions way before they’ve even noticed.

And if someone does kill me on the bike, well, you’ve got to die of something.

I don’t drink, smoke or do other drugs, I want something fun in my life or what’s the point?

 

Work has been up and down, as I said. I had a crappy 2 day week not long back, this week I’ve worked 5 days (nights). It’s paying the bills and then some, so worth sticking at.

Things are all changing there as well. Work was getting scarce and then the Warrington branch lost a bunch of runs (up to Bellshill, Scotland, and doing trailer swaps at Carlisle.) The North East branch at Peterlee (near Newcastle) was supposed to be doing all those runs. Now it transpires they’ve got shot off all their agency drivers and are apparently struggling. Also the Southern branch (Leicester) are starting running to Cornwall for spud collections so they are going to be stretched. The knock on effect is loads of work for Warrington, taking up the slack. Huzzah!

A couple of people who started around the same time as me have left already. This is all to the good, more work for me. There is another big change on the way. They are trying to arrange two day runs. ie, Start in Warrington, deliver to Wales, pick up a load, take it into Scotland, drop it then sleep in your cab, then when you get up run back down to Wales, then back to base. There’s a £50 night allowance, plus you are obviously guaranteed two days work at a time. It doesn’t look that popular with the full time drivers, so they’ve opened it up to agency. I’ll give it a go. It’s not tramping, I don’t set out on a Monday and come home Saturday morning. That is no life. As far as I can figure it, it would be, say start Monday morning 0600, work for 9 hours, take 9 hours (mandatory minimum) rest, drive for 9 hours, finish 0900 Tuesday. That would mean you have the rest of Tuesday day off, and the night, before starting your next shift.

And, as a bonus, I think it only running as a day shift! Woo-hoo! Saying that, in the last week and a bit I’ve finally got used to sleeping in the day. Typical. I read a review of the earplugs I bought online saying the wax ones were the comfiest but the foam ones were the most effective. Obviously I’ve been using the foam ones. On a whim I tried the wax ones. All I could hear was the thudding of my pulse. Balls. Even with the heat and the kids I’ve been sleeping like a brick. My worst day last week was 7 hours kip, one day I had 10 and actually had to force myself to get up, I could have slept for hours more.

Great. Just as a potential day job turns up.

In other work/ money related news, I got the self certificate tax demand off HMRC. Normally I store that in the bin until I get a reminder in January. This year they stung me for £1,500 in advance in January and I was supposed to be paying another £1,500 in July. I only worked 8 months in the last year as self employed, the rest I was either PAYE or Ltd Co, which are both pay as you go. So as soon as I got the demand I was around to my accountant. She did my books and it turns out, instead of me paying them £1,500 next month, they have refunded me £196.

Ker-ching!

*happy face*

The downside to that was once I’d paid my accountant her £200 fee and collected my self employed, PAYE and Ltd Co accounts together I got a letter off Think Accounting implying they were going to do it as part of their weekly fee. Balls and bugger. I thought as I’d only been with them a little while that I’d have to box off last year’s myself, then they’d do it in the future. Ho hum. That’s it from now on in though. No more end of year tax stings, it’s all done weekly and they automatically sort out the year end paperwork.

 

Running is the other thing that is changing a bit.

I’ve been trying everything. I can’t get past my shin injuries. I tried 10 miles a day at first. That was, in retrospect, fucking stupid. You have it in your head you are as fit as ever. Despite a 10 mile run nearly killing me I went from doing nothing to running 50 miles in a week. Of course my shins exploded. 

So I took time off, regrouped, then tried 10 miles, rest 2 days, and repeat. Not too bad. Moved it up to 10 miles rest 1 day. Shins went again.

I went back to the drawing board. How did I originally go from armchair to my first half marathon? I followed a training plan. So I’ve downloaded a marathon plan. Humbling and humiliating but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

It starts off with 4 mile runs. I decided to start it the day after a 15 mile run. And went for it. Shins exploded.

I gave it another few days rest then started again last week.

Off road to be a gentle as possible on my shins, without any attempt at speed (until I get over my injuries) sticking to the training plan. It’s hard. To get out there, start running, then turn around at 2 miles. And not force the pace.

It takes a whole new form of discipline. Anyway, ‘big’ run today (9 miles! *sideways glance to camera*) and I’ll have survived the first week.  That was 4 miles Mon, Tue, Wed, 5 Thur, Sat, (rest Fri) 9 miles today.

The point is; however shit the distance and pitiful the pace, I’ll have run 6 days out of 7. And my shins are no worse. No better either, but I’m hoping they will toughen up and heal.  Next week I’ll take the optional rest on Mon then it’s 5 miles all week, ‘big’ run of 11 miles.

It’s a 16 week marathon plan. I just need to get back to that level. If only I could get over this injury I could batter it. A pox on old age. Talking of which, just read a 70+ year old chap, doing his 34th year at a particular marathon, had bad acid reflux at 7 miles. He manned up and finished a few minutes off his pace, took three Tums and went home. A few hours later it was still bad so he went to the doctors, seemed he’d had a heart attack. Runners. We bad.

 

I don’t know if you saw the fun the darling little angels had with my car.

Playing scratching cars with stones.

Bless their innocent little hearts.

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Why didn’t I breed such delights?

Anyway, seems it wasn’t just me. They did about 4 other cars in the street before one of the mums noticed. At least they came and told me, offered to pay for it. I’m trying to sort it myself, one of them is a single mother, she’ll have no money. The kids are only about 4 or 5, don’t know they are being little twats, but as a Twitter chum said, that being the case, where was the parental supervision?

Just so long as it’s lesson learned before I get my bike. That would lead to tears before bedtime.

While I was transferring pictures from my ‘phone, here’s one that should be of interest.

The blind spots on a truck, reverse it for Johnny Foreign trucks.

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Anything in the red zone is dead. You can fit a whole car in there easily. Do not be on level with driver on the passenger side of the truck in a car. Accelerate or drop back. Do not be there. As for cyclists, don’t pull alongside at lights, you are invisible. Do not try to pass on the inside, you are invisible. Do not be upset if you play with a truck and get splattered.

 

Whilst I’m back on the subject, I’ve finally finished my Certificate of Professional Competence training. 5 days. 5 days paying to be bored witless whilst losing pay because you can’t officially work after a day’s training.  Still, that’s it done for another 5 years. Henceforth work will be arranging one day a year. That won’t be too terrible.

 

Right, I’ve rambled on forever, time to cut and paste some wit into this blog.

Twitter!

 

The DMreporter had:

POLL: Are women responsible for all men’s suffering in the world? A) Yes, all of them. B) No, just the pretty ones.

CELEB: Christina Ricci ‘fuels pregnancy rumours’ by having a womb and going outside.

KIM KARDASHIAN AND KANYE WEST STILL MARRIED. UPDATES TO FOLLOW.

USA of AMERICA: Obama promises that government is only ‘ten or so’ mass shootings away from a discussion about gun law reform.

HEALTH: Women – you’re still not attractive enough for summer. Inside – read the top 10 parts of your body we hate the most.

COMPLETELY TRUE: Nigerian immigrants to be given brand new Audi’s at the taxpayers expense because of human rights.

SCIENCE: Pretty women turn down men ‘because of chemical imbalance and not because they’re totally creepy’ find unattractive experts.

CAMERON: “Islamic militants in Iraq could attack us within 45 minutes…”

 

 

In Politics/ Tory Scum we had:

Did you vote UKIP? What you did was you blamed everything on Romanians rather than thieving billionaires. You’re an idiot.

New Liberal Democrat logo

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I’m old enough to remember when Snickers was called ‘Marathon’, Starburst were ‘Opal Fruits’ and UKIP were ‘The BNP’

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(2012 he made that pledge. What media blackout?)

Mr Blair never mentioned that Iraq tried to ditch the petrodollar. Good job they had all those WMD or he’d look a cynical murderous bastard

Dear Media, The invasion/occupation of Iraq wasn’t ‘a tragic mistake’ – it was a monstrous international crime

Architect of austerity George Osborne lives in publicly funded London home while renting out his own London home for £10,000 a month

 

 

And finally, General:

Don’t want to worry you @fly_norwegian but I think we’re flying lower than you think.

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Deter burglars by chalking the outline of a person on your hallway floor

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Q: If Sue has 14 smarties and Tim takes away 7, what is Sue left with? A: Cynicism and trust issues that lead to an alcoholic adulthood.

There are two types of people in this world. And I hate them.

That moment you realise your young child might actually be Darth Vader.

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‘Why are they arresting that dog?!? What did he do?!?’ –my 6yo upon seeing a police dog sitting in the back of a police car

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PILOTS in Rio airport. Convince colleagues you’ve just dropped off the England team by keeping the engines running.

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US Republicans just voted to force girls to have babies after they’ve been raped by their fathers. No, really. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/29/abortion-incest-exception_n_5413451.html …

French guy wins 72m euros at the lottery says he will give away 50m to charity http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2014/05/29/euro-millions-en-haute-garonne-un-gagnant-solidaire-tres-genereux_1029533 …

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There’s no "we" in food. Get the fuck away from me.

My cat is sad because until now he always got by on his own – he never really cared until he met you.

 

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My cat is sad because he tries to do "blokey" cat stuff to fit in with other bloke cats but his heart is never in it.

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There’s been an Ocado van parked outside for a couple of hours. Either it’s MI5 or they’re waiting for our block to gentrify.

Watch this from 1.10 Absolutely awesome.

http://t.co/KXgqyLhNUX

Painting of Water in California, USA. Artist – Matthew Cornell

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OTTER DECAPITATES WOMAN, KEEPS HER HEAD AS TROPHY

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Otters! Beware the furry fiends.

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Lost another pound. Yay! Soon I’ll be able to see penis. Not necessarily my own but y’know, small steps.

EBAYERS. The word ‘crap’ has fewer key strokes than ‘shabby chic’.

CHECK YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR AND PULL OUT MOTHERFUCKER!!!

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HELP colleagues avoid awkward small talk by taking a dump in the water cooler.

Get Off me You little Fucker..

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Endor. The only place in the galaxy duller than Yavin 4.

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#Evolution….Got to Love it.

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"Umm..excuse me this pogo stick is broken "Ma’am I just planted that tree

Football would be a great spectator sport if they played against angry bears. While covered in honey. I’d watch that.

In a socialist society, how do you deal with homeless ppl sleeping in public? Provide housing. In a capitalist one?

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CURE your hatred of Mondays by having children.

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Schools have responded to Michael Gove’s call to instil ‘British values’ by punishing the poor kids for the rich kids’ mistakes

#BritishValues basically the same as every other country’s basic values, just with the word British added.

I hate when I wake up In the middle of the night to drink some water and accidentally eat a whole pizza, a cheese cake and a vodka shot.

America: I guess we can’t stop mass shootings. World: We stopped them with strict regulation. America: I guess we can’t stop mass shootings.

Guy on radio "…Qatar have no real history of football" No shit. You know what else they have no real history of? Grass #WorldCup

It’s called fuck off and it’s located over there.

Reporter: "Mr Hodgson, how far away are you from a world class team?" Hodgson: "About 3 hotels."

I condemn those shameless political activists at @oxfamgb You know the ones. Those uncaring bastards feeding starving kids worldwide.

The problem with government of the people, by the people and for the people is the people.

You can buy a birthday cake if it’s not your birthday, those dipshits don’t even check your ID.

Kill your enemies with kindness. Name your car kindness.

HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA,TWINING HORRIBLY LONG FINGERS TOGETHER,FORMING UNHALLOWED CIRCLES OF TEN AND THREE,ULULATING THANK VOID IT’S FRIDAY

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Snails are nature’s way of reminding you that nature is disgusting.

Friends are like potatoes. I don’t have any potatoes.

My brother-in-law met a persistent new friend while jogging near Fort McMurray. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LlB0FqQ0DlQ …

Seems legit.

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I’ve just paid for my ex wife and her mum to go to Paris for two weeks. That’s how much I hate the fucking French. Come on Honduras.

his is how Americans see Great Britain

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If I had a pound every time I’ve done that.

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Stupid is as stupid does》At least 5 Americans shot off their penises since 2010

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If you could choose between World Peace and Bill Gates fortune, what color would your Lamborghini be?

How to manage your expectations: 1. Lower. 2. Lower. 3. There you go.

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London: worst pollen attack in 50 yrs. First time I ever had hay fever. So, even rare sunny days = huge pain in the ass? #ThisCountrySucks

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“Justin Bieber is the future of R&R”. A man will say anything under torture. Love the Amnesty ad

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[sees girl reading The Catcher in the Rye] "Ah I love that book. The way he just [clenches fist] catches all that frickin rye."

13 MILLION live below the poverty line WHILST Royal Family cost taxpayer £202M Injustice. It is time for a referendum on the monarchy, NOW!

TRICK customs staff into thinking your dog has rabies by feeding it a sherbet fountain on the ferry home.

This is what austerity looks like.. Queen buys William and Kate £8million helicopter

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So that’s what the phrase "tits up" means

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These scroungers make my blood boil. If you dont want to work, forget the benefits! #benefitsstreet

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50,000 citizens were @ #NoMoreAusterity protest #newsblackout #bbc complain @ http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints @chunkymark

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And finally;

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Later,

Buck.