Archive for November, 2016

Boots and bikes and jobs.

Last time out I was ranting about that fake Harley from China. I got as far as trying to input the bank details for the cash transfer before I got cold feet. The address they gave me wasn’t the bank address. So I looked on Google Earth at the factory address (as much as you can in China) no signs. Then I did a search of the company, no reviews, no comments. nothing. Finally looked into the site through which they were advertising, “SCAM! AVOID!”

Oh.

They sent me pictures of bikes in crates and such, but all of the above was just enough to make me err on the side of caution. It was a wonderful thing they were offering, and cleverly packaged, and just vague enough to let your lust for the bike override your common sense. It’s possible they are actually making knock off Harleys and I’m missing out on my dream ride, but I’m not risking it.

 

Also I was suffering with the W650 rebuild. I rebuilt it, got it running, went for a spin, but one cylinder wasn’t firing right. That should have been an immediate warning sign in retrospect, but there are so many simple things it could also have been. I was ruling them out one by one when CRACK! What?

Stripped the engine down again, seems the timing was slightly out. One of the valve heads had snapped off, buggering the cylinder head (£800) the piston and rings (£200) and the valve itself.

IMG_pistonIMG_valve

Then a professional rebuild as Wendy would not take kindly to me killing another one…. Shitloads.

In the end I found a second hand engine, swapped them over and Bob’s your uncle.

 

In the meantime though I was thinking about what someone had said at work, why are you paying all this to refurb your bike? Why don’t you just get a cheap hack to run through winter?

I saw someone advertising a 1992 Honda CB750 for £950 or offers. Thought, what the hey, offered £850. Guy took it!

IMG_CB750

Nipped down to Cardiff on the train and rode it back. As you can see it’s no looker, but after a few days, and adjusting my riding style to proper inline 4, I love it so much I’m keeping it and selling the W650!

The exhaust was a botch up job, not really for that bike, and way too noisy so I got a new one.

IMG_ newexhaustIMG_newexhaust2

Then the rear shocks (top picture, with the piggy back cylinder) started leaking. Badly.

img_shockoil

So I got the shocks above. Dirt cheap off th’ebay. There was a reason for that. They are utterly shit. Either kicked you out of the saddle over every bump or so soft you weaved in corners. Bought a proper pair. They look the same as the ones above but without the black cowl. The difference is startling. Or rather the startling stopped happening. It just goes, and corners, and stops. Anything else is too much excitement.

The front brakes need bleeding and I’ve bought some lower handlebars, but basically that’s it. It’s just a fun, reliable, cheap beast. Goes like shit off a stick but only good for about 125mph, so not too crazy.

 

I got a gig at Maritime in Trafford Park, Manchester. Bloody long shifts, 11 hours was an early dart. Plus it was a 06.00 start so I had to get up at 04.45. Then an hour’s commute per day. That was the worst bit. To get home down the M62 from Manchester, in rush hour, was suicidal. I was riding along at speeds of up to *cough* 70mph through slow and stationary traffic, in the rain and dark and I got to thinking “if anyone moves I die.”

And it bothered me.

50 years old, is the answer to the question: “When do you stop being a reckless dickhead and start being fearful?”

I nearly slowed down.

That was one of those things where you are just delaying the inevitable. I was going to die, it was just when.

Anyway, I sacked it off and went back to thrice damned Herpes. It’s a shite job but it pays well (until January when they cut the rates again) it’s 1.8 miles from my front door, and at least there is work in January, the Maritime one was only until xmas. Then good luck finding a new agency job until April.

My plan was, sod it, I’ll stick it out at Herpes and keep my eyes open for my dream job. I bookmarked their jobs page and signed up for email alerts. Back at Herpes two weeks when I got an email alert!. I applied immediately. The thing is I’ve applied 3 times before while I was working there and not heard a peep. Imagine my joy on Thursday when they rang me up and arranged an interview for Wednesday! Woo-hoo!

It’s only a 3 day contract to start, on 6 months temp to perm, but I’ve talked to drivers there who are on the same gig and they say there’s no shortage of extra shifts. Anyway, whatever they offer me, it would be a foot in the door and I’m taking it. There are 5 jobs on offer. And they’ve called me for interview. I’m scared to get my hopes up, but I want this so bad.

 

The other thing happening of excitement to me, and no-one else, is boots!

I have been making do with Rigger boots, sort of leather, steel toecap, wellies. The idea being that they are tall enough to keep my feet dry under my waterproof trousers on the way to work, then something I can wear at work without having to carry a change of footwear. It’s never been an ideal solution, they get soaked if it’s really raining and because I have to get a size up to avoid the toecaps crushing my feet, they slop about. Now they have broken down so they stayed wet for a week.  I went looking for work boots and saw they had goretex lined boots nowadays. Your feet can sweat and breathe but liquid water can’t penetrate. So I looked online.

Look at these bad boys!

IMG_workboot

Well, bad boy, but you get the idea. Gorextex lined, so totally waterproof, wide (I can get my actual size), composite toecap which is lighter, warmer and stronger than steel, and German, making them good for invading Poland, should Trump so decide.

While I was looking I also saw the British army now does goretex, cold weather boots. In three different width sizes! No more foot agony! I bought a pair, which means for the first time in a decade I can have boots that are my size. Twice.

IMG-Armyboot

But what the very hell? In my day soldiering was about the unnecessary suffering. Warm, dry, comfortable boots? That’s molly coddling. The squaddies of today will be so comfy they won’t even want to die.

Yoof of today. *tuts*

 

Here’s a quick twitter roundup. It’s not as much fun lately as everyone is bogged down in politics and the rise of fascism. But here you go:

 

Nippy this morning. Colder than Tory compassion. Car’s as white as a UKIP poster.

"Just accept it, you lost, now get over it" said the person waving a confederate flag

Notice in works canteen "nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible’." And now I must kill again.

That’s me 3 for 3. Decency and common sense means they won’t vote for pig-shagger Dave, Brexit, Trump. I’m like mystic fucking Meg.

    More American cultural appropriation. All fun and games until the black Labrador gets a burning cross in its kennel.

    Kennedy: forgive your enemy but never forget their name Lincoln: leave nothing for tomorrow which can be done today Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.

    Collins named ‘Brexit’ their word of the year. If they had any chutzpah, they’d make its entry solely this… Brexit (noun): Brexit

     

    UK completely unprepared for snow for 10,438th winter running

    [during a huddle in a crucial ice hockey match] ME: Ok listen up guys [all the other players look at me] ME: Is….is anyone else cold?

    The Tories just quietly privatised an NHS organisation employing 90,000 people

    Last night, I went to a gig where a man sang an earnest song about his girlfriend’s gap year in Ethiopia, and now I hate all music.

    America right now:

    Calls to get tougher on benefit abuse as Mum on state handouts gets £369m to do up her house.

    For anyone interested, The Queen’s commercial property portfolio (worth £12b) generated £304.1m profit in 2015/16.

    Britain just passed ‘the most extreme surveillance law ever’

    Theresa May’s plan for the UK seems to be about expanding access to mass surveillance while limiting access to marmite.

    That’s right, Hucknall – I sent every one of Kate’s Simply Red CDs to the charity shop. Every. Last. One.

    We Rate Dogs had:

    This is Yogi. He’s 98% floof. Snuggable af. 12/10

    I shall call him squishy and he shall be mine, and he shall be my squishy. 13/10

    We normally don’t rate marshmallows but this one appears to be flawlessly toasted so I’ll make an exception. 10/10

    Meet Baloo. He’s expecting a fast ground ball, hence the wide stance. Prepared af. 11/10 nothing runs like a pupper

    Twitter. All the wrongs you can write.

    Herbal Essences perhaps??…

    Any update on Farage’s million bigot march? For the sake of patriotism they should hold it on cliffs of Dover. Then march towards France.

    The Twitter experience perfectly encapsulated in two tweets

    The animals gather to hear GOD’s word: THE 7 DEADLY SINS ARE GREED LUST PRIDE lions: "shit" ENVY WRATH SLOTH sloths: "What the actual fuck?"

    IMPRESS people with your vocabulary by describing stuff and things well.

    STRESSED OUT? Why not try flashing the vees and swearing at people?

    NASA. No need to look for water on other planets, there’s fucking loads right here on Earth.

    After Article 50 triggered

    Theresa May promises Nissan undisclosed sweetener to keep their North East car plant in the UK:

    What do we wante? Vikinge Hamsters! Whanne do we wante them? WE SHALL FILL OWER CHEEKE POUCHES WYTH GOLD AND GLORYE!

     

     

    Later.

    Buck.

    Update…

    I couldn’t post before so I’ll just add rather than start afresh.

    I forgot to mention the floor. My click together plank flooring experience to date was a 5’ x 3’ section at the bottom of the stairs. And that took me ages. Wendy wanted a replacement for the grotty lino in the kitchen. She had seen some tiles, about a fecking grand’s worth of tiles! I was less than enthused but what the hey, I buy bikes, she never buys anything. Then she saw the same distressed looking effect on those plank things at B&Q, £279 for kitchen, bog, and adjoining bit.

    On it.

    IMG_20161001_195450IMG_20161001_195739

    IMG_20161002_193456IMG_20161002_202400

    Then I had to pull the doors off to plane them. I felt like a proper grown up by the time I’d finished. Being a grown up sucks arse.

    The worst thing is, I think it’s minging. It just looks dirty. As much of a pain in the arse as it was to fit, if Wendy decided she wanted a nice floor I wouldn’t be arsed ripping this one up.