Category: Life

All the same but different.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged with one thing and another.

As usual it was “be careful what you wish for”. I wanted the Hermes job for some fast bucks (as it were) then ended up doing 70+ hour weeks. Two weeks my top line was over a grand. Yet we still owe as much.

As soon as xmas rush was over, the very next week, I got 3 shifts. Then three shifts, then 16 hours in a week.  I thought I’d pissed the women off who runs the agency as I had 4 days off before xmas, when I was bedbound with some filthy malaise.

I sent a text after the 16 hour week asking what was occurring, but thankfully they then shifted her upstairs and we got a new boss. Since then I’ve not been doing too bad. The downside is that the work starts in the afternoon now. So a 16.00 start can (and has on three occasions) turn into an all night shift. Glass half full, I did get 54 hours last week.

Then they announced, post xmas peak, an arbitrary pay cut. The long term workers say that was the peak rate, September to January, but no one told me when I started. It’s a pound an hour less on days and nights, one pound fifty on Sunday, and a fiver an hour on Saturday!

I raged and looked for a new job straight away, the trouble is, no one else is offering £12.50 p/h (day rate, £13.50 past 18.00) and definitely not £16 p/h on Sundays.  

I swallowed my pride out of lack of option. I’m not cutting off my nose to spite my face. I text them and said I don’t work Saturdays anymore. Sunday-Thurs/ Fri only. My pride can live with that.


I’ve not posted any pictures of my latest incarnation of the bike on here.

She’s looking good.




Actually that’s not quite the latest. I like the peashooter exhausts but I wanted the upswept megaphone style.

I tried to do it on the cheap. You can buy just the silencers, and also some upswept pipe bits. You have to take your bravery by the scruff off the neck and actually saw off the peashooter bit, just leaving the downpipes.

This I did, fitted the kick up pipes, slipped on the silencers,all in a few hours. Job’s a good ‘un.

You can tell this story doesn’t end there, can’t you?

Fired her up, roared like a wounded dragon!  Absolutely massive din. I took the silencers apart (as you are supposed to do) and the interior was basically a tube with holes in it. I should have took pictures. It totally took the piss. If you can imagine a bean tin drilled out all down the sides and all over the bottom, that was it. They said you could adjust the sound baffling (hence it being designed to be stripped down) but it was ridiculous. There was no way I could ride it, the plod would have been all over me, and the neighbours would be grassing me up. I ordered some baffling material. Lots of baffling material. but it’s not made that much difference. Also, while I was buggering up the back pressure of my exhausts I thought I go the whole hog and replace the big, clunky airbox (behind those black plastic panels) with K&N air filters. Just looks nicer. They look like red cones that stick straight to the carbs.  Obviously this buggers up your fuelling in a major way. Suddenly, instead of a choked off dribble of air going into the carbs you’ve got unrestricted gales of it.  So you’re 14/1 air/ fuel ratio goes right out of the window.

This means you have to replace primary and idler jets on the carbs and reset the pilot thingy. (You see how quickly I picked up the jargon?)

To be honest, this sounded a fiddly and potentially bike killing job so I was putting it off. When I realised I was going to have to do it for the exhaust I thought I’d do the air filters and exhaust at the same time, save having to do the job twice.

Twice. Ha!

You have to strip the seat, tank, side covers, a wiring harness thingy, unplug the breather pipes, take off the air filters and the engine breather filter, wriggle the carbs out from their rubber socket, turn them upside down and take the bottom off just to get at each jet. You have to do main jet first. Get that right (there were three sizes to try) then the idler jet, then the idler thingy.

By the time I’d finished I could strip it all down and reassemble in about 25 minutes.

And I’m still not happy with the performance. But I’m on hold at the moment because I’ve realised the cheapo exhaust option was a lemon. I’ve had to order the proper full exhaust.

Now I’m doubly kicking myself because I’ve ruined a perfectly good exhaust system for no reason and I’m having to buy the full cost one anyway. Stupid, stupid. stupid.

Anyway, this is the exhaust I’ve ordered.


That’s it then for this year. I’m going to get it running right, (oh, and have a week off in May to take the engine out and clean it up and respray it back to tidy) then just pay the bills and get us straight.

Next year I’m going to have to do the handlebars/ headstock thing though. After seeing this:


OK, uncomfy as hell, but look at how aggressive those clip-on handlebars make the bike’s posture.


Damn. I’m looking at that and I realise my bum looks big in this. Look how the tank line curves down, the seat picks up the line and the mudguard extends it. Damn, that’s classy. Mine’s looking like what it is, bit’s slapped on randomly by a clueless but enthusiastic idiot.

Damn, damn and thrice damn.

Still you do the best you can. Now I’m thinking of having the diamond rear frame cut out and replaced with a U loop so I can get a narrow, low seat. Balls. DAMN YOU, INTERNET!

Well, that was supposed to be touching on my bike progress or lack thereof, turned into a major digression.

Haha, scrolled back, started with “latest incarnation of the bike…she’s looking good” a few paragraphs later “looking like… bits slapped on… by a clueless…idiot”


Coveting your neighbours ass is never a good thing on the internet, the whole world is your neighbour and some of their asses are built by professionals. The very best in their field. I’ve got the capacity to appreciate and understand their artistry but noting like the skill to emulate it.


Right, I’ve completely lost whatever thread I was hoping to pursue. I’m a bit cheesed off now.

I’m back at work tomorrow (morning, yay!) so I’m going to have a shower and plan my revenge on that Triton.

Sorry, I hadn’t planned to get bogged down in bikes, more anon.

Just noticed something else. Look at how snugly that back wheel fits, then look at the W650, both mine and the shop one (demonstrating the exhaust) huge gap over wheel. I need shorter shocks. Then I’d have to get shorter fork stanchions to drop the front equally. But that would probably bugger up ground clearance. Oh now I’m in a whole world of aesthetic quandary.



Thrice damned.

Buggery and tarnation. I’ve applied 3 times for jobs at Bookers without even getting an interview.

I had some time off, thought I’d focus my chi for the big xmas madness. 12-15 hour shifts, 5 shifts/ 6 shifts all the way through until mid January.

Nothing. Not an xmas sausage. I got 4 days last week, 39 hours. One of those shifts I did a drive to Blackpool then was sat around for 4 hours until nearly all of my 8 hours was up.

They were expecting massive volumes and were going to start 20 temp to perms. They’ve lost a big contract, and the volume hasn’t been there. If it’s like this now, I fear for the Jan/ Feb/ March dearth.

Long story slightly shorter, I’ve gone back to thrice damned Herpes.

They have upped their game, I think. They’ve certainly upped the money. It’s now £13 p/h until 18.00, £14.50 after, £17.50 weekends. They want afternoon starts and nights (I’ll do afternoons) so even on 45 hour 5 day week, plus, say average 5 hours at weekend rate, that’s £500ish take home a week.

This is what we need. More than the amount it’s the consistency of pay we need.

Just this week I got bitchslapped off the tax man. My seat and tank have finally been made to order and shipped from Thailand. I got a letter off Parcelforce saying I owed £77 import tax. Grim, but not excessive.

The next day I got another bill for the tank, £114, import tax! Two parcels.

And, a year of so ago I killed my lovely Nexus 5 ‘phone that was on contract. Luke gave me his old Nexus 4, I swapped over the sim card and all was well. Last week, a month before my contract runs out, and it went on the fritz. Kept opening apps and jumping pages and allsorts. Basically unusable.

I need my ‘phone. The previous day I’d been stuck in a poxy one horse town, my trucknav misleading me, blocked in by inaccessible side streets and 7.5 ton limits. I spent over 25 minutes trying to drive 1.8 miles. In the end I went over my legal driving hours looking for somewhere to park. The point is, I then had to use my ‘phone to google the address, then use google maps to work out a route I could use, and work ‘phoned me asking where I was, but that’s a little used function of smart ‘phones.

So I had to get a replacement ‘phone ASAP. I looked at 3 mobile, (the only one to offer unlimited data) to upgrade my contract, and they’ve stopped doing Nexus. The other Android ones use the same basic Operating System but then add loads of their own brand stuff to make it crap.

It was either get an iPhone on contract (£1,400 over 2 years) of buy a Nexus 6 outright and get a sim only contract (£17 p/m, with ‘phone £900 over 2 years.)

I don’t want an iPhone. So that was £500 for a new Nexus 6P.

So there’s nearly £700 in a week. 

Seven. Hundred. Of Her Majesty’s. Pounds.

I’m just setting out why I would leave a really good job for one I am pretty sure I’m going to hate, again.

I had my induction at 09.00 yesterday, Saturday. On Friday night I was working. I thought I was finished at 23.45, then they gave me someone else’s truck to fuel up as the other driver had run out of hours. I handed the keys and paperwork in as usual and finished at 00.15, got home and bike away for 01.00.

I had a brew then went to bed, about 01.45. As I was getting undressed I felt a lump in my fleece pocket. Truck keys. *headdesk*

I’d handed in the keys to the other guy’s truck, forgot my own. I had to drive back to work and hand them in. I finally got to bed about 03.00, and had to be up at 08.00 for the induction. Which lasted until 13.30. You can imagine how impressed I was.

I have my driving assessment tomorrow morning then I’ll be able to sort out a shift pattern.

It’s going to suck, but it will pay the bills. My plan is to give it 6 months, pay off all our debts, finish off my bike, get through the agency dearth, then go back (on the primary agency) to Bookers, and stay there until they give in and take me on.

I’ll doubtless be doing an quick update next week. My tank and seat arrive on Wednesday and I’ll know what I’m in for at Herpes.

One other thing I bought this week, only a tenner, check out the awesome:


We’ll keep the red flag flying here, comrades!


Do some Twitter while I’m here:


the DMreporter had:

TAX CREDITS: House of Lords threatens to stop government penalising poor people; we suddenly decide they have too much power.

DON’T KNOW JACK: In which Sebastian Shakespeare re-edits Jack Monroe’s blog posts to make transitioning all about heartbreak and big tits.

TRAVEL: Heathrow cancels flights over fog ‘probably caused by number of benefit scrounging illegal immigrants living in London.’

JUSTICE: Our investigation reveals half the people prosecuted for not paying the TV licence are women. We ask, why is the BBC so sexist?

EDITORIAL: We rage against political correctness which threatens independent thought and free spe… hey! Jeremy Corbyn’s not wearing a poppy!

TRAITOR: Fury as Jeremy Corbyn isn’t silent enough during two minutes of remembrance. “His heart was still beating” says a witness



In Politics/ Tory Scum we had:

Mummy, why must I go hungry? Shut up, @George_Osborne needs that £167bn to replace Trident. …

To compare with 1960 wages today’s hourly rate would need to be about £23/25. So instead of becoming more wealthy by hard work you are less.

Tories: We’re in listening mode Lords: OK. Can you have another look, the policy is awful Tories: THIS IS A CONSTITUTIONAL OUTRAGE

The House of Lords needs to respect this government’s democratic right to force through changes no-one democratically voted for. #taxcredits

I’m in a reverse Voltaire over the House of Lords. I approve of what they’re doing but not their right to do it.

The House of Lords – a bunch of unelected, unaccountable rich folk – care more about lower income workers than our government. #taxcredits

Andrew Lloyd-Webber is worth £650m. He was paid £300 for voting to cut your Tax Credits. #AllInThisTogether

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Detailed in-depth analysis of Osborne and Cameron’s economic policy Embedded image permalink

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After Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt, Cameron goes for broke with trade deal and state visit from Mordor.

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When the cameras are turned off, and the reporters gone 1 leader stayed behind with the public to clap the veterans

I’m no fan of Corbyn, but I was at HG 2day, and when no other Politician was seen, he quietly watched ALL return!

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(Tories photoshopped a poppy onto Cameron’s picture) Twitter reacted:

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And always wonderful, General:

Horse walks into a bar. Barman: "Why the long face?" Horse: "I just found out Val’s having an affair." Barman: "On your birthday? Oh, Ian."

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"Well, the pugs in blankets are done" "You mean pigs?" *slams oven shut* "DONT LOOK IN THERE"

UK police should be more diverse. Like the govt. They should select from a range of private schools #hypocrisy

Gents. Make your penis look bigger simply by moving it closer to people’s eyes.

Reduce office jargon by proactively downsizing non-granular qualifiers & promoting a linear paradigm shift in workplace culture.

Why would a loving compassionate God allow free form jazz?

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"Choose your own gender". I’ll have man, please! Can’t wait for the promotion and pay increase.

How long are Winnie the Pooh and that other stripey bastard going to ignore the fact there’s something seriously wrong with Eeyore

Hallowe’en costume:

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Interviewer: Why do you want to become a doctor? *imagines hitting people’s knees with tiny hammer* Me: To save lives and ease suffering.

The Tortoise and the Hare is a classic story about how people who like to run are awful.

Fog in London. Rest of UK cut off.

Just watching the new #WalkingDead episode. Not one zombie is wearing a poppy. Pure raging about that.

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"I don’t like being called a ‘male scientist’. I’m just a scientist," says Ben. Aren’t some people funny? He IS a male scientist!

Is it REALLY possible for men to juggle kids, housework, high impact lips, winter hair & healthy jacket potato fillings?

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It’s 410 years since Guy Fawkes tried to blow up parliament; John Chilcot’s report into the plot is due any day now…


Cuddly police horse gets spooked by fireworks. WILL NO-ONE THINK OF THE KITTENS? Cuddly police, fluffy horses.

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Americans in past year killed by… Marijuana overdose: 0 Snake bite: 1 Ebola: 2 Shark attack: 3 ISIS: 4 Roller coaster: 5 Police: 1,040

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Don’t get me wrong, I like humans, but the idea that they should have some inherent basic ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’ is just blatant nannyism.

Adhering to EU on a standard of basic human rights? We’re Brits and proud, we don’t need mamby-pamdy exemption from torture!

There’s something about this cookbook that is putting me off!

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Now *that* is craftsmanship. Form and function. Lines as beautiful as an old Brit motorbike.

Viking geometry: the late ninth century ‘Gokstad ship’ (dug out of a mound in Norway in 1880).

Yet another unrealistic body image for women.

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My cat is sad because he did a bow but was criticised by the cat media for not doing it dramatically enough.

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OMG THE TREES ALL JUST STARTED RUNNING AWAY REALLY FAST AND oh wait never mind train just started pulling away

And they say they’re not dumbing down telly. Uncooked steak? *points at cow*

I met the Queen once and she didn’t kneel before me. I didn’t mention it at the time, but there it is.

When someone says they "love freedom", rest assured they don’t mean yours.

Working dad? Guilt is your worst enemy. Tackle guilt by using leftover avocado to make a simple forearm moisturiser.

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Puberty hit them like a bus

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What possible reason can there be for Lord Hutton to close the medical report on David Kelly’s death for 70 years? …

There was a guy @CostaCoffee this morning, not on his phone, not on a laptop, just sitting there drinking coffee, like a psychopath.

I like to stare into the mirror while I masturbate… Really seems to freak out the passengers in the back of my taxi.

"In front of every great woman is a man. Or several men. Or possibly 2000 years of patriarchy."

If Gary Barlow paid his full tax we’d have 2800 more nurses, and he’d have to scrape by on his remaining £26m

Muslims must embrace British values like rule of law, except in cases of extrajudicial killing, when advocating legal process is suspicious.

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Why so serious?


Just thought I’d better clear something up.  We were on about bikes and such the other day, when Wendy said “they think it’s cute, your bike deathwish…” or words to that effect.

I don’t have a bike deathwish. I accept that the laws of statistics say that’s probably how I’m going to die and I still give it beans, but that’s not the same thing.

I’m not sure I treat death with the same gravity as most, for a start.

I remember when we were burning captured enemy weapons and ammo magazines in the Gulf. We were all sat around the fire, suddenly a load of sharp cracks sounded. I said, conversationally, “sounds like there’s live rounds in there, lads.”


They’d all ran off and were sheltering behind our gun. It hadn’t occurred to me to be worried about getting shot.

Which is not to say I am without fear, I get a bad, bad, feeling in the second or two between realising you’ve lost it, and the impact. But it is a distant thing. Your stomach can knot up, and you can think, “this is going to hurt” but it’s not the same dread and panic as seriously contemplating the personal cessation of being. I’ve been loony on that trip twice. It’s a horrible and nihilistic obsession that renders everything pointless. The bike thing, or other times when you are actually facing death, is less scary.

It just is. I either make that gap or I die.

That sounds melodramatic, but if I ever get around to getting an onboard cam, and can upload it anonymously, you’d see it’s just a daily occurrence. 

Some van driver leaned out of the window the other day to tell me off.

“What was that about? You’ll give us all a bad name!”

This confused me as I hadn’t done anything dodgy, I’d just overtaken him at a fair clip on the motorway off slip, and he was in a van. It took me a second to realise the ‘us’,  must have been referring to bikers. 

It took me by surprise, and it was confusing, so all I managed was “Why not?”

My reply, having time to realise what was going on, would have been “Well, duh! Why aren’t you?”

I have on the back of my helmet, “It’s this sort of behaviour that will ruin motorcycling for everyone.”

If you are going to ride like a car, get a car. You can’t fall off and you don’t get wet and cold.

As a lorry driver I practise defensive driving and try to remain patient in the face of myopic, somnambulant car drivers and constant traffic jams. As a biker I am aware of the concept of queuing and treat it with the contempt it deserves.

Bikes are more than just a mode of transport. They are thrilling, liberating, somewhat dangerous, fun.

I could spend every day chugging back and to to work in the car. 50 minutes of my day lost to a soul destroying commute every day. I might live to be 100 and never have another interesting moment. And still die at the end of it.

I choose life.

I might die tomorrow, and that would be unfortunate, but at least I’ve lived. As the philosopher Prince said, “life is just a party, and parties aren’t meant to last.

I don’t know, this might just be a waste of virtual ink. It might be like the blindman’s rainbow. Not something you can explain to those who don’t already understand.

Let me know if you ‘get’ it. Or don’t. Wendy totally doesn’t.