Sunday, 28 December 2014

Hope you all had a great Christmas

I've spent the last week feeling sorry for myself and unable to drive due to last weekends stupidity. My wrist is slowly getting better and glad to say the face has healed up, as good as its ever going to be anyway but since we started with a benchmark its not difficult!
Quiet Christmas because of my injuries, catching up with family and friends and managing not to get too uproariously drunk!
Fi and Lindsay did the trial at Drumcarrow today, I went along to support, tell anyone that would listen about my wrist and take photos. The place was like a skating rink and I was struggling with the camera so not too many good shots, A great day out, thanks to Derek and Lindsay for Fi's coaching, looks like I'm getting left behind now at trials school, plenty catching up to do as soon as I'm fit!

The paddock, icy icy

Limbering up and talking nonsense

Right Fi, the clutch is on the left and ye dinnae need brakes

Just before the off, much intrepidation

Whoa there, one of the guys shows how its done

Lindsay with a dab, braw scenery

Lindsay gets it over

Derek trying to show us how to do it, aye right, maybe in a year or 3!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Down to earth with a bump!

Another good weekend with a family party Saturday night which i enjoyed immensely, so immensely in fact that I decided I'd let Fiona drive the van this morning as I was still feeling poorly after my immense enjoyment and whisky intake last night.
It started well and both Fi & myself were feeling more confident on the trials bikes, shortly into my confident inspired trials riding I made a mistake and god knows how i managed it but got thrown over the handlebars, I landed face first and my £8 helmet i purchased in Thailand broke the peak which then helped cut my face. I couldn't get up for a while as i was winded and I've also pranged my left wrist. Fiona comforted me by laughing and taking a photo whilst Lindsay offered encouragement like "get up ya fanny you'll be fine"
I wasn't and spent the rest of the day sitting around scaring anybody who looked my way! The run home reminded me of my racing days, being taken home broken in the front of the van getting a good slagging, the good news is the bikes fine!

ouch, that wiz sair!
Fiona showing me how its done
Lindsay showing what i should have been doing
I think Fi was shouting "can you turn roond, yer bleeding puss is pittin me aff"

Monday, 15 December 2014

Long overdue Applecross

This has been a busy year, after our time skiving over on other continents we spent this year catching up with everybody in Europe, the downside of that was we haven't visited Applecross enough this year. After seeing our host Judy on a TV programme we decided to make the effort before Christmas. We both took a half day and headed up last Friday on a very wintry, cold and bleak day, glad we weren't on the bikes to be honest. We got to the Bealach in the dark and with high winds whipping up the snow across the road on top, that said we managed without too much drama. Great to catch up with everyone up there and meet some new people as well, a great place to chill out and escape modern life and see a real community spirit, it is very heartening in these days to see so many people putting the effort in to make everybody's life better, not just themselves.
The usual whisky overdose was as always followed by the usual hangover, I'd been Applecrossed again! Some pictures to give you a flavour.....

Sheep at Tyndrum in the snow
The Bealach was a challenge on Friday
Pretty and not too much snow at the lower levels
Going out to put food on peoples tables, it doesn't get to the restaurants by magic you know
Stormy sea with a hint of sun over Raasay
Another shot on the Bealach
And another
Loch Carron, always worth a photo
The feral goats at Kintail, a real pain in the butt when your motorcycling through here, be aware!! 

Monday, 8 December 2014

The last two weekends

No posts for a couple of weeks so I'll apologise for that, its been busy and we've even managed some motorcycling, two weeks ago we ended up in North Berwick in the sunshine, a great day out and the low sun made for some nice views at the beach, not bad for the 30th of November.
Last weekend saw a very busy time with the Lothian & Borders Classic club dinner and then a few hours on the trials bikes with Lindsay Barrie which proved how rubbish I am and how unfit I am. The weather though has turned and we were playing in the sleet but its warm work and you don't notice the cold. Thanks to Derek Allan for sorting out a Beta for Fiona.
So two weeks and lucky enough to have had some great motorcycling, what a great hobby, good fun, fresh air and great people.
After a nice breakfast in Gullane at the coffee shop time to head
The Bass Rock
Bonnie colours
North Berwick, if you look at the top of the hill you can make out the whale bones 
Getting muddy!
Evidence of some off bike time
Lindsay showing us how its done as darkness falls

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Reflection on Thailand

Now that I’ve been back to work for a week and almost recovered from the journey home in an aluminium tube I’d like to share my reflections of Thailand. First it was a fantastic adventure, relatively simply we transported ourselves to another continent with a totally different culture and language. The Thai people are amongst the friendliest and polite I have met, at no time did we feel unsafe or worried for our personal safety or possessions, their culture is one of honesty. The driving however leaves a bit to be desired, it was put to me that any road signs, markings or rules are merely a suggestion and not to be taken too seriously. The result of this is that you need to keep your wits about you, the Thai drivers are not aggressive or inconsiderate just a bit daft really, they don’t understand the danger they are putting themselves and other in. The small mini busses who traipse the tourists around the country are the worst offenders, blind corners, into the face of oncoming traffic are normal overtaking manoeuvres for them which makes life for the others unpredictable. I would never get into one of these minibuses although thankfully we didn’t see any accidents, I suppose if you sat in the front seat and hit the guy every time he thought about making a dangerous move that might work but he’d be pretty beaten up by the time you got anywhere.
The people as I’ve said, polite friendly and very pleasant, the biggest issue they face is returning to democracy, the head of the Army and therefore the current president has decided just this week that there will be no return to democracy until at least 2016, having watched one of his weekly speeches on TV I suspect trouble ahead, you know trouble is brewing when the best he can offer is “for those who disagree, we have got to get on, don’t disagree or think too much, instead of listening to the troublemakers just immerse yourselves in TV Soaps and be happy”. The other thing I have to mention is the sex trade, we were in the more remote areas so thankfully saw nothing of this issue most of the time but it was evident in Chiang Mai, always when you get poorer people trying to survive with an influx of rich westerners the prostitution thing will happen, sad that these girls have to turn to this but it is survival, sadder that visitors to the country take advantage although I understand the argument that it’s a business arrangement and these girls and their families would potentially starve otherwise, all I can say is it’s not a good situation. Like cocaine users the users of prostitutes are invariably the cause of deaths and heartache as the gang leaders fight for dominance. Having said all that it isn’t obvious in the North and only my social conscience brought it into my field of focus.
The roads are fantastic and the north of Thailand is an adventure playground for motorcycling, the other great thing is you are brining much needed tourist dollars to areas which normally don’t see many tourists, the costs are cheap for us, a meal in general is less than £2, Hotels £6 - £36 for the range we were in and all were well up to standard with en suite facilities, beer was just under £2 for a big bottle, Petrol about half of Euro prices and big bike hire less than £25 a day.
If you can stand the inhumane air travel thing then I’d thoroughly recommend it, Temples, elephants, great roads, great people, what’s not to like?
Enjoy some more photos....

Temple at night Chiang Mai
Nice and ancient Temple Wat Chedi Luang
Same place
and again
Spotted in a back street, cool Triumph cub
Enjoying tea despite the rain, note the waterproof 
Mae Hong Son Loi Krathong festival
Last minute adjustments at Tony's big bikes
Contemplating the day ahead at Mae Sariang 
Temple in Mae Sariang
Pit stop in the rain
Cool cafe
Mae Hong Son Loi Krathong festival
Woo Hoo enjoying the sun in deep contemplation
Doi Mae Salong
Laos boat plying trade on the Meekong. Shrouded in early morning mist
Not sure, we were kinda lost here
Are we on the right road?
Stop for a break and check the maps and GPS
Local guy showing off his dinner on Phayao
The white temple in Chiang Rai
Finally a well deserved cup of tea , an end to our tour!