Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Norton National Rally Morpeth

Last weekend was the National Rally in Morpeth, we set off Friday morning and had a better run down the M90 (boring) and Edinburgh bypass(even more boring) than last week. We picked up Alex who was Guzzi mounted just past Pathhead, heading down the A68 and the less congested A697, an excellent motorcycling road. We stopped for Lunch at Coldstream at the first pub as you enter from the North, very basic food and I won't be stopping there through choice again.
It was an enjoyable run down to Morpeth and we arrived and I missed the turning making me crabbit, we bumped into David and Anne who pointed us in the right direction, Alex and I were carrying spares for David as he'd called the Norton Emergency services the night before so we could transport copious amounts of spares relevant to the sparks department (all the parts really!)
We got the tent up just before the rain started, biblical type rain and not an arc in sight. Everyone started arriving, great to see everybody as it seemed a while since we had been at a National meeting, Bert and Laurenne despite having a stable of desirable bikes showed up on a brace of Honda 90's, don't know how they have the patience. Into Morpeth for a mediocre Italian on the Friday, Phil insisting we took the dodgy route which I'm convinced never saved time but ensured we got soaked!
Back to the Rugby club, drink taken, sleep followed.
Saturday there were a host of runs to go on but we hung around, helped David get his sparkless bike sparking again and talked gallons of hot air. We went into town on the Saturday afternoon for a meeting with the Mayor and to judge the bikes, I was asked to judge a category so I picked singles, mainly as I don't have one and therefore couldn't be biased. Nick Clarke had trouble getting his well ridden and used Inter going (injuring Alex's leg in the progress) so he didn't make in time for the judging otherwise it would have been that, instead I awarded it to a clean single who's owner seemingly "was fed up winning prizes" should have told me and I'd have given it to someone else.
Saturday night we had an Indian before heading back to the site for more nonsense and some alcohol abuse. The mighty Tay Valley Branch won branch turnout which was brilliant, Fiona won Long distance female on a Norton and the youngest on a Norton so three prizes for the TVNOC!
One of the London guys had let his bike fall on his leg so I asked Anne to take a look at it, luckily enough as she sent him straight to casualty and it transpired he'd ruptured a blood vessel in his leg and it could have been serious if not treated , Florence, sorry Anne was kept busy dispensing advice to sore legged guys, sometimes its good to have a medically trained person there, thanks Anne.
The run home on Sunday was fine until Pathhead, heavy mist, crazy traffic and rain made riding in and through Edinburgh very hazardous. Seemingly Liverpool were playing soccer against Napoli at Murryfield in Edinburgh, now we are all panicking about climate change can someone tell me how that makes sense, transporting 60,000 people by plane and car hundreds of miles to watch 22 overpaid people kick a ball for 90 minutes, answers on a postcard please, by the way I don't care really about the climate change bit, just the insanity of it all and the fact the bloody roads were busy !
Overall a brilliant weekend and my thanks to the organisers
Fi following lunch stop
A fine Bike
Brace of red rotaries
Metalflake blue....nice 
Nicks Inter
Random Commandos
A brace of 961's
Guy's rotary keeping my Commando company
A well used Interpol
Phils and John's bikes
Honda C90's , mental
I like the engine
Dodgy river crossing and yes Bert does have shorts on
Jim and Alex take a break midstream
Guy, Alex and myself testing the integrity of the bridge
Fiona, double prize winner
Still clean
David looking like a ______
More Commandos
Town square hilarity
Campbell not looking happy
Bill asking "how much?"
Bill Reith, 83 years young, still riding a Norton and not just along the road, this would have been a 500 mile plus round trip for him, top marks
Assembled throng
Winner best Commando
Nice outfit
Norton Scene
Alan Clarkes Single
One SS and one not
Best single
And finally we bumped into Neil who lives locally and who was on the Nepal trip with us, last saw him in Kathmandu, small world

Monday, 22 July 2019

Hoolets and rain

Friday after work saw us setting off for Edinburgh, Fi Fastback mounted, myself on the JPN, the rain had started before we left but bizarrely we had a dry road at Kinross before the rain came down in biblical proportions just before Kelty and remained so until our destination for the night at Fi's parents house in Prestonpans. Rush hour traffic in Edinburgh is never pretty and Friday was no exception, starting with the queue for the Queensferry crossing, ever since we built the new bridge queues have been the order of the day and for apparently no reason other than a very bad design (in my opinion) the bypass was a snails pace and we managed to filter most of the 20 odd miles through it, not so much fun on a bike with a racing crouch and negligible brakes due to the heavy rain but a warm welcome awaited us and we were both glad to have made it without any bike issues.
Saturday awakened with a bit of a fuzzy head, can't imagine why? After much blethering both in the pans and in North Berwick we got into our hotel for the night, a "spa" Hotel, normally expensive but Fi's sister got us a very good deal, quite glad about that because if we'd paid the full price we would have felt a bit ripped off, in the strange market conditions these days hotels still push prices up to maximise income whilst not keeping the fabric up to current standards, squeezing assets I suppose its called,  Scotland has many hotels who are "squeezing assets" problem will come when people see through the illusion and realise its not value for money and go elsewhere (by which I mean another country) where they get a bigger bang for their buck.
The only issue we had was the exhaust had come slack on Fi's bike which worried me but when we arrived at Bert and Laurenne's he had the tools to effect a good repair ably assisted by fellow Norton owner Davie Clark, glad to say it help up! The party was as always excellent, a fantastic spread and a great bunch of people and bikes, Fi and I were on the tea as we decided to ride back to our hotel that night and I have to say I enjoyed it immensely, sometimes tea is your friend, as darkness fell and drunkenness rose we said our goodbye's and had a great ride home in the setting sun, thanks again to our hosts for their hospitality.
The ride home on Sunday was dry thankfully and quite enjoyable, a braw weekend and after the torn muscle in my back repairs all will be well :-) 
We were early arrivals
Nice early boxer
a brace of Morgans
Bert seemed happier with the whisky than the flowers
I can only guess
Common these BMW's
Bert special
Bobbed Vincent
The coolest bit of art in the kitchen
Ewan and windy arriving
Cool lineup
Not bobbed and not black
Love the lines of the engine
An eclectic mix of bikes
Phils Ducati
Four craws sat upon the wa"
Liz being artistic (I think)
Our hostess Laurenne, still smiling after all the preparation
Looks serious
Deep in conversation
OK time to leave
Stunning ride back