Thursday, 4 December 2008

Friends and Neighbours

Firstly I must draw your attention to my new blog header, shame on you if you didn't notice! Special thanks to Karen for designing and creating it for me. She's promised to give me a lesson on how it's done.

We've been living at Jantys in Edenbridge now for almost 18 months and I just don't know where the time has gone. What I do know is that we have been blessed with terrific neighbours who have now become good friends. We have Liz and Geoff on one side and Michael and Ellen on the other.

You may remember from my last posting that the Disco has gone and I'm now sharing Geoff's Jeep.

Well, although it's not the sophisticated, technology packed tank of a Land Rover that I had been driving I have to say that I'm really quite enjoying driving the Jeep. It has more character than the Disco and you feel more involved in the whole experience. It is also quite high spec with plenty of gizmos to keep one amused when the mood takes you. The Disco was so automated it sometimes felt like it was taking control. The Jeep's only shortfall at the moment is a failing battery which can be annoying when you jump in, turn the key and the engine struggles to turn over in slow motion before finally giving up.I am pleased to say that this problem is soon to be resolved. Geoff and I have sourced a heavy duty Optima (the Rolls Royce of batteries) battery on good ole ebay which is winging its way south as we speak on next day carrier hopefully to arrive in the morning. So, that little problem solved, we can continue to enjoy our new shared mode of transport.

Geoff's Jeep Cherokee

I am still waiting for my scan and test results to try to find out why I had that blip with my eyesight. I know the results are back with neurologist having phoned his secretary, so it's very frustrating when they say " the consultant will be writing to you". Yeah thanks for that, so I'll just carry on waiting then! Oh well I just keep telling myself that if it was anything bad they would have rushed me back in within days.

I'm also nursing a muscle strain at present, so it's no dog training or badminton at the moment. I've sorted some physio at the local Cottage Hospital through the GP but who knows when I'll hear about that. Not a good time of year to be taking zero exercise with all the potential goodies on offer!

Kizzy (my precious) is very laid back,(some would say lazy), so I don't think she's missing the training at all. If you gave her the choice between a dog walk and a good kip, guess what she'd choose. Well, see for yourself.

Princess avoiding a walk

Michael has at last managed to bring home his new toy, his Harley Softail, but not in the fashion he wanted to. There was no roar of the throaty silencers as we arrived back with it last Saturday........... in the back of his van!! It had been raining for days and he just couldn't wait any longer, so he rode his plastic rocket (the Aprilia) down to Shaws to chop it in for the Harley and I followed in his van. All in all a bit of an anti climax for him but at least he's been out on it since and is really enjoying his new black and chrome Mecano set on wheels!

Michael's Softail

Well the weekend's almost upon us and we're praying for some dry weather. Now that Dan, Michael and me all have our new Harleys it's high time that the Edenbridge Chapter had their fist ride out. What a picture that conjures up.... three new lean, mean Hells angels wreaking havoc in the locality.....or just three slightly overweight ole farts out on a jolly to the nearest greasy spoon for a bacon buttie and a mug of tea!

What a treat's in store, Nancy's so excited. Next Friday is late night shopping at the Harley store! So, I'm going to treat her to a sumptuous night out with mulled wine and mince pies so she can purchase my Christmas presents and spend hours looking at all the bikes that only dreams are made of (did I hear a yawn?). We're going to round the whole evening off with (at enormous expense) a take away on the way home. Well you can't say fairer than that!

Ending this post on a canine note here's a superb picture (courtesy of Dennis Bay Photography) of Kizzy's family.

Zen (mom), Kizzy, Taz (dad) and sister Zeki

Monday, 17 November 2008

Cutting my Losses

My Disco - now departed

My Land Rover Discovery had been on Pistonheads web site for a while, and the recently reduced price had resulted in a call from a punter. He was due late on Saturday morning so Friday afternoon and first thing Saturday was spent dismantling the dog cages and giving it a well overdue wash, polish and vacuum. He arrived on time, amazing considering that he was coming from Southampton, and set about going over the Disco with a fine toothed comb. Half an hour later he requested the obligatory test drive and I thought, he's obviously still interested, so off we went. Fifteen minutes later I pulled into the driveway, turned off the engine, there was a short silence, then came the crunch. "Well I'm willing to make you an offer" he said. He then proceeded to recite a list of things that in his opinion needed money spending on immediately, followed closely by his best and final offer. Well it was a lot less than I'd hoped but he was the only call I'd had in response to the ad. I weighed up the plummeting prices of large 4x4s and the currently depressed second hand car market and reluctantly accepted. He paid there and then and drove it away. I must say, the next day I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

I am now sharing my next door neighbours Jeep! He only uses it a few times a year and is very glad that it's being used and kept charged up. I am very grateful as it will give me a chance to save up for my next vehicle. I wouldn't mind buying the Jeep off him at some stage, they're great value for money.

It seemed to be all about hospitals last week with a trip to Kent and Sussex hospital on Wednesday for a heart echo scan (they found that OK and it was still ticking), then a trip up to Kings College on Thursday for an MRI head scan where they confirmed that I have got a brain after all! All joking aside though, things are a bit scary at the moment as I had a complete loss of sight a few weeks back and basically they're trying to find out why. Hopefully the results will be back soon and I can draw a line under it all.

One way or another I was glad when the weekend arrived and I could get out on the bike to blow away the cobwebs. Michael (next door neighbour) and I took a trip down to the Harley garage for a late lunch. They've got a great chuck wagon for fried egg baps and bacon butties etc. So after a healthy lunch and a mug of tea we just thought we'd pop into the showroom to paw over the latest arrivals in the used bike department, as you do. Michael took a shine to a really tasty black 1450 Soft Tail (see pics below) that'd been upgraded with additional chrome bling and a full stage one engine tune. It wasn't long before Steve, the sales manager, had talked him into taking it out for a blast. I went along for the ride on mine and twenty minutes later we pulled back into the garage. I think you could say that Michael enjoyed his first experience on a big Harley twin having previously only been on my entry level Sportster 883. Although he's not quite ready to swap his plastic missile (Aprilia RSV) for a Harley just yet, I think his Sports bike days are numbered!

Dyna 1450 Softail

Whilst we're on the subject of Harleys, I just thought I'd treat you to a picture of a real piece of exotica that Dan and I saw and admired a couple of weeks ago when he was looking for his next bike. It's a built to order Fat Boy special with too many upgrades to list! I couldn't believe it when Steve said it was now for sale. Built at a cost of over £32,000 and now up for grabs at a bargain busting £16,500!

Softail Fat Boy Custom Special

Last but not least, Dans new Dyna Street Bob(see below) has arrived at Shaws and is awaiting its new loud exhaust system and pre-delivery checks etc hopefully for Dans collection next weekend.

Dans new Dyna Street Bob

Enough rambling for now, more at the weekend when Dan's got his bike - if it doesn't snow!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

My Ultimate Harley

Finally there was a very small window in the weather and I'd also had a call from the Harley garage saying they'd really like to seal the deal as they had someone interested in my Sportster that I was part exchanging. So I got geared up and set off for Shaws Harley at around 1.30pm yesterday.

All was going swimmingly until I got to within five miles or so of the garage, then I spotted one small isolated black cloud in front. Yep you guessed it, it dumped a deluge and one got soaked. It was a shame, not for me but for the immaculate bike I was about to trade in that had never before seen rain.

By the time I arrived at Shaws the sun was out again and uninterrupted blue sky prevailed, perfect for the return journey. Half an hour later, paperwork complete, I fired up the new Harley and set off for home. What a difference! More torque, more power, an extra gear, the deep burble of the big 'V' Twin through the almost unrestricted exhausts and a big grin from ear to disappointments there then!

By the time I got home the light was starting to fade so I grabbed the camera and took a few quick shots of the new acquisition on its first day home for the blog (see below). I'll post better pics once it's been cleaned to my standards.

New bike in fading light

Got up fairly sharp this morning, took Nance tea, toast, papers (laptop arriving on Tuesday) in accordance with 'Charter', oh sorry, for those not familiar with the true cost of a Harley, copy of Charter published below! Was it worth it? Well, I think so, but hey you decide.

"The Charter" (Click to enlarge)

Anyway the early get up was in order to pick up Dan for a trip down to the, yep you guessed it, the Harley garage in the car. Two reasons- 1) collect all the spares and original equipment for my bike that I couldn't carry on the bike ride home and 2) for Dan to have a look round and try to decide on his new Harley. We saw some nice bikes and Dan left with lots to mull over, but I think he has his heart set on a Dyna Street Bob in matt black (he likes the minimalist look).

Well that's two of us almost sorted, that just leaves my neighbour, Michael who is also hankering after a Harley having been an out and out sports bike rider (we soon sorted him out!). I let him out on my old Harley and he was smitten. I'm not sure what he'll end up with, but I know one thing for sure, it will be BLACK!

I've just had a couple of hours giving the new bike a cursory clean before settling down to a glass of wine watching 'Strictly' (favourite Saturday night prog).

A quick clean

Below, one for Grandma, my other most precious possession enjoying chilling out in her favourite wicker basket.

Princess in (unchewed whicker) bed!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Awaiting new arrival

I'm counting the days waiting for a sunny interlude in the gloom of late Autumn. You see I have a deposit on my new, (well, new to me you understand), Harley Davidson, but I'm not about to collect it until I can be assured of a dry run home. I've had my 883 Sportster for three years now and although it is only an entry level machine it's been a lot of fun. Harleys are very agricultural and a bit like Marmite, you either love 'em or hate 'em. They have bundles of character though and as my days of super fast sports bikes are long since past, they just plod along, make a great sound and allow you to enjoy the countryside just rolling by.

Harleys are also like an oversized Meccano set, there's always something you can add. People are never stuck for buying you a present (hint, hint) when you've got a Harley 'cause you've never really finished adding bits of chrome and stuff (OK - bling).

I added a few bits to my Sportster, (pictured below), and when I took it to the garage to p/x it for my new one they offered me what I paid for it three years ago - I don't know any other vehicles that would achieve that!

My Sportster 883

A few facts about the new bike for the techies:-

Model - Dyna Super Glide Custom
Engine - 96 cubic inches (1584cc) fuel injected
Gearbox - 6 speed
Vance and Hines exhaust system
.....and lots of additional bling!

Dyna Super Glide Custom

Anyway here's hoping the weekend brings some better weather, the suspense is killing me!

What next? Maybe a side car for Kizzy! I think she'd look good in a flying hat and goggles.
More pics and an update after my first ride (I'm not counting the test drive - it was way too short).