So much for regular updates!

Well Harvey has been coming along fine, settling in well and we've had him almost a year now.
The festive season was a quiet one as was the early months of 2018.
In April, my two brother in laws, Stuart Brand and Mick Collins, joined me for a long planned trip doing the North Coast 500 around the North Scottish coast line on our motor bikes over a long weekend. I had the easy part, Mick started the journey North from Kent on the Wednesday, stopping with Stuart in Garstang, Lancaster, on the Wednesday night, they then both made their way North to ours for Thursday night before we set of for Inverness on the Friday Morning. A great trip made even better by the lack of rain (only had about 2 hours of rain on the Sunday evening). It was so good we plan to go back and do it again in reverse in 2019!
May saw us back darn Sath again for the first wedding of the year when our Niece, Vicky, & Elliot tied the knot in Weymouth.
June took us back across the Irish sea for this year's Celtic Challenge, (Scots V Irish) at Benone, again Scotland retained the Quaich.
July left me and the dog on our own as Jane visited the other side of the world, Brisbane, Sydney and the Barrier reef. Taking advantage of free board out there, with her youngest sister, out on a work secondment for 3 months.She had also decided that retirement was due for her and although she finished the school term at the end of June, her official retirement didn't start till mid August.
August we're traipsing back down the country for the second wedding of the year with Catherine and her Elliot tying the knot in Bexleyheath.
September, the SPKA AGM in St. Andrews at the start of the month then the last long weekend, we spent just South of Torness Power Station at a nice quiet site right on the beach, Harvey loved it! Unfortunately, our return trip home on the Monday ended up with a recovery that eventually got us and the MH back to base with a dicky diesel pump.
October first week, Simon and I were away to Borkum Island, the most Westerly Island in the Frisian group just off of Germany's north coast. A flight from Edinburgh to Schiphol, train North to Eemshaven in the Netherlands and the ferry over to Borkum. There we spent the week traipsing back and forward to the beach for the Kite Buggy World Championships. The last 2 weeks being in recovery mode!
Well that's us up to date again, let's see what the coming months have to offer us!

Life moves on!

Well here we are in November! Where did the year go?
Updates -
Being a house husband and having a misses that only works school term time has some advantages, we had a total of 6 weeks away in the motorhome during the summer punctuated with K&L having it for 10 days holiday over to Harris.
After 18 months on the scrap heap and getting bored with being a house husband, I started working again early in October! I shouldn't complain as I'm loving the work side of it, its draw back is the traveling. Its a 75 mile round trip on a daily basis traipesing back and forth along the M74/M8 with a 0730 start in the morning and 1630 finish Mo toTh, 1230 finish on a Friday.
We finally laid my dear old aunt Enids remains to rest with the internment of her ashes in the Smith family grave at Wordwell in the middle of October
We helped to celebrate our Kev and Leah's joint 30th birthdays towards the end of October.
We have a new member in the family, a Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel Dog puppy, now 9 weeks old and called Harvey! Having done boarding for Guide Dogs for so many years but of course getting them when fully house trained, is a totally different experiance to having an 8 week old puppy to take from scratch! Lets just say, after the first week of s**t and pee everywhere, we wonder just where this will end up? Only time will tell! :)

A New year ...

Well that's the first month of 2017 gone already! How quick was that?
February's woe's well, car has had its MOT, rear brake discs apparently aren't acceptable when under 1.5mm thick, so a new set of rear pads and new disks too, as the originals were deteriorating from the outside inwards. Says a lot that they still worked with such high efficiency. Oh and the Road Tax was due as well, not what one would call a cheap month, car wise.
A little relief on the vehicle front till May when both the Motorhome and the Pan Eu are due their respective MOT's.

I enjoyed my trip to Eire last weekend, caught up with past friends on the FISLY Council, we even managed to complete the agenda in one long day on the Saturday. Not that the trip started off well with me forgetting to lift my mobile phone before leaving home on the Friday evening and not discovering it till I was air-side of Security at the Airport. Never mind I managed to overcome that misfortune and enjoyed the rest of the trip.
If I haven't moaned personally to you, have you ever tried to find such a thing as a pay phone? A wee tip, don't bother they no longer seem to exist as I found to my detriment last Friday, a very pleasant princess in shining armour, in the form of one of Glasgow's finest WPC's came to my rescue and allowed me the opportunity, with the use of her phone, to at least let the wife know, contact would be difficult for my weekend away.

This month tends to be a bit of a quiet one generally, more so when I'm still slithering around on the scrapheap. The various tasks that have kept me 'busy' for the past 10 months are slowly coming to an end so I'll need to either invent some more or succumb to the issue of my garage, once the weather improves though, even with its insulated roof, it's still friggin freezing out there!
Well if anything startling comes along, I'll keep this posted, if not catch up with you all in another month or so.

More history in the intervening years ....

We moved into the realms of motorhome ownership in 2009, bought ourselves a 1992 6 berth naturally aspirated Talbot powered Elddis Autoquest 400. The first few outings taught us that this size of motorhome just isn't catered for in UK towns and villages. at around 24ft long only through & through type parking bays in non-height restricted car parks are 'usable' (not always suitable as sometimes they are too narrow too), so this prompted the addition of a heavy duty rack for the back and the purchase of a little 125cc Kymco Agility scooter as a run about, when we had to park in peripheral industrial estates. We used this for 3 years until its age caught up with it and it succumbed to the dreaded frame rot. We'd enjoyed the motorhome experience so much, we went looking for a replacement but with a few refinements to what we'd had; we wanted a fixed bed with a garage under and an engine with a bit more staying power on the hills.

As both our son's had now vacated the nest, 6 berth wasn't a requirement, however we found that to get the fixed bed & Garage option at an affordable cost, another 6 berth it would have to be. That quest evolved into the purchase of an Italian built Miller Arizona 2004, which we bought in the spring of 2012, and is still getting very well used to date, at least out-with the winter months. Not because of lack of heating or insulation of which both are quite adequate, just down to the external environment conditions over the winter months.

The acquisition of the Kymco Scooter also revitalised my passion for two wheels. A really good mate at work, Peter Kennedy, an Australian by birth, but a Scot by choice, was also into motorbikes. A chance sharing of a video clip in 2013, of racing at the Isle of Man T.T. had him salivating about going there to watch. We started making tentative plans to go the following year. He had an ST 1100 Pan European and I thought my Kymco scooter might struggle on such a trip. I looked towards getting one of my old stable of bikes back on the road but was struggling in sourcing parts and the thought of having to carry lead replacement along for the trip for petrol (my youngest steed was 1976) was also putting me off. I went looking for a slightly more modern bike with the original intention of buying and re-selling after the trip. I looked at a variety of machines on the second hand market, not modern, definitely not Sports, I wanted a tourer of some sort. As it turned out, I ended up buying an ST1100 too, in Silver as opposed to PK's Blue one and one year older, a 1994 model.

Our plans of going over for the T.T. were getting way laid by work; PK was getting shipped out to Asia for a few weeks. The T.T. got put on the back burner and I suggested the Manx GP instead as another option. Same location just an older style of bikes. So that became the target for early September 2014. As it was, PK got shipped out again up to Aberdeen the weekend before, it looked like he'd be back on the Tuesday so bookings were made for B&B & the ferry out on the Wednesday lunchtime and back on the Sunday Evening. We would only catch the senior race on the Friday but at least we would get time to tour around the island. As it turned out, the senior got red flagged on the 3rd lap so our viewing time was limited to say the least. Anyway, PK was hooked, longer term plans to get back the following year for either the T.T. or the Manx. Sad to say that never happened; PK took a heart attack and died, two months after our return.

The other outcome was the re-kindling of my love of motor cycling; I'd fell in love with the Pan Eu. After some intent discussions with the wife, as, honestly, I had intended selling it on again, it joined the rest in the garage and still gives me great pleasure getting out for a run as and when time and conditions allow. One never knows, I might still manage a return trip to the Island in the future. I'd also like to do the North Coast 500 around Scotland.

Some history in the intervening years

I was, and still am, involved with the Scottish Power Kite Association. Since competing in the European Kite Buggy Championships in Benone, Northern Ireland, September 2005, the SPKA have run an annual race series and sent various competitors to the international events over the years. Through this I've made a massive amount of fellow enthusiast friends in the kite buggy world. I used to compete both in our own series and most years at the internationals up until 1st April 2012 (April fools day) and yes, I was that fool! I got gallous and stayed with too big a kite for the conditions, got lofted out the buggy and the hard landing popped 3 ribs off of my sternum, I've only raced once since and that wasn't competitively by any manner.

2007 saw me with a brush with the big 'C', cancer, in the form of Penile cancer, to an extent I was lucky, the radical surgery that followed left me a much smaller 'man' than previously but that was it! after the surgery with both CT and MRI scans, no further trace of cancer was found in the rest of my body. To date still none! Despite a recent Colonoscopy following the bi annual excrement testing, that showed traces of blood, no issues were found in my bowel.
EDIT:- Radio 2 had an article on Penile Cancer on 14/10/16 a link for any guys to read Checkyourtackle There have been more sites come to light in recent months, Orchid, Fighting Male Cancer and a face book closed group, Penile Cancer Awareness and Support . Through these groups a Penile Cancer Ribbon has been adopted from a design by John Francis Grasso. A face book profile picture frame is also available, search for 'Penile_Cancer_Awareness' to add it to your profile picture.

July 2015, my last surviving blood relative from the previous generation, my dad's sister, Aunt Enid, succumbed to old age at the age of 94! We've still to lay her to rest so to speak as she had opted to have her body donated for the furtherance of medical science. This is generally a two year exercise where her body is used to help the training of a dedicated group of future medical personnel, so next year, 2017, we'll finally get to inter her.

2016 Year to date ....

Ok main events:-

My Mother in Law, Pat Brand passed away in February at the age of 86. A sad time for all but a release at the same time as she was slowly succumbing to dementia. Her ashes were layed to rest along side those of my father in law, George who we lost a number of years ago.

April, made redundant, as my employer, who went into Administration a month previously was finally closed down by the Administrators.

June, after almost 67 years since its inception, we signed over the title of the Avon Valley Motor Cycle Club premises at 3 Dunlop St. Strathaven. The end of the club, with only a few members left, each one having dug deep in the pocket to cover ongoing repair costs and with the potential repair costs of the future, to have tried and maintained ownership of the premises would have been crippling. As per the constitution, all proceeds from the Clubs account after bills etc. were donated to the Erskine Hospital. We handed over a cheque for over £29,000.00, the Hospital, or as it is now, a home for veterans, are to buy a special Wheelchair Access Vehicle, this will be ready in January 2017 and the remaining last members have been asked to return and make a final presentation of the vehicle to Erskine.

October, although as a Club, the Avon Valley no longer exists, those of us left still meet, now at a house in Strathaven, on a Wednesday evening, as most of us have done for most of our lives. From one such meeting came the knowledge of the existence of an indoor Electric powered Bike Moto X track in East Kilbride, Hyper Trax . Having visited a couple of times to watch, I was intending doing the same in mid-month to tie up with a couple of kite buggy mates who were heading over from the East coast for an evening session, having arrived and learning that it was a quiet Tuesday evening, I took the plunge and signed up for a session (2 x 10 minute stints on the track) along with Stu and Pete, great fun!, thoroughly enjoyed it even though my severe lack of fitness left me gasping for breath after both runs.

Trouble was that wasn't the end of it .... I Awoke on the Wednesday morning, sore thighs, rest of me not to bad.... I awoke on the Thursday morning Arggghhhhh!  My thighs felt like two massive knots of muscle suspended from my torso! Sitting and rising from seats took a lot of arm work lowering and lifting as my legs just didn't want to respond. It was Sunday evening before I could say my legs felt like they were a part of me again.

November, the bike mates are heading down for another session at Hyper Trax this Wednesday coming, 16th, me, I'll be back watching again, as I've a buggy race event on the end of the week and can't afford to feel like a legless loon for two days while setting up courses for racing on the beach!

I'm still unemployed, well technically I'm not, as I'm no longer a statistic in the unemployment figures since the six months allocation of Job Seekers allowance ended. I've already amassed 45 years of NI contributions, with only requiring 35 years' worth, to be eligible for my old age pension (if it still exists) in under 5 years' time, there was no point in continuing to sign on every two weeks just to accrue my NI stamp. Therefore I signed off of the register.

More to follow...


I'm back!

Hey! it's now 12 years on from when I made my first entry here back in 2004. Like most things, life has moved on and my brain power, which was never over remarkable, had lost all knowledge of what was done for the one and only page that was ever on my section of our family web site.

I must be one of the luckier 'older' generation these days, to have two sons that are both very computer literate, each in their own way and both, very tollerant, of their 'auld man' in his endeavours to work within what I would say, for me, is ground level in the creation stakes of the world wide web.

Kev is responsable for setting up a web site that one of my hobbies is related to, namely the Scottish Power Kite Association SPKA Between him and Simon, who now helps tremendously with the association managing the results and the gallery, they enabled a facility for me to 'get in to it' and make changes/updates where I think fit or where new information is required. Needless to say, my lack of any indepth knowledge of these systems has lead to a few phoo-pahs over the years, all of which one or the other of them fixes for me,

Anyway back to here, My Blog!

'Blog' what a name, never mind lets see where it takes us from here on in.

(Below is/was my one page on this web site, now converted into a Blog post so history is preserved.)

Hello and welcome! (to the big orange :-s)

Please bare with me as I try to make these old fingers press the correct buttons to create a web site for ME! With two sons that seem to use these modern fangled things as an extension to there arms I'm getting left way behind and intend to at least bring myself up to a level where I might not be equal to them but at least have a basic knowledge of what they are achieving with all the fancy bits added.

My passion these days has moved off at a slight tangent from my lifetime hobby of motorcycling and moved into a more enviromentaly friendly aspect utilising the power of the wind to give the exhilaration of acceleration and speed to trigger the adrenalin and give a bit of a buzz.

Its known as kite buggying or by the more sophisticated name of parakarting. Basically its a three wheeled contraption that you park your backside in, a couple of inches from the ground and use a Power Kite to pull you along. Steering is effected by your feet on footpegs either side of the front wheel and brakes are controlled by the position of the kite in relation to your direction of travel.


Buggy Pics
Mk2 at Stevenstons downhill
Mk2 after the down hill
Mk2 buggy at Stevenston
Mk2 buggy through the rough.
when it was nice and new
Mk2 when it was nice and new
Mk3 Buggy Fork in production
Forming the forks
for the Mk3 buggy

Buggy Rack
Buggy rack on the roof
the buggy rack at rest
Buggy rack rear view
viewed from the rear
pulled out to the rear
drawn out to the rear
ready to unload
ready for off loading
unload from the rear
ready to unload from the rear
one off one left
one down, one to go
Buggy rack sign
the rack with its new signs
at an angle showing its neighbour
and the back of the other one