It's Monday night, I am drunk as a skunk......which usually happens when my lovely lady announces she is out for the night and the Captain suggests we hit the Ship for a quiet beer. We naturally bump into some other reprobates and early door madness ensues. Luckily I left while I still remembered where.........uhoh she just got home.....best finish this another time
Blimey! Two nights in a row, must be nearly on holiday. Tonight I have a whole raft of things to do before settiing off at crack of sparrows fart to catch the ferry at Holyhead. So of course I let The Cap'n talk me into "just one" at The Ship, our local on the back beach....three later I'm sat here at the complicator, listening to Powerage at full bore, drinking a nice Merlot and eating a "mixture of whatever was left in the fridge" omelette, surrounded by unpacked shit that looks to be a whole lot larger in volume than the panniers it's got to fit in. Oh well, WTF I cannot wait to head out tomorrow for ten days on the road and plenty of guiness and bush in the land of my fathers (well, mother really).
Now I'm actually here on I'm on a roll, so more blathering follows....Off to Eire on Wednesday. Better half flew out to Dublin for work on Saturday, and I'm getting the Holyhead - Dublin ferry with the Yam and meeting her there. 2 nights in Dublin, a night in Cashel, then down to Caherdaniel on the Ring of Kerry. Thats (one of) the great things about the "missus", she's bang up for biking holidays, as long as I don't mind some long scenic walks when we get there. As long as "there" has a pub, I can cope with that! In the last few years we've done both sides of the Pyrenees and numerous french trips, and that does my soul a lot more good than two weeks on a sunlounger.....Course, cos she went on Saturday, I HAD to go out, see a band, get totally ratarsed, and woke up on the sofa wearing a kebab.....yes, babe I had a nice quiet night, couple of pints....ahem. Spent most of today ripping the T bird apart, which proved surprisingly easy, there was so much oil on it, NOTHING was seized, and it yeilded a surprising amount of useful bits, including both original stamped number plates in lovely patina condition. One muppet who came to see the Golden Flash (gleaming apart from nice old plate), said "Oh, thats a pity, have to change that". What a fucking Idiot. That plate has been on the bike since 1952, probably left the shop with it on, and this TWAT wants to change it because "it lets the bike down".......words fail me. Amazed at how many people came to see the scruffy little Honda 125 I had on ebay. All very earnest fans of Soichiro's smaller products....takes all sorts I guess. A common refrain was " I had one when I was young".....well, so did I, but like acne and virginity, I wouldn't want to repeat the experience....Greasy Kulture, Dice, Milkcow and Old Bike Mart arrived this week, so I have spent an inordinate amount of time on the shitter, and now learn that Dirty Bobbers are launching a Mag......Christ, have to start going to bed earlier. Also bought a couple of books this week: Cafe Racers of the 1960's by Mick walker, and The Cafe Racer Phenomenon, a Veloce book...do you see a thread emerging here? I'm still a laid back bobbery type at heart, but swept back pipes clip ons, megas and bumpstop seats get me moist an all. The T Bird thats just come in had it's front plate screwed to the nacelle rocker stylee and a broken tank badge, sure sign of a tumble with clip ons fitted....what stories they could tell. Also this week had Docker Dave's Trike in for a pre MOT, and Dogger Dave's CBX for a visit. Dogger is a legend who is disappointed at 69 that his Hyabusa won't crack the double ton. Allegedly invented "Dogging" in Devon?!?
Another ridiculously long break between posts. The Little Honda has gone as has the Jeep. The Golden Flash failed to make it's reserve so i'm hanging on to that for a bit, as it seems unlikely I'll get anything else finished before the Hotrod Hayride, and I'd like to turn up on something more in keeping this year. Made a good start on another Thunderbird, 1957 this time. Decided to forget about the "correct" restoration, it's just too restrictive and takes too long sourcing the right parts. The latest one will be all black cycle parts, silver tank, alloy guards, single trials type seat, bonneville bars and maybe hi-rise pipes with short megas. It should be called the Wassell special as most of the parts seem to have come from there! No cool period parts on this one, but I reckon it'll be fun. Also in the pipeline is another '55 Thunderbird, bought as a basket case with no motor. It's still wearing it's original plate BTB *** so Born To Bob is born! Swinging arm frame, but i'm using a stretched rigid rear end, the original tank, rear guard and plate which are all nicely patina'ed. Slightly rusty old chop oil tank and sprung saddle by Innocenti (Lambretta?). Frame and hubs will be off white to match the patina'ed bits. Happily searching for more rusty old shit to bolt to it. The '53 rigid frame will be a sort of Blackbird replica, like Marlon rode in the Wild one. Which leaves me with the '57 T110 which might become a Caff racer. The Beemer that I was going to bob is definitely going the budget caff route, as now I've picked up the rigid trumpets I'm really not that interested......
Seeing as how I'm logged on, I'll do a bit of an update on the workshop. It's ACTUALLY looking like a workshop now, mainly 'cos Paul (The Captain) has moved half his bike collection and all of 30 years worth of tools and odd nuts and bolts in. At the mo we have: 1957 Sunbeam, fix one thing, another breaks. 1984 BMW R100, Pauls resale project, dead for two years, he got it running in half an hour. 1952 Golden Flash (The Bastard), beautiful, but flawed, only two faults, but they work in shifts. 2007 GSXR1000, Ricks pride and joy, spent hours and much moolah getting it lovely, then chucked it down the road 10 mins after leaving workshop. 1979 FZ50, Pauls lovingly restored retro moped that he tries to sell to our burger delivery man Adam EVERY DAY, on account of Adams burger bar "Relish" is the same shitey orange and white colour scheme. Sadly, Adam is not allowed it, and must cycle his deliveries so as not to become a fat bastard like "those fat c**** at Quay Classics" according to his lovely wife. 1955 Triumph Thunderbird. Oh how I wish I'd thought it through when I decided to restore this to standard. a) You can get get 99.9% of parts, but you WILL pay through the nose for them, and the last .1% are unobtainium. b) I'm fucking sick of spraying everything polychromatic blue. 1956 Triumph Thunderbird. Yes another one, got to be standard as matching numbers, V5 present great reg etc etc. 1957 Tiger 110. Mwuuuuhhhhaaaaahaha...ha. Just got a bolt on hardtail for this, so this is DEFINITELY getting bobbed. At last I can post on Dirty Bobbers "SEE, I don't keep everything standard!". 1974 BMW R60/6. Loving this, pale blue, struts instead of rear frame, stripped down, tulip pipes, pullbacks. Just waiting for the MUPPETS at the engineering shop to drill out my busted fork stud and I can get on with it! 200? Dragstar, Pauls better half Emmas bike. She quite liked it as it was, quiet, sensible etc. Paul, not convinced, has fitted the loudest drag pipes in christendom on it, single seat, but is sure that she is "secretly chuffed". Oh really? Anyway thats the interesting bits. Next week we've got an outboard and a 1930's Bentley coming in, and hopefully two bikes that have just been dug up from the grounds of a local school, which are apparently 1920's......
Ok, so I've just got back from Paignton BikeFestival, which is a worthy kind of gig that supports local charities, is good PR for bikers, and generally opens up the biking scene to joe public in a way that the Teutels could only dream of. I was bored (and wet: massive downpour/no waterproofs/I mean it's summer isn't it?) quite literally a mile of bikes on Paignton promenade and maybe 10 that I even paused to look at. Just standard bikes of one form or another, or off the shelf customs. Good thing was I met up with Ian, Steve, Shaun & Kev, who I rode with when I was 16 (32 years ago!!!), still riding together. There must have been about 15 of us riding out from the Saddlers Arms in Lympstone then, Sundays up to Dartmoor (last one to Moretonhampstead was gay etc.) or down to Torbay, cruising the seafront at Torquay and looking for scooterists to annoy. Not to rumble, you understand, we just used to stick orange fur on our helmets, wear silly shades ride past and take the piss. They never really got it. Anyway, out of 15 thats 5 of us at least still out there. Others have gone to great highway in the sky, but are never forgotten. I was really cheered by that. So here's Shauns bike, and a generator powered Ariel.
Good excuse for update, the pictured BSA A7 was stolen from the Ashford area a couple of days ago. This is a much loved working bike that the guy has had for 20 years, if anybody offers you the bike or bits contact your local law enforcement straight away and let's catch the scrotes.
Had a crackin night round at a mates house last night, good food, plenty of quality vino and the usual banter. Highlight of the evening came when we got to talking about the sad demise of speedway locally, and also dog racing. One lady member of the party piped up "I've been dog racing" to which her husband retorted, "Yeah, you came in first once didn't you love?"
Breaking news! Just been down to give the new landlord a cheque, expecting to have to wait while it cleared, and he's given me the keys! Top geezer, his grandad bought up all the old customs buildings and bonded warehouses in 1936 to use as his wine merchant stores. I've got steps in my workshop that lead down to where French prisoners of war were kept during the Napoleonic wars, and rings on the floor that were used to lower contraband booze down to the cellars after it had been taken off the smugglers. On a more practical note, he pulled a piece of board off the wall to reveal a large electric fan, exactly where I want to put my spray room! I think I'm gonna like it here. Just hope I can make enough sponduliks to keep it. Moving in on Monday, photos to follow. Now I hear the pub calling me softly, after all tis Friday night, and I feel the need to bend some ears and bullshit till the early hours.....
Just been to Rowans, which reminded me to post this. The best place in Britain to see pre 70's custom machinery in all it's grubby glory. Break out the brillcreem and cuff those levis. Rockin good times.
Well, I've had a weird one. I was adopted over 40 years ago, and after much moving about the country ended up living in Exeter in Devon. Just found out that my real grandfather also lived in Exeter, about 200 yards as the crow flies from where I was living. Spooky! Back down to earth, I'm going to sign up for a workshop on Teignmouth Docks today, so me and my good mate Ian, who is a pro photographer, got slightly tipsy last night and went scouting for photo locations around the docks. It was really foggy last night, and we found some really atmospheric spots. Sadly we didn't have a camera or a bike to photograph, but he got me all fired up with his wide angle, low trajectory camera type chat, so I can't wait to do the real thing. Probably minus the six pints of old Badgers Todger.....Most of the kit for the workshops arrived now, blast cabinet, parts washer, ultrasonic cleaner, so I just need to get in there, build a spray booth and a bench and rock n roll. Nothing very exciting you may say, but I've been working out of an unlit, unpowered single garage for the last five years, so it seems like freakin heaven to me! Then maybe I'll spend more time fiddling with interesting bits of old metal than doing the old onefinger tapdancing on this ere computer thingy. I'm posting some bikes wot I like, just to repay your patience for reading this old bollix.
Finally the snow has melted in front of the garage, so I'm off out on the yam for the first time in a couple of weeks. This must be the longest time without a blast since.......the last time it snowed. I've had enough of it now: walking everywhere, those heartstopping moments when yer feet slide away from under you, gravel and salt all over the roads (if yer lucky), the graphic frozen dog turds that look even more offensive than normal. though in fairness, you can spot em more easily. Then again, I don't walk on pavements unless it's to the pub at night, so wot do I know? I say SNOW, ENOUGH. YOU'RE NOT PICTURESQUE ANYMORE. When's summer anyway, come on bring it on, I'm running out of jumpers and hankering for salads. Even an old dolt like me likes to dress up spiffy, and how can you do that when it's minus whatever outside? I've got wittily sloganned T shirts just gagging for an airing. I'm kicking my heels at the mo waiting to get access to me new workshop, so there doesn't seem much point spraying anything on the Thunderbird project in a draughty shed when I'll have a purpose built spray booth (ok, cls and plasterboard) to do it in a couple of weeks. Accordingly, I'm making a nuisance of meself on Dirty Bobbers, my fave forum, and spending too much time on ebay looking for elusive motorcycle gold, and getting stressed about whether it's entirely right that I should be thinking about trying to make a living doing something I love. Will I get bored? Will I make ANY money? Will I be drawn to one of Teignmouths 22 hostelries on a working day to shoot the shit with the other losers as my meagre profit trickles down the cracked concrete urinal? Who knows...do they teach you how to cope with these fears at business school? In the meantime here's some pretty pictures.
I'm really into cooking so I thought I'd share this with you (not literally mind) Keralan fish curry and tamarind prawns, washed down with a few bottles of Corona, yeah I know, wrong continent but WTF? I like it, alright?
Here are some pics of my 1955 650 6T Triumph Thunderbird, which was going to be the basis of long-planned bobber, but then I realised there might be a bit too much of the original left, so decided to restore it to original and flog it on. Having some trouble sourcing all the missing bits, but ebay has been kind, and a 60 mile round trip to the Taunton autojumble netted me frostbite, an alternator cover and a nacelle top. Still thinking of using the 500 triumph bits that came with the bike as a basis for the bobber. The recession has put paid to my house renovation activities for the time being, so I'm going to follow the dream before it's too late and try to make a living doing up and flogging classics. I Had a heart attack two years ago and clinically died three times in one night, so I'm fully aware life ain't a rehearsal, and if it makes you happy, go for it. Whether it'll make me a living remains to be seen, but I intend to give it my best shot. I have been working out of a rented garage with no power or light, and my lovely garden shed which is down 5 flights of steps, but have now decided to go for a proper workshop, on the level, with power and everything! Going to look at a possible contender tomorrow.