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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in fretherne's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
12:47 am
cholesterol - yes please
Of the many gifts that England has given to the rest of the world perhaps the greatest is the full English breakfast. Foreigners may be happy with poridge, cheerios, croissants, käse und brötchen, grits or worst of all muesli and yoghurt washed down with coffee. These will not do for Englishmen. Tony D has the amazing ability to detect the aroma of a cooked breakfast while driving at 30 mph. He will home in on some little cafe or truck stop serving toast, tea, egg, bacon, beans, tomato, sausages and black pudding formed into a delicious plateful of artery clogging, life shortening, BP raising, culinary masterpiece.
On a freezing cold day in faraway Manchester there are few better ways to improve your day.
Sunday, January 15th, 2017
8:05 pm
A late posting Sienna
Sienna or Siena
A few days ago in Sienna I was in café sampling a little Tuscan wine with Emma. Her mother was off topping up on renaissance art galleries. Emma, of course was drinking a cappuccino. In came what looked like a group of middleaged football supporters. Very drunk and rather noisy. I don't know why but odd and eccentric people seem to gravitate to me. Obviously it must be opposites attract each other. So just as if I am on a tram or a bus and a loony gets on they will make straight for me and start a conversation with me in whatever language they think is most convenient. True to form the biggest one of them wearing a black and white scarf makes straight for me. I knew enough Italian to realise he was talking about buying a drink. I panicked at the thought of paying for it so in my politest English I said to him "Go away using short jerky movements." while making sure I smiled at the same time. He went away and came back with a tumblerful of red wine for me. It seemed wise to accept.

To Emma's delight the group was getting noisier and noisier and singing songs in the Tuscan dialect. (Tuscan dialect = Italian but I couldn't understand a word of it). More glasses of red wine kept being brought to me, I now knew that Mike ( I know this is not a very Italian name but think of Mike Angelo) , Nico, Ferdico were my new best friends. Much to my relief they did not seem to expect any drinks back. They demanded I sang them an English song but Emma saved me from that saying she was off if I started singing. Two of them fell over and had some problem in getting up again. Emma was as pleased as any thirteen year old could be watching how adults actually behave in the world while we waited for her mother.
Through the bunch of guys at the bar an Italian woman with three dogs pushed her way past, quite smart in that stylish without any effort Italian way. She greeted them by name and got the three continental cheek kisses from each one so I tagged onto the group so I wasn't left out.

She spoke reasonable English and her dogs were for entering into a sheep dog competition. Emma wants to be a dog psychologist. How do the psychologists get the dogs to lie on their couch while everyone else is trying to stop them doing it?

Anyway she insisted on me trying some special wine while Emma and her conferred on dog behaviour modification. More people joined the table, more wine, including an Irish sheep dog judge. I mean he was Irish not that he just judged Irish dogs. I introduced Emma to him and she chatted away in English. Once she is talking about dogs she becomes fluent in English.
Ol and Jo now full of culture came back and we had dinner. What prompted me to write this was Tony's FB about tripe the other day. We ordered four different meals so we could taste some of everything. Ol's seemed to have large chewy pasta in a tomato sauce which was rather nice. Tasting it I could see that the noodles were not pasta but something firmer but squidy like squid. It turned out it was tripe cut into small pieces and served in a spicy sauce. I hate tripe but this was good.

I have to break off here because I am supposed to be teaching English to the lovely Alicia at Ol's firm.
Monday, January 9th, 2017
7:37 pm
Leave Mrs May alone of course she has a plan for BREXIT
After stuffing my head with far too much European renaissance culture I am back in Prague 6 degrees below zero and snow everywhere. This is good because my brain functions better in a cold climate so I have thought and I think I know what is going on with BREXIT

Of course there is a Brexit plan. Do you think that primeminister Cameron would be arrogant enough to call a referendum and think people woulhd vote the way he said? After all the man did go to Eton.

The Brexit plan is now that Theresa May has realised that all economists and politicians are incompetent she will turn BREXIT over to the people that should have been running it from the beginning. BREXIT will actually be controlled by Quantum Physicists.

This quantum plan will depend on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. If we have a BREXIT plan but keep it secret no one will be certain if it is a good plan. If we reveal it everyone will be certain it is a useless plan. So it will not only be necessary for us to keep this plan secret now during the negotiations but preferably for forty years afterwards as well. This will give the opportunity for the current crop of politicians to safely retire.

The quantum part depends rather on Schrodinger. Under this part of the BREXIT plan we will not only be still in the EC but will also have exited. Conversely even though we will have exited it we will still be in the EC. This need not be resolved unless someone actually looks at the plan and the quantum wave front will then collapse and Europe will get an empty box while Britain gets a dead cat that will be skinned and made into new shoes.

The vital part of this is that the BREXIT plan must not be revealed at all and people should stop going on at Mrs May who has far more important problems to deal with like grammar schools and party unity.
Wednesday, January 4th, 2017
10:47 pm
2017
This year promises to be far less divisive than last year because 2017 is a prime number.

Yesterday San Giminario. A wonderful hilltop town with an excessive number of towers. Apparantly the families living there saw tall towers as a status symbol and entered into competition who could build the tallest only about 14 remain from an estimated 72.

So forget about outdoing your neighbours with twinkling LED Santas and reindeer and build a 70 foot stone tower on your front lawn. Just don't ask me to climb it I've done enough tower climbing to last me right through this year.

Monday, January 2nd, 2017
3:19 pm
It has rained and rained the whole day. Lucca is not much different from any wet rainy city. It looks grey and a little miserable. Or do I mean myself!
10:37 am
Florence lay out on the mountainside
Florence. So of course I have to see Michaelangelo's David. Well it isn't;it's a replica set in 1904 at piazza del signora when the original was moved inside so they could charge visitors to see it. Well it's Carrera marble and is 14 feet high but . . . . Not everything is in proportion. A quick look at it shows that us guys have nothing to worry about by being compared. Of course his is made of marble so he may be harder but would certainly be colder.


9:37 am
pythagorus on the move
Yesterday evening we drove from Lucca to Milan to put Hanka on the coach back to Prague and school on Tuesday. This drive along the Italian autostrada is about 180 miles say 290 kilometres (whatever they are). Like all teenage girls the delightful Hanka had not done her homework due in on Tuesday. It was Maths and Physics. She declared that Physics was stupid. Having made a good living out of Physics for years I suppose I should defend it. Unfortunately, ever since I first was baffled by quantum mechanics and the very strange quantum world it opens up I think it's stupid as well. Anyway since she is only fifteen the Maths and Physics should be within my limited knowledge but since the question part was written in Czech it was a bit tricky. Ol was driving at 110 mph and helping to translate these questions while Hanka sat bored at this speed while I found doing Maths at this speed rather bowel loosening.

The coach station at Milan was yet another authentic Italian experience. It was due to leave at 9:30pm and arrive in Prague 12 hours later. There were crowds milling about, buses starting and stopping, non stop shouting and no one boarding any coach. The only possible coach we found had no destination on the front although all the others did. The luggage was being loaded by a fairly surly Italian but by using Ol's size and my British pushiness we got her luggage on early. This was important because Prague was the last stop. He would only load luggage if shown a valid ticket so there were arguments galore, mobile phones being passed back and forth trying to prove they had tickets and lots of screaming and shouting. We got Hanka onto the coach before most of the crowd so she settled herself down in an upstairs window seat where we could watch her as we waited, and waited, and waited.

By quarter past ten there was still no sign of the loading of luggage being completed. The level of screaming at the loading point was louder, the loader was having problems authorising tickets that he was scanning with his phone. Ol went to see what was happening while I was around the other side of the bus stood on the pavement where I could keep an eye on Hanka and make sure no undesirables would take the place next to her. At this point something that could only happen in Italy took place. Something you might expect in Naples but not in Milan. A very short blonde women rand down the middle of the parking place and gestured at the coach. She then turned to face me and literally screamed in Italian at the top of her voice.

No I hadn't groped her in the melee around the loading point. Who do you think I am Donald Trump? She had not even been there. She gave up screaming at me and started screaming at two Italian guys also waiting who also wore this look of complete incomprehension but when she turned around and sprinted back from where she had come burst out laughing.

The next development was about five minutes later a small white car screeched to a halt in the bus parking position forbidden even in Italy. Three women jumped out and the driver started unloading their luggage into the middle of road. Lots more screaming and shouting at each other, at the driver, at the coach and at the world in general. Remembering the bad time I had in getting to my flight on time I was tempted to go down and help them with their luggage. They were ferrying this around the coach to reach the loading point and leaving bags abandined in the roadway until they collected them. Somehow I knew helping might not be a good idea.

Ol returned and kept an eye on Hanka while I went around the other side to watch this luggage loading pantomime. The loader now was being shouted at by all the three ladies. Two Italian policemen turned up and it quietened down a little but not by much. The loader was talking down his mobile phone and so far he hadn't loaded their luggage which was now in a pile just inside the bus. Finally he did start taking their luggage back on and luggage loading and passengers were all on the bus but still no sign of it leaving. It had been a fine sunny day but bus stations are cold places and the temperature was close to freezing.

I went back to Oliver's side of the bus. A blonde woman was now sitting next to Hanka but Hanka used her mobile phone to text us to complain that the woman was a smoker and although smoking was forbidden on the coach she did not like the smell of smoke from the woman's clothes. Well not much we could do about that. A dramatic moment was the arrival of the driver into the cab with a wrapped baguette and a bottle of water - well I hope it was water. This must mean departure was imminent and only one and a half hours late.

A tortured scream of a two stroke moped with a big box on the back announced the arrival of a small Italian wearing a huge helmet who got off his bike and started shouting 'agua, agua agua'. He also had small pizzas inside the box. OL bought the water and a paizza gestured to Hanka to come downstairs and meet him at the doorway and rushed around to give them to her. The coach started up but the loader/spare driver allowed the water and pizza in. The coach left leaving a melancholy silence from the roaring mass that had been there before and we returned to the car. With no homework tot hink about Ol pushed the car up to 220 kms per hour. I had done enough calculations on the way and had the sense not to try and work it out into mph.

The freezing indicator was on as we climbed into the mountains and mist thickened into a fog. Ol slowed down to about 140 kph until we dropped back down into clearer air.

WE got back to the apartment at about one-thirty Em was still up and took the chance to argue why she must have a dog, Jol was fast asleep so I went to bed.
Tuesday, December 27th, 2016
10:28 pm
Christmas update
December 20th

How can a simple train journey of less than 100 miles involve four changes, a panic run through an airport, hearing last call for my Prague flight before I even reach security. The security queue is endless looping back and forth in serpentine coils of taped pathway. Fortunatly some security officer with more intelligence than the others asks for Prague passengers to move to the head of this endless queue to be met by two other security officers with less intelligence than the others insisting on going through my luggage, removing my shoes and belt and then giving me a good fondling. I was last on the plane, of course, with no room for my rucksack in the overhead lockers. Still I was so surprised, not to mention relieved to have caught the plane I just enjoyed the flight. I only had carry on luggage so no need to watch the magic roundabout at reclaim. I went straight to the meeting point and was picked up by OLiver. It was so good to see them all after four years.

21st
With only carry on luggage there had been no room for Christmas presents so the day was spent with Em looking for presents. She is good company although a little reluctant to practice her English so we got a few done then off to Starbucks. She turned a starbucks coffee down so we went to a fruitjuice bar instead. Later all of us went to her 'Austrian School'. These foreign schools seem to be common in Prague there is also an American and a German school. We sang a few carols admired some of the performances then back to the apartment. A bottle of Russian champagne was opened but since everyone else thought it too sweet I drank the whole bottle which meant I slept well.

22nd
O gave me the tour of his gasification works. This treats wood chippings to produce a gaseous fuel with an efficiency of over 41%. This efficiency would be good on a large nuclear plant let alone a plant of this size. I was impressed by the cleanliness and tidyness of the plant. Jol handed over some of her English lessons to me on some delightful Czech female staff. I enjoyed that and I hope they did.

23
This time I finished my shopping with Ol. Much easier with a man - he just told me what they would like and left me to it. Apparantly you can return anything within two weeks of buying but I got them to extend that to cover the time we would be in Italy and Moravia.


22nd
Tuesday, November 29th, 2016
9:47 pm
Ahoy shipmates
Tony and I drove down to the marina at Fleetwood. We have a secret and rather cunning plan to use Steve's boat to take us and a couple of motorcycles over to the Isle of Man for the classic TT race. Since this would involve getting two large, oily bikes into the stateroom (is that what you call the large cabin with furniture and beds in it?) we daren't let Steve know this yet. The boat has not been used for some time and it seems there has been some microbial decomposition in the diesel tank. I never realised this but there are some microbes that can live in diesel fuel and make a nourishing meal of it. Unfortunately, when they finally die they can clog the fuel filters or worse still the injectors and stop the engine. This is no problem parked in a marina but could be a major problem out in the Irish sea.

There was no inspection hatch on the fuel tank so no easy way of cleaning the inside of it and anyway there was over 100 gallons of diesel fuel in it. So this beautifully sunny but very cold Saturday was spent with a very noisy compressor running on the landing stage by the side of the boat with a pipe feeding compressed air into the tank to agitate the contents and to move any microbial growth clinging to the bottom or the sides. Another pump was kept running pumping the 100 gallons of fuel through a fine (only 5 microns) filter and returning it to the tank. Wouldn't it have been more sensible to pump the tank through the filter and into some 50 gallon drums on the landing stage? Yes I thought that too.

The muck from inside the tank showed like dark sooty snowflakes in the swirling fuel around the filter plus since there was some biodiesel fuel - yes that rancid oil second hand from fish and chippies - included in the 1oo gallons so there were also lumps of what looked like solidified fat in it too. Anyway the expensive and very fine filters were removing that as well.

We spent about five hours pumping which we think meant the entire contents of the tank would have been recirculated at least five times and the fuel now did look rather clean. Does this guarantee that the inside of the tank is clean? I doubt that very much. Still there are two filters in series that should remove anymore debris before it reaches the injectors but of course if they do block out on the briny it means an engine stoppage and while the filter is cleaned the risk of air getting into the system. Fixing this with a heavy swell running might be chancy. It's fiddly enough working on this big six and a half litre engine in a flat calm moored to the marina. I've suggested having the two filters in parallel. This would mean if one was getting blocked you could use the valve to put the flow through the other and could clean the original one without any drama of an engine stop.



Compressor, Tony and boat
9:44 pm
Tony and I drove down to the marina at Fleetwood. We have a secret and rather cunning plan to use Steve's boat to take us and a couple of motorcycles over to the Isle of Man for the classic TV. Since this would involve getting two large, oily bikes into the stateroom (is that what you call the large cabin with furniture and beds in it?) we daren't let Steve know this yet. The boat has not been used for some time and it seems there has been some microbial decomposition in the diesel tank. I never realised this but there are some microbes that can live in diesel fuel and make a nourishing meal of it. Unfortunately, when they finally die they can clog the fuel filters or worse still the injectors and stop the engine. This is no problem parked in a marina but could be a major problem out in the Irish sea.

There was no inspection hatch on the fuel tank so no easy way of cleaning the inside of it and anyway there was over 100 gallons of diesel fuel in it. So this beautifully sunny but very cold Saturday was spent with a very noisy compressor running on the landing stage by the side of the boat with a pipe feeding compressed air into the tank to agitate the contents and to move any microbial growth clinging to the bottom or the sides. Another pump was kept running pumping the 100 gallons of fuel through a fine (only 5 microns) filter and returning it to the tank. Wouldn't it have been more sensible to pump the tank through the filter and into some 50 gallon drums on the landing stage? Yes I thought that too.

The muck from inside the tank showed like dark sooty snowflakes in the swirling fuel around the filter plus since there was some biodiesel fuel - yes that rancid oil second hand from fish and chippies - included in the 100 gallons so there were also lumps of what looked like solidified fat in it too. Anyway the expensive and very fine filters were removing that as well.

We spent about five hours pumping which we think meant the entire contents of the tank would have been recirculated at least five times and the fuel now did look rather clean. Does this guarantee that the inside of the tank is clean? I doubt that very much. Still there are two filters in series that should remove anymore debris before it reaches the injectors but of course if they do block out on the briny it means an engine stoppage and while the filter is cleaned the risk of air getting into the system. Fixing this with a heavy swell running might be chancy. It's fiddly enough working on this big six and a half litre engine in a flat calm moored to the marina. I've suggested having the two filters in parallel. This would mean if one was getting blocked you could use the valve to put the flow through the other and could clean the original one without any drama of an engine stop.



Compressor, Tony and boat on the right
.

Running the diesel engine laid an interesting smokescreen over the marina. Interesting because the cloud was absolutely horizontal about 8 feet above the water.

Nature note: There were two cormorants among all the herring gulls but they looked so scruffy and black I couldn't be bothered taking a picture of them.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
10:23 am
Thevsilent majority are bellowing in our ears
At many a dinner party
The glittering chatterati
Over coffee and some coke
Said Trump was just a joke
And he hasn’t got a hope
Just give him enough rope
He’s on a slippery slope

But Trump made a rope ladder
Now we’re wiser and much sadder
Thursday, October 20th, 2016
10:41 pm
Happy Birthday
All the best Jane. Who would have thought you were ten days older than me!

This is odd. I logged onto wish you a happy birthday and this text was already here.
Monday, October 10th, 2016
11:19 pm
For six days I have laboured
We have moved the bike to Tony's place. This is rather more convenient because he has a lifting bench so after parking the 400 pounds of Velocette on it we could jack it up to waist height so we could work on it without stooping down to floor level. Tony had apressure washer so removed most of the forty years worth of rubbish and dirt clinging to the bike. Odd how much straw was sticking to it. The last time I had any bales of straw must have been over twenty years ago when rosy the goat was still alive.

The cylinder head came off quite easily but the pistong=n was siezed inside the bore and would not move. The internet is a fertile stream of technical advice from others working on neglected classic bike engines. Every one seems to have their favourite penetrating method. Well I suppose we all do but like to try a few variations.

Anyway the suggestions from other posters on the internet included penetrating oil - we'd already tried that, plus-gas and wd40 well that stuff isn't too expensive - diesel fuel which is often effective on rusted components and then the more interesting ones.
Vinegar and brown sauce - well it worked on Jack's crown or was that vinegar and brown paper?
Coca Cola well ok better than having to drink the awful stuff. They seem to depend on the citric or acetic acid to do the freeing. Each was given 24 hours but had no discernable effect.

Then some of the more extreme suggestions Belt it down with a mallet- I thought I'd leave that until I was really desperate. Heating the barrel with a blow lamp OK that wouldn't do any harm.

Next suggestion was from an American velo owner. Use some old engine oil and rags to light a small fire within the bore which would expand the bore away from the piston. I liked this idea but it depended on there being space for a fire inside the bore. The piston was at the top of the bore so no room.

So we had an immovable piston. My fingernails are black with oil (I hate that!)
IMAG0003.JPGIMAG0003
I hate this motorcycle
Saturday, September 24th, 2016
12:06 pm
resurgam
I think I've previously mentioned a theory I have that it is far better to cure yourself naturally rather than rely on doctors prescribing pills and treatment. If while ill you just take things easy and rest for a few days you get better by yourself. This hypothesis has been extended by me to dealing with mechanical contraptions as well. Just leave them quietly in the garage for however long it takes to cure themselves. This week I have tested this theory. The Velocette Venom below was crashed in 1968 and has languished in various sheds and garages ever since. Much to my surprise it does not appear to have self repaired the crash damage and in fact its overall condition has rather deteriorated. In fact many would say this is a termnal case. Perhaps 48 years of rest is not sufficient time for it to recover since it was a rather violent crash but I think with the help of a mechanically gifted friend I must intervene,

Perhaps it might be too far gone for any other motorcycle but not for a Velocette. They won a dozen TT races and the Venom still holds the world record for averaging 100 mph for 24 hours at Montlhery in France. A truly awful concrete banked track with huge bumps that would shake the fillings from your teeth or even the loose change out of a yorkshireman's pocket.

Anna, for some reason known only to herself, will not allow me to bring this bike into the house where I could, with her assistance, work on it in comfort.

This bike deserves to live again. This bike will live again.



I love this motorbike.
Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
10:42 pm
Flighty, fair and fearless Theresa May
They’ve chosen you to have the final say
The Brexit vote you’ve seen it
You know we didn’t mean it
So say we’ll leave but then make sure we really stay.
Saturday, June 11th, 2016
11:21 pm


BMW K100 RS 'The Flying Brick'
Flat four cylinder engine 1000cc 90HP and supposed to be capable of 140 mph (Aber ohne mich!)
11:13 pm
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BMW Flying Brick 1000cc 90 BHP 138 mph <i><i>(aber ohne mich)</i></i>
4:20 pm
Bikes and Stone Circles
.



I met up with Bob and Neil for an old gits’ run. We wanted to avoid main roads and motorways so we set off for Windermere to ride along the side of the Lake before heading fror Coniston. Bob was riding the Burgoman he had recently bought from Tony. It had a decent turn of speed from its 400cc motor and the convenience of an electric starter. Neil’s old Royal Enfield 500cc had recovered from the recent stuck exhaust valve but still had a tendency to pop back in the silencer on the overrun and made halfhearted attempts to kick back when he was starting it. The noise of that engine brought back so many ,memories of old English bikes. I was riding the BMW flying brick which as long I didn’t have to drop below five mph was a real pleasure to ride.
Now, I actually know the road through the Lythe Valley (damson time again!) I felt quite happy on the minor switchback roads and bends. Perhaps a little less happy when we climbed the Kirkstone Pass where I seem to have to wrestle with it around the hairpin bends rather than the effortless lean on more open bends. It’s only when you stop you become conscious of the sheer weight and height of the BMW and you need to be sure you’ve got your foot down on something solid when you park.

We stopped for coffee in Windermere. Not too many tourists in the Lake District yet and then onto Coniston and then Keswick. I managed to talk the other two into visiting the stone circle at Castlerigg and they humoured me by agreeing to look at it.

It is reputed to be the oldest of the large stone circles in the UK probably about 5000 years old – rather older than the pyramids. What was it for? No one really knows but there are theories that it was used as an astronomical calendar to mark the direction of sun rise and sunset possibly to mark out the agricultural seasons. It probably had some religious significance and it may have served as a Neolithic gather place to trade stone axes from the nearby axe Stickle Pike ‘factories’ . The quarries that contained the most suitable stone to grind to shape to make Lakeland stone axes. Although other people have other and some rather strange ideas for example the rather charming lady that asked directions to the circle. Neil passed her on to me and I showed her the circle in the adjoining field. We chatted for a while and she told me there waere energy fields emanating from the sstone circles and that was why they were built. I nodded politely and she took that for agreement. She then went on to say that the circles were built to communicate with people from other planets. Well she was rather nice so I wasn’t going to disagree. She told me that there were people from other planets living amongst us. Now although I think that is very unlikely it might explain some of the odd people we do meet and especial;y some of those standing for high political office.

In an effort to bring the conversation back to what passes for normal in Cumbria I told her that the midsummer solstice was in a couple of weeks time and sunrise would be celebrated at this circle. She was very interested. I told her that if the weather was kind there might be an orgy and was she interested in going. She thought it over but politely declined. Oh well you can’t please everyone.
We got back on our bikes and set off for home.
Sunday, October 18th, 2015
4:50 pm
On Saturday night John Bryant telephoned to tell me that he had met a member of the LE Velocette owners club and they were holding a ride and meeting at Heysham on Sunday.
I’m far too young to remember them of course but the LE Velocette was a product of the fevered war time imagination of Velocette designers Phil Irving and Charles Udall fir a motorcycle for everyman to be built by Velocette once peace broke out. It was an inspired design with a pressed steel frame, a water cooled flat twin engine, shaft drive and weather protection for the rider. Unfortunately it was at first only a 150cc side valve engine and only three gears with a hand change. Rather sad when you think that Velocette invented the positive stop foot gear change. The 150 cc engine allowed it to overtake most cyclists and generally fit in with the slow traffic of the late 1940s.
It was updated to a 200cc engine but still with sidevalves and a four speed footchange gearbox. This meant that it could even overtake very fit cyclists. The other snag was that they were over seventy per cent more expensive than the BSA Bantams. No motorcycle firm ever prospered by listening to what motorclists wanted. It would have been better to continue giving them what they were used to but Velocette dropped production of its wonderful sporting overhead camshaft K models but, at least, continued to build the cooking M models, OHV single cylinder models already thirty years obsolete like the vast majority of other British single cylinder bikes built in the 1950s but it did culminate in the sublime Venom and Thruxton bikes which let the factory survive into the early 70s.


Anyway the Hall Green factory had invested in a huge American press to stamp out the LE bodies so they could mass produce a motorcycle that there was little demand for. The LE had one great virtue – it was very quiet- that alone was enough to damn it in the eyes of most motorcyclists of the time. We preferred the bark of a Burgess silencer or the Gatling gun rattle from a fishtail silencer.
Production was saved by orders from police forces. A lightweight, reliable and near silent motorcycle that had enough speed to catch cyclists not showing lights. (But only just.)

They were indeed a well engineered, genuine motorcycle with weather protection but absolutely not what the bikers of the time wanted. So the management of Velocette with the renowned business sense of the British Motorcyle Industry was. Velocette management having shot itself in the financial foot by building the LE then proceeded to shoot themselves in the other financial foot by making the Vogue – son of LE clad in plastic. The bikers still did not want it. Scooters were popular in the early 1960s so Velocette tried again with the technically brilliant but far too expensive Viceroy. A scooter with a flat twin two stroke engine. Not the most obvious layout because of course with a flat twin two stroke both cylinders must fire simultaneously! It was too big and too expensive.
Anyway Sunday morning at Heysham there were a selection of LES, a Vogue and a Viceroy together with that heavyweight longforgotten 250cc BMW and a couple of Japanese bikes.
What a terrific club those LE owners are. Fifteen of them met at Heysham from Barrow, Ulverston and Preston. All of them brimming with enthusiam for their bikes. Now they are loved for their quirky engineering and reliability by a more discerning generation of older bikers. All of them would have rejected them in the 1960s but all love them now. I’m afraid though youngsters (ie anyone under about sixty) were conspicuous by their absence. What is going to happen to motorcycling in a few years time? The bikes in museums and none ridden out for a 100 mile round trips to meet and talk bikes.
Let’s all do our best to get some youngsters into our Classic Bike Club. The future starts today.


.
Saturday, October 17th, 2015
10:40 pm
I wrote this in the Spring but for some reason it stayed in a state of suspended animation as a draft.

I left the house at 7:30 to take a walk around the ponds in the wood. It was a bright pleasant morning and I had the wood to myself. The first blackberries of the year were ripening although the briars still had blossom on them on many bushes. I picked enough to make a blackberry fool dessert. While I was picking the blackberries a red admiral butterfly landed on the bush very close to my hand. It was quite unafraid and just warmed its wings in the early morning sunlight. I kept very still to see if it would land on me.
It didn't . . .


This morning in October the morning is misty with that earthy smell you get in Autumn. No butterflies but the last of the blackberries are still there for picking. A little smaller but rather sweeter than earlier in the year.

. . . . walked back home with the sweet blackberry taste lingering in my mouth and my fingers stained purple.
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