Thursday, 26 February 2009

Geological Anomalies Part 1

East Cliff at West Bay, Dorset. Reminiscent of a giant coffee flavoured vienetta from a '70s suburban dining room, these cliffs are a great starting point for the journey into the topic of geology - no digging, climbing, drilling or blasting required. Approximately 48 metres of Bridport Sands in the Upper Lias, deposited as marine sediment at the rate of around 20,000 years/metre, present us with a million year snapshot of the Jurassic period. Particularly useful for the enthusiastic student is the way the calcite-cemented beds have demonstrated their increased durability by standing proud, step-like against the elements and offering some scale to the picture. The general brown appearance of the sandstone is caused by oxidisation on exposure to the atmosphere, the stone losing its natural blue/green colour. At the very top overlying beds of limestone, an Inferior Oolite, form the icing. Also at West Bay, in a great restaurant, can be found some of the freshest Sea Bass you're likely to come across. MORE ROCKS !

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Ice With That Sir ?

Don't want to panic anybody - but. I gather that the North West passage is a doddle in these days of global warming. Gone are the days of the Karluk getting caught up in the polar ice off Wrangel and being spewed out 18 months later into the North Atlantic - cool way to circumnavigate. This picture is of the beautiful little harbour at Rockport MA taken early January last year, this was shirt-sleeve & Martini weather. Talking to one of the local fishermen doing a bit of winter maintenance on his boat it transpired that this harbour is normally locked in the grip of two foot thick sea ice for three months of the year !! Rockport is at the tip of Cape Anne, just up the road from the grimly famous fishing town of Gloucester, home base of the ill-fated trawler and so evocatively set out for us in The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger. VERY tough bunch. MORE HALIBUT !

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Wagtail, Jaguar and Kiwi Stew

Spontaneous trip to the local last Friday proved to be the right move. A welcoming pint of Great Oakley's Wagtail (lightish 1038 brewed with a New Zealand hop) whilst Mrs Diplo and I peruse the menu. As usual the obvious solution of ordering the entire menu is discussed and set aside. Caution and prudence rights off the starter course - so pressed duck and chicken liver terrine, whitebait and the Tuscan Ribolita are out of the question. A second pint of Wagtail helps me settle for the grilled pork cutlet and chorizo cassoulet and Mrs D sensibly opts for the calves liver - never known to disappoint and guaranteed to be the freshest, lightest cooked liver for miles around. The Argentinian Malbec (illustrated complete with Yaguarete) waves enthusiastically from the wine list, desperate for a place on our team. Just as the Wagtail's spent, two huge elegant glasses arrive with the Chakana and the main course. Not much said for the next twenty minutes or so - plenty of sighs and happy whimpers in between slurps of the Agentinian nectar. A little post-main course rest is interrupted by discussion of the sweat choice - up 'till now things have been pretty straightforward. From the six dishes on offer it is decided that we simply can't make do without at least four of them. A further Wagtail will be needed to wash them down. A few minutes later and a gargantuan platter of goodness arrives - pint on the side. Home made panna cotta with Vin Santo-poached pears, lemon and almond polenta, VERY rich dark chocolate Nemesis, fig and almond tart with clotted cream. MORE SPONTANEITY !

Honda Project Part 3

Rebuild's on the way - the Series bonnet is open as the battery's being used as a slave for CB electrical testing. The only failing revealed to date is a weak/intermittent starter solenoid. I was pleased to see at Old Bike Hack that my mucker has been playing with OPE (other people's electrics) - this one's also been a challenge as we have a mixture of 175 and 200 looms, alternator, switch gear etc plus yards of soggy insulting tape to unravel. Allowing myself to drift into Zen mode, isolating myself from the outside world, and taking much Yorkshire Gold - ooh yes, and a couple of imported Izmir Turkish smokes - I seem to have become at one with the problem and started a process of self-healing which has lead to a clean bill of health for the CB electrical system - "...first take the log out of your own eye....".
This rather unattractive nondescript bike has entered my life in a list from D7, Greeves 250 Scottish, C15, G80 S, GPZ 600R, GSXR 1100, G3 L, DR 650, Speed Triple ,GS 1150 and now CB 175/200. It seems remarkably at home. As yet unridden, I think it may have become my favourite so far. I have mentioned earlier in these pages that I have reached the point where any bike will do, having got there it is, of course, obvious that the machine becomes no longer "ANY bike" but "THE bike". I have noticed myself taking great care and effort over reviving failed switches, poor electrical connections and putting right horrible ills inflicted on mechanical objects by many, less sympathetic, past owners. I am not a fan of polished, over-restored renovation but am more concerned with getting things to work smoothly, efficiently - as intended even. At strip-down I really thought a lot of parts would need replacing and had started to make a worrying list for e-bay hunting and a call to David Silver Spares. What I have discovered, with the help of some wise words, much tea and Turkish and a bit of peace and quiet, is that many individual bits can become perfectly serviceable by taking them to one side, stripping them to their smallest constituent parts, cleaning, lubricating and re-assembling without 37 years of accumulated grit, grime, road salt and abuse. Taking up far too much space rambling here. More to follow. MORE IZMIR TOBACCO !