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February 2006 Entries
Bikey weekend fun

It's been a couple of weeks since I was out on the Bike, so dispite the rain on Saturday I headed out for a wee run. It was the first time I've been out in falling rain, and with my new BMW Helmet, so a couple of new experiences.

The rain wasn't a problem, but rain all over the visor doesn't help visibility, but I got used to it. The RS doesn't have a big screen, so once the speed gets up the drops of water just divide in the air flowing round the helmet. The wet weather wasn't a major problem either, I just took my time and the clothing and gloves kept the wet stuff in the outer layers away from me.

The System 5 helmet is a good one, and I noticed that the classic turbulence from the standard screen on the R1100RS was lessened with the helmet. They claim to do all sorts of aerodynamic testing at the makers, and it definately seems to be borne out in practice. I only had one drip fall down inside the visor - the shape means that it didn't actually go down the inside of the visor as much as drop straight onto my nose. It only happened once, so it could have even been when I took the helmet off and put it back on at the Little Chef that the drip worked its way in.

I took a run out to the Little Chef at Dreghorn, had breakfast, and headed back round the bypass, along the A71 and headed out to Bathgate on the A8. I usually loop round the Tesco and past Lothian Motorcycle Training. They had the trainees out in the car park in the rain, which brought back memories of taking my bike lessons in the Autumn of 1995.

The bike was covered in all sorts of muck from the roads. Another feature of the R1100RS is its propensity to get covered in muck. The RS was the first of the so-called "oil-head" BMW twins and with that and the telelever suspension was a trying ground for the restart of the modern BMW flat twins. Thus the idiosyncracies that are so much of the BMW experience are even more pronounced in this particular bike. So the road muck gets all over the timing cover on the front of the engine, on the two downpipes, and all over the exhaust and swing arm at the back.

So I gave it a bit of a clean when I got home. I bought a garden spray to give a low pressure way to wash the bike, and it really does the job with a brush and some motorcycle cleaner. So the bike was all clean and put away before our trip to Fife.

posted @ Monday, February 27, 2006 10:42 PM | Feedback (0)
More family weekend stuff

My mum and dad have their Ruby Wedding Anniversary coming up shortly, but being the organised people they are have arranged to be out of the country in Italy on the precise date.

So my brother and I treated them and the rest of us to a meal at the Plough Inn, in Star of Markinch in Fife. And nice it was too, I had to stay up late on Saturday to let my food go down :)

It was good to get the Laings together.

posted @ Monday, February 27, 2006 10:19 PM | Feedback (0)
Minimal Windows XP - For those vpc demo situations
Hats off to Mark Harrison, a good sharp pithy post on setting up a laptop to demo Office 12 Server.
posted @ Sunday, February 19, 2006 1:49 PM | Feedback (0)
Family Weekend

It occurred to me when reading over my previous post that I managed to completely miss out my wife, Rona. I've a deliberate policy of not mentioning the names of my wife and two kids due to hassles they've had in the past with their old dad. Sadly, the post makes it sound a bit like it was just me and the kids, and not me with Rona and the kids.

The long weekend has been a good one, and I managed to see everyone in our family over the weekend. I popped in for coffee with my Mum and Dad Laing in Glenrothes on Friday morning, and combined it with a bike ride. On Friday afternoon I took Rona and the two kids to Edinburgh on a lovely sunny, but cold, day and took them all to places they enjoy. Saturday was going to be a quiet one, and my daughter was out with a friend, but Rona and I picked up my son (who had been rained off at the skateboard park) and headed to Kirkcaldy to meet up with my brother, Andrew, and pick up a Ruby Anniversary present for my parents. And I topped that off with a visit to a bike dealer :)

Sunday was a very quiet one, but today was visits to Rona's family in Edinburgh. After a gap of quite a few years, I registered at the same dentist as Rona in Boswall and with my check up today we all visited Rona's Dad and later my Brother in Law and his family.

So, even though I have a cold and my nose is running, I feel good to have seen everyone, have a blether, smile a lot and see these people that I know and care about.

posted @ Monday, February 13, 2006 9:53 PM | Feedback (0)
Long weekend

I took Friday and Monday as a holiday to try and chill out. Work has been getting to me recently, and frankly it sucks. So the time off has been an opportunity to remind me of the things I care about, to smile and to enjoy myself.

I took the bike over to Fife on Friday morning, to pop in and place an order at a clothing company and to see my Mum & Dad. Way back in November I ordered an overjacket called a Bikesafe Jacket, and supply problems led to me getting a refund from the intermediate company in January. A bit of digging around led me to discover that the manufacturer was based in Fife, so I was over there on Friday morning to get measured up and ordered and paid for the item. That done, I popped to see my Mum and Dad, had a blether and a cup of coffee and showed the bike to my Dad.

Then back to West Lothian in time to catch the kids, and we headed into Edinburgh. I bought us all a day ticket each so we could hop on and off the buses in Edinburgh. I parked the car at the Hermiston Park and Ride and got the number 25 to Princes Street. We were a bit early for the connecting bus, so we dived in to Costa in Hanover Street and downed a set of Massimo Lattes and Hot Chocolates before getting the 27 up to the old town. We then wandered around the boutique clothes and skate shops, the sort of thing that interests the kids, and I bought an old US import second hand Charlatans CD from Avalanche in Cockburn Street. There was little likelihood of us going back up Cockburn street, with the big hill and all, so the lift in what used to be Waverley Market got us back up to the Princes Street level and we caught a bus back up North Bridge to South Clerk Street.

Then in and out of various shops, Flip Incorporated the clothes shop, Blackwell's the bookshop and of course Forbidden Planet. I managed not to buy anything until we got to Pizza Hut on North Bridge, where we indulged in one of their Family offers. We almost managed that, though the included dessert was a bit too much for us.

Waterstones was our last point before the trip home, and I picked up a couple of books; a Pratchett Discworld book and a book by Alastair Reynolds.

Back on the 25 to the Park and Ride, passing the sights of Friday night in Edinburgh.

Saturday was a late start, but three of us headed over to Kirkcaldy to meet up with my brother and pick up a picture for my Mum & Dad's Ruby Anniversary. My brother stays on his own and the rumble of his stomach directed us to the Chippie next to the picture shop. So we sat down for various items including chips, we were the only folks in the place, and behaved ourself - mostly :) It was dull and wet on Saturday afternoon, but still managed to pop in to Alan Duffus to talk motorcycle helmets. In my ongoing quest for clothing my big head has been a bit of a problem, so I tried a few on to no avail. My head is too big... They offered to phone up their suppliers to check, so news on that on Monday.

Nothing much to report about on Sunday, although I'm getting a bit of my Sunday evening apprehension about work, even though I'm not back to the place until Tuesday. Thursday was such a wind up day that I am not looking forward to it.

Dentist tomorrow!

posted @ Sunday, February 12, 2006 8:06 PM | Feedback (2)
Catch up, contact lenses and bikes

I was back at the opticians on Friday, for a followup. What I had expected to be 10 minutes turned out to be a bit longer, with a good check made with the lenses, and the condition of my eyes. Thankfully I'd anticipated things by taking my glasses, which I needed after the process. I was quite impressed by the thoroughness of things and the last stage involved a very small quantity of yellow dye in each eye.

The result of the process was identification of a wee problem with my eye lashes, so I've got to treat them each day with a lukewarm solution of five parts water to one of baby shampoo, applied with a cotton bud. My lenses are to go up in strength too, not that I'm used to their current settings but they are going up a point, or a digit. And I'm back in two weeks for another progress check.

The fascinating side effect of the process was that the bogeys in my right nostril went a shade of yellow. I've been pondering that since. I'm sure it tells me something.

I was able to get out on the bike while wearing them and they are really the business. So much easier than the shuffle with spectacles when putting the helmet on and off, and I was a lot more comfortable without view steaming up. I had a ride over to Hamilton to check out J&S Accessories. An excellent shop, by far the biggest stock of motorcycle clothing I've seen in Scotland. Good for choice and budget. I didn't buy anything, but found clothing in my size. Shoes and helmet were more of a problem, I'll need to do some more searching to find a helmet big enough that I can try before I buy.

The ride over was another opportunity for practice. I know the roads fairly well, but not on the bike so the run on the motorway was good experience. I also worked on some of the points picked up in my riding assessment, but need a bit of time to knock the points off one by one.

posted @ Monday, February 6, 2006 10:14 PM | Feedback (0)