Archive for December, 2009

Almost complete

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

After 18 months and what to me has been a small fortune my kit list is almost complete. The purchase of a lightweight poncho for off the bike travels and a new tarp to give my tent added protection or just as a covered area to park up my bike are the latest additions. The poncho came from Nomad travel and is very light and was not astronomical in price. The tarp was supplied by DD hammocks and again it is large light and waterproof to HH3000. This piece of kit was on sale and came in at around 26 pounds.

There are now only three items left on the list. I may not need them but I will feel happier for having them. The first is a set of bark busters. The hand guards on Rhonda are made of plastic and not very substantial. They keep the wind off my hands but in a fall they will offer little or no protection, I hope the bark busters will address this problem.

The second item is one I will have to make up myself and consists of some pannier racks to be mounted on my crash bars. Currently all the weight of my gear is at the back of the bike and it is a struggle to keep the front wheel down when moving off from a standing start. The racks which will hold my tools and cooking gear will help to redistribute the load more evenly.

The last item is the one that has caused me most anguish. It is a replacement for my untrustworthy sat nav. I have mentioned this one piece of equipment more than any other and it has to be replaced. Maps are all well and good but unless they have a big X on them saying you are here then a satnav is essential, especially on foreign soil where most signs will not be in English. The satnav is probably one of the most expensive items I will have to purchase. Motorcycle satnavs need to be shockproof and waterproof because they are open to the elements. Consequently they are three times more costly than the equivalent car equipment.

There is the possibility of a way around this, Givi and Xtreme Wearther (their spelling not mine) both make a waterproof sat nav bag in which you place a cheap car GPS. I hope to be purchasing one of these babies sometime in the New Year and dispensing with my old Garmin for good!

 

But I won’t hold my breath

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Not a great deal has happened, I am still off work and unable to drive. My last attempt was a failure as I could not turn around to see out of the back window when reversing and twisting to see what traffic was approaching me at a junction was fraught with distress. On the few occasions I have been able to bend down and pick something up I have had severe pains afterwards. So, I am still in self imposed house arrest and I am slowly going around the bend. Day time TV has finally become unbearable and I have read every book in the house, even Genghis is giving me a wide berth as I have become so grumpy.

With so little happening I have not had a lot to write about. However I have been keeping up with the news and the directors of RBS which has been bailed out by us the taxpayers have threatened to resign en masse if they are not allowed to give themselves almost 2 billion pounds in bonuses. What is it with bonuses? People get paid for doing a job. They should not be paid more just because they do it well. They should be doing it well and if they are not then they should be sacked. However the people in the world of finance are on a different planet from the rest of us. Having caused the biggest financial crisis in the last 50 years they still think they should be entitled to huge payments for what amounts to a spectacular failure and derivation of duty. Failure and incompetence seem to be the way forward.

Another area of incompetence that has been in the news is the fact that two of Her Majesties latest and best naval vessels are sailing around without any working missile system. These two ships pronounced as the best in the world for their fighting capabilities by the Royal Navy are armed with little more than a pop gun each. The radar systems that allow these ships to be so deadly are still on trials in the south of France and has been for almost three years. No one actually knows when it will be available for active service. Is it any wonder then that piracy in the waters off Somalia is so prolific when the navy does not have any ships capable of stopping pirates?

Yet more woeful incompetence by our wonderful government is the waste of billions of pounds on a centralised National Health Service computer system which does not work and further development is now being halted to save money. Up to 12 billion has already been spent on the damn thing and another 4 billion is needed to make it operational. If the waste of money was not so serious it would be funny. The systematic reward of failure and incompetence is alive and well in every walk of life from private industry to government waste on things that should work but do not. I have no doubt the people who are designing the radar system and the computer programmes for the NHS will be amply rewarded with end of contract bonuses when they eventually manage to get up and running.

On a much lighter note the draw for the world cup took place on Friday and England seem to have an easy group from which to navigate their way forward to the knock out stages. I am sure our best and brightest will become a beacon of hope and inspiration for us mere mortals who will be cheering on our boys. Maybe just maybe these lads will actually earn a bonus but I won’t hold my breath.