I have in my hand a piece of paper. It tells me that the insurance on my Africa Twin runs out in June 2011. Now, I was surprised when it arrived because I only paid 50 quid for the insurance, which I'd assumed was for the time remaining until the policies on Ruby and the Triumph With No Name ran out. But there it was, in black and white - and here it is for you to check.
Ruby and the Triumph come up for renewal in September. So I called e-bike and set up a new policy for them at my new address. But I didn't include the Africa Twin, because hey - it's covered until June next year, right?
I've just moved house. So I called Swinton to change the address on the Africa Twin. Phone girl said "but that policy's up for renewal in September."
"Not what it says here," I told her.
No, the policy was definitely up in September, she said.
But there is nothing in that certificate to tell me that it expires in September. If I hadn't moved house I wouldn't have called, and I would have renewed my other bikes, and I would not have renewed the Africa Twin until June next year. Which would have been 10 months of riding uninsured.
Don't think I'll be using you again.
Friday, 27 August 2010
Friday, 20 August 2010
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Thursday, 5 August 2010
£4 doesn't go very far these days. It can buy you 0.68 gallons of petrol. A pint and a quarter of slightly ropey real ale. Slightly less than 4 days motorcycle parking on a street in Westminster. Or two hours sitting in front of Paul Lamb for a guided tour of the blues.
If you were foolish enough not to be in Kentish Town on Tuesday night, here's a little of Paul's advice:-
1. Find your cradle blues
John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers were the first step on Paul's journey. But they weren't his cradle blues. Paul worked backwards from the Bluesbreakers through Chicago and the Mississippi Delta back to the 1920s. He tried piano, guitar and drums, searching for the instrument that would let him express the feeling he heard in the music. It wasn't until he played Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry Sing that he found what he was looking for: "That just blew my head. I made my vocation in life to become a blues harmonica player. The cradle blues for me was Sonny Terry."
2. Learn from a master
3. Persevere - "everybody starts in the bedroom."
4. "Feel what you play, play what you feel"
5. Develop a personal style
And it wasn't just words - there was music too:-
- Sonny Terry - Whooping the Blues
- Sonny Terry - Jet Plane Blues
- Sonny Boy Williamson I - Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
- Noah Lewis - Viola Lee Blues
- Sonny Terry - Ida Mae (Note to the bloke in the Nine Below Zero t-shirt - talking over the last bars of this song was nearly the last thing you ever did).
- Big Walter - Easy
- Big Walter - Hard Hearted Woman
- Big Walter - La Cucaracha
- Sonny Boy Williamson I - Polly Put Your Kettle On
- See See Rider
- Sonny Boy Williamson II - Fattening Frogs for Snakes
Normally when I get emails that start "I follow your blog and find it really enjoyable" they're from US-based social marketers asking me to plug something I can't actually buy in Blighty. So it was with great happiness that I read the next sentence and found that AtlasRider (known to his mother as Bill) is off on a tour of North and South America, "spanning over 20 countries and 25,000 miles." Quite frankly, I'm tempted to join him - my worldly goods are already in storage and my savings could go a lot further on petrol than on a mortgage -but the bit about being off the grid and out of contact deters me ;)
Anyway - follow Bill's adventures on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/atlasrider
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Sounds you don't want to hear at 4.30pm on a Monday No. 1:-
Ruby bouncing off the front of a moving refuse lorry as I try and get round it at the lights. Misjudged my distance slightly....
In other news...
The Readers Room: What you thought of G2 this week:-
"The bikers among you didn't appreciate his joke about stringing cheesewire across a country lane: @highwaylass accused the Guardian of advocating murder – "not big, not clever, not funny""
Oh, I see - it was a JOKE! How about this version of it, targetted at a group Guardian readers have a greater level of innate sympathy with...
"Keeping on the right side of the law is really important to me. If I see people breaking the Highway Code I feel physically sick. From my window I can see a big traffic-light controlled junction. Every morning a cyclist vexingly rides straight through the red light. He (I am sure it's a he) goes through the same law-breaking routine every day as I meditate. It is insufferable. Why, I ask myself inwardly, doesn't someone from Transport for London modify the red light so that if someone jumps it they'll get shot in the face by a shotgun? That would settle cyclist boy's hash."
Anyone laughing? No, didn't think so....