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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Plans for 2013

I know it's always dangerous to post a list like this as I'll look back in a year's time and realise how few things I've done! So regard this as a list of 'hopes and plans' for this year, but don't hold me to any of them!

First on the list is get a job. Since I've lost my job in August, I've been applying for loads of jobs without any success. Next step is to set myself up as 'self employed' for tax reasons. Hopefully, this means I could get some contract work (a setup that's fairly common in engineering and construction). It also means I can do other 'cash in hand' work when it comes up. I also have another couple of ideas, that may or may not happen.
I've got a meeting in a couple of weeks with the Government department that can advise on self employed status, so hopefully after that things will pick up.
Next on the list is to buy a car. Because my last job included a company car, I've not owned one for 12 years. Most of the jobs I've applied for include a company car, so I didn't want to buy one, get a job with a company car a month later, and have a car to then sell and lose money on the insurance I would have bought. However, as there's nothing on the horizon, I'll probably buy one soon. I've missed out recently on people I know selling cars who didn't know I was looking for one. So, if anyone reading this and within a reasonable distance of me has one for sale, let me know. OK, I don't want any 30 year old Austin Metros that 'just need a bit of work', and I can't stretch to a Bentley or Aston Martin, so keep it realistic!

Oh, yes please!

On the bike front, I've nearly finished restoring my white Traveller. I'd bought this 4 or 5 years ago, but had never actually ridden it. It was all there, just a bit scruffy round the edges, so I've tidied it up, resprayed the bodywork, welded up a rack, and fitted a new pair of tyres. What I'll do with it next I'm not sure – if I get a job that I'll need a bike to commute on, I'll use it; if I don't need it I might sell it; or I might just keep it as a 'spare' bike. What ever I decide, it would be better if it was ready to go back on the road, so while I've got the time....

Once the white bike is finished it'll be time to do some proper work on the Honda. First thing will be to take the engine out and remove the lower crankcase half to fix the kickstarter. It'll give me a chance to clean the gunge out of the lower crankcase half – lots hope I don't find any other horrors in there!
While the engine's out it gives me a chance to repaint any parts of the frame that need touched up, and it's easier checking the swingarm bushes, forks, etc without the weight of the engine. I'll fit some new tyres and cables (those fitted look 41 years old!) and I'll get the bodywork resprayed. I'll pay someone to do this as there's not much of it, so shouldn't be too expensive.
After that it'll be fix anything faulty I find, then put it all back together and start the registering process, as I've got a plan which involves the Honda (more later!)

The silver Traveller just needs a clean and a service, and it should be ready for the road. Recently I've noticed my wrists starting to get a bit sore on longer runs (old age creeping in?), so might fit some higher bars. Other than that it's fine and will be ready for the various things I've planned.
Main one will be a trip to France and Belgium. I enjoyed myself so much on last year's trip to the Coupes Moto Legende and the holiday after that I'm starting to plan a similar trip for this year starting with the Bikers Classics meeting at Spa in Belgium. Kawa had mentioned that he and some of his friends were going, so we could meet up with them there. After that, some of are planning on a week or so's holiday in France starting with a run down to the Alps, the South Coast, then back via the Gorge du Tarn  and the Gorges d'Ardeche. Well, that's the plan, we'll see how it works out! If anyone else is thinking of going to the Bikers Classics, let me know and we could arrange a meeting. (No point in people going all the way there and missing each other!)
Hopefully we'll manage some more informal meetings like the ones we had last year, and I'm seriously thinking about organising a Scottish event for the Distinguised Gentleman's Ride. This is short run and get together, and it's special feature is the wearing of smart suits. It started in Australia amongst the café racer brigade, and spread from there. As they say on their Facebook page:

To bring together the world for one day of immature stupidity & fun on two wheels while wearing a suit.'

That sounds good enough for me! A few of us have talked about this and it might be based around the Riverside Museum in Glasgow. Still at the 'thinking stage', but if anyone's one's interested, please get in touch. I intend to have the Honda on the road for this, however as it's bound to be appalling weather here in the 'usual' date (end of September) it might be worth having ours earlier in the year.
Next trip for the Honda will be the M.C. Pistón Rally in Spain. This is a rally for pre 1980 bikes and includes the '5000 Curves', a 500km ride through the Pico mountains. I'm looking forward to this as it'll be a challenge on the Honda, and also because I've only been in Spain once before (3 day trip to a wedding), so it'll give me a chance to visit an 'unknown' country. I don't really fancy riding the Honda 500 miles (800 km) to the South of England, so I'll trailer it down behind the car, then put it on the ferry. The idea of riding 500 miles on one of the most boring routes in Britain on an unfaired 41 year old bike with a very small fuel tank fill me with dread. It's bad enough on a modern bike or in a car!
If anyone else is planning on going, or wants to share the trip down, get in touch. Just remember it's for bikes built before 1980.

(The rally used to be held in the town of Colombres)

That's about it for bike stuff, so what else have I got planned.
Some years ago I used to do a bit of running, but irt kind of petered out due to lack of time. Realising that I'm fat and out of shape I've started running again, so I hope I can keep it up during the coming year. I've always felt that it's better to start running in winter – if you can get used to running in the cold and wet, the good weather is easy! I'm just doing this to lose weight and get a bit fitter – I don't think I would ever do a 'proper' run again, but to give you a laugh, here's a picture of me at the end of the 1998 Glasgow Half Marathon:

Yes, I was once slim and had black hair! And yes, my vest says 'Surf Bum' on it – it only cost 50p in a charity shop!

If you look back to Hallowe'en 2011, I went to an event at Club Noir, a burlesque club in Glasgow. I really enjoyed myself, but have never gone back. I noticed that this year's St Valentine's Day event is going to be French themed, so I plan on going (after all, I go to France on holiday), but what to wear? I could go as the usual French stereotype (beret, striped t-shirt, string of onions), or a sort of existential beatnik (black turtleneck sweater), they they seemed too obvious. I saw a French sailor outfit for sale, but it wasn't really me!

(Perhaps Terry might be interested in dressing like this, what with him being a nautical chap!)

Then I remembered as a child watching the BBC series 'Maigret' based on the novels by Goerges Simenon. Remember the opening scene with Maigret sticking a match on a wall then lighting his pipe?

All I'd have to do is wear my 'gangster suit' and hat, but with an ordinary shirt and tie, and carry a pipe (or even a picture of a pipe with 'Ceci n'est pas une pipe' written on it!) Too obscure?

Anyway, some, all, or none of the above things might happen in the coming year, so keep your eye on the blog!


  1. Another good blog Norman (they're always interesting but I don't always comment)as for the sailor oufit I have a pic of me in my early naval career but not quite as YMCA ish.

  2. I made a comment yesterday on here about possibly going as Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther movie fame, but it seems to have not made it. How bizarre.

  3. It happens now and again on blogs. Comments left seem to vanish into the ether.....