I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


(click any image to enlarge)

Barrett Bonden has posted about Honda's latest motorcycle which has an automatic gearbox and asked for my opinion (as a dyed in the wool motorcyclist ) . This naturally got me thinking about the automatic scooter that I have added to my stable, the Honda SH300i .

I have ridden and restored motorcycles, exclusively, for over 50 years having owned about 42 over that period. Scooters had never remotely interested me. However Honda brought out this range with larger, motorcycle type wheels and I threw prejudice aside and had a test ride. What a revelation!

I can honestly say that it is the best "motorcycle" that I have ever owned. Not the most expensive, the most interesting, the most desirable or the most characterful, but the one which does everything I want it to comfortably, smoothly, efficiently and economically. I ride it in ordinary clothes in a breathable "Peter Storm" outdoor jacket. Once off the machine the helmet and gloves are stowed in the top box. It has an underseat storage area which takes a lightweight waterproof overall and any small goodies purchased along the way. Behind the front fairing is a glove box with a 12 volt charging outlet for a mobile phone.

My BMW motorcycle gives me exhilaration, but the Honda is the most used - in preference even to the car and it was used throughout last winter in snow, rain and frost. The worst aspect of such use is the salt which is spread on our roads in winter to keep them ice free - however all vulnerable parts were liberally sprayed with ACF-50 which keeps corrosion at bay, although at the end of the winter the road parts looked like the bike had been through a farmyard! But when cleaned off it was as good as new.

I suffer from poor circulation in the hands and the ultimate luxury it has to offer is heated handgrips. These, combined with its designed-in protection and the extra clip -on lap blanket meant that I was warm and cosy all winter.

Its 280cc engine, taken from a Honda motocross bike, enables it to cruise on motorways at 70mph (116kmh) with some 15mph still in hand for overtakes. In my hands it consistently returns 80mpg ( 3.5 litres per 100 km). With fuel here costing £1.04 per litre what more could one ask?

It has ABS on both brakes, electric starting, fuel injection, watercooling and completely automatic (CVT) transmission (so no gear changes or clutch to bother about). For those interested in such things a technical spec. can be seen here .

You might think that I was somewhat enthusiastic about the machine - you would be right. I can think of no better answer to open air, comfortable and economical travel.

"Works Well", B.B.? I should think so!

Friday, September 18, 2009


HHnB has just posted about her new shoes (which, she says, are unfortunately not red"). This reminded me that in the back of the wardrobe there still existed a relic from the mid '70s . My pair of red patent leather shoes which were worn with a pair of grey chalkstripe flaired trousers, a blue patterned shirt and a paisley "kipper" tie. Be kind to me, people - autres temps, autres moeurs!

Thing is, having put them on for the first time in 30 years, they are very comfortable, but I don't feel like being a fashion icon any more. (I wonder, if I click the (highish) heels three times, I can fly off to Oz like Dorothy? Except my Oz would be W. Australia!)

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


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Norfolk..........a leisurely, enjoyable week. A cosy spot to set up our caravanserai under the apple trees,

Norfolk skies with the harvest in

Norfolk churches

The nostalgia of "clackity-clack" rides through the Norfolk countryside on old railway lines in ancient carriages drawn by a steam engine

and a vintage Routemaster ex-London bus taking passengers from the train station to the town (Holt)

But there was work to be done for HHnB who had requested detailed pictures of the "Great Wall" of Erpingham for her future inspiration.

(a complete set of model "T" Ford wheels are embedded)

However, the real serendipity was that the house owner and builder of the wall, seeing me photographing, came out to ask (in an almost impossible to imitate in print, wonderful Norfolk accent) "Yew loiiike thaaat, then?" He had owned a rubbish skip business, wherefrom had come the wall's ingredients (he still had two fields full of the stuff as well a collection of 30 horse carts and pony traps). He and his wife had taken 7 years to build it together. Unfortunately she had died some 3 months previously. Telling him that I was there because a daughter in Australia had seen the wall on the net and wanted pictures, he was happy to accede to my request for his picture by it. "Mr. Wright" he said his name was - (the formalities were preserved). His somewhat set expression was down to the regrettable results of a stroke.

Oh - and I can recommend the fresh-caught Cromer crab!