Cold Call Stress Relief

Tips for dealing with sales/insurance/PPI calls etc.

Don’t hate them: ENJOY THEM!

I go for it with them I’ve had them swearing at me and slamming the phone down after 20 minutes of getting no where.

General just playing along with:

Misunderstanding what they’ve said.
THEM: ‘I’m calling regards your recent car crash…
ME: ‘Oh dear! I hope you are okay? We’re you hurt?

Repeating back what they’ve said in the form of a question:
THEM: ‘No, I’m calling regards your recent car crash…
ME: ‘You’re calling regards my recent car crash?

Bouncing back their questions:
THEM: ‘First I need some details to prove who you are.
ME: ‘Sounds reasonable. I’ll need some details from you for the same reason. What was your mother’s maiden name?

This can go on quite a while. Especially when they’ve read out the really long sales script they have to use and you then say ‘I’m sorry, it’s a bad line, can you repeat that?

Using the above multiple times in the same call winds them up, but just as they start to lose it, when they start getting really frustrated, you buy in to the sale and give them hope, but then say ‘I think I’ll take you up on this offer, but I do apologise, this line really is terrible, please can you call me straight back?’

They call back & you start all over again.

The last one I had started:

THEM: ‘Is that Mr. Lucas Black?
ME: ‘Is it?
THEM: ‘Are you Mr. Black?’
ME: ‘Am I?
THEM: ‘You are Mr. Black?
ME: ‘You seem pretty positive, so you’re probably right.
THEM: ‘So, you are Mr. Black?
ME: ‘Now I’m unsure. Who do you want to talk to?

Tip: Talk slowly and unsurely. It gives them confidence and relaxes them. They think you’ll be an easy mark.


Farage Balloon

Fed up of the same rubbish, lying political parties trying to get to the top of the shit heap?

Not wanting to vote because ‘It won’t change a thing‘ or ‘They’re all rubbish‘…?

Shocked at how UKIP etc. have seemingly done so well?

In times of hardship – not a lot of money about, not many jobs and so on, people start to blame minorities like religions, various sexualities or more likely immigrants. Hell yes, blame everyone not a core player in the country – find someone to blame! It’s human nature.

Politicians in ‘National Parties’ love times like this because they simply act on this, then build on it to win your votes. It is happening all over Europe, not just in the UK. They stir up the hatred that is already there, then they add fuel to the fire, build it up, then promise to do something about it.

Farage Balloon

Farage Balloon. The great thing is, it supplies its own hot air.

A certain alleged one-bollocked poor Austrian artist with a stunted moustache did this back in the 1930’s.He didn’t like how the old school government was running the country and figured he could do better. The thing is he needed support and votes.

The country he lived in was in a dire position with huge debts and the currency was worthless. The public did what any people would do in times like this – they became angry and started pointing blame at immigrants and minority groups. Luckily there were a lot of Jews about that nicely fitted that category, and the mono-balled Chaplin impersonator saw this.

A few rallies to fire up the nation and this nobody got over 90% of the votes.

The rest is a rather messy and bloody history.

In all fairness, the asymmetric testicled slug balancer was simply a catalyst in the right place at the right time. If it hadn’t been him, then it would have been someone else. The country was in that much trouble that something had to break.

Either way, he used the oldest trick in the book. Use a topic that the masses all support and then build it up with lies and promises until they vote you in. Once in you can just forget them and do what you wanted in the first place. Sure, you do enough of what they want, but mostly you do what you want. Pathetic voters – They’ll do anything to get rid of the immigrants, free ice cream! Guns for everyone! A new car outside of every house! Jobs for all! Just vote for me… go on… (some of these have actually been used…).

There are a few things you should know.

  1. All politicians will tell you what you want to get a vote.
  2. If you like what they are telling you, then it’s probably a lie.
  3. If you and the majority of the rest of the population like what they are telling you, then it’s most certainly lies.
  4. If the daily papers have an opinion about a party, then it is to sell papers and not necessarily the truth. Ever.
  5. If you vote for a certain party regardless of what they stand, simply because your friends vote that way, then you are an imbecile.
  6. If you vote for a certain party regardless of what they stand for, simply because your family has always voted that way, then you are an imbecile.
  7. If you don’t vote because you don’t understand. FIND OUT. It is important.
  8. If you don’t vote because you are lazy, then sort it out you waste of space.
  9. If you don’t vote because you don’t like any of the parties, then you are actually helping other parties to win.
  10. If you don’t vote, don’t expect anyone to listen to you moan about who gets elected. You lost that option the moment you didn’t vote.

If a shitty party win an election by one vote, and you didn’t vote, then you are as much to blame as someone who voted for them. Your vote could’ve stopped them getting in. Your lack of voting surely helped them get in.

Yeah, but they are really all crap. I hate them all. I’d rather shove live wasps up my arse and stir them with a stick to make them really angry than vote for any of the parties…

Right… Here’s pretty much how I see things at the moment. They are all crap. Some are way more crap than others.

Imagine UKIP or the BNP as a form of cancer. No one wants cancer.

Now imagine the other parties as chemotherapy. No one wants chemotherapy if they can help it. It wastes you away, it weakens you, it drains the life out of you, you look half dead and you can hardly cope with the treatment.

So… It’s cancer and death, or you take the chemotherapy and stand a good chance of coming out the other end of the ordeal with a life. Sure, you’re screwed up and may never be the same, but YOU ARE ALIVE!!!

So… when it comes to the vote, you can either do nothing, get cancer and die, OR you can have the therapy and do your damnedest to keep cancer from ruining your life, your friends life and your families life. Yes, your choice affects them too.

 

 


Exogen Ultrasound Bone Healing System

Following on from my previous blog entry regarding my broken leg & the new cast I have had fitted with the Exogen portal, I thought it might be educational or at least informative to show the unit in action.

The basic idea is that the unit bombards my leg with an ultrasonic pulse which excites my broken bone & promotes the healing process.

The probe has a gel ‘coupling agent’ put on it to give the ultrasound signal something to travel through between the gap between the probe & my leg. The unit then sends a preprogrammed signal to my bone for a set time. That’s it. It’s that simple (and painless).


The Broken Leg Saga

The original red cast had become loose & was abrading the top of my foot, so a new cast has been fitted.

As I had my ultrasonic Exogen equipment this time (it hadn’t been delivered when my leg was originally plastered) the plaster technicians were able to incorporate the probe portal direct into the cast.

This makes for easier & more refined daily treatment.

20140320-125036.jpg


Take a break

As many of you may be aware, I was training to take part in the 2013 Grim Challenge when I managed to injure myself. The injury has so far stopped me running for over 6 months.

Luckily cousin Wendy still managed to do the Grim.

Luckily cousin Wendy still managed to do the Grim.

I was increasing my training pace and distance gradually so as not to injure myself when at the tail end of August 2013 I managed to hurt my leg.

I had a lovely endorphin rush whilst setting my best distance & time out running. There was a bit of a pull on my leg as I was running, but I thought nothing of it for the last two miles. I simply thought it was a slight twist or shin splint.

I got home, happy with my run, then sat down to a cup of tea.

I went to stand up and I couldn’t put any weight on it. Incredibly painful. I couldn’t even stand having it touch the floor without weight on it. In a word: PAIN.

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Lumpy

I went straight to Accident & Emergency where I had the leg looked at. An X-Ray showed nothing to worry about, although this was 2 hours after it happened. I did asked if I should go back in a few days for another X-Ray, as a stress fracture would not show due to swelling so soon after it had happened, but the hospital staff said it was fine.

I was told it was muscular & to try and keep weight off, but keep it moving & stretching lightly during the healing period so that the muscle wouldn’t tighten up. I was given some strong anti-inflammatory pain killers.

3 weeks later I went to the doctor & said it was getting worse. He said that is expected from muscle injuries.

3 more weeks & the doctor decides this isn’t quite right after I show swelling and increased tenderness in a specific point on my tibia.  I finally go for the second X-Ray.

When the results came through there were blatantly obvious fractures. The swelling appeared to be new bone growth that was trying to heal over the fracture, but I kept re-breaking whilst following the original advice of ‘keep it moving‘.

The specialist who saw me at this time said the last thing I should be doing is moving it around or putting weight on it… Yeah, that really didn’t surprise me.

A removable cast was fitted & worn for several months to no avail. It remained very painful.

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Plastic Fantastic

I went back to the specialist who agreed something wasn’t right. I had an MRI scan carried out & a few weeks later when the specialist got the results he became concerned at what could be seen on the MRI scan images.

The specialist immediately sent me for a priority ‘same day‘ CT scan. I was a little concerned as they are usually reserved for serious bone issues or tissue problems such as tumours. I didn’t think it could be a serious bone issue, after all at this point my leg had been broken for close to 6 months… not exactly an urgent life or death break… which left a nagging ‘tumour‘ thought in my mind, which I pushed almost entirely to one side.

I tell you, nothing makes you panic in a hospital like being rushed around for urgent scans by a specialist. Suddenly I longed for the hospital visits that take so long you can finish a couple of good books whilst waiting…

A few hours later and the CT results come through with good news. I was told that the dark tissue areas were nothing to worry about (the fact they hadn’t mentioned these areas before did make me think that they had thought they might be a serious problem – hence the need for a CT scan). The fracture on the other hand showed no signs of healing. It had possibly stopped healing due to initial ‘muscle’ treatment & painkillers masking the injury.

I’m now over 6 months into this broken leg and have a few options left, which aren’t really options…

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Oh Snap!

I have a fixed cast on my leg that covers my foot and comes halfway over my knee. In a few days time I am starting ultrasonic treatment to try and aggravate the fracture to try and kick start the healing process. To do this they will cut a small hatch in my leg cast for me to apply the treatment each day for 20 minutes for 6 weeks.

At the end of that they will scan the leg again and if the ultrasonic treatment is not successful, they will commence with putting a titanium rod down through the top of my tibia just under the kneecap, down to the bottom by the ankle.

Basically… really, really basically… it’s this:

This CGI shows the more technically accurate version, which is oddly less graphically repulsive,

YUMMY…..

So… the challenge is to do the Grim Challenge 2014… Watch this space.


Free the Power

On this day in history in 1941 a Nazi scientific research team of the Atomic Weaponry Unit (Erfundene Geschichte Einheit), lead by two scientists (Doctor Ernst Falschenamen and Doctor Torsten Alleslügen) protected by two squads of Gestapo SS (Geschlechtsorgane) made a dramatic discovery in Southern region of the Belgium Congo.

After many years, the truth is finally coming out about the potential leap in technology that the Nazi’s almost had, that the British lost to American espionage, and how the Russians managed to save a man just too late to make a difference.

Congo_kingdoms.633x589

Belgium Congo

During research into cold reticulated fusion (Bestehend aus Müll) they discovered a form of atomic chain reaction that formed stable perpetual energy creation (Schlucken Sie diese). What made this new energy even more remarkable was that it could be created using very basic equipment and left no damaging waste. It could power a new generation of giant long range bombers capable of hitting New York from bases in Berlin. If weaponised it could form the basis of a bomb calculated to be 28.5 times more powerful than that of the one dropped on Hiroshima.

Scientists

One of the only known photo’s of Doctor Ernst Falschenamen and Doctor Torsten Alleslügen together. Falschenamen on the right.

The discovery was hushed up to keep the Allied forces unaware of Germany’s potential new advances. All of the data was packaged securely and sent by submarine (U-617 Night Warrior – Nicht Wahr) via the sea port at Providenija. Travelling with the package were the two lead scientific officers.

Unfortunately for Hitler the submarine was intercepted by a British RAF crew retrieval launch looking for downed aviators. Before the RAF launch crew could act, the Gestapo SS teams started gunning down the submarine crew as a matter of security, then the submarine was set to sink with all on board. Before it sunk the RAF launch crew boarded the submarine and after a short but fierce gun fight the packages and two lead scientists were transferred to the RAF launch and shipped back to England.

RAF Rescue launch

RAF Rescue launch of the type that captured the two lead scientists.

Once back in Britain the package and the lead scientists were picked up by a transport from a UK based American forces garrison to be taken to London and for attention of the War Ministry & the PM, Winston Churchill.

Churchill was fascinated by what rumours he had heard of the new technology and wanted to see if he could use it to supply clean cheap energy initially to England, and then the rest of the Allies, with plans to then supply the rest of the world once the war had ended. His view was that the world infrastructure would take a lot of time and money to recover from WW2, but with cheap free energy the focus could be on putting the effort and finance into helping people recover from the war and then develop for a better peaceful future.

The package and the two lead scientists never made it to London. A German air raid took place during the transportation to London. One of the scientists was discovered torn in two in a bomb crater near Bethnal Green.

bomb crater

Bomb crater from Luftwaffe night raid.

No more was heard of the package and the lead scientists until 1987 when a German arrived in Russia from America. He had been smuggled out by Russian agents (Бык дерьмо) operating in America.

The German said that he had been part of an expedition to the Belgium Congo in 1941 and had lead a team of scientists who had researched a new form of energy. British and German scientific historians were contacted to ask to corroborate information given by this American/German escapee.

German medical records proved his credentials, and scientific data only he could know proved he was one of the lead scientists.

He explained that during transportation to London, the Americans had changed course to a naval base on the West coast. They were going to smuggle the scientists and the data for American use, as President Eisenhower wanted to use it for a super weapon.

American destroyer of the type believed to have transported the Doctor to America.

They knew the British would be suspicious so they sent a vehicle to London with one of the lead scientists, who they threw in a bomb crater under the cover of a Nazi air raid. They threw in a hand grenade to kill him & make it look like he had been caught in a bomb blast.

The package and remaining lead scientist were taken to Nevada (America) to restart the research process. Unfortunately the scientist they killed had the knowledge about the precise formulation of the experiment as even when the discovery was made they knew it could not be trusted to any one source.

For security reasons only part of the data was recorded on paper, with one formula left out, half of which was memorised by three scientists and a lead scientific officer, and the other half by three more scientists and a lead scientific officer. Only the two lead scientists survived the submarine trip (all the others having been shot & sunk with the submarine), and then the Americans foolishly killed one lead scientist to cover their own espionage.

UBOAT

Captured U-Boat.

From 1942 until his escape in 1987 the German Lead Scientist had helped America develop more and more powerful weapons, but he wanted to use his research to help people. In the early 1980’s he had made progress and had demonstrated the initial designs for a clean and cheap energy source based on the 1941 research. With a little development and funding he could change the face of the world, but people in high office did not want this.

American security analysts saw this free and clean energy as a potential threat. Oil companies and motor companies saw it as disastrous for their profits. They had the project cancelled. For all we know they still have all the data locked away.

The lead scientist was approached by a woman in the mid 1980’s who said she could help him. She was the Russian agent who managed to help him escape to Russia.

DR

Doctor Torsten Alleslügen in 1987, 3 days before he died.

 

Sadly not long after his story had been verified he was taken ill. It turned out he had well established stomach cancer and was already beyond help. He died in 1987 taking with him the final key to a Nazi secret power source that could have potentially replaced the climate destroying energy sources in use today.

Was all the data really lost? It is highly likely from what Doctor Alleslügen reported after his escape to Russia, that the American Government didn’t actually destroy data and designs produced in the early 1980’s, and that they are keeping it from becoming public, still stating it as a security threat and a potential financial minefield for their big oil and automotive companies.


IHOOT – I had one of those

UPDATED:

I figured I’d see if I could list all the motor vehicles I have owned – with pictures – for Alex. The pictures are stock web pictures (apart from the Supra and the MZwhich are mine). I didn’t take pictures of all of the vehicles I owned, and do have some regrets.

I wouldn’t have written this blog, but after a few moments thought I realised I have owned a fair few vehicles – so well worth a blog entry!

Honda H100

I started out with a Honda H100 motorbike. I had this for a while before getting my drivers license. It was a nippy 2 stroke 100cc bike whose engine blew up twice. I holed the piston by using the wrong petrol…. in other words I used the fuel recommended by the idiots at Motorcycle city specifically for that bike when I bought it (new).

Austin Mini 1000 (in baby poo brown)

I have vague recollections of what order I bought these vehicles in. Once I had passed my driving test I ran cars and bikes at the same time.

As with a lot of people at the time I started out on the driving route with a Mini.. an Austin Mini in baby poop brown… It was slow and sluggish… and I never got a chance to drive it as I owned it to learn in, but had to sell it before I got my licence. I found out why it was slow though… it had rusted out under the front floor pans, so the previous owner put in some bin bags and filled in cement over the top!

1275GT Mini - Great fun!

1275GT Mini – Great fun!

I liked the idea of the Mini, so after I passed my test I bought a souped up 1275GT from my nephew. Just because they are family doesn’t mean you should trust them…. This Mini 1275GT had a fibre-glass bulkhead where the old one had rotted out and a gearbox that had been put together by a chimp. It held together for a while – in fact my first trip out once I got my licence was into London at night in the rain. It had an odd trick of filling the rear bumper with un-burnt fuel…. now and then it would back fire on a down change and the rear end would light up like an old fashioned camera flash!

It died one day when they poorly rebuilt gear mechanism decided to punch out of the gearbox case and empty its oil everywhere… So ended my Mini adventure…

With no lessons learnt about the Austin/Leyland range of cars I went and got an Austin Metro… I bought it from Yorkshire under the instruction of my then brother-in-law. He was an Army mechanic, so what could go wrong?

I left Yorkshire and didn’t even get to a motorway. The engine died. Brother-in-law came out and towed me back to his place where we proceeded to pull the engine out at the side of the road. New piston rings, re-ground valves… and good to go! All on the roadside….

Austin Mini Metro - Not a boat

Austin Mini Metro – Not a boat

The fun didn’t stop there. The petrol tank developed a leak because the metal was so old and porous. I decided it needed welding, but not being an idiot I figured it needed to vent for a while before any work was done to it. I drilled a hole in the bottom of the car and put a metal fuel can in the boot. I then fed a fuel pipe to the engine from the can in the boot. This enable me to open up the cars fuel tank to vent until I got around to repair it.

One day during some floods in the South East I had to stop as the flood water was blocking my lane. The oncoming traffic flashed me to go around… and then decided to drive at me anyway! I had to move back into the flooded lane, where the car started to bob around…. I floated into a ditch and slowly sunk. The water came 12″ up inside the car and the funny thing was that the fuel gauge started to fill up as the tank filled with flood water as I sank! Luckily there were some Gurkha’s out in an Army Land Rover. Great guys towed me to safety. I cleaned the points and the engine started up with no problem! The car was pretty wrecked in general, so it went off for scrap in the end.

Bullet proof Honda CB100

Bullet proof Honda CB100

During the Metro days I also had a Honda CB100 that I had bought from a neighbour. Typical bullet proof Honda! One day I had it steaming at 80mph and the engine seized on me. The wheel locked up, so I grabbed the clutch and coasted to a halt. I left it to cool for a few minutes and it started up again. Brilliant!

Astra/Bedford Van

Astra/Bedford van

With the Metro gone I needed new wheels – or at least wheels that worked. I bought a Vauxhaul Astra Mk2 van in white. It was a shed, but it was a laugh! I used it a fair bit shifting equipment for a band I used to help out. Funny story with this shed was when I was working the Night Shift at Dan Air. At around 5am I was on my way home and I was stopped by the Police. I was a young kid at the time, so they were a bit suspicious at the time I was out on the road. They looked over the van and told me I needed new tyres. A few hours later I picked up a nice set of alloys from a breakers yard. I had no time to fit them, so into the back of the van they went until the next day when I could fit them.

Mk3 Escort - Smoking Steering wheel

Mk3 Escort – Smoking Steering wheel

After the next shift I was driving home and second day on the trot the Police pulled me over. They looked over the van and asked me to open the back…. where a lovely set of alloys were sitting – too nice for this old van! I had to explain that I was pulled the night before and bought these to fix the problem…and I was so sorry that I was driving on the old tyres as I really should have changed them before driving again. They let me off as they saw I was trying to do the right thing!

I went from the van to a Mk3 Ford Escort that I part exchanged with one of the guys I was an apprentice with. It was a pretty good car in all – until it decided to blow oil out the top of the engine and smoke poured up and around the steering wheel! I had to drive home Ace Ventura style, hanging out of the window!

Suzuki GSX250E - Glasgow Rattler

Suzuki GSX250E – Glasgow tedium

I was pottering around on a Suzuki GSX250E at this time. A great solid bike that I bought from a guy at my work. Yes, not something you’d want to do normally, but in this case it was a great buy. He used to buy up and rebuild these Suzi’s, so I figured I was in safe hands. I only sold it when I changed to a bigger

bike – but until that day it didn’t skip a beat. I rode all the way to Glasgow and back at 75mph (once more helping a band out). Not a great looking bike, but faultless.

Polo... No hole. Poor pun.

Polo… No hole. Poor pun.

The Escort went on its merry way and was replaced by an old VW Polo Formel e. The worst that could be said about this was it was brown and smoked like a steam train. Pretty economical and practical, but not much of a story. Funniest thing was the rear wash/wipe squirter jet. I rigged it to squirt the passenger. No idea why, but it was quite funny….

Honda CB500T (Rude Dog)

Honda CB500T (Rude Dog)

My bike needs lead me to a Honda 500T. This was nicknamed Rude Dog because of the way the licence plate looked (RHO 660P or something). I had loads of fun with this! Some of the girls I knew loved me taking them out on it as it went like stink, and being a twin cylinder had a great thumping engine (I guess they liked the sound……). I lost the Dog when I had to trade it to get a car fixed. The guy stitched me up, so before any paperwork was done I stole her back (it was still in my name, and no work had been done on my car – it was an all out rip off deal). I then sold her on to a guy who wanted to do a restoration. When I sold it on I had to sell it with no fuel tank, as some butt munch had stolen it!

The car/s Rude Dogs sale money went on for repairs were both Ford Mk3 Cortina Estates. I bought one and thought it was great fun, then a second one turned up a little later so I bought it for spares. In the end I used the first one for spares for the second one. I recall one story that a girlfriend at the time needed to get home, but it was raining. I didn’t really want to drive as

Ford Cortina Mk3... I owned two!

Ford Cortina Mk3… I owned two!

the Cortina was out of tax. I had a real bad feeling that night, but I couldn’t let her walk in that weather (it was bad). I was getting tax for it the next day, so figured I might get away with it… but to belt and braces the situation I grabbed Rude Dogs tax (which expired the next day). As I drove my girlfriend home I saw a guy jump into the road….. a Policeman with a speed gun. I was a little over the limit, so they decided to do a full check on the car.

Now bear in mind I had just got the car – the paperwork hadn’t fully gone through. I was stood at the side of the road with the Police sorting it all out. As you should do, I kept the talking simple and polite. The check went well and I was sent on my way…. but as I went to pull away the officer tapped my window and pointed at the tax disc….. and pointed out that it would expire the next day – so “keep an eye on that“…. JEEEZ!!! I was lucky there – and yes… the next day all the taxes were sorted out!

This was the first car I had that someone tried to steel. They smashed the lock and broke the ignition barrel… which was crazy, as I had forgotten to lock it and the keys were on the passenger seat! Even after the thieves had smashed into it, they couldn’t get it to start! Muppets!

CX500 - the underdog that barked

CX500 – the underdog that barked

The first bike I chopped was a Honda CX500. It was an MoT failure I picked up cheap. The rear suspension was shot to heck, so I hard tailed it, raked out the front end and made a new seat and panels for it from scratch. I am upset that I never took a photo of it – it was a really nice bike – Midnight blue and had great lines. I enjoyed riding it around, but had to get rid of it in the end due to house moves and money. If you ever get one, keep an eye on the oil/water seal, and ALWAYS get it fitted at a garage, because when it goes wrong being fitted (and it will go wrong), at least they will have to replace it for free – and it is an expensive seal! The photo isn’t mine – but it gives an idea of what mine looked like… although mine was lower at the back.

Yes... thats me on my chopped MZ250 ETZ

Yes… that’s me on my chopped MZ250 ETZ

Next along was the MZ250 ETZ. It cost me £50 and was a heap of crap! I ripped it apart, lowered it, chopped it and painted to look like an old Russian Army bike… I’ll give it its due, it went like stink – but it was less than comfy as I had hardtailed it! MZ’s were laughing stocks, so I never intended for it to be taken seriously – but so many people thought it was some old classic Soviet machine it got beyond a joke!

The MZ was joined by a cheaper form of transport – an old Honda C90. It didn’t last long, but did what it had to do for a while… until it simply died! I ride that around two up with a buddy of mine. We’d go to gigs and all sorts – it was a laugh, but a bit on the scary side as anyone who has ridden one will know! The C90 was the second bike that some thief had a go at. They couldn’t break the steering lock though, so I fond the bike 50 yards away in a bush. Gits.

The Honda 90 died and I robbed it to keep the MZ on the road…. yes… not a great idea, but I was into make do and mend! The MZ exhaust was shot away, so I swapped over the one from the C90. It didn’t work… It was a 4 stroke 90cc pipe going on a 250cc 2-stroke….. and it choked it so badly it would only do 22mph….. I cut the end off of the pipe to reduce the choking effect… and then I started to remove the baffles… and eventually the MZ was going pretty quickly.

The C90 - Who hasnt?

The C90 – Who hasn’t?

The day I did the exhaust mod I had to go into Guildford (via country lanes) as a friend of mine was in a bad way. I rode off into the night and after 30 minutes the Police came up behind me and pulled me over. They said they had been looking for me for a while, but the bike was so noisy and the sounds were reverberating around the woodlands they had trouble finding me. It didn’t sound too loud from the saddle,

Volvo... thats all....

Volvo… that’s all….

but sure enough, as I stood behind it the din was incredible! I had pretty much put a megaphone on an already load bike! I had to turn around and go home to fix it – the Police just didn’t want me riding it further than I had to! Very understanding!

During this time I had a Volvo 360… yes, a biker with a Volvo! it was…. erm… rugged… did what it had to do… and was actually quite fun. Small, but with a 2l engine and rear wheel drive…. but it didn’t last long as the gear lever and box fell off…. pah! You get what you pay for with cheap cars!!!

The Undying Passat!

The Undying Passat!

The Volvo was replaced by the crappiest looking car I had ever owned! The interior was a mess, the sunroof was a welded on metal panel… the panels didn’t match up… I bought it cheap from a great guy I was working with. He had used it to tow caravans over Europe. He had blown it up and fixed it in a way it wouldn’t break again! I had it with 186,000 miles on the clock and the engine was still tight as anything  – VW’s are one of the strongest cars I know. So well engineered.

This was the VW Passat Estate from Mad Max! It didn’t have a top speed as it just kept slowly getting faster and faster! It didn’t drink much fuel, it had loads of space, it was comfy… the only thing that killed it was the rear suspension collapsed. The car wasn’t worth repairing, so it was scraped.

Bad, bad car..... Very Bad....

Bad, bad car….. Very Bad….

This great car was replaced by the tidiest looking car I had owned up to that date… and by far the crappiest car I have ever owned – a Renault 5. I bought it as it looked tidy and would probably be a better thing to turn up at a girlfriends parents house in… as it was I lived next door to her and her parents, so they’d seen the Passat anyway (ha ha!). The Renault 5 was the worse handling, poor performing piece of junk ever! It felt unsafe, it just didn’t grow on me. My Brother in law bought it from me at a really low price under the knowledge that

Another great Honda - The XRV750 Africa Twin

Another great Honda – The XRV750 Africa Twin

I hated it and thought it had dire problems (I was very honest and fair). The brother in law didn’t really get a chance to experience these problems as some half wit thief stole it from him.

Somewhere in this mix I bought a Honda Africa Twin. I wanted a bike that would suit me as a 6’4″ male – and the Africa Twin was spot on. It deserves its own blog as I still own it – and I have had some great adventures on it – from deer hunting to drag racing a street racer on a Honda Fireblade at a Hells Angel event…. and winning!

Long and Low... the CB750 hardtail chop

Long and Low… the CB750 hardtail chop

At some point I had several bikes – and in that mix I had a genuine low rider chop based on a Honda CB750. A real bone shaker and tricky to ride. I just wanted to have owned one. It was a bit of fun, but not something I’d want to do a long trip on.

I’m now left with just the Africa Twin when it comes to bikes. I’m getting to the stage where I think the roads are no longer safe enough to go out on a motorbike on.

Range Rover - With Disco TDi lump

Range Rover – With Disco TDi lump

After the rubbish that was the Renault 5 I bought a Range Rover Mk3 with a Discovery Diesel TDi engine in it. What a great car! One of the best I have owned! Comfly, solid and pretty cheap to run actually… back then. I had to do a clutch change on the side of the road outside my house once. A friend helped me…. it was one of those jobs you really don’t want to do, but was a great experience all the same. We didn’t have the correct tools, so it was all done with blood and sweat! Had a scary moment in this car once as a BMW flashed me and pointed at the back wheel…. I had a puncture and didn’t even know!

A great car - Single turbo 3l Supra

A great car – Single turbo 3l Supra

I pulled over to fix it, but I had over sized wheels…. and the jack didn’t go high enough to lift the car! I had to use what ever I could find at the side of the road to build the jack height up! I loved that truck, but really got the hankering for a sports car… I was going to be starting a family, so I figured I wouldn’t get then chance to own a sports car again for a long time…. so along came the wonderful ‘89 Toyota 3l Turbo (single) Supra. A car I genuinely miss…. but a family was starting, so we had to get something else.

The Supra was a real bargain at a shade over £1000. Owned by an elderly lady who thought it looked nice. The whole car was immaculate and went like stink…. On a track it reached over 150mph with more to spare. I have  theory that sports cars are safer for every day use because they have better brakes, better handling and have power to get you out of trouble – I have never felt safer than when I was wrapped in that Supra. The Supra suffered a warped head (a standard problem – and one that had been missed on this one). I was on one final drive before putting it up for sale… I may have put my foot down a little… and I noticed the temperature guage start to

Zzzzzzzzz Toyota Carina zzzzzz

Zzzzzzzzz Toyota Carina zzzzzz

climb quickly. I pulled over immediatly and got dropped home on a breakdown truck. I sold the car as was – and got what I paid when a chap who races them bought it off of me. He was going to pull the head anyway, so wasn’t worried about that. Good news all round.

The Supra went, and in came the Toyota Carina…. It was a car. That is the best that can be said of it…. It was a car. It went… it stopped… Meh! It was so dull that you could park it in an empty car park and STILL forget where you parked it… and…and…. and yet it was still a million times better than the Renault 5. It went in favour of the more practical Bernie…

A Citroen Berlingo yesterday. Maybe.

A Citroen Berlingo yesterday. Maybe.

“Bernie” as Chris calls the Citroen Berlingo is the longest serving of any of my cars. I don’t really like French cars, but Bernie has gone some way to changing my mind. Even Jeremy Clarkson rates it as a great car… and it is on the cool wall on Top Gear! Bernie can handle anything! I’ve moved beds in it! I’ve moved 3m decking planks in it… and unloaded it whilst still sat in the drivers seat! Alex loves it, Chris loves it… I… I think it is a Swiss army knife of a car – very practical and reliable (Oh I’ll regret saying that now….)

Ford Mundane-o...erm... Mondeo

Ford Mundane-o…erm… Mondeo

Finally we move on to a couple of oddities… not really mine, but mine anyway… Company cars. I had a Ford Mondeo estate to start with (which fitted into the same category as the Toyota Carina….).

The Mondeo just wasn’t up to the task I was hired for, so after thorough research the Fiat Multipla Eleganza was purchased.

It was the face life model (thank the Lord!) and it was fantastic! It seated 6 easily and still had a massive boot space, yet was smaller externally than a Ford Galaxy.

Fiat Multipla... Brilliant. Gone.

Fiat Multipla… Brilliant. Gone.

In fact it was a bit like a Vauxhall Zafira on the outside and Mini-bus on the inside… the type of car Doctor Who would drive….. The handling was crisp and car like too – and it had a fair amount of get up and go. I really recommend one if you want an MPV… and once more, it is liked by Clarkson.

We are now left with Bernie, as the company cars went back when I changed jobs… and we need a second car. In a few years I’d like something a bit different – but in the meantime I need frugal and reliable… and that can only mean a VW. I’m thinking an old VW Golf Diesel… good economy and cheap to pick up.

All of these vehicles have lots of tales to tell – and maybe I’ll write them down now that I have opened up my memory by listing them…

More to follow… The 1 week Alhambra, the awesome that still is the Series 3 Land Rover and the…. Citroen Xsara Pigasshole.


Hypnotherapist Bullshittery?

I used to think hypnotherapy was all either staged or at best a placebo effect, so a book by a hypnotherapist on overcoming stress & anxiety would be a no brainer on the ‘do not buy‘ list for me… BUT I know the author of this particular book… Gary ‘Smiler’ Turner, and I hope he reads a bit further than this, as he’s a multiple kickboxing/MMA World Champion…

… but above all, a thoroughly decent, helpful guy.

It’s through Gary that my ‘engineering: how does it work side‘ has been satisfied that not only is this not gypsy tea-leafery, but it is a very real & a very beneficial thing.

I’m a bit of an OCD worrier & I know I put blockers in my own head that make me avoid certain situations.

When it comes to running & shooting I also build mental walls that hold me back, but those walls have now become targets as I know that they are purely in my head, and I have the ability to knock them down.

The mental walls in my head for running simply stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t run any further… Yet I knew I should be able to physically. By constantly trying to punch on through the wall, by positive reinforcement and the knowledge that it was all in my head, I managed to break that wall down… Not all the way, as some nagging doubt is hanging on in there, BUT from struggling at a 1 mile run, to suddenly pushing out 5 miles with similar ease, I proved to myself that it was just in my head, and I did have the ability anyway.

My running achievements and return to form on competition target shooting are testament to that… and that’s just from a few general chats with Gary, taking out barriers that are many years old.

So I have ordered his book based on what it says it can offer, and what he’s already done for me first hand.

Stay tuned for a review once I put it into practice.

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From Amazon:

Have stress and anxiety become too much? Nerves and worries holding you back? Suffering from panic attacks? Would you like to be able to relax, be calm and at peace? In this remarkable book Gary Turner reveals the simple steps of his Anxiety Clearing Technique (ACT) to help you easily overcome nerves, worry, anxiety and stress. He will guide you through a series of simple, yet powerful techniques to recondition your mind and effortlessly let go of anxiety and stress so you are free to live life to the full. Gary Turner is a World Champion Sportsman, Trainer and Hypnotherapist. He developed his unique Anxiety Clearing Technique (ACT) over many years of working with men and women from all walks of life, as well as athletes, executives and top celebrities. Now you can learn directly from Gary how to say goodbye to anxiety in all its forms – and simply transform your life!

Click HERE for your copy!


Picking up speed

A new way to donate… AND A VIDEO!

Our attempt on The Grim Challenge for CANCER RESEARCH UK using a more extreme variant Nordic Walking is going pretty well. Sure we’d like to see more sponsors and donations, but it’s early days and we’re both training to make sure we don’t let anyone down.

I’ve added a method to make donating really easy now. You just need to use your mobile phone and text STIX99 and a donation amount (£1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10) to 70070.

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Meanwhile, along with cardio and endurance training, I’ve thrown together a little video to promote our challenge. It’s only a first attempt and I plan to make another (more?) as time goes on.

It is for Cancer Research UK, although they support the worldwide fight against cancer and are simply based in the UK, so to everyone out there, where ever you are, please do donate and share this page. It’s for a very good cause after all.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO OUR ‘JUST GIVING’ CHARITY PAGE


A FIRST for team STIX & STONES

It’s official…

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As a challenge to get me fit again after injuries (ankle, back, and recently cellulitis in the elbow – yay me!), me and my physical trainer cousin Wendy are going to be taking part in the Grim Challenge at the very end of November.

woo

The Woo: Tougher than the Grim Challenge itself.

me

The Return of the Black: What doesn’t kill me better be able to outrun me…

Dirt, rocky roads, gravel, mud, man made mounds, obstacles, water holes, more mud, more hills, ditches, more muddy wet holes… 8 miles of tough challenge. She’s not used to the Nordic style which I really enjoy, and I’m not used to straight running… Hopefully we’ll learn the right things from each other…

We’re doing it for Cancer Research UK, and just to make it interesting we thought we’d attempt to do it using Nordic X-country poles.

Like it wasn’t going to be tough enough in the first place…

The thing is, the Grim is technically a run, although some folk do end up walking as it is a very tough course. We didn’t know if actually starting out ‘walking‘ was going to be a problem (albeit Nordic Walking, which is a different ball park to hiking or normal walking – especially how I do it…).

The organiser is not in favour of people who turn up just to walk the route… but in the organiser’s own words when I suggested about us using Nordic X-Country poles: “… I know all about Nordic walking and suspect you guys are not the strolling type!”

Team Stix & Stones

Team Stix & Stones.

Our TEAM PAGE is STIX & STONES – (Stix due to the poles and x-country, and stones, because it’s both off-road, and you need figuratively two of them to do the challenge…). Please visit it to make donations.

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It turns out that we are officially the first people to attempt the Grim Challenge using the Nordic method. I wonder why?

Course (taken from the Grim web page):

This land is used to test Army vehicles so expect it to be interesting!

You will reach a long hill shortly after the start before descending again eventually reaching a water filled ravine.

You will run on over puddle-strewn paths before having to crawl under camouflage netting.

You’ll eventually reach some man-made mounds before arriving at and running through some rather large puddles.

Expect to get very wet!

You’ll run on to the fast vehicle driving circuit where it is rocky underfoot.

This brings you to some more large areas of water and the finish area.

Sounds delightful!


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