Monday, December 7, 2009


One of my best buddies, Bod, from the late 70's contacted me today after I only found him, through Facebook I fear to say some 3 months ago after 25 plus years of no contact, that 'our' other buddy 'Litchy' was killed a few weeks ago on a mountain road in Spain where he had emigrated some years ago.

We went to the same school together Pingle, Bod in the same year as me and Litch, a year above us. In typical fashion the 'older' boys didn't mix that often with the younger ones so we only knew each other by sight.

Litch left school and Bod and I finished off our last year together albeit in different classes and not really friends.

Then we left school, the FSIE's hit the streets and low and behold there was Litchy on his brand new Yamaha DT175, 'S' reg, silver - the new 1978 model with 'rainbow' tank decals. What a beautiful machine. Bod and I couldn't stop looking at it each and every time Litch rode passed us on it, especially when were sitting on the "Delph" downtown Swad. He would be wearing his blue 'piss pot' helmet and have a 'fag' hanging out of his mouth with a Levi jacket on.

We then started to frequent the Angel Inn a little more often and of course we shouldn't have but it was the seventies and as long as you behaved what the heck.

Litchy, Bod and I would drink a pint or two with our other buddies and before we knew it we become good friends. I then went to college and traveled back home every night for the first year before I moved into my Digs at Derby.

Around 7 o'clock each and almost every night through the week that year Litch would turn up in his 'K' reg white Ford Escort and we would go to the Lamb in Ashby for a few bitters. I could just about stretch myself to 3 pints for a quid, sometimes 4 if I could scrape the change together.

At the weekends Friday would be the mega night out and all us Swad lads with some from Newhall and Woodville would hit Ashby and cruise the pubs as well as the town hall disco. Sometimes we would follow the evening by going all night fishing but we would always spend the rest of the weekend riding the bikes.

Then Bod and I became 17, we passed our bike tests almost immediately and we each bought Yamaha DT125's, 1976 models, reg PJF852R, mine and Bod's, PJF853R, both white with blue strips down each side of the tank from George Beale's Yam shop in Woodville.

Now we were talking, with Litchy on his DT175 and us on our 125's we were the 'kings of the road' Our other good buddy, Eddie, who could ride like the wind also had a DT175 but it was a '76 "P' reg same design as our 125's but had the red strip on the tank - that was how Yam differentiated the various twin shock 2-stroke models in the 70's by the color of the strip on the tank, (DT100, 125, 175, 250 and the monster 400)

We went to Skeggy for a week once in the Escort and slept in it, the three of us, and just had the most incredible time clubbing it, etc. etc.

Great times.

I could go on but as the 80's arrived so did the 'more serious' relationships and with 'careers' kicking in after the Sex Pistols, Stranglers, Beer, Crashes, fishing, crashing, etc. we went our separate ways but the most formative recollectable years of our lives were shared together.

Litchy left 4 children but I bet he went with a smile on his face and maybe a fag hanging from his chops.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bike Magazines

After months, in fact years, of putting it off I have decided to catalog my numerous motorcycle magazines. What follows is some very poor cell phone photos of the collections laid out on the floor in the spare bedroom placed in piles of magazine titles and 'years'.

It is my intention to offer, through my friends' websites, either OTT or, a service to provide technical data, maintenance information and riding reviews, to name but three, on most motorcycles manufactured between 1974 and 2000.

Examples of what Brit magazines I have include:

Most 'Bike' issues from June 1974 to 1999.
Most 'Superbike' issues from issue 1 in 1997 to date.
'Fast Bike' issues from 1993 to 2002.
'Ride' from 1996 to 2002.
'Performance Bike' from 1992 to 2000.

In addition also have most copies of 'Northern Biker' from the late '90's aswell as special one off editions such as "The Book of Super Bike Road Tests 1972" (Yes Superbike is written as two words!) and MCI Road Tests Annual 1975.

Examples of US magazines in the collection also include:

Most 'Motor Cyclist' issues from January 1980 to date and Cycle World from 2000 to date.

Looking at them brings back some tremendous memories and in addition to the old gem "was that bike really made 25 years ago - it was only last year wasn't it?" brings home how much motorcycles and associated aspects, such as tires, have progressed over the last 30 years!!!

So if you have any need for info, e.g. what color should my 1978 Yamaha XS750 2D should be then check out and ask my friends either on OTT or sprotsbikewrench - links listed in the 'links' section - duh!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Blue Ridge Parkway Run August 15, 2009 - another 1,000 mile weekend.

Memories of the early 70's with chrome bumper BGT's at Mabry Hill.

Pretty nice MG's

Unusual custom 'Woody'

There were a few Triumphs at Mabry Hill Mill. This was a nice TR4A.

A nice TR6.

Hope the Conc looks as good as this MG when it is 26 years old!

The Conc. just passes 20,000 miles in 22 months.

Last time I took a picture here it was in 2003, with the FZ1 and Mick Jr. Now, 6 years later the Conc. and Wendy - the FZ is still going strong by the way with 39,000 miles on it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Growing Guinness Collection

I recently decided to start collecting Guinness memorabilia. There is an unbelievable amount of stuff out there and eBay is of course the place to look.

Some of the items are incredible and the history is fantastic to read and research.

I particularly like the Doctors Books that were issued to doctors surgeries between 1933 and 1966. They were produced by Guinness to promote the "Good For You" proposition and are beautifully illustrated.

I am also taken by Guinness bottle labels of which there are 1000's. They are very unique and before around 1956 were dated to the day of bottling! They also had the name and address of the 'bottlers' of the ale as Guinness only used to sell beer in barrels, kegs, etc. to the pubs, even when it was exported. I have managed to get labels from all over the World including Australia and the Caribbean, I especially like the dated ones and the ones of unusual shape. Also worth noting that Guinness in the plural was known as Guinness's until 1953 - check the labels out.

Be careful there is a lot of fake stuff out there though. Be particularly careful when it comes to ceramic items especially Carltonware as there was a big conspiracy that occurred in the 90's when lots of counterfeits were produced after the 'trademark' was stolen.

If you consider collecting you can't beat "The Guide To Guinness Collectables" by Nick Fairall and David Hughes published by Liberty Press ISBN: 978-1-905483-54-9

Salt and Pepper Pots from the 60's.

Kangaroo and Keeper Plate.

Lion Chasing Keeper Plate.

Bear and Keeper Plate.

LVA Commemorative Goblet from November 11th 1980.

Two Guides from St James Gate, the white one is from 1914 and the brown 1952.

Three cute crystal shot glasses.

The first Doctors book from 1933 including compliments slip.

Page selection from the 1936 Doctors Book.

Selection from the 1935 Doctors Book.

Selection from the 1933 Doctors Book

Sample pages from the 1956 Doctors Book.

Pages from the 1955 Doctors Book.

Pages from the 1914 St James Guide.

Sample pages from the 1957 Doctors Book.

Sample pages from the 1952 Doctors Book.

Guinness labels from the 50's to the 70's.

Sample pages from the 1939 Doctors Book.

Pages from the 1938 Doctors Book.

Guinness labels from the 50's including two Bicentennial labels on the right.

Ringmaster performing #547 of 1500, Coalport.

Regulation cue ball.

Rear cover of the 1952 guide with August 1st, 1952 label.

Performing seals #694 and #1460 of 2000 Coalport.

Pair of egg cups.

Guinness formula!

Retailers Guides 1920 and 1924.

More pages from the 1957 Doctors Guide.

Australian Labels.

Miner Toucan #1949 of 2000.

Wee Guinness drinker from the '60's.

More Australian labels.

Labels from 1914, 1924, 1941, 1945, 1951 and 1952. The 1945 is great because it is from the Isle of Man.

Pages from the 1952 St James Gate Guide.

Inside the 1914 St James Guide.

Inside the 1914 guide showing the October 31, 1914 label.

Shop display ceramic #525 of 2000.

Pretty Guinness marbles.

Labels from the Caribbean and the Med still to be sorted.

Early 20th Century labels.

Selection of cuff links and badges from the '40's to now.

Salt and Pepper shakers.

Carrigaline Plate.

Another Irish Carrigaline Plate.

Sweet Plate.

'80's money box and thimble.

Doctors Book from 1957.

1955 and 1956 Doctors Books.

1952 Doctors Book with compliments slip.

1938 and 1939 Doctors Book.

1936 Doctors Book with compliments slip.

1934 and 1935 Doctors Books.

1962 Rubber Toucan.

1961 Rubber Penguin.

1955 Guinness Ad.

1952 Guinness Ad.

Menu Holder 1948.

Guinness Ad from 1937.

Ashtry from 1936.

Minton Ashtray from 1932.

1932 Ashtray.

Retailers Guide from 1924.

The 1924 Guide showing prices for the various barrel sizes.

1960's Money Box from Carltonware.

Guinnness "Alice" ads from 1949.

Menus from 1959.