Category Archives: Misc

Tower Poppies

Back in October, we went to the Tower of London to see the poppies:

Tower of London Poppies October 2014Shard, sunset and Tower of London Poppies October 2014We thought we’d buy one but were gutted to discover that all 888,000-odd of them had already sold.

Luckily, my son Chris was a bit more proactive and had already ordered one (he didn’t tell us) and presented it to us on Christmas Day…

My Tower of London Poppy

I understand that they’re not frost-proof so it currently lives in an orchid pot in the kitchen – looking for a more permanent solution 🙂

More Permanent Solution (?)

Here’s a poppy stand that I bought on eBay:

Poppy Stand

Shown on the kitchen floor at the moment so needs a little more “architectural” work.

More soon…

Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre

Not specifically a Biker’s Cafe but situated in the midst of some of Wales’ finest roads and with loads of indoor, outdoor and parking space.

This is a 20th Century reservoir built by the Liverpool Corporation and more recently adapted to host watersports, walking and MTBs. There are miles of trails (both upland and lowland) and it is only 50 yards from the B4501 – one of my favourite roads.

The perfect place to stop for a coffee if you are exploring the B roads.

Here’s the view from the outdoor seating area. It looks like the tide is out (just those thirsty Liverpudlians I guess…)

Llyn Brenig Cafe 3 Aug-14 (Custom)

Inside looking towards the lake:

Llyn Brenig Cafe 2 Aug-14 (Custom)

Inside looking towards the counter:

Llyn Brenig Cafe 1 Aug-14 (Custom)

It can be found at LL21 9TT

More details:


The Riverside Inn Aymestrey

Not a biker’s cafe but a real pub with real beer, real food and a real welcome!

Riverside Inn Aymestrey

This was our lunch stop on a recent trip to North Wales. I picked it for location (half way) and because of the recommendations and reviews on the web.

Arriving at just before 2pm, we were just in time for food. The landlord invited us to use the dog-friendly corner and we were joined by Arnold our Springer Spaniel (better than being locked in the car…)

The cricket was on the radio as well.

We had steak sandwiches which came on a slate and were very juicy. The melted cheese is sourced locally from the Monkland Cheese Dairy, which is just up the road (and the subject of one of my “Cafes to visit” articles)

Aymestrey, HR6 9ST

On the A4110 near Leominster on the River Lugg.

More pics:

Riverside Inn 2 Aug-14 (Custom) Riverside Inn Aug-14 (Custom)

How many spelling mistakes can you get on one billboard?

This is/was outside Don Beni’s in Denmark Street Wokingham on Friday afternoon. (originally published in October 2012)

Don Beni AdvertisingI can see 5 (if you include the random apostrophe after the X in Xmass…)

Update: More typos!

Spelling on restaurant advertising boardsThis was May 5th (2103) and it would seem that the Xmas(s) trainee didn’t get the push after all!

Update: Not sure about this one…

It could be done on purpose. Obviously a better class of signwriter in Marlow.

Marlow Donkey Board


How to replace the door mirror indicator on a Mercedes SLK 230 (R170)

I have written before about DIY fixes for the SLK – mainly because there are people out there (and YouTube videos) that say its really difficult.

A few years ago (actually, it was 2010), my wife broke the nearside (passenger) indicator on the SLK. I have put off repairing it as I thought it was expensive and difficult.

This week it failed the MOT because the broken indicator was filling with algae and the LEDs were no longer orange. It appears that the orange colouring has worn off. As long as the indicators were orange, it didn’t matter that the lens was broken.SLK R170 Passenger Door Mirror Indicator Repair

I bought the part from PFS Parts Ltd It was about £25.

Firstly, use the electric adjuster to move the mirror glass as far down and to the left as you can. This will expose a small gap between the top of the glass and the plastic surround. In the gap you will see a small wire clip. Remove it with a small flat-bladed screwdriver.

Next, lever the mirror glass out. It’s only clipped in. Scarey though…

SLK R170 Passenger Door Mirror Indicator RepairAlso, put something soft (softer than concrete anyway) on the ground just in case you drop any of the expensive plastic and glass bits.

SLK R170 Passenger Door Mirror Indicator RepairUsing a Torx 10 screwdriver, remove the six screws that hold everything together and remove the motor and the covers.

SLK R170 Door Mirror Glass Removal

Mirror glass removed

… and the motor

SLK R170 Passenger Door Mirror Indicator Repair

Motor removed

… and the front and rear plastic covers (no photo…sorry, got carried away and forgot – damned if I’m going to take it all apart again!)

Ten seconds to take out the old and put in the new indicator unit. It is clamped by the screws already noted and there are only two wires to connect.

Screw it all back together.

Job done.

£25 + 30 minutes.

Dark Side of the Moon: Happy 40th!

March 24th 1973.

I was 15 and thought that John Peel’s “Sounds of the 70’s” radio show was where all right-thinking teenagers ought to be…

That week, he played a couple of tracks from a reasonably famous psychedelic rock band called Pink Floyd; “Brain Damage” and “Eclipse” if I remember rightly. I was blown away.

The rest, as they say, is history.

3rd best selling album of all time, selling 22.7m certified copies (claimed 50m) – Wiki

I bought my copy that week – £2.19 (I remember it well as it was about 90% of my shop assistant Saturday wage.

Since then I have owned at least three copies of the vinyl record (can’t find any of them now), a CD (also lost but still have the box) and a 1982 Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs “half speed master” limited edition album.

Dark Side of the Moon MFSL-1-017

I remember a radio show at about that time that told of the master tapes arriving at the lab in a case chained to the courier’s wrist – I’ve also read on the MFSL site that:

Dark Side of the Moon LP production note: In a recent interview, Gregg Schnitzer of MFSL revealed, “Did you know that the Dark Side of the Moon master was ruined? Somebody put it on a recorder instead of a playback-only mastering deck, and a little piece of Supertramp got dubbed onto the outro of Breathe. Big secret, that. Stan had left the company so a redo wasn’t gonna happen. Makes me seriously wonder where MFSL got the source for the Dark Side of the Moon CD. Hmmm. It would have had to have been a second generation safety or the digital master I made for the cassette run.”

Urban myth?    Who cares!

Here are some pictures taken today as I dusted of my 1980’s Rega Planar 2:Pink Floyd DSOTM  Rega Planar 2Glass platter with belt drive. To switch to 45rpm you had to lift the platter and move the belt onto the secondary pulley wheel.

Floyd DSOTM Rega viewRega R65 cartridge.

Floyd DSOTM LabelRega with dust.

Rega Planar 2 with dust    Rega Planar 2The observant amongst you will note that at no time during the taking of these photos was the needle actually in contact with the vinyl…  (the clue is in the lifting handle)

Since then I have seen it performed at the Knebworth Festival (1974), Earl’s Court (80s – with The Wall), three times by the Aussie Pink Floyd and once by Roger Waters at the O2 (2008).

Tile Art in Camden

I was meeting some customers in Russell Square last week, and while waiting for them to emerge from the tube station, I wandered around some of the nearby roads (looking for a pub…)

In Herbrand Street, I found these painted tiles fixed randomly on the walls of the buildings:

Tile Art in Camden #1 Olympic TeleportTile Art in Camden #2 Olympic TeleportTile Art in Camden #3 Looting 101I found a great pub as well!


Also found a jet parked in Russell Square (just where I wanted to park my motorcycle…)


Piss-up in a Brewery #1 – Rebellion, Marlow

It was indeed what the title suggests. Never have I been more gobsmacked!
I was expecting a dozen or so “woolly jumpers” and a lecture on malted barley and hops.
What I got was 300+ people gathered on a chilly November evening to drink beer, talk about beer, drink beer, eat, check out the shop, drink beer…
There was a “tour” which involved piling into the brewing hall for a “talk” by Tim Coombes, one of the founders of the brewery. There was more beer available for those that had forgotten to top up their pints before entering. He talked about the history of beer and the business, about the micro-breweries, the regionals and the multi-nationals, about the rise and fall of keg beer in the 70’s-90’s and the fall and rise of real ale since then. He mentioned the tragic demise of Brakespears and Courage/S&N. He was witty and knowledgeable.

He told me (in the bar afterwards) that they get 700-900 people there on a summer evening!

As a driver, my entry was only £5 for which I got two beer vouchers and a free glass. The vouchers can be swapped for ale or soft drinks.

Normal entry is £10 with five (!) beer vouchers and free glass.

I’ll be back…


Rebellion Brewery Tour, Marlow

Tim Coombes tells a story

Tim Coombes tells a story

Rebellion Brewery Tour

Boozing in the Brewing Hall