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New cams, and old memories.

I put new cams in my bike to give better mid range power, and went for a run in the glorious sunshine to make sure everything was fine. Ended up going a route that took me past where "it all began". Andra (Andrew) Cochran's at Roundyhill. One shed, surprisingly still standing. There used to be another two to the left. Always something ratty and interesting to be had, Rudges, Norton's, etc. I once bought a Triumph Grand Prix for £30, and rode it home 17 miles when I was 14. There w

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Travelling light 2

There are many television programs showing entertaining viewing about surviving alone in the wilderness, but you know that somewhere out of camera, is a truck load of supplies. The o!d, "now if this goes wrong I'm in serious trouble" is nonsense, are the camera team really going to run away and leave you ? Back when the world was a safer place, me and my pals would take off during school holidays and wild camp. Basic tents, fishing rods to catch fish to eat, and a diet of beans and soup. We

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The Gask Ridge.

After a pleasant night under canvas, the day is decidedly dreich. Overcast and rain. Today's journey is to the nearest town via the Gask Ridge and an old drovers track. From above Auchterarder to Perth. The Ridge is around ten miles long, and was fortified around ten years before Hadrian's Wall was built, and is believed to be Rome's earliest fortified frontier. There was a system of towers strategically placed along its length, the foundations are still clear to see. The roa

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Travelling light.

I got this book years ago, its a 1975 edition of an original print from 1947 briefly mapping old Scottish drove roads. Over the years I've worked my way through some if them, and where overnight stays have been necessary I've always used the latest high tech camping gear, but this year it's retro only. Tent is ex Polish army canvas. I've had it up in all weathers and has been 100% waterproof, and goes up in less than 2 minutes. Walking pole in the center, and no guy ropes.

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Torches.

Here's my first torch, definitely older than me, and works perfectly well, on paraffin. My next one is this, now converted to run off a led gell battery and fitted with a three watt Cree bulb. It gets charged via a solar panel. Both simple. Now this. Modern technology, adjustable beam, an array of settings; high beam, low beam, strobe, and S.O.S flash mode. What a pain in the @r$e. 

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Curing the New Year blues.

I detect a certain degree of crabbieness at this time of year, so looking for a cure, I discovered that the term should be "lobsterness" as they seem to require more cheering up due to the wide variety of lobster tickle sticks available. So any forum member suffering from lobsterness send me your coordinates and I shall endeavor to "post" a tickle stick. U.K. delivery guaranteed same hour, and proven to be a satisfactory homeopathic alternative to proprietary drugs and alcoho

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1/1/2017.

Annual morning trip to the lochside.   Met up with good friends, and sadly reminisced about those who are no longer here. This year, I have ordered some portable digital recording gear, and as part of the community collaborative I take part in, I am going to start a social history project, all recordings done with real people. We did a trial last year which was a great success. It's all about the history of reality of life, which all too easily gets lost and forgotten.

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The times they are a changing.

My first experience of work was delivering this stuff, at the age of 11. Most of the households round about relied on it for heating, and some for cooking as well. Paraffin ovens like this one were quite common. The drums held 5 gallons / 25 litres, so a full one including the weight of the drum was around 26 kilos, and I used to carry two at a time. I remember there being a huge outcry when the price went from 1 shilling (5 pence) to 1 shilling and 3 pennies. A lot of t

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Secret society of the Scottish gardeners

The secret society of the Scottish estate gardener is a little know subject that I shall now offer, at risk to my personal safety, a little insight.   In days gone by, an apprentice gardener would be carefully vetted and chosen by the estate factor, more commonly known as the "wee laird" or " the lairds sooker". Once employed the new boy would be handed down a simple bonnet as uniform, from a previous worker. These bonnets always showed signs of wear and alterations as a result of being pas

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Leaf it out and stripes

For that final cut, first the leaves decending from my ash trees require collecting, there are various forms of equipment for the job, here is my preference. It has served me well over the years. Next, the proper equipment for that low impact cut, and compaction to ensure perfect stripes.

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More Zen and the act of axe maintenance.

Can't get the staff. Nearly there. The one arm swing test. Coming soon. The correct etiquette of gardeners attire, and how to get those perfect stripes on your lawn in November.

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Inappropriate use of an axe.

Mrs Wrench is barely 5ft 2" and size 8, but she swings a mean axe. Apparently as an end of day therapy for anger management. Oak being her choice to split, but on inspection I noticed my vintage Canadian Black Prince axe head has been coming into contact with stones as I was unable to shave with it this morning. So it looks like more tool service tomorrow. Had a camera malfunction so no pics, as I was going to show "Roger" my mower. New card ordered, and my diamond file and axe stone at the read

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Service day.

As I live off grid and the daylight hours are failing, reducing the reliance on solar power for the next few months, it's time to give the old diesel generator a service. So that's my job today. I made the genny 29 years ago out of a 1968 Lister LR 1 engine driving a 12 volt alternator, charging a battery bank, which in turn supplies the house with 240V a.c. via a step up D.C. to A.C. inverter, and 12 V D.C. with the huge jumps in technology over the past few years and the increase in L.E.D. lig

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