Total Recall

When we got back from Vietnam a small mountain of mail was neatly stacked (by the cat-sitter), awaiting attention.

In my pile was an automatic insurance renewal form (yeah, you can go whistle for that, baby, I’m off to comparethemarket.com!), and there was a High Priority letter from Kawasaki.

Unfortunately the letter was notification of a ‘potential’ safety problem (or a product recall notice, to put it another way) with the ZX10-R.

The fix, it seems, is for me to take the bike to my Kawasaki dealer, as soon as possible, so they can carry out the required work, in about 2-1/2 hours, and free of charge.

The letter, helpfully, lists the work that needs to be done:

  • replace 2nd gear output
  • replace 3rd gear output
  • replace 4th gear output, and
  • replace 2nd gear input

Now I’m no C21st motorbike mechanic, but to my eyes, this looks like a significant gearbox replacement/rebuild.

Yes? No? Yes?

Anyway, I rang my local Kawasaki dealer, spoke to the service department, gave them the bike registration number and the VIN/frame number.

The service department said they would now have to contact Kawasaki to get the work authorised, and they’d be in touch with me as soon as it was, and as soon as the parts had arrived.

I like my local Kawasaki dealer. They’re a friendly bunch who know their onions (to mix a metaphor).

And I appreciate the way that Kawasaki have dealt with this product recall.

But, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, there’s something missing here.

It’s all a bit academic really; because of the rubbish weather we’ve had for the last four months, the Ninja has hardly had any time out of the garage.

But there’s just something not quite right with this situation…

Insane in the membrane

Here’a an interesting list of reasons for committal to an insane asylum (except we don’t call them that any more) from 1864 – 1889.

I offer this list with no comment:

LockUp

LockUp

Family motoring (Hanoi style)

I went for an extended walk this morning.

About an hour into my attempt to find a local museum, I discovered that the map the hotel had given me actually bore little resemblance to the version of Hanoi I’m staying in.

That’s why my walk was so… extended.

By 11.30 my Fatbot had informed me I had racked up my daily 10,000 steps, so that’s OK then.

And I have travelled miles, whilst unintentionally seeing areas of the city that tourists probably don’t normally get to see.

But I took a few photos, on my Great Walk.

I didn’t photograph the young man in the uniform of The People’s Army of Vietnam, because the very official building he was guarding had ‘No Photograph’ signs around the perimeter.

And he was carrying, in a most professional manner, a very well maintained (and, judging by the wear on the butt, very well used) AK47.

I nodded at him and kept walking.

So, it being a Saturday, I thought I’d take a snap of some of the good folk of Hanoi as they travel around their city would be good.

Here’s four of them.

Four on a moped

Four on a moped

Tickets, passport, money

There was a slight air of panic when we couldn’t find the large suitcases (they were in the loft), but I’m about to go upstairs to pack.

That should take three minutes.

I’ve downloaded some stuff to my tablet, I’ve got a lot of books, and I’ll also take my Kindle.

Dresscode for the week will largely consist of long shorts, t-shirts, and anti-antiperspirant.

And comfortable walking shoes, obv.

After two long-haul flights tomorrow, we will be here:

Hanoi

Hanoi

Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things

We are watching Game of Thrones (or GoT as we cognoscenti call it).

Well yes, we’re only on S1 E4, but that’s hardly the point.

Anyway.

It’s all gone a bit Pete Tong.

Sean Bean has a big book to read, his wife is on a walkabout and has just accused a dwarf of plotting to kill her son (I don’t think he did, I believe he has been framed), the lad with the broken back dreamed about a three-eyed crow,¬†Daenerys Targaryen has just beaten up her brother (who we all hope will come to a very sticky end very soon), and everyone else seems to be shagging in the whorehouse down the road.

Frankly it’s all a bit too much.

I can’t even remember the names of half the cast of characters.

I’m sure at some stage or other it will all start to coalesce, and make perfect sense.

It just hasn’t started to yet.

Is it me?

Doggy tales

We have new bicycles!

Sam uses hers to occasionally commute to work, but apart from a very brief lap of the neighbourhood, I haven’t used mine yet.

Anyway.

Young Masher is prone to flashing his bitch around, because he knows I am jealous of him and his canine friend.

Don’t get me wrong, I love our cats; they have made the house in to an even more homely place (if that’s believable).

But what my heart is hankering for is a dog.

A four-legged friend who I can train in the useful skills, such as making a nice cup of tea, sending down the village shop for a bag of sweets (or biscuits). That kind of thing.

And walks. Which may include me on my bike and the dog doing the walking.

Of course, I’ve had dogs before so I know the probable reality of the situation.

Dog doing what it wants to do, when it wants to do it. And not doing what I want it to do for most of the time.

The time isn’t right for us to go down the doggy path just yet.

But I can live in my little fantasy world just a little longer.

But one day, my friend, this could be me… Erm.

Dogbike

Dogbike

And relax…

Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.

Within 35 minutes of landing back at base, from the frozen wastes of Brighton, I had the fire roaring away, the family had decided on pizza for tea, and Sam had sorted out a Brendon Fraser film for us to watch whilst consuming the aforementioned Italian fast food.

Being home is fantastic.

I enjoyed being away. I got a good haircut and beard-trim. I tried on and decided to buy an outrageously snazzy (and most unlike my normal style of) three-piece suit. I had a fantastic time in the sauna which, I am convinced, did me more good than the rest of the three days we had down there put together.

But stone me it was freezing; much colder down there than up here.

I know we are due for a big Siberian freeze (Huge Norm, or some such meteorological name), but them southerners can keep their bloody cold weather, thank you very much.

The party revellers (of which there were a few walking past the seafront at 2am today), sounded loud and boozed up. And it was -3c out there at that time.

MINUS THREE!

What’s the matter with these people?

Speaking of the matter with people…

In the open pedestrian walkway, opposite our hotel, a rough-sleeper (which is what we now call homeless people, apparently, because the phrase ‘rough-sleeper’ doesn’t have the same negativity for politicians that the words ‘homeless on your watch’ do), shivered in a sleeping bag and a duvet.

It cost me £60 to park the car in a warm and cosy underground car park for three days.

That money goes to the Local Authority, who run that car park.

Frankly I would rather have parked the car out on the road and given that £60 to the rough-sleeper.

But the Local Authority doesn’t allow parking out on the road in Brighton.

It’s too unsightly, perhaps?

But not as unsightly as a homeless person shivering in a walkway by a car park.

When it’s -3c at night.

So yes, it’s lovely being home.

But right now, I have a nasty taste in the back of my mouth, and it’s nothing to do with the pizza we had earlier.

Bookses, my precious

Bookses

Bookses

In a tiny alleyway in The Lanes in Brighton, I stumbled upon a Treasure Trove of book-related goodness.

I became a fan of PKDs writing (and imagination) in my early teens.

The fact that his work continues to be so enduring, decades after his death, speaks volumes for the scope and scale of his imagination.

Season 2 of The Man In The High Castle is due to start soon.

I’m looking forward to seeing that exactly the same amount as I am keen to see Bladerunner 2049.

We are in Brighton!

Bed view

If the photo needs mucking about with, I’ll do it when I get home. The phone is a less than perfect tool for this kind of stuff.

This morning, after breakfast, we all (five of us) went out for a local wander about.

It was beyond freezing.

After a couple of hours, I sloped back to the hotel and spent time being very unwell.

My cold and flu symptoms are showing signs of being beaten.

But a return to liquid tummy is very unwelcome.

Everyone else has been out for most of the day. I’m jealous.

But I hope that tomorrow will be a much better day for me.