When being quiet means being busy

It’s been a bunch of time since I last bothered this little corner of t’internet, but…

I have been busy.

I could list everything that’s been going on, but that would be dull.

Anyway, the real message is that I have hopefully turned a corner (or two) and should be on the cusp of being significantly not busier not busy.

This means that I will have more time for annoying people and, now the clocks have changed, annoying even more people.

And enjoying the ZX10-R, obv.

Speaking of the Ninja, she had her first annual service last weekend.

And, being a whole one year old, an insurance renewal.

My (still fully comp) premium has dropped significantly and, for good measure, I got cover for my leathers thrown in.

So that’s all bloody marvellous.

Oh yes, and I’m idly considering buying a horse.

Blogathon 10/17: Speed Thrills

Kawasaki, my motorbike manufacturer of choice, have a new bike out, any day now.

It’s the 2017 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon.

2017 Ninja H2 Carbon

2017 Ninja H2 Carbon

It’s broadly similar to my 2016 Kawasaki ZX10R Ninja, but it’s broadly similar on steroids.

As near as I can make out the second biggest change is that the quickshifter will now quickshift downwards, as well as up.

The new bike also has a remodeled exhaust, but it still has to comply with the arse-end regulations.

This means most people will, as I did, fit an aftermarket tail tidy to balance the deadly-looking front end with a razor sharp back end.

The Ninja H2 Carbon is somewhat quicker than mine, but at the top end of the gearbox, with the EMS on full power, at 200mph, mine is plenty quick enough.

For me, obv.

With the EMS on mid power, the new bike does have, for timid riders, a better mid-range.

But as I was saying to a Honda owner the other day, people who say the 2016 ZX10R Ninja has lacklustre midrange aren’t leaving it in first gear until it hits 100mph, and then changing in to second gear.

I’m not joking, if you do that, your 0-150mph will remove your inner organs.

But maybe there are people out there who lack the cojones to ride a 207bhp supersports bike on full throttle?

The 2017 Kawasaki Ninja H2 Carbon comes in at £6,000 more than I paid for mine which, compared to the other supersports unveilings over the last two weeks, is still ridiculously cheap.

So what does the Ninja H2 Carbon’s 310bhp give you, for that extra £6k?

This is the biggest change.

It has a top speed of over 249mph.

I wonder what my insurance would be?

Mine, by the way, will be exactly one year out of the factory old, next month.

Blogathon 07/17: Whoops!




We’ve all done it, right?

Pushed things just a little too quickly to get somewhere?

Been a little bit too keen to get home?

Desperately needed a wee, so tried just a little too hard on the road?

It’s easy to do; an easy mistake to make.

Especially on a motorbike.

Especially on a 20-year old motorbike.

Some people will undoubtedly get judgemental about this.

But not me.

Because we’ve all pushed, just a little too hard.

Now and then.

And anyone who says they haven’t, isn’t telling the truth.

The End of the Road?

Some uncomfortable truths


You are dying.

In memoriam

In memoriam

I am dying.

Your nearest and dearest are dying.

We are all dying.

Since the day we were born (some might say ‘since the day we were conceived’) we have all started out on our final journey.

For some of us the mortality end-game comes along a lot sooner than for others.

This year – 2016 – has seen a large number of departures from the field of popular culture.

The fields of TV, film, music, literature, and even pop-academia has seen many notable checkouts from this mortal coil.

Yet it is a sad fact that this unfortunate trend will continue in 2017.

When radio and television popularised itself in the 1960s, and drew in to focus the publicly-driven worlds of social and pop culture, the media was programming us (us being the population of the early 21st Century), for an upward, and steeply increasing, bell-curve of widespread, heart-felt losses.

I predict that 2017 will see far more checkouts from the world of popular culture.

And 2018 many more again.

We don’t know when we’re gong to checkout.

But a brush with the checkout desk changes us.

I have been told that I have become more self-centred.

I offer this without comment.

I acknowledge that I have become more emotional, in a ‘heart on my sleeve’ kind of way.

And I now look at things (people, situations, events) in much greater detail than previously.

This isn’t unusual, apparently.

A significant number of heart attack survivors report heightened, post-event, emotional and critical states.

I have no idea what 2017 is going to bring.

There are plans.

But plans are subject to change.

And I can’t share all of the plans here because secret.

But I can say that I plan on being here all through 2017.

And 2018.

And that I plan on being here far, far in to the future.

I have people to love.

And people to annoy.

And fast motorbikes to ride.

And many, many other plans.

So I’m going to be here.

A little emotional around the edges, maybe.

But I’m still going to be inhabiting this mortal coil.

And loving people.

And annoying others.

So yes, as this post started out saying.

Some uncomfortable truths.

Get used to them.

I’ll see you around.

Busy doing… well, everything really

It is a truth universally acknowledged that…


I  have been stupidly busy.

My aspiration to do less remains just that.

An aspiration.

I have many demands on my time, yet the amount of time I have available to service these demands seems to be on a diminishing curve.

Work continues to be busy, which is great.

But being busy at work isn’t helping with the ‘do less’ thing.

Not having horses in my life should be – and is – helping, but I actually found myself looking at a rather tasty 5yo mare last week.

That would be totes bonkers.

*steps away from the horse-buying thought*

Motorbike time has been limited, due to the awful weather.

But I did trundle out and about for three hours on Saturday, in the freezing cold, and as a result I was given this:

Enhanced Rider Certificate

Enhanced Rider Certificate

I think this means that I am now officially licensed to scare professionals, or something.

Actually it means that I am now a Blood Biker.

I have already passed the Controllers training; now I’m able to go out on the bikes too.


I have a new guitar.

Well, actually I have almost two new guitars.

After encouragement from top muso and ace bloke Ash, I sent my SG away to be professionally set-up.

It came back, a week later, feeling like a new man guitar.

Seriously, it’s a different guitar, in terms of playability.

But Ash started me looking for another guitar, something with a different neck design, to the SG.

I’ve been looking at Fender Strats, having played one of his.

But after an unplanned visit to a guitar emporium in Leicester, I accidentally bought this:

G&L Legacy

G&L Legacy

The Legacy is a different animal to the SG, and it feels very Fender Strat-y.

But in terms of playability, it’s a significant step up from the SG (even from the newly-feeling, professionally set-up SG).

Unfortunately, the new-and-a-half guitars haven’t lifted my playing ability from the crap zone, but I have got a lot of practice in this week.

I have got a lot of practice in this week because Sam has been in Dubai, UAE; Dhaka, Bangladesh; Yangdon, Myanmar; Bangkok, Thailand; and Saigon, Vietnam.

She’s on her way back from Saigon to Yangdon, then to Dubai, then EMA, then home.

So while she’s been away I have played guitar.

I have also babysat the two rescue kitties and the two rescue kittens.

I have done a bit (not much) of laundry.

And cooked and eaten like a singleton.

And worked.

When not working I have fallen asleep during TV watching.

Actually there’s a topic.

I don’t seem to watch ‘live’ TV any longer.

I have watched the first two episodes of The Grand Tour (or, to give the show its real name: How To Look And Act Like Top Gear Without Actually Calling Yourself Top Gear).

My three word review: Trying too hard.

I fell asleep during both episodes.

I have also successfully fallen asleep during three episodes of The Man In The High Castle.

And an episode of Lucifer.

I quite liked Preacher, and didn’t fall asleep through any of that.

There are other TV programmes that I have fallen asleep through, but their titles have been as memorable as the watching experience(s).

I recently got a Fitbit (there will be a more detailed post about this, soonish).

It is interesting, wearing a piece of medical tech.

I have become slightly addicted to checking my heart rate, but this shows me that I have an odd pattern of fluctuation.

I checked my heart rate before taking the ZX10R out for the three-hour test on Saturday.


I checked my heart rate after the journey up to the Blythe meeting point.


So, when slobbing about at home, my heart rate is higher than yours (probably), but is in the average zone for me.

But, contrastingly, a fairly swift trip in, frankly, some pretty hairy weather, and on one of the world’s most rapid Superbikes, actually lowered my heart rate to what is (probably) average for you, and is below average for me.

All of this is a bit bonkers.

Indeed, sitting here typing this (and watching the Blessed Sandra Bullock in ‘Gravity’ at the same time), my heart rate is currently 99bpm.

Which is also a bit bonkers, obv.


I shall try to be less busy, and make more of an effort to hang around here.

Heart Attack Diary: #8

It’s not just the heat. It’s the drums. The drums and the heat. Make the drums stop, Caruthers. Make the blessed drums stop!


I now have three appointments at the cardiology clinic.

They add up to two consecutive afternoons of back-to-back appointment fun.

I’m reading up on all my best jokes to keep the nurses entertained.

They love that.


Yesterday, in the company of a work colleague, his partner and her 7yo son (and their mentile as anything dog), I walked five miles along the bank of the River Trent.

We walked around the National Watersports (no, not that kind) Centre for a bit, and then headed along the Trent in towards the Lady Bay Bridge.

I really enjoyed the walk, but we covered the ground much slower than if I’d been flying solo.

I might have a proper crack at that walk tomorrow.

My colleague had (probably) been briefed not to talk about work, so we didn’t. At least we didn’t in any great detail, just one or two generalities.

But we had a little tech chat or two (about non-work things), which was nice.

I have spent some time, over the last week, debugging a hacked website.

Mostly that involved just reading code, and googling some pretty esoteric .php and SQL.

The hacked website (one of mine that I left languishing for the last two years on a shared-by-many GoDaddy server) is now back online.

It’s not only been debugged, but I’ve gone to great pains to harden the security: validate all file permissions, remove the legacy users, put a new user in place with upgraded access requirements, delete the FTP user, migrate the MySQL database to a new MySQL database with a new root user and updated root access.

Then I updated the design, and modernised some of the functionality.

So it might be that the podcast could be making a return appearance.

There are some logistical problems that need to be solved, in order to make a return truly viable, but these are being worked on.

There are a couple of very good security plugins for WordPress now.

I’ve tried the iSecurity plugin, which is quite good, but Wordfence is very much my favourite.


Today I didn’t undertake any significant walking.

But I did take the ZX10R out for the first time since the ‘event’.

I was not reckless.

And was very careful.

My pulse may have quickened slightly when the garage door rolled up and I saw the pristine ZX10 waiting for me in all her Ninja blackness.

And my pulse may have continued to beat slightly quicker as I wheeled the ZX10R out and started her up.

But actually I felt fine.

And I took my pulse rate, just to be sure.

The good news is I haven’t forgotten how to ride a 1,000cc Super Sports Bike.

There is no bad news 😀

I grinned the whole time I was out, though I was only in the saddle for 90 minutes in total (two stops en-route).

And when I came back my pulse rate was unsurprisingly in the 72-74/BPM range, which is my ‘normal’.

So that’s alright then.


Making tracks

On Friday evening I jollied down to Rockingham Racetrack.

I was scrutineered and safety briefed.

Then some bloke came along and pasted these stickers on the ZX10-R:

Rockingham race preparation

Rockingham race preparation

Rockingham is quite a small circuit.

The front straight is an easy wind-up to 140mph, and most of the corners on the back are a straightforward 100mph.

But I didn’t have sufficient tarmac to lift the Ninja out of 3rd.

It was a great evening, even though mental tiredness started to become a factor (I’ve had raging insomnia all week), and I started to lose the concentration I needed to have.

So I wound up earlier than planned.

But I still had lots of fun.

Lining up an overtake

Lining up an overtake

Overtaken him

Overtaken him

Ninja update

A few weeks ago the ZX10-R was completely stock – nothing added or changed from its factory delivery build.

It looked like this:

ZX10-R tail, as factory fitted standard

ZX10-R tail, as factory fitted standard

Here’s a close-up of the tail:

ZX10-R tail, as factory fitted standard

ZX10-R tail, as factory fitted standard

I have always thought that the ZX10 was a bike of two halves, since the first time I saw it up close at the NEC last November.

Oh sure, I know that all new bikes will have the same elongated arse, in order to meet the German regulations (because no manufacturer is going to lose economies of scale and build a bike for just one country).

So I decided to do something about the look of mine.

Later that same day the bike looked like this:

ZX10-R tail with R&G Tail Tidy

ZX10-R tail with R&G Tail Tidy

Here’s another view:



A much neater arse

Motorcycle Emptiness

Is it possible to get bored of riding a 1,000cc, 200mph Supersports bike?

Asking for a friend.


Last week my commutes were in the car.

It is brand spanking new; had 7 miles on the clock when it was delivered.

Normally I commute on the ZX10R, but the weather was dire last week.

So I made the daily round-trip in the car.

And with every mile I travelled in the car, the sheen of the ZX10R seemed to become slightly more dull.

I don’t know why, it just did.

And then, yesterday, there was a break in the rain, so I took the Ninja out for a little trip.

Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, back in to Leicestershire, and Nottinghamshire.

I travelled across some fantastic English countryside, and through some beautiful villages.

Sometimes I rode the Ninja as if it was a tourer, sometimes I opened the throttle and rode it hard, like the breathtaking supersports bike that it is.

I have no idea how I could feel remotely bored with it.

Maybe riding it to work on the same roads (weather permitting) day in, day out, was the cause?

Maybe the new car seduced me.

Whatever it was, it’s gone now.

I do wonder if I will ever be brave enough to switch the engine output to ‘full’.

Road2Recovery 2016 Charity Ride Out

Yesterday was the Claire Lomas 2016 Road2Recovery ride out.

The weather stayed dry but chilly.

I don’t know how many motorcyclists turned up, but I’m guessing a couple of hundred.

I also don’t know the precise route, if was very indirect, and used rural roads, but the convoy went through (amongst other places) Melton Mowbray, Oakham, and Market Harborough before arriving at Wistow Rural Centre.

At Wistow there was a band, food, drink, a bike show, and a lot of sunshine.

Claire led the ride down the two-mile drive of the starting venue, on her converted Suzuki SV650.

Then she switched to riding pillion for the public roads part of the journey.

Claire Lomas

Claire Lomas

It was an excellent day out.

Well organised, neatly marshalled, and with good entertainment laid on.

The ride raised £1,540 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation and The Bike Experience.