NEVER UNDERESTIMATE AN OLD MAN WITH A MOTORCYCLE WHO WAS BORN IN JULY.

On the 4th July this year,  American Independence Day,  I celebrated my birthday over a quiet lunch in town with SWMBO and,  as you can imagine,  our conversations traversed our yesterdays and what the future offered us.

Over the last few years SWMBO and I have, with our advancing years, faced a few significant health challenges and these ups and downs had impacted heavily on SWMBO’s golf and my motorcycling .

Fortunately,  in my case,  radical robot surgery completely removed my cancer and I am now totally free of the big C.  During the same difficult time, SWMBO emerged from a series of brain scans to be greeted with the wonderful news that no nasties had been discovered.

Over my birthday lunch we decided that the past was the past and realised we had plenty to look forward to.

That was when SWMBO presented me with my birthday present,  a T-shirt  with this fantastic message emblazoned across the chest:

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I couldn’t help myself, I put it on and swanned around the restaurant like a kid with a new toy.  Some of the patrons in the place  were quite amused whilst others obviously weren’t.  I couldn’t give a hoot. I could see a whole new chapter opening for SWMBO and myself.

Now for the past three years my beloved 2014 Harley Heritage Softail Classic has hardly been out of the shed. My new T-shirt convinced me that had to change.

Accordingly SWMBO and I prowled motorcycle dealers, kicked a lot of tyres and became more convinced than ever that I’m a rusted on Harley Davidson rider.

We visited a couple of Harley dealers within a 200 klm radius of home and a few weeks back as we entered one dealership,  SWMBO’s eyes lit up and she indicated an Olive Gold softail that had caught her eye.

Sure enough, it fitted me like a glove, was a little lighter than my Heritage and most importantly, SWMBO told me I looked good on it. Plus I liked the colour and loved the logo.

For the past twenty five years I’ve always dealt with the same Harley dealer and with one phone call, our deal was done.

A week ago today, my brand new 2017 Harley Davidson softail  FLSS was was delivered  to our door. What a ripper of a motorcycle.

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MY NEW 2017 HARLEY DAVIDSON FLSS
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WOW FACTOR – 10/10
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WHAT A PAINT JOB

Now, am I a happy little vegemite?  Am I ever! The bike’s colour is Olive Gold Denim.  I understand it’s a little complicated to maintain but it’s  well worth any extra effort.

I was sorry to see my Heritage Softail taken away, it was my 5th black Heritage and I was really attached to that model Harley but, as my new T-shirt says,  ‘never underestimate an old man with a motorcycle who was born in July.’

Just for the record though, one last image of my beloved 2014 Heritage Softail Classic. I hope it goes to a good home.heritage-with-a-bit-more-bling_0603_0002-copy

Hoo roo for now

PS. Don’t ask me what it’s like to ride. Everyone knows that you don’t take your Harley out when the weather is crook. Therefore it is still standing, unridden, in the exact spot where the scarcely ridden Heritage stood.

 

 

 

 

 

ALWAYS REMEMBER WHERE, OUTSIDE YOU HIDE THE SPARE KEY TO YOUR HOUSE.

As a back up for opening our locked house, SWMBO and I buried a spare key to our back door to ensure we always had access no matter what. As a precaution we cleverly marked the spot so we could always locate the keep in quick time.

Last Thursday evening SWMBO called me outside to view a magnificent dying sunset.

The sunset was magnificent, my camera was urgently needed but it was not to be.

Unknown to both of us, the door we had used was now locked.  Did SWMBO have a key? No.  Did Have a key? No.

Not to worry said SWMBO, the front door will be OK. No so, locked and dead latched.

Last resort, back door. Again, no luck. Locked tight.

Things were looking grim, darkness was approaching fast and the temperature was dropping towards zero with similar speed.

It was my turn to say, ‘not to worry,’ and I added,’ we’ll use the spare key.’

A problem immediately became apparent. Neither of us could remember where, almost 18 years previously, we had buried the bloody thing.

As the light faded and our search was proving fruitless we decided a broken window was the answer.

Fortunately the back door has the smallest window in the house and it’s the last door we dead latch before bed time.

Next problem, how to break the glass. Where were the tools or implements I could use. All secured in the shed which was locked and dead latched of course.

A timber splitting wedge tucked away in the firewood came to the rescue and I attacked the pane of glass with gusto. No matter how I slammed the wedge against the glass it just bounced off. Then I remembered, we had specified toughened glass in every window.

As a last resort I took ten paces back and hurled the wedge with all my strength against the glass pane and low and behold, it smashed the glass. Access enabled.

I gingerly reached through the hole and was able to unlatch the door. SWMBO entered first and handed me some shoes as I’m habitually barefooted.

The wedge had flown straight through the glass, coming to rest on the  floor just before it would have penetrated an inside wall. As for the shattered glass, it was everywhere inside, big bits, little bits and minute bits.

As we were able to securely shut another door to close off mess we did so and popped down  to our favourite restaurant for dinner, leaving the mess for the morrow.

My little steel wedge finally did a great job, have a look:

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ONE BROKEN TOUGHENED PANE OF GLASS.
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MY HEAVY WEIGHT RESCUE WEDGE.
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WAITING FOR THE GLAZIER.

This whole exercise was a real education:-

1   Always wear shoes when out in the yard.

2   Never go outside without my camera.

3   Always take a spare key when outside.,

4   Never rely on my memory for buried keys.

5   Don’t rely on a buried key, leave a key with a trusted neighbour( Now implemented).

6   ALWAYS REMEMBER TO LEAVE THE BACK DOOR UNLOCKED WHEN OUT IN THE YARD.

Hoo roo for now.

 

THE BEAUTY OF THE COMMON THISTLE.

The other day Ed Knepley in his terrific blog ‘Photography Improvement’ showed a photo from his collection of what he described as ‘The Common Thistle.’

Here in The Land Down Under their common name is ‘Scotch Thistle’  because  they were introduced here by early settlers who hailed from Scotland.

Like many Aussies I’ve Scottish ancestry and the Scotch Thistle has a special place in my heart, or should I say, on my right leg.

That’s right I proudly display a tattoo on my calf of a Scotch Thistle SWMBO found growing wild near our place about twenty years ago. She picked it of course and directed me to have a tattoo created from it.

The tattooists made a realistic image of the real thing and did a good job as the ink has hardly faded even though I wear shorts most year round.

Here’s an iPhone selfie of the thistle taken just a few minutes ago. Sorry that it’s not up to Ed’s great standard.

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Hoo roo for now.

BORED STIFF AND LOOKING FOR REVITALISATION? JOIN THE U3A!

A few years ago, SWMBO joined the local branch of the U3A. ‘What on earth is the U3A,’ I asked. SWMBO replied, ‘You are always mucking around with Google, find out for yourself!’  Short, ‘sweet’ and to the point, as usual.

A quick visit to Mr Google informed me that the U3A ( University of the Third Age) was formed in Toulouse, France in 1972, spread to the UK in 1982 and arrived here in Melbourne, Australia  in 1984 and then spreading like wildfire across the country.

A further search led me to the U3A’s web site and an indepth explanation of what the U3A is all about. To quote from their blurb:

‘The University of the  Third Age (U3A) movement is an unique and exciting organisation which provides, through its U3As life enhancing and life changing opportunities.

Retired and semi retired people come together and learn together, not for qualifications but for its own reward, the sheer joy of discovery.

Members share their skills and life experiences: the  learners teach and the teachers learn, and there is no distinction between them.

The U3A movement is supported by its national organisation, The Third Age Trust.’

Now I’m no spring chicken but the thought of getting involved with a mob of oldies learning from each other was an absolute turn off and I decided there and then that SWMBO could have the U3A entirely for herself.

Then, early last year SWMBO enticed me to go with her on an U3A bus trip exploring the homes of some of Australia’s original British settlers.

It was a revelation for me. The people were great, the organisation of the trip was first class, the day passed by at great speed and I thouroughly enjoyed myself.

As a result I joined our local U3A, go on many of their escapades and twice a week participate in a walking for health program. In addition to that, twice a month I go to an U3A  Photography Group where we have fun with our cameras and camera phones, swap photography information and learn from each other.

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SOME U3A PHOTOGRAPHERS IN DISCUSSION MODE.
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U3A PHOTOGRAPHERS AT THE START OF A FIELD TRIP.

It’s quite amazing how great it is to mix with people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who are happy to share their stories, information about various subjects and are happy to sensibly discuss differing views without getting bitter and twisted as is so often the case.

I could go on and on about the benefits of being a member of U3A and list the many, many courses and programs that area available to members. However I know that if you are interested you too will visit Mr Google, look for your nearest U3A and see what they have to offer. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Hoo roo for now.

 

 

 

TWO WHEELS OR NOT TWO WHEELS? THAT IS THE QUESTION!

I’ve just finished reading Hogrider Dookes’ latest blog where he outlines a dilemma facing his best mate, Mr G.

Mr. G is recovering from serious injuries received when he was hit by a moror vehicle whilst riding his beloved motorcycle.

During Mr G’s early recovery phase apparently he gave serious consideration to abandoning two wheel and turning to sports cars as an alternative. However, as his recovery accelerates his thoughts have returned positively to the world of two wheels. So much so that recently Dookes accompanied him to a local motorbike dealer where Mr G test sat bike after bike. His dilemma, what brand, size and style will suit him best when the time comes to venture back on the road astride a motor cycle.

Reading  of Mr G’s dilemma reminded me that he is not alone in facing these decisions.

On my 6oth birthday down in the pub,  I recall a much older mate saying to me,’ Getting old isn’t for sissies!’ Seemed a rather inane thing to say and we all laughed.

Seventeen years have passed since then and my old mate is now in motor cyclists’ heaven. However, I no longer think that his comment all those years ago was far from the mark.

This brings me Mr G’s dilemma. I’ve been down a similar path, not through injury.

Harley Davidsons have been part of my life for more years than I care to remember and I’ve enough Harley T Shirts to start my own retail clothing store, not to mention Harley boots, Harley caps, Harley helmets, Harley gloves, Harley spare parts, Harley oils and Harley cleaning gear etc.  The list goes on and on.

Here is my current pride and joy, a 2014 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail Classic.

Heritage with a bit more bling_0603_0001 copyThe unfortunate part of my yarn is that this beautiful piece of modern motorcycle art spends almost all of its time in the shed attached to a battery charger and not out on the open road, attached to my bum.

The reason is quite simple.

In 2014 I was diagnosed with cancer. Underwent radical surgery, all went well and I’m now in remision. A cancer diagnosis brings you back to reality with a thud I can tell you.

Since then I’ve been through numerous minor surgical procedures, not life threatening but scary never the less.

The funny thing is that almost every medico I’ve seen in recent years has suggested, quite bluntly, that the place for the Harley is on the market, not on the road with me in the saddle.

As a result, my desire to ride waxes and wanes on a daly basis and I decline, politely of course, invitatiions to go riding with my mates. The desire seems to be discipating ever so gradually.

Now a month or so back I finally decided that the Harley had to go and its replacement was to be a Mazda MX5 sports car. Red of course. What a dream. Crashed to earth heavily when in the showroom SWMBO and I discovered to our horror that we couldn’t fit in the bloody thing.

Back to the drawing board. Two wheels are back in with a vengence.

Since that day I’ve been to every motor cycle dealer within cooee and I’ve kicked every tyre imaginable looking for a motor bike that weighs in under 327 kilos(732.48 lbs) unladen, fits my body shape and is kind to two bung knees.

The result has been in the negative without exception.

That brings me back to the dilemma I share with Mr G. Two wheels or not two wheels? That is the question. Apologies to The Bard of course.

 

Hoo roo for now.

 

 

 

 

JOIN A CAMERA CLUB AND HAVE FUN.

Apart from a short break here and there, I’ve been a member of a couple of camera clubs for over 15 years and I’ve been a visitor to more clubs than I can count.

Camera clubs vary widely in their approach to photography. Some take the ‘hobby’ very seriously indeed  whilst others have a more ‘relaxed’ attitude.

However, all clubs have one thing in common and that is a monthly competition. To that end, the club’s management committee select a monthly subject to fit within a particular photographic genre, for example, Monochrome, Landscape, Open( where anything goes), Portrait, Abstract, Creative or Set Subject.

It’s accepted practise that clubs arrange for a photographic judge accredited by the State Camera Club Association to attend the competitions and judge the entries. However, in country areas this is not always possible as there is generally an attendance fee, accommodation and travel expenses associated with having a qualified judge from out of town. Additionally not too many judges are prepared to leave the metropolitan area. It goes without saying that local accredited judges are rare on the ground.

The end result is that many country competitions are judged by painters, sculptors, general artists and people whose occupation is in the field of the arts generally, for example, local art galleries, museums, TAFE institutions and Universities.

There is a major benefit in not using judges from outside the general field of photography. The most significant benefit is that they are not tangled up with the so called rules of photography that theoretically determine what makes a great photograph.

For example, one painter often asked to judge inverts every image on display before commencing her judging. Her rationale is that by doing so she can more easily evaluate the photographers’ understanding of composition.

Often straight horizons, the rule of thirds, balanced lighting and tonal ranges are ignored and as a result, award winners  are chosen on their artistic merit and not on their pure technical excelence. That certainly is a positive for club competitions.

In all my years around the clubs, I’ve rarely heard any disparaging remarks about non technical judging. I can’t say the same about the so called professional judges.

That brings me back to the ‘relaxed’ attitude of some clubs. That doesn’t mean that their members aren’t ‘professional’ in their approach to the photographic craft, far from it. It means that all who exhibit in the monthly competitions are on an equal footing.

My local camera club falls comfortably into the ‘relaxed’ attitude category.  However, every photographer in the club  produces top quality images that would easily equal any work exhibitied at the more ‘serious’ clubs.

These days, exhibited digital images are either projected onto a screen or printed, matted and hung for display. It’s rare for traditional wet darkroom prints to be exhibited as a two year limit from the date the image was made is strictly applied.

As I pointed out in the header, joining your local camera club can be a lot of fun and provides a great opportunity to improve your photography skills.

 

CATS AT REST AND PLAY.

Over the last few weeks I’ve ready quite a number of great blogs where the writers have related the fun and pleasure provided by their cat or cats.  The supporting images are great too and one wonders how anyone could dislike our feline friends.

Casa Creakingbones is home to two cats, Tom and Ginger, both of whom have been the subject of previous blogs.

Ginger is, as the name implies, a ginger cat. He adopted our place as his home a couple of years ago, firstly by sneaking in through the cat flap, pinching Tom’s food and retiring to the garage to sleep on the back seat of our Land Rover.

Eventually, after the vet had cleared him of any disease and given him the appropriate inoculations he became a permanent and welcome household resident.

Like all cats, Ginger sussed out all of the good inside spots to have a bit of a rest, particularly on sun drenched chairs.  He snores loudly when lying on his back, his favourite sleeping position. This is a typical pose:

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TALK ABOUT Mr COOL.

He’s now developed a sixth sense which alerts him to whenever SWMBO sits in her favourite chair to either knit, read the paper or watch TV.

Does he sit on her lap as does Tom, enjoy a bit of a cuddle and then roll up purring.

Oh no, not Ginger. Like a flash he leaps onto the chair, climbs to the top of the backrest and immediately begins to click SWMBO’s hair. It’s become such a regular occurrence now that SWMBO accepts it as the norm and lets him have his way with her.

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TASTES PRETTY GOOD

 

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THAT’S ENOUGH FOR NOW
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JUST A QUICK READ ON THE WAY DOWN.

The whole process takes about four or five minutes before Ginger has had enough and returns to one of his rest up spots.

Fortunately he doesn’t find the crown of my head in the least bit appealing, probably because it’s devoid of hair. Them’s the breaks. I must confess that I don’t feel the least bit jealous of his attraction to SWMBO’s hair.

Hoo roo for now