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Mogs Travels: August 2008

Mogs Travels

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ben Nevis Charity Climb

Here's a quick plug for our friends Crafty & Confits who climbed Ben Nevis last weekend. They did it to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care and have written a blog of their trip here. Do have a look at it and you can continue to sponsor them on the Justgiving website ( details on their blog) until November. They made a very impressive effort considering that mountain climbing is not their natural habitat & for a very worthwhile cause

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Odd Couple

The GS's aren't our only bikes. Yesterday we took the other two out for a days ride. Unlike the BMW's they're a rather mismatched pair as I ride a Blade and LB a Harley Davidson Low Rider. Sometimes we ride together and sometimes I zoom off and either wait for him or get the order in at the next tea stop.

First stop was the delightful Old Station at Erwood. This is a small cafe and craft shop at the disused station on the B4567. We sat on the platform with only the sound of birds for company while enjoying our tea and bara brith. From here it was a short distance to one of our favourite roads,the A481, a minor A road from Builth to the A44 and then through the incredible A44 hairpin bends. Next was the A488 to Knighton which we followed only to Bleddfa for a great lunch at the 100 (mph) House Inn.

This is a pub we can highly recommend. Their open sandwiches cost a fiver and are a full meal. Don't expect any "light bites" here. With enough sustenance on board we headed south to Llandovery, over the mountain

to the Swansea Valley and then via my parents & LB's cousin in Porthcawl to home. It was 185 mile round trip and a full day's enjoyment!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

School Enrolment & Winter Plans

Having wandered around Europe and Wales for most of the summer we're now planning to settle down a bit over winter. We have actually got three breaks planned between now and next Easter but we will be spending most of our time at home. As well as keeping my right hand in trim on the bike and the rest of me fit thanks to TB's instruction, I want to keep my mind busy. I have therefore booked LB and myself into a weekly photography class. Hopefully you will notice better quality photo on here in due course. Together with two girlfriends I've also enrolled on a bike repair and maintenance course. This should give me the confidence to do a bit more work myself on the bike and to understand its workings a bit better! I'm also resuming my riding lessons so am going to be busy, particularly as it's all taking place on Wednesdays and Thursdays!

We're off, on the bikes, to Magny Cours for the final round of WSB shortly and in November are taking Mother-in-law away for some winter sun by the Red Sea. I am really revelling in having time to do stuff like this. I just have to be careful not to take on too much!



Sunday, August 24, 2008

What's that up there then?

It was good to get back on the bikes again this weekend. We brought some friends to stay at the caravan. Had a nice run down yesterday but had to take advantage of the dry weather with another rideout today. We braved the Bank Holiday traffic around the coast then headed inland and as it's Sunday, went to church. Nevern Church is famed for its superb celtic cross and stones inscribe with the rare old celtic Ogham script. Paul was obviously receiving inspiration from on high while there while LB remains unimpressed. Had a fast run back over the Preseli Mountains on the B4329. It's a good road apart from a few sheep on the top. Back at the van now with BBQ alight and several more friends due to call around for a drink later. Shhould be a good night!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008


LB & I have the runs! I was sick too! We're not too bad but since Monday morning have been feeling rather washed out with decidedly unsettled tummies. Have spent our time lolling around the house, watching the Olympics and planning next years big bike trip, in between trips to the loo. You will be pleased to know that today I do not intend posting relevant photos! Hope it's settled by Friday as we're planning to go away for the Bank Holiday weekend. Hopefully we're off to the caravan on the bikes with some friends to enjoy the, forecast, brief interlude of dry weather!



Sunday, August 17, 2008

F800Riders.Org Meet

Met up with members of the F800Riders forum at Oundle, Northants yesterday for a rideout and lunch. About 15 bike turned up, mostly F800S & ST's but also 2 650 GS's ( which are F800's anyway despite the name, 2 1200 GS's and a Honda Deauville. It was a fairly short ride to Grafton Water through nice rural twisty small roads. No-one got lost and we only had to do one U-turn so congratulations to our leader Skid! Didn't manage to speak to everyone but managed to put a few faces to the names on the forum. In all it was a lovely sociable day with an interesting bunch of bikers. Just before we left we were joined by Mr Anglia Water Man. I'm not quite sure what he was up to but he kindly posed for a photo with us.

Having set off in the morning at 7.30 and spent over 3 hours on the motorway we decided to stay overnight so that we could enjoy a scenic ride home on nice roads today. With all the bad weather this summer we've got to make the most of all the riding we can get! We set the zumo to avoid autoroutes and highways (!!) then followed it. We had a pleasant though sometimes circuitous route through Oxfordhire and the Cotswolds, luckily avoiding the rain showers. It was so good to get back on the bikes this weekend and have a decent run. Let's hope the weather improves again next weekend as we're taking some biking friends to Pembrokeshire for the bank holiday & would so like to take the bikes not the car.


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Friday, August 15, 2008

Welsh Tossers

Have just got back from a very pleasant evening with some of the local members of the UKGSer's forum which we've previously mentioned. The forum itself is a mine of useful information but more importantly they're a great bunch of people. We're gradually getting to know the South Wales members through the monthly pub meets, as well as the odd camping weekend. Tonight's get together was at the Old Barn Inn, Pantlasau, Swansea and about 18 people turned up for a natter and a meal. In recent years we have met a load of bikers via the internet and they have all turned out to be good dependable friends. As we were leaving tonight a part of LB's visor fitting came off. We couldn't find it so had to gaffer tape his visor to his lid. Everyone passing us as they left the pub checked we were ok before going on. I just love the camaraderie that always seems to go with biking & bikers!


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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Garden makeover - nearly there!

In fact it would have been finished if it hadn't been for the weather. It's rained nearly every day since the work was started. Last Saturday while I was cowering in the caravan, waiting out the near tropical downpour, the turf was delivered. It needed to be laid within 2 days to stay at its best so they just had to get on with it - talk about drowned rats! They were sodden! Anyway it's looking good; the photo was taken between the showers, on Sunday.

There's a slight hiatus in the work for a couple of days while we await new supplies. The pergola and path need finishing and there's still a fair amount of planting to be done. An ugly corner at the side of the house is going to be boxed in and the remaining brambles, ivy & bindweed along our side fence will be blitzed into oblivion by some ultra powerful weedkiller when we have 24 dry hours. Finally we want a wooden gate and panelling fitted across the side of the house. LB & I went looking for gates yesterday but couldn't find one locally. We'll have to look further afield.

Nothings happening on the biking front. It's been too wet. We've provisionally arranged to meet up with some other riders from the F800 forum on Saturday but with heavy rain predicted we will probably back out. I suppose it's too soon to head back south again, we've only been home a few days! My biking feet are definitely getting itchy again!


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Saturday, August 9, 2008


A quick post script - as well as tidying up the caravan today, I've tidied up the blog labels. I haven't deleted any but have added some to clarify the major areas of our blog. Posts from home, the caravan and holidays are all now labeled as well as blog amendments. If you now wish to look at any particular type of post scroll down to labels and the broad categories are there.



Wet Wales

Well, it wasn't just wet, we had a met office weather warning today for Wales! Today is going home day but I'm still at the caravan. LB took M-i-L home in the car this morning while I cleaned the van, stripped the beds, did the washing etc. The plan was for me to follow on on the bike but I've decided to wait till tomorrow. I don't mind riding in the rain if I have to but it seems foolish when it's unnecessary. So I'll be up early and on my way while the roads are empty.

As I've been posting from the caravan for a couple of weeks here's some photos of the inside, including me blogging! I've managed to avoid photographing the clothes airer, in the corner of the lounge, which isn't a pretty sight! It's a nice bright & homely van with lovely views over the top of the rest of the caravan site to the fields and woods on the hillside opposite. This evening the view is shrouded in mist and driving rain so no photos of that just yet.


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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Book reviews

As you may have gathered we're having indifferent weather & a fairly quiet time at the moment so I thought I'd review a couple of books that I've read in the past few weeks. They're both about travel in Africa so writing about them is going to be a bit like answering a "compare & contrast" question whilst doing English O level! Also I've not attempted this since the aforesaid English O level 40 years ago so don't expect brilliant literary criticism! Anyway, here goes.

Red Tape and White Knuckles - Lois Pryce

Lois Pryce's first book was the pithily named Lois on the Loose describing her solo motorcycle trip from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. This, her second book, might not have such a catchy title but is better written whilst maintaining an easy reading style. It is a humourous, simple chronological description of her travels, her companions en route and the countries she rides through. Contact with local people is generally rather brief and superficial but raises interesting questions regarding the role of women. At several points in her journey she was told that women couldn't ride bikes across country, not that they weren't allowed to but couldn't, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary. The political situation in some of the countries she passes through also causes her difficulties although again she does not discuss the underlying problems in any detail. Despite this it is an enjoyable read.

I find this epic journey even more impressive having met Lois personally. She has been giving talks on her travels at various places around the country & I met her when was at Bedwas Rugby Club, some months ago, promoting the book. She's in her 30's, smaller than me and is a very nice normal girl. I don't know what an adventurer should look like but you'd never guess her capabilities just by looking at her! This is a very enjoyable travel book which will be of particular interest to other bikers. Take a look at her website here.

Blood River - Tim Butcher

This book also has its own website Blood River
The country Lois most feared and took the quickest route through was the Democratic Republic of Congo. Tim Butcher traveled the length of this, arguably, the most dangerous country in Africa. He had long had a desire to follow in the footsteps of Stanley who, some time after discovering Livingstone, set out to follow the course of the Congo River from Lake Tanganyika in the east to the Atlantic Ocean. This very thought provoking book recounts the tale of Butcher's journey, intermixed with Stanley's. The two epic trips form the basis of a discussion of the political problems arising from the brutality and inequality introduced by colonialism, both in the world in general and in Africa and the Congo in particular. The success of the journeys, despite the danger and hardship, contrasts with the despair at the chaos of the political situation. This book could not be classed as an easy read but once started is hard to put down. You will leave it with an immense admiration for Tim Butchers dogged determination to follow the route of the river, together with an understanding of the complex, corrupt politics of the country.


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Wednesday, August 6, 2008


No not a woolly, the town! It was another dull rainy day today so the original plan was a trip to the lovely little church at Nevern. Unfortunately we picked the day of the Nevern Show which was surprisingly large for a little village. As we had mother-in-law with us, who's in her eighties, parking miles away and tramping around a muddy field wasn't an option so we continued on to Cardigan.

Haven't been there for years but it was a nice little town with plenty of boats on the estuary. Had a good cheap & filling lunch in a cafe then wandered around the shops. LB bought some shorts and M-i-L a new jacket. More importantly we found a lovely Spanish/French/Welsh delicatessen (honest!) , in the old market hall. The selection of cheeses, meat and olives should make an interesting cold meal tonight, to be washed down with a good bottle of Rioja.


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Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The sky was wrong! Full marks to the BBC!


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Monday, August 4, 2008

Fishing at Sunset

LB and the boys, armed with assorted doomed worms wandered down the beach this evening for a spot of shore fishing. They always set off with high hopes although personally I never expect a fish supper! I am usually regaled with tales of big "knocks" and the ones that got away but tonight they were more successful. The ragworm and lugworm proved their worth as several bass and a flounder were caught. The fish were all a bit on the small side so lived to tell the tale. I joined them for half an hour, to watch and take some photos. It's very peaceful on the beach in the evening.

Red sky at night.............. or BBC weather? Which to believe? This is the sunset while the lads were fishing, BBC says rain tomorrow. Let's hope old weather lore is the more accurate!


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Friday, August 1, 2008

A Night at the Movies

If you have been so bored with life that you have looked here before, you will know we are holidaying with our grown up sons in Pembrokeshire. Surprisingly the weather up until now has been excellent, however in the past couple of days it has let us down and we have had heavy rain. We decided to visit the local cinema last night, and after a vote surprisingly Wall E won over the new Batman film, The Dark Knight.
We were surprised to have to queue at the door to get in, and were lucky to get 2 pairs of seats.
Any disappointment at the choice of film was dispelled within moments of the start of the support cartoon, and the main film was superb. It worked on so many different levels that children of all ages, adults included, will be able to enjoy it. Perhaps 13-14 year olds may be too old to enjoy the cartoon when seen at face value as a love affair between robots, and too young to appreciate the critique of so many of the aspects of modern life that we have come to accept. The messages about pollution and destroying the environment were fairly easy to grasp, as was the increasing obesity of the captains and passengers of the space ship Axiom. Less easy to understand might have been the increasing isolation of individuals when life is viewed solely through a personal computer screen.
For me the film worked on so many levels that I'm still thinking about them this morning, but most importantly I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would have no hesitation in recommending it as great entertainment for all. LB