Trance-Elbow's photos More of Trance-Elbow's photos

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Weird and Obscure Laws

This was sent in by my Wifes brother-in-law. Thank you Colin, keep them coming.

Weird and Obscure American Laws

British Laws

The British law is not much better either.

Strange Laws of the UK


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Aarrgghh!! Stop the World, I want to get off: Animal Rights Activists. Are they losing the plot?

Aarrgghh!! Stop the World, I want to get off: Animal Rights Activists. Are they losing the plot?

I found this blog while randomly surfing tonight.

Having read a story last week about a Scientist who had his career, home, multiple cars and his family wreaked by these people, I considered writing a similar article. However, like many things I keep meaning to do, I never quite got round to it. This blog says it all for me.

About time real people fought back in the name of common sense I say.


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Tuesday, 30 May 2006

Bank Holiday Ride-Out (Read “Wash-Out”)

This September Paul and I will be doing our first biking tour. It will be our last if our Wives have anything to do with it. We are being extra adventurous by going all the way to the Lake District. Somehow I don’t think Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman would be very impressed by this trip. However, it’s a big deal for us as I’ve only been biking for 3.5 years and Paul about 2.

Every public holiday Paul and I try to go for a half day ride out. Our rides usually start at about 7am, provided I can get out of bed in time that is, and we are usually home for lunch. We usually cover somewhere between 100 & 150 miles, with a breakfast stop somewhere along the way. We tend to only make a basic plan of where we are going and just see where the mood takes us. It goes without saying that weather forecasts are also checked. Yesterdays ride was no exception and the weather seemed favourable when we checked on Sunday night.

In preparation for our September adventure Paul has invested in some new luggage and I have bought a couple of PMR radios. One of the purposes of this weekends ride out was Pauls chance to see how his new panniers fitted and what effect they would have on his bike. For ballast he’d raided the laundry basket and filled them with dirty washing. I found out later that his wife knew nothing of this. I’m not quite so organised and have yet to get my panniers. Although I do already have a large tank bag and tail pack.

Our plan yesterday was to head east, turn left at East Grinstead and then south to a mobile ‘Greasy Spoon’ in a lay-by near Uckfield that we found Easter last year. They do a mean bacon & sausage stick and nice tea. From there we would travel west on the A272 as far as time allowed and then north back home.

Come Monday morning the skies were grey and threatening, so I decided wet weather gear, as opposed to ventilated leathers, were the order of the day. Just in case you understand.

We had traveled just 9 miles east and the heavens opened, BIG TIME! At which point Paul said over the radio, “Guess who forgot his waterproofs?”. We pulled into a petrol station so he could to fit his panniers with rain covers. After a brief chat we decided that our trip was supposed to be for pleasure and the roads were getting very slippery. We decided that it wasn’t worth carrying on in such inclement weather and we hatched a new plan to take a different route home.

Back on the road again the weather suddenly improved so we carried on past our planned turning so as to try and salvage something from our trip. Unable to find a much needed hot drink, we took a chocolate break at a news agent in Reigate. While stopped there the heavens opened once more. Note to self – Don’t stop where there is no where to shelter!

We were back home by 11am, having only covered about 36 miles. Much hot tea was drunk by all concerned.

I think we will have to have a full dress rehearsal over the August Bank Holiday just to check we haven’t got too much unnecessary kit with us.


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Sunday, 28 May 2006

Wild Sunday at British Wildlife Centre

Originally uploaded by Trance-Elbow.

Last year, while researching more interesting bike rides home from work, I came across the British Wildlife Centre on the A22 between Blindley Heath and the Mormon Temple roundabout in Lindfield Surrey.

Today we finally visited to see what interesting animals live there and we were not disappointed. In residance they have,

Red Squirrels
Scottish Wild Cats
Various Types of Deer
Bird of Prey

I could go on all day as there was so much to see and learn.

At various times of day the keepers run very informative talks on the various animals there. On our arrival we made striaght to the Red Squirrel enclosure for the 11 O'clock talk.

The keeper entered the Squirrel enclosure and woke them up so we could meet these shy creatures. For me this was a real treat as I've never seen one before. The thing that really concerns me is that they are expected to be extinct in main land Britian within 25 years and there's nothing we can do to stop this.

There are a number of reasons for their decline. The Grey Squirrel was introduced to the UK 150 years ago and being American they act as if they own the place. The Greys have forced the Reds out of their homes and also carry a virus that is deadly to the Reds. The only places which the Red Squirrels are safe from these immigrants is Brownsea Island, off the Dorset coast, and the Isle of Wight. Lets hope the Greys never workout how to buy ferry tickets!

As I'm sure many of you are aware, I'm a bit of a cat fan. Today I came face to face with a Scottish Wild Cat. They are very similar to our domestic Tabbies, but far more aggresive. I'd set myself up to take some great shots of it having a drink, but the cat seemed more interested in coming over to see what I was doing. Just as I was ready for that amazing full face shot, it decided I wasn't worth looking at and promtly wandered off in the opposite direction. All I got was a shot of its bum. I did however manage to get a couple of other shots of the cat having a wash. I thought our cat got into some silly positions while cleaning until I saw the Wild Cats version.

Other Things I Learnt Today - Badgers are huge, Magpies can talk and how many different types of rodents there are.

If you are interested in British Wild Animals it's worth a visit. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to get round and if you go early you can take better pictures as there aren't so many people about to distrub the animals. Don't forget the Keepers talks. They are worth the waiting around.

Photos I took Today


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Friday, 26 May 2006

Randomness with Enthusiasm

Randomness with Enthusiasm

A strange blog, but it kept me amused for a while.


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Recent News Stories I've Found Amusing

Guy Goma was waiting in the BBC Television Centre reception area to be interviewed for an IT assistants position, when he was collected and shown to a studio. Once in the studio he was wiring for sound and interviewed on live on BBC News 24 about on a subject he knew nothing about. The interviewer continued to ask to bemused IT candidate question, which he couldn’t answer.

The expert that they should have been interviewing live on air was still waiting in reception.

I've not been able to find out whether Guy eventually managed to have his job interview and was offer the position or not.

Full Story - BBC News 'wrong Guy' is revealed

In Scotland a church Minister was caught short during a service. He ducked out briefly to visit the loo, only to be greeted by many horrified looks from his congregation upon his return.

Unfortunately he had forgotten to turn his radio mic off during his ablutions.
Full Story - Minister's microphone causes a wee splash at church

Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Wednesday, 24 May 2006

If You Go Down To The Woods Today………Part 2

On Sunday I reported that a bear had been seen in the Bavarian Alps in Germany. At the time it was welcomed to the region by Government Officials and Environmentalists alike.

Original Post - If You Go Down To The Woods Today………(Monday 22nd May)

However, the bear got hungry and ate seven sheep. Now the same Government Official has told hunters to go out and shoot it, much to the Environmentalists disgust.

Fortunately the poor misunderstood bear has gone back to Austria to get away from those nasty German hunters. Quite frankly I don’t blame it. I thought it was only Americans that went round shooting animals for the sake of it.

BBC News Pages,


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Tuesday, 23 May 2006

The Peugeot Boat Sails Once More

Related posts
A very nice chap by the name of Barry visited us and our paralysed car today. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, he was able to gain access to the left-hand side rear brake drum.

It would appear that the cause of our troubles was that the brake lining had parted company with one of the shoes and become wedged fast against the drum. Thus no rotation.

For some inexplicable reason Peugeot saw fit to design their cars with several different braking systems, even within the same model range. When I rang my favoured motor spares company they told me there are five possible sets of rear brake shoes for it. Even the local Peugeot main dealer could only narrow it down to two types and that was after quizzing me about her registration number, chassis number and inside leg measurement. If Peugeot don’t know which ones will fit, what hope is there for us mere mortals?

Barry’s solution to this was to buy four sets (the fifth was out of stock) and return all the ones which didn’t fit. Sod's Law was shining on us today, as it wasn’t set number five that we needed.

We are once again mobile, for now at least. Barry spotted another problem which will require attention fairly soon. At least I should be able to undo the retaining nut myself next time. I hope.

If you are in the West Sussex area and need a good mechanic, you could do worse than give Barry a call. His details are,

Barry Pickersgill – The Car Medic
Phone - 07795 997607 or 01273 832265


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Monday, 22 May 2006

If You Go Down To The Woods Today………..

A bear has been spotted roaming in the Bavarian Alps, Germany. It is the first time in 170 years that bears have been seen there. The last one was shot in 1835.

The German authorities have welcomed its arrival and believe it is an Austrian immigrant, which crossed the border un-challenged. However, local farmers are not so keen as it has a healthy appetite for Sheep.

Read the full story here - Germany welcomes wild bear return

In a statement just released, Tony Blair has said that as we do not have a National ID Card scheme here, it would be difficult to stop it entering the UK hidden inside a lorry.


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Sunday, 21 May 2006

How Much Worse Can Television Become?

This week the quality of television programmes has once again reached the bottom of the Gene Pool. For the next 13 weeks we will be assaulted by that televisual abomination that is Big Brother.

As you have probably gathered by the above statement I'm not too keen on the programme. Why on Earth would I choose to spend my evenings watching a group of intellectually challenged social misfits around talking absolute b****cks?

The problem is that my Wife enjoys this sort of rubbish, so if I want to watch anything on TV for the next 3 months I'll either have to record it or skulk off to the bedroom.

How is this sort of crap allowed? Where are the taste Police when you need them?

Rant over - I wouldn't dignify this subject with anymore comment. It doesn't deserve the attention.


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Friday, 19 May 2006

74 Year Old Man Jailed Over Council Tax

This is an outrageous story of an elderly Man from Dover, Kent who couldn't pay his Council Tax bill.

Basically this 74 year old man was unable to pay all his Council Tax and was summoned to court. He believed that he owed the council £120 and was paying accordingly. However, because of his age the man had been confused over the amount, which was actually over £900.

The courts reaction to this confused Senior Citizens mistake was not to help him sort out his problems in a socially responsible matter. Quite the opposite, they gaoled him for 23 days, despite his heart condition and mobility problems.

What wonderful legal system we have.....NOT!!!!

The thing that really annoys me about this, and hundreds of similar cases, is that many retired people's income is well below that of their compulsory outgoings. My Father-in-Law is also in this money trap. He is registered disabled with a very low income, which doesn't actually cover his rent and council tax. How is he supposed to buy food, electricity, etc. ?

Why can't the Government see that these people just cannot manage with such high council tax bills? Isn't it about time that Gordon & Tony started to look at the real world where us voters live!

I am NOT saying that none of us should pay our taxes. The problem here is that the levels set do not take the individuals income into account. For those on low wages the council tax is a significant proportion of their income. Where as higher earners hardly notice the impact it has on their pockets. The balance is all wrong!



Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Thursday, 18 May 2006

Blogs I've Found Interesting

Here are a few blogs that I've stumble across. You can make up your own mind whether they are worth looking at.



Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Wednesday, 17 May 2006

French Design Triumphs Over British Ingenuity

Our Car - Rear
Originally uploaded by Trance-Elbow.

Deep Joy! Our Peugeot Boat has developed yet another fault exactly 1 week after passing its MOT.

This weeks fault sponsored by 'Peugeot', is the complete seizure of the left hand rear brake drum.

My Wife was driving the Boat when she heard a loud bang/ping noise coming from the back of the car, which was followed by a very sudden stop. This all happened in the middle of the road 20 yards from our house. It took her and a friend one and a half hours to get the car to the kerb. I can only imagine the traffic chaos which ensued during this time.

The exact cause of the seizure is yet unknown as I cannot get the offending drum off. This is not due to the original fault, but the stupid way that the hub is secured. What was wrong with split-pins that you could undo with ease? Only the French would think that using a very soft 32mm nut with an edge that folds into a slot in the stub axle was a good idea! It might have been a great idea when the car was new, but how the hell do you get it undone 9 years on?

I think I'll have to call in the cavalry for this one as all my attempts are just damaging the afore mentioned soft nut. I can imagine the phone call now.

"Is that the mechanic? Please come round and empty my wallet as my Peugeot's broken AGAIN!!!!"

Such is life 8-(

My gut feeling tells me that the probable cause is a broken brake shoe retaining spring. This would mean that the shoes would be pressing against the inside of the drum, stopping it rotating. Until I can get in there this will remain a guess.



Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Sunday, 14 May 2006

I've Got Musical DNA

Early Me
Originally uploaded by Trance-Elbow.

I come from a very musical family, in fact my parents met while members of an Amateur Opera society. My father joined an Army band while doing his National Service and went on to both play and conduct in various Brass Bands. Until late last year he played French horn in the Crawley Millennium Concert Band.

When I was about 10 years old I joined the Copthorne & District Silver Band, my Dad was band master at that time. I played the E flat horn for a while but never really got into it and soon left.

In about 1989 I bought a Commodore Amiga mainly for games. I soon discovered a tracker program called MED and have been using it in it's various guises ever since. You can find more about Med on the MED Soundstudio page.

The music I write is mainly Electronic as I'm a big fan of the 1980's Electronic sound. However, I have written some rock and classical material. If I ever get the new version of my website finished, I'll put some of my tunes on and post a link here. You have been warned 8-)

My current favourite musical style is Trance as I enjoy the high energy sound and the feeling of euphoria you get when dancing with thousands of like minded souls in a club. There's nothing to beat it. In 2000 I went to Ibiza and enjoyed the whole experience. The sights, weather and sounds of the 'White Isle' are magical & intoxicating. I could have stayed forever ! I'd like to return sometime, preferably before I get too old. If you go there and plan to go clubbing, make sure you take plenty of money as club entrance fees and drinks inside are steep. For instance, I paid £35 to get in and £4 for a 300ml bottle of water. By now it's probably much more expensive.



Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Friday, 12 May 2006

A Thought for a Sunny Friday

As I was disrobing from my leathers after arriving at work this morning, I the following question entered my mind.

  • If cows rode motorbikes, what would they wear for protection?
My reasoning behind the question is that we homo sapiens use cow skin to make our protective biking gear. What would cows use? Human skin wouldn’t be any use and I doubt that they’d be inclined to use the skin of their brethren. I think the answer may have to be some kind of Man-Made, or perhaps Cow-Made, fibre garment.

Your thoughts please. Use the ‘comments’ link below.

I shall now return to more down to earth matters. Such as,
  • How much milk shall I have in my tea?
I see a Bovine theme developing. Maybe I’m due a ‘Cow’ of a day?



Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Thursday, 11 May 2006

Our Peugeot Boat Passed It’s MOT


We have a Peugeot 306, which is a really nice car to drive, but suffers quite badly from that legendary French build quality. Bit just keep falling off. In the three years we have owned the car we have had the following faults to deal with.

• The exhaust fell off & the new one is noisey
• Fuel filter fell off
• Rocker cover gasket failure
• One radiator bracket fell off
• Front number plate fell off
• A piece of trim under the left headlight fell off & replacement keeps coming lose
• The clock leaked liquid crystal into the dash board
• The sun roof / light control panel fell off
• Built in swimming pool in the passenger foot well every time it rains (thus the title of this blog entry)
• And this week – Driver side mirror adjuster fell off

Despite all this it actually passed its MOT yesterday. Quite frankly I was amazed.

Why Peugeot Boat?

The car has had a small leaked since we bought it and the reason seems un-solvable. I’ve had the car apart trying to find the cause and was advised by an expert to replace the passenger door seal. That made no noticeable difference.

Last March I had an altercation with the drivers door of a parked Honda Accord. The women driver just opened it as I drove passed. I’ve never seen so much broken glass on a road before. After the headlight, front wing & bumper were replaced, and the side of the car repainted the leak became ten times worse.

The thing that really annoys me is that my insurance company offer a five year guarantee on all work, but the garage that did the repairs has stopped trading and no else will touch it. They say I’ll have to get a quote and get back to them. Like I’ve got the time to do that!

Back to the build quality - A colleague of mine often says,
“There’s the right way to do things, the wrong way to do things and the French way to do things”.
That phrase can easily be applied to all things French.

Your comments and experiences are most welcome. There is a ‘comments’ button at the bottom of this post, please use it as you see fit.



Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Tuesday, 9 May 2006

Playstation 3 Launch Date At Last!

I was never a real fan of games consoles, I could never see the point of a machine just for games. However, when I have used games on my PC I noticed that they never seemed to be as good as when I tried them in the shop on the latest Pentium 500Ghz / 500GB video ram machines. Games also have the effect of messing up your PC.

That lead me to the realisation that actually these games consoles might be a good idea after all. My Wife bought me a PS1 just as the PS2 was released and we still use it now. Trouble is there are no new games on sale for it now. Therefore, do I buy a PS2 or wait for the PS3 to be launched in November this year (a mere year late) ?

While I mull this quandary over, why not check out the new PS3 here - www.playstation.com



Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Our Pampered Puss

I'm a keen amatuer photographer and one of my favourite subjects is our cat, Smudge.

She has lived with us for the past 12 years and mainly sleeps. Only waking to pester us for food, then she returns to sleep.

Oh, to be a pampered puss, what a great life!



Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Monday, 8 May 2006

Fire and Pestilence

My 9 year old Son and I were having a conversation about the origins of nursery rhymes over dinner Sunday evening. I happen to mention that I was in a play, entitled 'Fire and Pestilence', when I was in middle school. It was about the Bubonic Plague which effected London in 1665 and the great fire of 1666.

Two of the songs in the play were in fact adapted from nursery rhymes. These were,

I duly explain to him about the fact that nursery rhymes and folk songs were a way of communicating historical events before the advert of television, etc.

I've had this theory that 'Jack and Jill' might have a connection to a pair of windmills on the South Downs near Ditchling. Therefore I Google'd it to see what turned up. I was of course completely wrong, which is nothing unusual. However, it did lead me to an interesting website which describes this and many other nursery rhymes origins.

If you're interested it's Nursery Rhymes - Lyrics and Origins!




Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Sunday, 7 May 2006

Manufactured Groups - AAARRRGGGGHHH!

Our overly commercialised world seems to breed very poor (in my opinion) manufactured groups of singers. They sing inane songs that have been written by others. Where's the skill in that? If I wanted something manufactured I'd by a new washing machine!

They are generally referred to as Boy/Girl Bands. Correct me if I'm wrong, but as when I went to school a band was a group of musicians who played instruments. Has the dictionary definition of 'Band' changed in the last twenty years? Somehow I doubt it.

My Wife however is a big fan of the group (I refuse to use Band) Westlife and attends their concerts at least twice a year. Next Friday she will be seeing them at the Brighton Centre. She bought three ticket for the concert and had planned to go with her brother and his girl friend. However, she has refused to hand over the tickets as she has not been paid for them. She has decided to go with friend, who is also devoid of any musical taste and asked me if I would like to join them. "I would rather spend the evening with my head down the toilet", was my reply.

If you had no musical taste at all, the third ticket is currently on sale on my eBay account.

It Gets Worse

In the last few years we have also been subjected to a barrage of television talent shows of the Pop X Idol Factor genre. Talent, talent! Don't make me laugh. Those judges wouldn't know talent if they were hit by a bus full of it.

We have these programs to thank for such people as, Gareth Gates and others like him.

These programmes are nothing more than thinly vailed marketing tools aimed at Chavs with single figure IQ's. I wished the Taste Police would banish them for ever.

I do believe that I'm in danger of becoming a 'Grumpy Old Man', at such a young age too.


Click Here to E-Mail Me Direct

Saturday, 6 May 2006

My Bike Gained a New Accessory on Thursday

Having planned a nice long ride to work on Friday morning I found my bike had gained an unwanted accessory during my trip home the previous evening.

I noticed it as I was getting my bike out on Friday morning. No prizes for guessing where it was hiding. That's right, slap-bang in the middle of my rear tyre and it had made quite a mess going in.

It's not the first time this has happened to me and it always seems to happen at the most inconvenient time. Then again, when is a good time for a punture?

In March last year I had two rear tyre destoryed in the same manner within a two week period. I'm convinced I picked them both up in the A23/Coulsdon By-Pass road works. It made me so paranoid (and broke) that I've found a completely different route to & from work. It may be 5 miles further each way, but it's quicker due to the reduced level of traffic.

This time around I wasn't too annoyed as I was aware that my rear tyre needed replacing soon anyway. After a bit of phoning arround I found a company Guildford Tyre Company in Chilworth, Surrey who did me a great deal. Although it was a 60 mile round trip, their prices are far lower than anyone else nearer home and they did it the same day.

Perhaps it was those insects that left the screw on the road?



Thursday, 4 May 2006

Where Did All The Insects Come From?

I'm a motorcyclist, but not the fair weather kind. I ride in sun, rain, wind, snow and whatever else the good Lord cares to throw at me. I was cut up by a Pigeon last week.

I've gone from full winter gear, complete with sexy thermal undies and socks, to my ventilated summer leathers. All this in under a week. Don't you just love the British weather?

Of course I'm not knocking the warmer weather, because I love it. It means more grip, improved visibility and taking the long way home. However, it does bring out all those little insects which seem to enjoy riding along with me. They get everywhere, even in my teeth if you I forget to put my visor down.

Their favourite resting place seems to be on my visor and always in my line of view. More often than not, by the time I get to my destination I can hardly see a thing. Fortunately, all it takes the get them off is a quick soaking with a wet paper towel and a little of elbow grease.

My question is this.

  • If motorbikes are better for the environment than cars. What effect I'm I having on the insect population?



Monday, 1 May 2006

Homelessness - WanderingScribe

Is Homelessness a real word? Answers on a e-postcard please.

On a more serious note, I recently read a news item on www.bbc.co.uk/news that caught my attention. Amongst all the usual detritus that passes for news in this preverse world of ours was a capitivating story of a homeless woman who has been living in her car since last autumn.

Last year she lost her job and couldn't find work, she got herself into debt. Eventually, unable to pay her rent, she packed all her posessions into her car and just drove away.

Since then she has been living in her car in a quiet London street, on the edge of a wood. She is too proud to ask for help and goes to extreme lengths to discise her situation from people around her. She is suffering great discomfort from sleeping in the front seats of her car and is terrified someone will talk to her or offer help. She wants to sort things out on her own.

Her only contact with people is via a blog like this, which she writes in a library while trying to fill her days.

You can find her blog at,


I found it compulsive reading and felt a real sense on sorrow for her and the many others who unwittingly fall into this type of trap.

'There but for the Grace of God go I'

I wish her well for the future.



Where Did My Bank Holidays Go?

My Father-in-Law (Gould Bless Him) has this weekend moved from a two bedroom house into a one bedroom flat. As you may imagine he had far too much stuff to fit in his new flat. As the only family member who can be trusted to drive a van, I became the designated driver for the entire duration of the slimming down operation.

It all started on Good Friday with 4 transit van loads of previously loved stuff delivered to the council tip. On Easter Monday it was another 3 vans full to the tip. That was my Easter break neatly dispensed with.

The following weekend we didn't have the van. Therefore we had to make an untold number of further tip visits, only this time they were by car.

Fast forward to this weekend and the big moving day experience, again with yours truly doing a good impression of the now famous 'White Van Man'.
  • Saturday - furniture delivered and lugged here, there and everywhere.
  • Sunday - Oh Joy, back to the tip another 4 times.
  • Bank Holiday - Clean this, unpack that. I also had the usual 'Can you just put a socket there' and 'While your here, the washing machine needs plumbing'.

Unfortunate I had an early bath on the Saturday. I became so tired due to lack of sleep, too much lugging and no food, that I was unable to complete my White Van Man stint.

Now he's finally in his flat perhaps I can get back to ignoring all the jobs I need to complete at home. There's enough material in that statement to keep me Blogging for weeks.