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since 24/10/2000


Honda CBR929RR 11/01/2003

The Blade

Honda CBR929RR I know its not a 929, but can't seem to get a CBR900 catergory set up. The Blade as it is commonly known by its vast amount of admirers, has to rank as the most awesome bike I’ve ever owned. I acquired mine in the summer (ha ha summer in the UK, whats one of them?) of 2002, it is one of the earlier models, which was manufactured in 1993, it has the twin headlights and not the foxeye lights of the following 1994 models and onwards. Well the Fireblade as it is commonly known first arrived in 1992 (Priced at £7000+ when new, although I only paid £1800 for mine secondhand, well third hand if you really want to know), to a chorus of disbelief, as here was a bike with the outrageous power of a litre class sports bike (126bhp) and a speed of 165mph plus but it weighed only 185kg, this was the same weight as the 600cc sports bikes of the day. Well, back to my bike, it has just over 40,000 miles on the clock. I have done 7,000 of these in all kinds of weathers, and have encountered no mechanical problems to date. I must admit to wearing out two back tyres, (which at £140 ago, puts a dent in your wallet). I have also done 2 oil & filter changes, one when I acquired the bike and another after 5000 miles, but I do this as standard practice with any bike or car I own. These can cost up to £40 a time, but it depends on what brand of oil and filter you use. Other maintenance includes drive chain check and lube, tyre pressure, oil and brake level fluid checks, but ...

Everything that starts with R ... 01/05/2002

Was it really like this

Everything that starts with R ... Was Rainbow really like this??? Up above the streets and houses The sketch opens with Zippy peeling a banana... Zippy: " One skin, two skin, three skin, four " George: " Zippy, where is Bungle?" Zippy: " I think Geoffrey is trying to get him up" We see a view of the door and hear Bungle moaning from behind it. Bungle: " Geoffrey, I can't get it in" Geoffrey: "You managed it last night" Bungle: "I know, lets try it round the Otherway. Ooooooh, I've got it in" Bungle and Geoffrey enter the studio with Bungle carrying a hammer and peg kit Bungle: " Would you stick this on the shelf, George" George: " I can't reach, you'll have to stick it up yourself, Bungle." Geoffrey (to camera) " Hello everyone, today we are talking about playing" Bungle: " Playing with each other, Geoffrey?" Geoffrey:" Yes Bungle, do you have a special friend that you like to play with?" George:" Yesterday we played with each other's balls. Are we going to play with our friend's balls today? Bungle: " Yes, and we can play with our twangers as well." Geoffrey (to camera) Have you seen Bungles twanger? Zippy:" Oh I have, I showed him how to pluck with it." Bungle: " It's my plucking instrument." Geoffrey asks the audience if they can pluck like Bungle Zippy:" I can, I'm the best plucker here." George;" And I'm good at banging. My peg's hard isn't it Zippy? Zippy:" Well of course it is, Your peg wouldn't go in if it was soft." Geoffrey;" ...

Members Advice on Pond Construction 13/04/2002

Dig a hole.

Members Advice on Pond Construction Dig a hole, fill with water and fish, I think not, the art of pond construction lies not in how elaborate a thing you can build, but in how simple a thing you build. Firstly ask yourself what you want from a pond, i:e planted with or without fish and if you want fish what type i:e goldfish, koi or native British species. The most common and pleasing to the eye in my opinion is a planted pond with fish, I recommend you stick to goldfish as these are very colorful and very hardy if a few basic rules are adhered to, i:e the pond must have an 18 inch minimum depth in at least one part of the pool (three foot is better), this ensures the fish survives our winters, and you should stock at no more than 1 inch of fish excluding tail to 24 square inches of surface area, this allows room for healthy growth and stops overcrowding. Goldfish come in many varieties including comets, shbunkins, fantails, orandas and lionheads to name a few, I recommend you stick to the single tailed varieties as these are the hardiest. Koi carp need a specialized pond with the correct size of filter (surface area of at least one-third the size of the pond) to allow these majestic beauties to grow into the two foot monsters you see in aquatic center’s. I tell you this from experience but that’s another story. Back to the pond, first try to locate it in a sunny part of the garden, then decide on shape, ovals and kidney shapes look and work best as water movement is better in the ...

Member Advice on Bird Feeding 10/04/2002

A feather in your cap..

Member Advice on Bird Feeding Firstly, why should we feed wild creatures like birds? Well feeding birds not only helps them to survive the winter, but helps them to be in a nice fit condition, so they can hopefully breed successfully. It also gives us an opportunity to see many birds, which you might only see fleetingly in flight. Do we feed all year? Yes we can, but the most important months to feed are the months between October and April, as this is when the birds natural food supplies are at there least abundant. In winter try to stick to a daily timetable of feeding, the birds will soon learn when food is going to be available, and will eagerly await your appearance with the food. NEVER stop feeding in winter once you have an established pattern, as many birds will have become dependent on the food you put out for them. Nuts,Nuts,Nuts. Some people assume that feeding wild birds means buying a nylon mesh bag full of nuts, and hanging from a suitable place in the garden. Well these are a good source of food for finches and tits, but there are a lot more foods that can be feed to our birdlife. Unsalted cooked rice, potatoes either mashed, baked or roasted. Soaked white or preferably brown bread. The good old half a fresh coconut hung from a suitable place. Plus some fruit like Apples. You can also purchase many ready made seed mixes at your local pet shop or supermarket. What Not To Feed. Any salted food, desiccated coconut or any margarine or vegetable oils. Try to spread food about ...

Oase Am. 10000 1980gph 26/03/2002

Keep on pumping

Oase Am. 10000 1980gph I have owned an Oase (pronounced oh-ah-sir) aquamax 10,000 for 3yrs, and it has been in use everyday, for twenty-four hours a day, without any kind of malfunction. Which is exactly what I require from a pump that is working a gravity fed filter for a pond full of koi carp. This pump is capable of pumping 1980 gallons per hour, although you will lose some of this through friction in the pipes and if you are pumping to a higher point than the pump itself, (this is called head and all pumps suffer from it). It can pass small solids up to 10mm without jamming, which stops snails and other small debris clogging it up. Although not the cheapest (available mail order for approx. £150:00 when I acquired mine) in terms of reliability it has certainly justified it’s price, I have used cheaper pumps on my ponds only to have them fail soon after manufacturers warranty expires (normally one year). The Qase comes with a three-year warranty, 10 meter cable and is rated at 110w which means it not expensive to run. All in all a nice reliable product. UPDATE: 26/03/02 Perhaps not the best op in the world,but I would just like to say this pump is still going strong, which might make it the best pump in the world, credit to oase for a quality product.

Suzuki DR-Z400S 15/03/2002

Get off road

Suzuki DR-Z400S Having a liking to a little off-road riding and needing a set of wheels as the wife is using the car for work, I decided to combine the two and purchase a Suzuki DR-Z 400s, Suzuki’s new Dual sport 4-stroke. I have now had this for two weeks and must say what a pleasure it is to ride, both off and on the road. It is not to heavy at approx. 140kgs with a tank full of fuel. Which means I can still throw it around a bit, and pick it up with ease should I happen to put it down, which I do occasionally, and even though I have put this bike down a few times. I have yet to do any damage to it, proving that it is nice and durable. Now for some technical bits. The engine is a single cylinder 4 stroke that is liquid cooled. It is started via an electric starter, so no more kick starting and decompression levers here. It has a five speed box which typically of all 4-strokes has a good amount of power and torque, which combined with the lightness of this bike makes it exceptionally nimble for a large enduro. Front suspension is by a telescopic oil damped coil spring. Rear suspension is by a link type oil damped coil spring. This actually holds the bike up quite high at 49 inches, but you do get a respectable 12 inches of ground clearance because of this. But it helps if you have a long inside leg. Disc brakes to the front (dual caliper) and rear (single caliper) make stopping easy. Gone is the usual round dial Speedo, replaced by a smart digital Speedo with clock, ...

Hagen Ammonia Test Kit 21/06/2001

Testing Times

Hagen Ammonia Test Kit Testing, testing but for what? Ammonia. Ammonia why would anyone test for that you ask? Well anyone who keeps fish would know, but for those not so lucky to own these little pets, here follows my explanation. Ammonia is produced by fish respiration, and also by the decay of any waste products, be that animal or vegetable. So an excess of dead foliage, uneaten food or fish waste will all produce ammonia. Ammonia is toxic to most aquatic life, and if your aquarium water has a high pH then the ammonia will be even more toxic, levels above 1.2mg/L will cause your fish undue stress, which will lead to them being susceptible to other disease organisms. Understand now? Yes, but how do we test? Ok you need to purchase an ammonia test kit, and you can get these from all good pet and aquatic dealers. There are several brands to choose from, but I’m going to review the Hagen Ammonia Test made by Hagen, which is one of a range of test kits that Hagen produce. Priced at approximately six pounds, this kit is capable of doing fifty tests and is suitable for fresh and saltwater. The kit contains one test tube, one pipette, three bottles of ammonia reagents and these all sit on a little plastic base, which helps to stop you spilling the reagents, also included is the instruction manual which is written in an easy to understand manner. Using the test kit is easy, you take the test tube and fill it to the 5ml mark with tank water, then add the reagents in ...

Netdoctor Alphosyl 2 in 1 Shampoo 15/06/2001

No more snow storms

Netdoctor Alphosyl 2 in 1 Shampoo It’s snowing, it’s snowing, well not really, but that’s what it looked like every time I shook my head. Slight exaggeration there, but any one who has had dandruff will know what I mean. Well without going on to much, I’ll just say I’ve tried all the well known brands – Vosene, Head and Shoulders, Timotei, Nizarol, etc, etc. Each has given me various degrees of success in clearing my dandruff, but the one thing each has in common is that the dandruff eventually returns. Well, suffice to say I have spent endless hours (and lots of money) in search of a cure for my dandruff. Well I finally seem to have found one; it goes by the name of ALPHOSYL 2 in 1 and is a shampoo with conditioner. Purchasable over the counter at all good chemists, at a price of £6.39 approx. for a 250ml bottle. This is a medicated scalp cleanser, which is for the treatment of Psoriasis, itching scalp, Dandruff and Seborrhoeic Dermatitis. It is supposedly pleasantly fragranced, although I personally think it smells of mothballs, although you cannot detect this smell once your hair is dry. You use Alphosyl in the same manner as a normal shampoo e.g. Wet hair –rub Alphosyl into your hair – rinse thoroughly – then repeat procedure – do this every two to three days. I have now been using this for six months with no signs of the dreaded dandruff. Another good thing with this is that the conditioner really seems to work, as with ... 12/06/2001

VET ON THE NET I recently visited a useful site for cat and dog owners; this site is called want to know more? Then read on....... The site consists of an online shop that sells quality pet products (there words, not mine). With items like bedding, wormers, flea stuff and nutritional products for sale at what seem reasonable prices. I can not comment on the level of sales or service, as I have never actually purchased any of the items. The thing that interests me most about this site is the online medical centre or the virtual vet as they call it. The online vet is only of use to cat and dog owners, and although it should never replace real veterinary advice it is a useful tool to have at your disposal. Upon starting the vet you are greeted by a web page with these links- DOG ----- CAT please specify (so choose what you own) EARS SKIN BREATHING EXCESSIVE THIRST URINATION PROBLEMS EYES LAMENESS BOWEL PROBLEMS BEHAVIOURAL PROBLEMS NOSE MOUTH After clicking on one of these links you will be taken to a series of questions, all answerable by yes/no answers. Answer the questions and then hit the submit button. You will then be given an answer to your questions with possible causes, each with more links, explaining in more detail. If this is not helpful you can email the vets directly. This is a simple to use site and would probably be of benefit too most Cat and Dog owners. But as I said earlier it should not replace real veterinary advice. cheers ...

Watercraft Concept Seatbox 06/06/2001

Are you sitting comfortably

Watercraft Concept Seatbox I have owned a watercraft concept seatbox for five years now, and it has accompanied me on numerous (too many for my wife’s liking) fishing trips. The box is made of a durable high quality plastic, and consists of a base unit that is large enough to carry a couple of reels, bait boxes, flask, catapult and importantly some tucker. The base is strengthened to take adjustable legs like the company octoplus make, and with these added to the box, you are always gonna be on a level sitting. This helps to make you a bit more comfortable during your days fishing, and you can then add the excellent range of octoplus accessories to your box. The upper section of this box consists of a pole winder storage compartment, and four drawers which can be accessed from either side of the box, this means that once you are seated and fishing you can get to things like shot and hooks without getting off the box. These drawers can be made into sixteen different sections, so you can keep all your accessories nice and neat. The drawers have a locking system to keep them shut; this has not failed in five years of use. Available in three colour combinations: Black and Green Black and Red Black and Blue And with a retail price of approx. £160 although you can usually get it cheaper by buying it mail order. Also a padded strap is available for approx. £8 and I would recommend you get one of these if you have to carry the box for a long distance as it helps your shoulder. This ...

King British Marine Fish Food 05/06/2001

Comes with IMMUNO

King British Marine Fish Food I purchased a tub of King British marine fish food because it said it was suitable for all marine fish, and in my newly set up marine tank I have some small marine fish – clownfish, gramma and a dwarf angel. Well, the tub of marine food I purchased cost me £3.45 and contains 28g’s of food, with an added extra called Immuno Health Booster. Immuno Health Booster – what’s this? Well King British state on the package that “our consumer tests on over 15,000 fish have shown that when fed with foods containing Immuno Health Booster, fish showed significant improvement in condition, colour and growth.” Still not sure what it is exactly, but the ingredients listed on the packaging seem to be the usual stuff e.g. fish, krill, artemia algae etc. Anyway I arrive home and immediately go to the fish tank, where I proceed to open the newly acquired pot of fish food. I remove the plastic lid and then rip off the foil seal, the smell of a shellfish stall assaults my nostrils, but seeing I like shellfish this is not a problem. I then look at the contents of the pot, and well I can’t believe it, some of the shrimps in the food are bigger than my fish. I sift through the food looking for something suitable to feed to my fish, success I manage to find some small pieces of flake; at least they won’t starve. I know I can crush the larger items in the food, down to a size, which makes them consumable by my fish, but I feel slightly ...

Aquarian Goldfish Food 05/06/2001

Flakes of Goldfish

Aquarian Goldfish Food Aquarian Goldfish flakes, well not actually flakes of goldfish, but the name of a goldfish food made by Waltham, who claim to be the worlds leading authority on pet care and nutrition. Aquarian goldfish flakes are supplied in plastic pots with a resealable lid, and are available in four sizes 12.5g, 25g, 50g and 200g. Each pot has a best before date stamped on the base, and the prices start from about £1.25 for the small pot, which itself would feed two small goldfish for 2 or more months. The contents are produced from natural ingredients and contain no artificial colours. Some of the ingredients being – fish, vegetables, eggs, minerals, molluscs and crustaceans (taste buds tingling yet). The flakes are also in different colours – various shades of reds, blacks, greens and yellows, but my fish seem to have no preference and eat all the flakes with gusto, and with a 40% protein content, they certainly seem to be putting on weight. The packaging claims that when fed correctly, Aquarian flakes will not cloud the water, and in my experience I would totally agree with this statement. Think of this food as more useful in a goldfish tank, as it sinks slowly, and in a pond it is better to have your fish take a food which floats on the surface, you can then inspect them more easily for any unwanted parasites or other signs of ill heath. Aquarian goldfish food gets my recommendation as a good choice for a goldfishes staple diet, but I would still feed the ...

Dyson DC01 30/05/2001

DC01 is it DEAD CUTE

Dyson DC01 Dyson rhymes with Tyson, and it may just be the Mike Tyson of the hoover world.(bet everyone say's this). Having a house full of walking furballs (two cats and a G.S.D.), it was decided we needed a hoover that was gonna be up to the job of dealing with copious amounts of fur. So just over 3yrs ago we purchased a Dyson DC01, which is one of the earlier models, which has now been superseded by the DC 02,03,04, and 05 models. When we purchased the DC 01 it retailed at approx. £225 whereas today’s models vary in price from approx. £180 to above £300 dependent on their specification. Well, what can be said about this hoover? It is a grey colour with yellow trim. It comes with Dyson’s dual cyclone technology, which guarantees high dust pick up, and supposedly no loss of suction. It uses no hoover bags; you just empty the clear canister when it reaches the full limit mark. It has instant hose operation, which reaches from the bottom to the top of the stairs without adding extensions. You can attach the crevice nozzle, curtain/furniture brush and round brush? To this hose, these are included free with your hoover. It has 2 s-level electrostatic filters plus three spare filters (these should be changed every three to six months). They can be purchased for approx. £5.99 for 8 filters at Argos. A cable life extender, a little gadget on the mains lead which supposedly lengthens the cable life. It is also supplied with a two-year guarantee. Now the ...

Hagen Fluval 304 (1000 L/Hr)300L Tank 26/05/2001


Hagen Fluval 304 (1000 L/Hr)300L Tank Wanting to change my fish tank from freshwater tropical to marine tropical there were a few upgrades to be done, to guarantee the health of the new stock. The first and probably most important was to add extra filtration to the tank, which is a tropicarium 88(see my op on this product for more info), this was going to be achieved by adding a Fluval 304. This is an external bucket type filter, which has just been recently remodelled, making this the fourth generation of this model, and it is now more square in shape than bucket like. Grey in colour with blue locking clips it has even been made to look modern and smart. The 304 is the second biggest in a range of four. It has a flow rate of up to 1000ltrs per hour and is suitable for tanks upto 300 litres. It has a filter volume of 6.6 litres, and comes supplied with a pre-filter sponge and three bags of ceramic media and three sachets of activated carbon, these will fill the three media baskets, or you can use your any other media of your choice to fill the baskets. All pipe work is included to supply the unit with water from your tank, and then return it to the tank. This is connected to the unit by lock nuts, which ensure a watertight connection. The unit has a ceramic impeller shaft, which is supposed to last longer, and work more efficiently and be quieter in use. The impeller is situated in a well, which incorporates a self-cleaning channel, so reducing maintenance. The unit also incorporates a priming lever, ...

Carland 26/04/2001

I only want to look

Carland Three years ago I was looking to buy a new second hand car (if that makes sense), I already knew that I wanted to purchase a Toyota Rav 4, this is a small 4wd vehicle. I had been looking at various dealers on line, and came across Carland’s website ( This is actually a very good site with links to: Car Reviews – gives you a review of any car you choose and also compares it to similar models. Car Locator - finds the car your looking for if they have it in stock. Site Locator – Tells you where the sales sites are; Southampton, Chertsey, Thurrock, Enfield, Cannock, Manchester, Glasgow and Sarisbury Green. Plus links to FAQ’s, Finance options, Insurance, Tips and Advice and Contacts. I found online that the Thurrock store had a Rav 4 for sale, as this is quite local to me I decided to go take a look. I found the store and parked in one of the ample parking spaces available. Upon entering the store I was greeted courteously by a receptionist, who informed me that there was a child’s play area for my kids, if I wished they could use it. Well that was the kids gone, now to the serious bit, looking at the car. I could see the Rav 4 towards the back of the store about 100 yards away, so I started to make my way towards it, then it started. The first salesperson Can I help you sir? No thanks just looking. 15 yards later another one, Can I help you sir? No thanks just looking, thanks. And then another one 20 yards ...
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