My two wheel journey starts here..

As you may know attaining a motorcycle licence has been on my bucket list for quite some time now. I finally managed to achieve it this year.

I did the full thing. Something that’s know as a DAS course (Direct Access). For anyone over the age of 24 you are able to go from no licence to a full licence to be able to ride any size motorcycle you wish.

I have listed everything that must be done prior to undertaking this task.

If you have no prior experience with motorcycles I would highly recommend doing some lessons after your CBT in preparation for your MOD 1 and MOD 2 tests. I did 3 MOD 1 lessons and 1 MOD 2 lesson.

Prior to even taking the CBT I did what is known as a taster session. This was an hour with one of the instructors on a CB125, the very bike I would do my CBT on. I can pretty much say it’s not too dissimilar from riding a bicycle, which is why I feel it’s fairly easy to pick up.

After completing my CBT I learnt on a CB 650F. This is the bike I would be using to take my MOD 1 and 2 tests on. This is also surprisingly very similar to the bike I would go onto buy.

It’s a lovely bike and nice to ride. It’s also an inline 4 which means it screams as you rev it, which I much prefer over the triple or twins such as the SV650 or MT09 etc.

All in all I paid a total of £1289 for my theory, training and tests. I probably could of done it about £200 cheaper if I went with another school, however because the school is a “Honda approved” school, it meant I would get a £500 discount off a Honda bike so it made it worth it in the long run.

As soon as I had completed my MOD 1 I went into my local Honda garage and put a deposit down on a new motorcycle. The CBR 650R 2022 edition in red. I had to get several add-ons as well.

  • Akrapovič exhaust
  • Sports double bubble screen
  • Sports passenger seat cowl
  • Quick shifter
  • Heated grips

Sadly due to everything that is COVID-19, there has been an issue with microchips etc. This has caused massive delays for motorcycle and car manufacturers. I put my order in on 14th July 2022. The bike (Lucy) finally arrived on 10th December. Honda needed a couple days to add everything to the bike so pickup was arranged for the 15th, but then of course the weather took a turn for the worse. We had snow and then thick ice on the ground for around a week. Pick up finally happened on the 19th December. Next to my kids being born this really does rank high up on the list of awesome.

After signing all the paper work and a shake of the hand, I took Lucy on a long 3 hour ride. Unfortunately it rained and we both got wet, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I have now ridden just under 900 miles and I’m loving each and every moment of it. I can’t wait until the summer!

4th time’s the charm?

As a goal to fufill my quest to tick many things off of my bucket list, getting my tongue pierced again was on the adgenda.

It was my daughters birthday and I was heading to theirs for the weekend. I had been wanting to get my tongue pierced again for a while now and as I know where the shop is in Winchester, I thought that there was no better time!

We all headed into town and walked to the piercing shop. Funnily enough the lady who did it, did it the last 2 times as well. Lets hope this one stays in and becomes permanent.

Of course the whole thing was video recorded, so you may see it here –

Scafell Pike 2021

I made it. I finally made it! I reached the top.

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Well I never!

So as you know I have had an issue with water ingress into my mk3 Ford Focus and I thought I had fixed the issue. Turns out I was utterly wrong.

Water was still coming into my car. I started by checking some of the other rubber grommits under the rear of my bumper. Suddenly I was greeted with dripping water on my face and arm.


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Water Ingress

So recently I’ve had a little problem with my car. For some reason and still an unknown reason my car has been letting in water, which pools in the spare wheel well and then splashes through under the back seats and on to the footwell behind the drivers seat.


I spoke to Ford regarding this issue and they said it was a common known fault of the Ford Focus MKIII. The air vents on the exterior of the vehicle tend to come loose and allow water to build up between the skins of the car which eventually comes into the interior. I looked up what they said it could be and it turns out they’re right. It is a common problem. It’s all over the car forums. I went back to Ford and asked that as they know about the problem and it is a common fault, will Ford pay to rectify the issue. They almost laughed at me on the phone and said it would cost £430 to get sorted. Crap!

Well, as I am not willing to pay £430 at the moment I decided to have a little look about on the internet to see if anyone has put together a video of how to solve the issue. They have!

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Bucket list quest

Holy moly its been a long time since I’ve written anything on my blog. I think it’s about time that I took up writing again.

A few things have changed since I last updated everyone. I can officially tick a few things off of my bucket list, my career has changed as a highway inspector and I’ve had a whale of a time with the kids.

Number 75 – Own my own car
I can officially say that I own my car out right and have fully owned it since September 2015.

Number 28 – Own a house
I’m going to say that this is complete as I now own a 2 bed flat in Maidstone. I purchased the flat in July of 2017 as part of a shared ownership scheme.

Number 59 – Eat sushi
I did this, but I can say for certain that I will never be doing this again. It was absolutely disgusting.

There are two that I can safely say that I will be completing this year as well;

Number 85 – Get my tongue pierced again
Number 88 – summit Ben Nevis.

Number 85 I will get done on my birthday this year as a treat to myself.

Number 88 will be happening on the week of 27th July 2020 when I next visit Scotland. I am taking my son on a week long holiday and the aim of the holiday is to climb Ben Nevis and summit it.

As for my career – well. I am now a fully trained and qualified highways safety inspector, and I currently look after the M20, A20 and A21 within Kent and Sussex. I perform both safety and service inspections of all 3 of the roads.

I am currently also training to get my traffic management tickets. As of 17/01/2020 I now have the 12D M7 ticket, which allows me to audit 12D traffic management. Monday 20th Jan 2020 I will be going for my TTMBC ticket, then following that up with the 12A/B 1 dayer and then training to be a 12A/B operative meaning I can put traffic management out on high speed roads.

Reason for getting the traffic management tickets is so that I can add to my inspection knowledge, so if or when I ever see some traffic management out on the network that doesn’t look right, I can say for certain if it is good or not without asking others to intervene on my behalf.

Career progression

I have moved on from being a co-pilot to one of the other inspectors and I am now looking after 3 of Kent’s major roads. The M20, A20 and A21. This is a huge step up for me from what I was doing.

When I first started I knew the roads as they were displayed on a map, but actually being out in the field, it was almost like having to learn them all over again. It has and still is taking me a while, but I’m getting there. What looks like a straight bit of road on a map is most certainly not straight in person, and this is what confused me.

On a weekly basis I am performing the safety inspection of the M20 and A20 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The A21 at the time of writing this is now being inspected every 14 days. This is something I argued for as it was once every 28 days, but the timescale for the inspections hadn’t considered the age of the road, the amount and type of traffic it gets, and how severe the defects can get in 28 days if they are nearly reaching a state where they require attention, but at the time of inspection do not.

I have been working with Balfour Beatty during their works on the M20 for Operation BROCK and helping them with their snagging process. Picking up mistakes or questioning certain repairs etc. making sure my company would be happy with the state of the road once it gets handed back over to us.

I have recently been in contact with Kier regarding the state of repair through the M20 where they are currently building the Smart Motorway and working with them to get the road back to a good standard since they have taken over. This seems to be progressing well, although it has only been two weeks, so we shall see.

I have also been helping other departments with their learning and career progression. They will tend to come along with me during my inspections and learn more about the road, why we have defects, what causes them, how they are identified, and how my team collects data on defects on the network. Next week I have people from two different departments coming out with me for this very purpose. Two guys from the NCC (my old job) and one from a different team.

I enjoy this kind of work and working with people who are keen to learn. As long as they are willing to put in the work and learn, I’m more than happy to keep this up.

Snowdon Summit

Ever since I travelled to Wales in back in February 2015, I have been wanting to go again, but take the kids. Although I went back in July 2015 to do the three peaks challenge, I didn’t really get the opportunity to explore or really enjoy what I was seeing while I was there.

Fast forward to 2018 and I thought it was about time I took the kids around Wales to explore and enjoy what nature offers. August 2018 arrives and I have the kids with me for the summer holidays while they’re off of school.

We stayed in a hotel near Northop Hall for 6 nights, which isn’t too far from Chester and Liverpool. The majority of the holiday was to be spent around Snowdonia National Park which meant a little travelling, but not too much.

We set off from the hotel at around 7am and stopped in Conwy for breakfast at Premier Inn. £9.50 for all 3 of us to have a full English. After breakfast we stopped at Tesco to grab something for later on in the day and to make sure we carried plenty of water with us.

At around 11am we set off down to the Pen-y-Pass car park at the foot of Snowdon arriving shortly after at around 12pm. Upon arrival we found the car park completely full and no spaces available. I went back to Llanberis to check out their park and ride service and found it half way between the two. Upon parking I realised that I didn’t bring any change with me to pay. I found a layby closer to Pen-y-Pass and called for a taxi up to where we were originally going to park.

We finally got all set up and ready to start the trail at around 1pm. I decided to go The Miner’s Tack as that’s the way I took when I did the three peak challenge and it’s a nice walk and there is plenty to see along the way.

The walk started off nice and sunny and as we weren’t just walking to the top we were also exploring this was great. We stopped off at an old building at the end of Llyn Llydaw to have some lunch and have a little play. We left here around 4.30ish and continued on our journey. About another hour passed as we continued up the mountain and the weather took a crappy direction. It started to get foggy and it started to rain. Now this isn’t normal rain, it was extremely fine rain. The type that makes you wet throughout. Yeah ok, not too bad we could deal with that. At this point we were at Glaslyn and though, sod it, we’re almost there so might as well carry on.

About 45 minutes later walking up from Glaslyn the wind decided it wanted to chime in as well. So, there we were walking up the side of this mountain with fog, very fine rain and the occasional gust. We finally managed to reach the summit, thick fog as in can’t see more than about 50m in front of you thick fog, fine rain and gusty wind. Needless to say we raced to the top to touch the sun dial thing got our photos then went down to the visitor centre hoping it was open so we could catch the train down.

Needless to say the damn thing was closed. Everyone had gone and we were all up there by ourselves! Ok, well we stopped outside under a shelter near the entrance and had some refreshments. A couple chocolate bars and drinks. After about 30 minutes of resting we decided that we would make our way down and follow the Llanberis path. That path was covered in sharp slate everywhere you were stepping and was unavoidable, but was safer for the kids. Once we got down into the valley near Llyn Du’r Arddu the rain had stopped, there were no more gusts and the fog had gone. The end of the day was beginning to look a lot brighter. Finally reaching Llanberis at around 9pm that evening. Exhausted and tired, but happy we had all summitted Snowdon we walked around to The Royal Victoria Hotel and asked them if they could call a taxi for us to get back to my car. 25 minutes later, we were in the car changing into warm dry clothes and were heading back to the hotel to sleep.

The way I have described it sounds a lot more dangerous than it really was. I was with the kids at all times and made sure they were safe. We all had a source of communication and I had shown them the way we were going so we were all prepared for any eventuality.

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I’ve moved!

So, if you know me personally or have me on Facebook then you would have known that I have finally moved out of my Mum’s house after being in Kent for almost 4 years at that point. July 2017 I finally managed to scrape enough money up together to get a deposit and buy my own home in the centre of Maidstone.

It’s a two-bed apartment (this was a minimum requirement for when I had the kids down). It has its own parking bay and I’m on the top floor. There is a communal garden for people to share, but it doesn’t look like anyone uses it. I might have to start arranging a BBQ once a month (during the summer though) for everyone, just so we can all introduce ourselves and get to know one another in the building.

The asking price was £190,000, but managed to get them down to £180,000 and I bought a 40% share of that, which meant I paid £72,000 for my share of the property.

I still have to pay rent as well as a mortgage, but both combined is much cheaper than renting somewhere that I am not investing in long-term. Something I want to do for my next mortgage renewal is to not only reduce the interest but also the term of the loan. If people want loan services, people can check out this link.  I borrowed £64,800, but as of today I still owe £62,448, meaning I’ve only paid off £2352 in 19 months. In reality I have paid over £6,400, meaning over £4,000 is interest alone! Talk about blind robbery! Unfortunately, having a good interest rate wasn’t an option I had at the time of my mortgage. Turns out that I wasn’t registered on the electoral roll while at my mums (although I still got voting cards through the post) which really messed my credit rating up. It’s all sorted now and I have a half decent credit rating, which should mean I get a decent deal on my mortgage renewal.

There is still some work to do on my place. I have a leaky tap and water filter. This should be getting replaced tomorrow at a cost of £165, but it means not having to worry any more about leaks.

At the foot of the kid’s bedroom door it is apparent that there was a leak from the bathroom. This has damaged the wooden door frame, and will either need some work rectifying it or to just buy a couple strips of wood to replace the damaged part, either way it will require painting with gloss. The down side to that means that the rest of the flat will require doing, as there is no way I am doing one part of a door frame and leaving everything else looking the same age, and there is a lot of skirting board in my place!

I also need to get the carpets replaced as I think they are still the original ones from when this place was built back in 2008. This is a large expense and I’m still not sure when I can get this done.

There are 4 radiators I want to get replaced in the property as I feel they are just too small. This isn’t necessary, but it is something I want to do long-term.

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As the weather is beautiful right now and we are at the height of the bluebell season I decided that I would grab the camera and head on out to somewhere and see what I could do.

Obviously it’s been a while since I’ve taken any proper photos so this was going to be a whole new thing for me again. Learning how to use my camera properly was the object of the game, so I decided that I would take all photos on manual. This would help me get to know my camera again.

Location of choice was Dene Country Park just on the outskirts of Shipbourne. I arrived there just after 11am and began my journey wandering through the woodland. For the first 15 minutes of my walk I only saw the odd Bluebell. I thought I had missed them. A little while later I was greeted by a sea of purple. It was beautiful.

Sadly the camera can never do justice to Bluebells, but I tried my best. Tell me what you think.



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