The outside of a motorbike engine seen up close near the exhaust

Home Ren's Biking Blog

Out On Me Ear

Blog Date 2 February 2021

It had to happen. It's not like I'd not seen it coming. But still, when it does finally happen it seems too soon and I'm not quite ready for it. I've been made redundant.

The company I've been working for these last 2 and a bit years has been propped up by another company for quite some time. The wheres and whyfors are rather complicated but now the "parent" company has had enough and pulled the plug. As such there's not enough pennies to pay my humble wages and I am "out the door".

Frustrating? Yes. Sad? Somewhat. A disaster? No, a setback.

Regular readers will know I am rather prudent (read: tighter than Scrooge) and as such I have a few shekels in the bank. These will see me through for a while but I don't have enough to retire and live a life of luxurious leisure. I will need to earn something sooner or later. I do have a mortgage but it is tiny, very tiny. Being prudent means I have no other loans or outstanding debts and my living expenses are "under control".

Ren's face edited onto a picture of scrooge

I have for some time promised myself that as and when redundancy came I would treat myself to a few months off and actually DO some travelling, not just squeezing in a 2 week vacation where I (or we) rush down through England, cross the channel and then rush across a small corner of France to see something nice then rush home again in time for work.

I mean taking a month, maybe 2, to ride at a comfortable pace. To have time to stop and look around if the mood takes. To have time to deal with problems in a calm manner. To not be constantly looking at the calendar thinking "I need to be at the ferry on the 25th so I must be here by the 24th so there by the 23rd". 

I'm not talking of a world tour. Maybe Italy or Croatia, taking in The Alps. Or perhaps across to Spain via The Pyrenees, I could drop in on Borsuk. I have an acquaintance in Bulgaria who'd likely put me up for a night or two. About 100 to 150 miles a day suits me, but it would be nice to allow for days off the bike too. 

An Alpine scene from when Ren was last there
Be nice to SEE The Alps not whizz through them.

I can see you're already thinking "Great idea Ren, but Covid..." Yes, gosh darn it. This is the second time a pandemic has frustrated my plans. The first time I was 15 years old and being young, dumb and full of, errr, hormones I was excited to indulge my carnal desires. Then AIDS came along. 

Presently I am maintaining a holding pattern. I could restart my IT business which didn't make me rich but it did see me gainfully employed for over 15 years. I could go completely left field and re-train as an electrician or a plumber. Thing is I'm nearly 50, while I'm still acceptably fit I'm no longer a spritely yoof, how many more years do I have in me to be drilling and crawling and lifting and grafting? 

How about motorcycle restorer? You've all seen my skills in the aesthetic perfections I create. Professional curmudgeon? I'm already highly skilled but I don't know how to make it pay. Financial advisor? "Don't spend anything at all... that'll be £500 please". Shakra guru? It's all the rage (once) and I've got the hair for the job. I am open to suggestions that I can gleefully ignore.

Swingarm covered in sticky tacky undercoat
My skills are obvious and plain to see.

Right now though I'm going to crack on with renovating my hovel. When I moved in here 20 years since (almost to the day) the property was in "fair" condition. Since then I have barely touched it. To me a house is a brick tent, no more. But I have plans to move one day and as such a VERY good dose of looking at is required. I'll need professional help with the roof and the rewire otherwise I've got Bodgit And Scarper in (that'll be me) to do the rest of the work.

4 new floorboards in Ren's bathroom and landing
Replacing wobbly floorboards.
A new ceiling being fitted into the kitchen
New ceiling in the kitchen.

If you're looking for a full stack C# ASP.Net developer...

Reader's Comments

Steve Brown said :-
Interesting read. Sorry about the redundancy, I wouldn't want anyone to lose their job mate.
However working on the house is a good idea and nobody will notice the new kitchen ceiling...
The problem with being self employed in the building trade is my house is always work in progress.
cos when the phone rings about work I have to do it,, that's what I tell the missus anyway.
"You've got no tools, you've got your bike gear on"...
02/02/2021 10:44:20 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
HA! Yes I can see you kitted up Steve Brown, helmet in hand and ready to go. "Darling, is there any chance you could fit that sink to the wall that's been hanging off for 4 years??" "No dear, got to go price a job... in Portugal"

What's your trade? Want an apprentice? I know which end of a screwdriver is the hitty bit.
02/02/2021 12:09:54 UTC
Bogger said :-
That's crap news Mr Ed. I wish I had some pearls of wisdom. You seem a resourceful sort of a bloke and I don't think you'll have too many problems sorting out which direction to move in.

02/02/2021 12:55:07 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Sorry to hear it Ed but glad it's not "The End of the World".
You need to make plans fella and unfortunately a plan to spend a couple of months around Europe is probably 50/50 at best. Damn bugs.
The house will keep you busy meanwhile, I'm presently attached to a 9 inch roller, it's an exciting life.
Decide on what you want, need and can do, and then get on with it.
In a nutshell, don't wait for probabilities, save your savings for something better than living expenses, get a job, any job for now and with any downtime plough that time into your property, that's as good as money in the bank.
Once again Ed, sorry but you'll be OK, or at least average.
Duck egg blue in case you were wonderin.

02/02/2021 12:55:25 UTC
nab301 said :-
Sorry to hear that Ren, I can't really offer any suggestions as fortunately I've never been unemployed but as you've suggested , maybe back to your IT roots will allow you to tread water for a while , and refurbing the house will give you something else to concentrate on.
Whatever you do ,I think biking is currently still something that all of us can only for the moment , look forward to.
@ UPt it took me 30 seconds to figure out what you were attached to ! I had visions of restoring a model car , and then it dawned om me ....
02/02/2021 13:43:53 UTC
ROD said :-
Sorry to hear your news Ren.
Food delivery could be a good stop gap at the moment. At least you could ride the bike in the pandemic!
02/02/2021 13:45:33 UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Oh, that's tough luck. I was made redundant from my first programming job several decades ago.Like you I saw the writing on the wall but refused to read it until that depressing exit interview.

I was lucky and got another programming job in a week or so but the sick feeling took a long time to go. Although redundancy is (or at least should be) about the job disappearing and have nothing to do with your personal qualities there's always a nagging thought that if I'd tried harder I could have hung on. As it happens, the move was opportune and although my next 2 jobs were rubbish I did learn a lot from them which stood me in good stead later.

I'd have thought with your skill set it shouldn't be too hard to pick up contract work but I confess to being very out of date for that market.

Best of luck anyway and hope the renovations / emergency repairs go well!
02/02/2021 14:14:48 UTC
Upt'North said :-
I think it's quite apt Ed to quote Sir Captain Tommy Moore at this time,
"Tomorrow will be a good day".
I do hope so.
02/02/2021 17:41:43 UTC
Kerry said :-
Put on the kettle. Half the world in the same boat.
02/02/2021 23:11:23 UTC
said :-
Bummer. I'm sure you'll land on your feet Ren. Good programmers are always needed!

Hope you somehow manage to fit in a bit of travel, is definitely good for the mind.
02/02/2021 23:16:41 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Sympathy? From you lot?? If I'd known I'd receive such an outpouring of positive vibes I'd have been made redundant ages ago! Thanks folks. Remember though.
1) My situation is way way way better than many others out there.
2) Your kindness is freaking me out. Please return to being rude about me because that way at least I know where I stand.
03/02/2021 07:44:12 UTC
Bogger said :-
Ren, get up off your lazy skinny arse and get your life sorted man.


p.s. Hope this makes you feel better

03/02/2021 08:12:17 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Stop whinging, get off your fat idle arse and get a job loser.
And sort your MOT out you waster.
03/02/2021 09:48:48 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
That's better.

I have just had the car jacked up and brakes, bushes and bearings all appear to be in order. Car MOT due 4th March so I'll take it to the MOT place in the next few days. Could do with getting a neighbour check the brake lights are working. Or, hmmm, wait till it's dark and see the reflection in the car behind? I'll work summat out. Ooooh... video. Good idea Ren.

Next job - learn how suspended ceilings work, how to install them and most importantly, find out how much they cost and where to gerrem.
03/02/2021 10:52:12 UTC
nab301 said :-
"Could do with getting a neighbour check the brake lights are working. Or, hmmm, wait till it's dark and see the reflection in the car behind? "
Could be your next money making venture? Brale light tester, Available commercially as a telescopic pole that pushes on brake pedal and steering wheel . Available from Ren as a bespoke polished / upcycled piece of genuine classic floorboard... alternatively I generally pull the seat forward and wedge the jack handle between the seat and brake pedal.
03/02/2021 13:48:54 UTC
Bob said :-
It happened to me a few times, never a pleasure.
It's a good time to get things sorted out - at the start of the Covid thing I got loads of work done on my old van, all those around to it jobs. Get stuck in whilst firing out the applications and something will drop into your lap before you know it (LinkedIn is useful in that regard)
03/02/2021 14:38:21 UTC
Kerry said :-
@nab301 Unless it's a SAM wired Merc like my mother's 21 year old which case a neighbour with a PhD in witchcraft will be required. We have to perform a rain dance and make offerings to appease the automotive gods in Stuttgart every year to get it through the mot/nct (mother is in 80s and v sentimental as was my dad's car). After which the electrons get rat arsed and give 2 fingers to all those ridiculous wiper/indicator, window and light switches. We have it 16 years and to be fair it has been consistent in its bomb proof mechanical reliability only beaten by its abominable electrics. Merc dealer gave up on it by its 6th birthday. The independent specialists (stupid term imo) year10. Leaving it to yours truly. Currently one side rear lights out one rear number plate light out left rear indicator out left front window plus mirror outl right rear brake light out. Wipers stop when they feel like. Note the rear lights are driven by an electronic Sam unit. Time for a box of matches methinks.Best of luck with the mot.

03/02/2021 17:03:24 UTC
Snod said :-
Welcome to the club Ren, I've been a member since November. But at least I got some of that juicy furlough money first!
03/02/2021 17:42:21 UTC
Jim said :-
Just spent the day wrestling with my Citroen - two new calipers and a wishbone arm for the MOT. Hardest bit was persuading the electric handbrake to stay off long enough to change the pads. It comes on as soon as the engine stops. Bloody French cars.

Sorry to hear of your misfortunes, Ren. I’ve always found that as one door closes, another slams in your face. Can’t keep a good man down though, hope something turns up soon.
03/02/2021 20:04:08 UTC
Borsuk said :-
Sorry to hear that Ren. I hope something comes up up in a timely manner.
You are always welcome down my way, at the moment you can’t get out your house and I can’t get to mine. See what next month brings when I get off. Spain may have reopened by then or the UK might have decided I don’t need to spend my money to stay in a hotel for 10 days if I decide to go there for my leave.

I wonder what they would fo if this compulsory isolation takes off and people refuse to pay.
03/02/2021 22:26:24 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
"Out on your ear" thought "on your bike" was more appropriate? Not good Ren on the job loss, good luck finding a other job. I managed to avoid the swinging axe over the many years I worked mostly by good luck! The joke amongst my fellow workers was that we needed to lie flat on the floor to avoid the axe. My bit of government (same as your Ofcom) shrunk from 300 workers to 30 over the 40 odd years I worked, moving from paper to on line for everything was part of it rest was getting the private sector to do govt work. I'll go out specially tomorrow and find a great road with amazing views just to keep you grumpy as all the lovely sympathy from you fellow BATies just isn't helping obviously!
04/02/2021 06:46:25 UTC
Badger said :-
Sorry to hear that Ren.
I've been out of work for about five months now. Welcome to the world of YouTube rabbit holes.
Your tea intake will increase by around 30% but the lie ins are nice, when you wake up real early, and hear the freezing rain on the window outside.

04/02/2021 10:39:34 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
One last sunny kiwi road/Bandit photo to wind Ren up (he has told us not be nice to him after all!) More importantly on the basis that no question is too stupid to ask, why do Triump twins and the new Royal Enfield twins still use primary chains when the Jap bikes more sensibly use no maintenance gear drives from the crankshaft to the gearbox? Question arises because I like the simplicity and looks of the twin Triumph T100 and RE Interceptor for riding road and gravel where the Bandit is a bit of a handful but a bit leary of primary chain maintenance. I await the BATies explanations to clear up my lack of understanding of this issue.

Posted Image
05/02/2021 08:49:16 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
While I know that lovely image is of New Zealand I could easily imagine it to be Yorkshire. Yorkshire is full of sheep too. Tell me then, are New Zealanders as tight as we Yorkshire folks too?

Good question regarding the primary chain as the vast majority of modern bikes have done perfectly well without one.

Badger - good to hear from you. In spite of the employment situation I hope you're doing OK.

Snod - it looks like we are in a growing club presently. I think the next few years are going to be "interesting" in the post-pandemic world.

nab301 - I'm in development of your suggestion. My antique (the house is 120 years old) floorboard brake testers come with a guaranteed septic splinter included in the price, after all they've been next to my toilet for 20 years.
05/02/2021 09:30:12 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
My Gran was from Delph in Yorkshire and my wife is from Liverpool so we know how to do tight, which is probably why I ride a tatty Bandit instead of a GS1250. I think scrimping and saving was a generational thing. Gran went through WW1 and the depression and Mum and Dad had the WW2 years to deal with, Dad was away fighting in the desert war and Italy for 5 years. Current generation in NZ hasn't had to deal with these sorts of upheavals so has a different attitude. So most older NZrs are careful whereas current generation are more inclined to borrow and spend, which is fine if you have a job!
05/02/2021 21:52:02 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Delph in Yorkshire? The only Delph I know if is a very pleasant village on the Yorkshire side of Oldham, Manchester. It's "reet proper" close to the border, maybe the border was once different. Is this the place or is there another Delph?

I'd say "prudence" or lack of therein lies, like many other personality traits, between nature and nurture. There are still yoofs today whom are prudent and don't collect debt like bikers collect bikes, but painting with a broad brush I see your point. I was brought up that the only acceptable debt is a mortgage, otherwise if you can't pay cash for it then you can't have it. There are times though when I see others with flash cars, big TVs and swish houses I think perhaps I should just borrow borrow borrow for we could all be dead tomorrow.
06/02/2021 10:21:42 UTC
nab301 said :-
" I'm in development of your suggestion. My antique (the house is 120 years old) floorboard brake testers come with a
guaranteed septic splinter included in the price, after all they've been next to my toilet for 20 years."

Ren too much information there , my idea was that these would be upmarket bespoke items , turned and highly polished hence no splinters , in any case , what about the natural antibacterial properties of wood ? Maybe in the future you should observe German customs in the toilet...

06/02/2021 12:21:04 UTC
nab301 said :-
"More importantly on the basis that no question is too stupid to ask, why do Triumph twins and the new Royal Enfield twins still use primary chains "

@ Kiwi Jeff I wasn't aware that they do ? I owned an '05 carbed Bonneville for a short time a while back and you just had me scrolling through the Haynes manual and online parts catalogues . I'm pretty sure it's gear drive designed to look like a pre unit construction of old. The balancer shaft is placed between the crankshaft and gearbox pushing the gearbox further to the rear Same with the Enfield twin , I can't find any signs of a primary chain in any parts manuals.
As for the Triumph on gravel , it was extremely stable but flickable and handled well wet or dry on surfaced roads on Avon roadriders which was a first for me , although I never rode it on full gravel tracks. The engine in standard trim only revs to about 6k rpm and actually feels a bit gutless at the top end , but in a short time I got used to flicking it into 5th and just leaving it there, occasionally dropping a gear on tighter corners. It felt heavy to me but on paper is similar to the Bandit. A combination of the standard riding position , harsh / too stiff rear suspension ( made my back sore) and a bike that looked good, but close up was on the cusp of needing some cosmetic restoration meant that I shifted it on quickly ( unlike my Bandit) but it was an extremely capable bike .
I never had to adjust the drive chain but if you want to use a torque wrench on the axle , it requires removal of the silencer...
Posted Image
06/02/2021 13:03:18 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
I've experienced Germanic toilets. Apparently the idea is your poop is kept out of the water allowing you to, ahem, examine it. This helps you to judge your health. As a Brit it was a rather unusual and unique experience. Bear in mind not all Germanic toilets are like this.

As for sitting down to pee. I shall keep my opinions out of this for the sake of humanity.

Turned and highly polished? This is me you're talking about. You should know better than that.
06/02/2021 17:49:24 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
You have the correct Delph Ren, it is a pretty little village. I still have some distant relatives there but haven't visited them in a while, was on the program for next UK visit whenever that can be?
Nab301 - lovely picture of the Bonneville always lusted after one when I was riding around on little Jap bikes in the 70's. I did get to ride my mates cafe style featherbed Norton 500 (I think it was 500cc?) a lot, that was a cool bike once I'd managed to kick it over, I was a skinny 16 year old! Thanks for clearing up my confusion on the primary chain drive, didnt make sense that they used it but my internet searches kept coming up with comments about adjusting and replacing them. I think I got confused with old pre-unit bikes and the modern bikes with the same name. I need a library visit to get a book on modern Triumphs, internet has too many answers sometimes! I'm enjoying the Bandit but the fours are "busy" engine so a more laid back Triumph twin still appeals.

06/02/2021 22:30:24 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Good read Jeff of the down under variety.
If the link doesn't work I'm sure Ed'll fix it.
07/02/2021 11:00:16 UTC
nab301 said :-
"As for sitting down to pee. I shall keep my opinions out of this for the sake of humanity."
Much appreciated Ren..

@ Kiwi Jeff, yes, Bandit and Bonneville are totally different bikes , although I clocked over 30k kms on the Bandit and only kept the Bonneville for maybe 6 mths. My experiences relate to the 790cc version , apparently the 900 (865cc version) has a totally different crankshaft (270deg ) which i've never sampled yet and may have different engine characteristics . (Never say never though ) .
The main issues I had were for everyday use in an urban area ( may not affect you!) . Bolted on seat (no storage space underneath although diy mods are available on line) The side cover housed an allen key to enable removal of the seat but you needed a coin or a screwdriver to remove the side cover. Tubed tyres with all the puncture repair implications, steering lock on the side of the headstock ( an extra key needed and I can't remember how many times I started the engine only to realise I hadn't unlocked the steering!) Also with the standard bars I just couldn't get a screen that worked acceptably , and while fine in summer without, it was a tad cold in winter.
In retrospect I should have kept the Triumph and sold my '03 Enfield Bullet 500 , but hindsight is a great thing.( And maybe subconsciously the fact that I've spent too many hours on the Enfield and it's still a rolling project also influenced me)

Maybe you should check out the 900 Bonneville scrambler , although reading up on forums , all the later fuel injected bikes seem to suffer from excessive parasitic battery drain (the Ecu). Having suffered that on a Guzzi I'd find it a pain to have to leave a bike hooked up permanently to a battery charger.
Photo attached of my Enfield although I find it handles horribly on gravel so not a recommendation for you! ( The topbox is for all the bits that you think you might need and some that you don't)

Posted Image
07/02/2021 14:44:22 UTC
KiwiJeff said :-
Upt'North - thanks for the Bonneville upgrade link a good read, however I'm sure you would need to be a rich man to pay for all those mods! Ends up with 94 bhp, a £1500 quid Bandit 1200 would easily supply that and be a better tourer! I'm just way to practical I suppose.

Nab301 - thanks for all your comments about living with your Bonneville. Not that practical at all really, an enthusiast's ride. I'm too lazy to negotiate around all those foibles for day to day riding, too spoilt by practical Jap bikes. Your Enfield Bullet looks just the bike for slow rides to the local pub, if it breaks down I'd just get the bus home pick up the car and trailer and recover it. If I'm 100 miles from home the Bandit will do just fine I know it won't stop! A mate is looking at buying a new 900 Bonneville T100 and he is generous with allowing me to do some miles on his bikes so I'll be able to provide some commentary beyond a normal test ride.
08/02/2021 09:00:32 UTC
Upt'North said :-
Upside Down Jeff,
Yes it did seem a lot of trouble and cost to go to, but if you've got it flaunt it!
Just like Ed!
I would have thought he could have kept the Bonneville standard and bought a new 100 bhp bike for less money, but to each their own.
It's a good job we're not all the same,..........maybe?
08/02/2021 17:57:02 UTC
CrazyFrog said :-
To be honest, and having been in the same position myself, I wouldn't re train as a plumber or electrician. I landed my last coding job when I was 48 years old and it saw me through to retirement last year at the age of 58. Unless you are intending to set up on your own as a plumber or electrician, remember you will be competing with people 20 years younger than you and with more experience.

I'm sure that you'll find something in IT once the lockdown is over...
14/02/2021 17:27:18 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
There's IT work out there CrazyFrog. The problem is I think I'm allergic to work.
14/02/2021 19:31:03 UTC

Post Your Comment Posts/Links Rules



Add a RELEVANT link (not required)

Upload an image (not required)

No uploaded image
Real Person Number
Please enter the above number below

Home Ren's Biking Blog

Admin -- -- Service Records Ren's Nerding Blog