Anyway, Nanny Goat. She arrived bearing gifts from Faun Parts: a small white goat that sits on its haunches and sings about A Lonely Goatherd, doing a passable imcaprination of Julie Andrews. Also motorcycle farkles, and new batteries to replace the old and dying items in various old and dying mobile phones. A ‘farkle’, incidentally, is a Fancy Accessory; Really Kool; Likely Expensive, and is generally to be found adorning a motorcycle. New extended fibreglass mudguards now keep more road crud off the expensive bits of rear suspension and the front of the engine, and a grille over the radiator protects against extremely expensive impact by stones and errant birds.
There’s a previous blog about the new zorst. Since then the bike went over to the Aprilia shop way over past the Autodrome in Dubai Investment Park, for a session on the dynamometer. It is gratifying to note that the gainsayers were wrong. The new exhaust pipe does not cock up the carburetion so that the engine runs super-lean and risks burning holes in pistons. Isn’t digital fuel injection wonderful? The air/fuel ratio is perfect up to 8000rpm and runs just slightly rich above that. Given that 8000rpm equates to about 240kph in top gear, doing anything about the rich mixture doesn’t seem worth the effort or expense. Over 130 horsepower isn’t bad either, although using it all on the public highway might be.
Bad for the fuel consumption; bad for the wallet; bad for the licence...
Not that the bike’s been out much during Nanny Goat’s visit. One morning there had been some spots of rain overnight and Diablo Black had become smeared with Dubai Beige, which was rather off-putting. I don’t like riding in the rain, particularly in an environment where most people don’t seem to be able to. The clouds have been a welcome change, though. Actual blue skies with fluffy white things make photos that include sky so much more interesting than the usual plain brown.
Following a week when the Goat was obliged to go to work (Keeps away the lupine pest) and Nanny Goat stayed at home and made pasties (Huzzah!),we’ve been swanning around the Emirates seeing the sights and doing that whole touristy thing either in the Goatmobile or with the roof of Beloved Wife’s tin-top convertible folded away. On her first evening here, there was a desert barbecue out past Bab Al Shams that was tricky to find in the dark even abetted by GPS. A separate BBQ over an adjacent dune proved distracting and confusing at first.
Later, we drove around almost the entire length of Palm Jumeira’s barrier reef. We didn’t go into the Atlantis, and will not do so until after the whale shark has been released.
Sharjah Heritage Village and its souq was available for use, so Nanny Goat and I wandered around buildings recently restored in the style common in the 1850s, or possibly even the 1950s. The door to the Heritage Museum was shut in our faces, and the Islamic Museum seems to have disappeared.
It was diverting to wander around the aquarium in Dubai Mall. The Goat tried and failed to take decent photographs with Nanny Goat’s new compact camera. There was a long and protracted session with Photoshop(TM) afterwards, trying to get the colour balance back to something approaching plausible. Incidentally, the same problem afflicted all the photos taken under the blue-glassed atrium of Mercato Mall. Messing with the white balance and other settings met with little success.
On the subject of said camera, it was astounding to see how cheap memory cards have become. So cheap in fact that 2GB was given away with the camera (an Olympus with 12 megapixels, if anyone’s interested) along with spare rechargeable batteries, a charger and a carrying case, and all for well under Dh500. Merry Christmas, Nanny Goat. Unfortunately such beneficence was not displayed when I enquired about a new Nikon DSLR body. That will have to wait for some considerable time, given that it’s probably Dh6500-
What else happened? Beloved Wife threw a massive and traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Friday. We have now at last more or less got rid of all that food. There remain the final remnants of a pie that the Goat made from turkey leftovers, but the potatoes, cranberry sauce and squash have now gone the way of all food.
The blog’s normal service - complaining about stuff that gets up the Goat’s nose - will be resumed following Nanny Goat’s departure.