Saturday 6 July 2013

Clara and the Bandit

A bit of entertainment this afternoon in the form of a mercy mission to go and rescue a broken down motorbike using the 2CV and trailer. The bike is a Suzuki Bandit 600, amusingly the same engine size as the rescue car (though 4 cylinders) and luckily just fits into a 6 foot long trailer. It belongs to K-Dub, our friend, carpenter and shed door wrangler who, despite having ridden bikes for ten years has to submit to the new safety training laws now introduced to Ireland before he can take his test and get a full licence. His fault, he admits - if he'd taken the test "years ago" none of this training would have been needed, but he let all those deadlines drift by and now has to pay the €400+ and do the IBT (Initial Basic Training) including 16 hours of one-on-one on the road riding.

K-Dub and Carolyn actually own about 9 bikes between them but all of them are off the road or in need of work and many are up in Dublin where K-Dub's home and work are. One is the wooden bike I have already described, and this Bandit is a second brought down from Dublin and not quite sorted yet, so it has broken down a couple of times. I am told it is a bit of a slow, lumbering beast but is therefore perfect for this training - you do not want a thoroughbred racer which is always itching to get blasted up to 185 mph, when you are tootling round the road cones on your best behaviour.

Anyway, this time it died on the main N5 Dublin road just beyond Ballinagare at 9 o'clock at night as K-Dub was on the way home from the latest IBT session and he pushed it into the first lay-by he came to, in order to try to get a look at it. Luckily this was just outside the garden wall of resident bike-nut, old Paddy who is the spitting image of Grand-Dad Silverwood, and like him gabbles away in a thick accent (in his case Dublin, where GD-S 'does' you in Scouse), very fast without his teeth in, rapidly gave K-Dub his life story plus tea and sustenance but then, bless him, offered to park the bike in his secure back yard while the rider got rescued and then came back for the dead Bandit. Lovely old bloke, he was completely intrigued by the 2CV, its tiny engine and 1986 reg. He took pics on his mobile phone and bantered away with us while we loaded the bike. Thanks, Paddy - you are a true gem! The bike is now rescued to the home for some tender loving care. Carolyn tells me this is an electrical problem and the bike is not firing on enough cylinders, and she's the qualified engineer as well as the Bandit's owner, so I'm not arguing.

Meanwhile you can see from this picture how big the goslings are new getting. Apart from Fotherington Thomas (far left in this picture) they are almost as tall as the parent birds. Here they are enjoying the ramp up to the enamel bath which I have 'clothed' with some spare butyl liner as the geese were stumbling between the laths of the pallet. Now they splip-splop happily up and down and leap in and out of the water like pro's. I will take a close up picture  soon, so you can see the start of feathering up. They have some wing and tail feathers starting, though their bodies are covered in fluff still.

The gander is now in full moult so the orchard is well decorated with his big wing feathers and I amuse myself by sticking them in the cracks in fence posts which gives a bizarre effect which has you thinking of Indian squaws. A friend ask me if this was 'magical'. Not as far as I know but maybe the goose-spirits will be amused and come and guard my little goose family.

And one last time I will post a picture of how amazingly clear the pond has become. This is a water lily planted in the deepest part of the pond in, yes, an old blue kitchen colander! Hey - the proper baskets are expensive. We are recycling here!

So, as we sit here we await the arrival of a car load of Silverwoods who have been out on a car version of the modern 'Treasure Hunt' idea, which is called 'Geo-caching'. We are fascinated to find out what this is all about and how it works.

They seem to have been on a good circuit on this one all the way up to Tullamore and Athlone, which is close enough, they decided, to break off and divert to us, where Liz has been all afternoon baking cakes and savouries to sustain their geo-cached-out troops.


Anne Wilson said...

Glad to see the pond is clearing.

Mr Silverwood said...

I see what you mean, and we were happy to see you, thanks for allowing us to descend on your peace and quiet for a brief few hours.