Monday, September 13, 2010

Bike in pond

I thought I might have already told this tale but it seems not so here it is.

The whole thing came about some years ago when I was still doing some astronomy with my brother and the local group. Although we were amateurs, we did do some fairly important stuff for professional groups from time to time. Mostly routine stuff that didn't need high powered equipment but just time and inclination and a modicum of equipment. The event involved this time was a reasonably rare occultation and we were sent out to a distant and isolated area to time said event. As a convenience I offered my brother a lift so he came out to my place on his motorbike which at the time was a substantial 1000 model and rather heavy. Due to the soft ground he decided to park the monster on the edging of my small fishpond which was all rock.

We then ate dinner and set off in my car, collecting another bod en route along with a telescope and box of bits. The weather did not look wonderful so we had rather a low expectation of any return but thought there was just a chance of a gap in the cloud. So there was - about 5 minutes after the event! Murphy's law strikes again with that well known line - The thickness of the cloud cover is in inverse proportion to the importance of the event!

We hung around for a bit looking at stars in a sort of desultory fashion as the moon was far too bright for anything really good and then packed up and headed for home. Slowly and in a very conservative manner as petrol was running a bit low (forgot to check) and there wasn't an open garage for eons. We finally made it into town and to the only 24 hour garage, then trekked down home again (I was living about 15 minutes out on the wrong side of town for this trip).

It was now just past one in the morning so I made us a cup of cocoa and offered the use of the spare bed for the night but my brother figured it would only take a short time to get home at that time of night so he geared up and went out to the bike. I didn't actually see the next bit but apparently he flipped up the stand and put his foot on the same rock it had been sitting on all evening. Said rock promptly left for the inner reaches of the pond taking his foot with it...... and the base of the pond was very slippery!

He was lucky in two respects. One - the pond was only about 8 inches deep and two - he had his helmet on which saved his head from damage on the rocks at the far side of the pond. (It really was an insignificant sort of pond - more like a muddy puddle and I filled it in eventually.)

Next thing I knew there was a beeping of the horn and I went out to see the bike plus rider in the pond with the upper side leg waving round in mid-air. I had to get into the pond myself to heave the thing off him and then it took both of us to get it out.

We reparked the bike very carefully and went inside. He was wet from top to toe so I handed him a bath towel and sent him off to the shower whilst I went hunting for some clothes that might possibly fit and a dry set of socks and slippers for myself.

He ended up in a very short t shirt, a pair of old pyjama pants in a fetching paisley pattern complete with paint splatters as I'd been using them as overalls over my normal clothes (I believe they originally came from my grandfather!) and a sloppy type of jersey complete with clowns :) I should explain that I am under 5 foot tall and he is nearer 6 feet and what you might call of generous proportions.

He stayed the night!

Most of his gear was dry enough to wear by the next morning - we had cleaned off the mud etc and hung it to dry- so he was able to make it back in time for work. The bike was unharmed but he decided to dispose of it anyhow as it really was a dog to handle on our sort of roads and replaced it with a rather nice 350cc. I think the fishpond finished off his love affair with large bikes for good!

viv in nz

The photo is Skilly (short for skillsaw) our younger cat. She is now 14 but this photo is a couple of years old - not that she has changed much! I chose this because she was found in a rubbish tin by my brother when she was only a few weeks old and he donated her to our house. I later got him back by donating our then elderly and cranky old cat back to him as she wasn't getting on well with our young cats and toddlers :)

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