Thursday, December 26, 2013

Trials bikes

So..., there I was with a mint, UK registered Montesa 4RT trials bike that couldn't be re-registered in France due to a lack of one of these confounded 'Certificat de Conformité' papers. Therefore had little option other than to return the bike to the UK and put it up for sale with the much appreciated assistance of sis and bro-in-law. Bike sold after just one week. So what bike to buy as a replacemenet? Well, as is often the case, the bike just popped up on eBay - a mint, 1963, renovated, 250 DOT trials with a 37a Villiers engine. Bought it and had it 'white-vanned' out to France. Excellent nick - er, apart from the engine being down on power and reluctant to 'rev out'. Bike now back in the UK undergoing surgery at Stevens Motorcycles in Kent. At about this time I had my first gout attack (only it wasn't gout - see 'Stent' posting). This made me think I might never ride in trials again. So I thought about selling the DOT. But that seemed bonkers as I'd only just bought it. Then I thought maybe I have just one more crack at riding in a pre-'65 or twinshock trial. Maybe next year's Phil Mellers trial in Hampshire. Or maybe next year's Dick Little trial. Or maybe next year's Greybeards. The DOT would be an ideal steed for all those trials. Or maybe a twinshock would be better. So I had a quick search for twinshocks. Spotted a gem. A Don Godden-framed 320 Majesty. Bought it. White-vanned it out here. Now parked up in the garage. So I now own two absolutely brilliant trials bikes, both of which could be seen as investments. Or maybe I'll sell the DOT and keep the Majesty. Or if this blasted foot condition results in no more trials rides, maybe I'll sell 'em both. Nah, perish the thought.

P.S. - Heart problem. Maybe my trials-riding days are over. Both bikes now sold. This is the first time in half a century that I've been without a trials 'iron'. Feels a bit odd.

The first snows of winter

Date for the diary: 18th November - that's when this year's snow arrived. Came about a month later than last year so maybe we're in for a teeny bit shorter winter. Surprisingly, it came without warning. The previous evening had been sunny so I was looking forward to getting out to take some snaps of the autumnal colours. However, the snow put a stop to that. Shame really, 'cos the trees had turned into striking colours of reds, browns and yellows. Now, a couple of weeks later, the trees are almost bare, their colourful leaves lying on the ground battered by snow and blown by winds.

Couple of nights after that first flurry, the real snow hit. About ten inches. Had to shovel a path to the woodshed to get much needed logs. Then dig out the car to get provisions from downtown. As with all snows, one never knows when it will end, or for how long you'll be snowed in. So, when the winter snows arrive, it makes sense to get down the supermarché and get stocked up. Trouble is, everyone thinks the same so get there late and the shelves start looking a bit bare. Nipped down there in the afternoon and was quite surprised to see that it hadn't snowed nearly as much down in the lowlands. Just a couple of inches. Keep forgetting how high we are - about 600 metres, which is about the same as the high bits of the Derbyshire Peaks district.

Woke up earlyish on the day the snow arrived. Noticed a couple of visitors in the garden scavenging for fallen apples under the snow. Normally deer keep well clear of the village. But these two seemed perfectly at ease pottering around les jardins. Wonderful to watch. Then they were gone. 


First noticed it about a month ago. A bit of a pain and numbness in the three larger toes of my left foot. Did a bit of online research and decided it must be gout. Visited the doctor. Twice. He said it could be gout, but then mentioned a calcium malaise that had similar symptoms. Eventually prescribed some pain killers and some other pills to combat gout. Few days later the pain was even worse, the foot had swollen, a couple of toes had blackened and felt really cold, as if the blood wasn't circulating to those extremities. Visited the doc again. He immediately rushed me off to a hospital in Limoges. Specialised in circulatory problems. Couple of days later I was under the surgeon's knife. Apparently the main artery in my left thigh had become partially blocked by a chloresterol build-up. This blockage reduced the blood pressure to the foot area, thus stopping blood reaching some toes. The solution was to insert a 'stent' into the blocked artery, thereby increasing blood flow to the foot and toes. Hopefully the increased blood pressure would blast its way back into the dead toes. Or maybe not. If not, they'd have to be amputated. After ten days in hospital they sent me home. Have to return on 31 Dec for a final check up.