Wednesday, 10 October 2012

What a day

You may well have noticed that of late, Curious Adventures have been more curious and less adventurous and there is a reason for this, Jayne (yes OK, me) has a knackered shoulder! A knackered shoulder that makes riding her bike rather hard and painful work, after all think about how your bike steers. With counter steering, as a rider you push the side away from you where you want to go, hence the name of counter steering. Well, for those of you not familiar with the technique, please do not try steering the opposite way you want to go, it will result in you crashing painfully into what ever is not where you want to go! Counter steering is done by placing a gentle pressure upon the bar, not actually turning the bars, it works by effectively changing the push on the front wheel and banking the bike over. Now I am sure that there people reading this who have a far better understanding of the physics of this technique than I do and I would love to read how it really works, but for now that will do. Why did I mention it? Well because I just can’t do it at the moment.

So with a knackered shoulder I have been forced to endure all manner of helpful medical staff from our beloved NHS prodding, poking, pulling or pushing my bits and pieces. Most recently I have endured needles shoved deep into my muscle tissue, intense massage of my neck and exercises involving rubber bands. None of this has worked. The exercises have made it worse, the massage made it worse and as for the needles, do you really need to ask? Oh alright, yes they made it worse. All of which brings me to MRI scans. Magnetic Resonance Imagery is a fantastic science where using a combination of fantastic physics, breath taking biology and a man with a bad hair cut, the medics can have a look about inside your body with out having to slice into it like a crusty loaf!

The down side though is that an MRI scanner costs an absolute fortune and each scan costs a smaller but still significant fortune. So they are not handed out to just anyone and today I had an appointment to see if I justified having a scan. Well, that is supposed to be what today was about.

So Carol and I set off this afternoon at close to half past twelve, giving us an hour to make a journey that should only take twenty minutes. Our first stop was for fuel because my bike was showing a worrying fuel light having driven a pitiful 87 miles since my last fuel stop. With the pump droning away I filled both my and Carol’s bikes and then went and paid up the ridiculous sum wanted for a thimble full of go-go juice. Back outside, when we switched on Noreen  and tried to start the engine, it resolutely sat there refusing to burn the thimble full of petrol we had just dripped into it. We tried again and nothing happened. So we kept on trying, Carol wiggled wires and pushed and pulled switches and buttons, but still nothing. Time was counting down, forty minutes to the appointment.

We looked at each other, Noreen was going no where, Carol shook her head angrily and had a gentle word in the bikes ear. Now let’s be honest here, when Carol has a gentle word in your ear, it is wise that you listen. The bike did just that and with another push of the button, it roared into life, with just a couple of sets of traffic lights and couple of roundabouts to get through before hitting the motorway. That was until we discovered that the A370 was running at speeds only seen by your average snail! We finally got to the motorway, twenty minutes until my appointment. We raced off down the slip way and joined the busy traffic and began to make progress towards Clevedon, half way there, Noreen started to do odd things. 

Her rear light started to flash, but not in a way that is easy to explain. The rear light of the ZRX has two bulbs and they started to flash alternately, one side and then the other. The light then flicked off and relights. It flashes some more and then flashes off again. As we approached the Clevedon exit it became apparent that Noreen also had another problem, her rear tyre had decided to let all of it’s air out. We rolled to the top of the slip way, turned on to the road into the town and headed down to the roundabout, where we discovered that the tyre had totally deflated. Unfortunately, the car behind us was not completely understanding of our predicament and hooted angrily. With no real choice, we rode carefully around the roundabout, Noreen also decided that at that moment it was a perfect time to run on only three cylinders! Ten minutes until my appointment.

Fortunately there is a Shell garage just around the corner from where we pulled over, which is why we made our way there, only to discover that it had closed and was being renovated! The workmen there guided us away to another garage, but we just did not have time. So we limped Noreen, running on three cylinders and a flat tyre to the hospital. Five minutes until my appointment! We arrived, parked up and ran like buggery to get there on time and made it to reception at twenty nine minutes and thirty seconds past the hour.

The medical stuff was dealt with I walked out of the room, tears in my eyes, an intense burning pain in my shoulder and a worried Carol on my arm. Back in the car park, Noreen was sat on a flat tyre. We rolled it down the hill and out of the car park and phoned the RAC. Following a  quick chat with the call centre and we settled down for an afternoon of waiting on the pavement. Carol bought a local newspaper that took us less than ten minutes to read and we sat there, bored. Finally after an hour and twenty minutes we had a phone call from a manger at the RAC call centre who apologised for the long wait that we had enjoyed, but promised faithfully that a truck would be with us as soon as possible.

Another forty minutes passed, Carol and I considered learning to juggle to pass the time, but we were saved from this torture by Martyn, the truck driver, who phoned to ask where we were. It was great news, our Knight in orange overalls was coming, but coming from Gloucester, he had a journey time of another forty minutes. Carol and I sat there, bored, we even considered taking up knitting! Finally though, he arrived and we were able to load Noreen onto the back of the fabulous RAC truck. Martyn himself was a jolly chap and chatted all of the way home, Carol rode Sylvie back home and got the garage ready to receive a poorly Noreen. Jayne got to ride in another fabulous truck and finally at nearly seven in the evening, exhausted, Carol and I walked through our front door and sat down. It had been another curious adventure. 

Show me the way to go home, I'm tired and I want to go to bed!
I want my bike back!
No bike looks good on the back of a truck.
The urge to ride her home like that was so hard to ignore.