No, not your blog of course. I concede that your posts are succinct, insightful, humorous and well worth reading. That is why I would appreciate it if you could spare a moment to cast your eye over my efforts and let me know how I can encourage people to read it. On the other hand it may be the most boring blog, someone's has to be.

Newark market place

Newark market place
Newark market place dull Saturday morning

Newark Church

Newark Church
Two residents at the weir

Snowy Dry Doddington

Snowy Dry Doddington
Snow on the road to not very Dry Doddington

Raleigh Runabout RM6 Refurbished

Raleigh Runabout RM6 Refurbished
Look for the "before" in the blog post

Saturday, 23 December 2006

Blogger on a Moped

This Puch MS 50 V first rolled out onto the highway on February 1st 1971. George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord" was just about to fall from the top of the pop charts when Leslie Dalby of Gainsborough became the proud first owner. Perhaps I am wrong but I suspect that Leslie the Puch purchaser was not a devotee of Indian mysticism like George. I know nothing of Leslie except that he possibly worked on the railway and may have used this bike to get to work. If any one reading this knows anything about him then please get in touch.

As far as I am aware I am the second registered owner. I came across the machine in a farmers shed in North Lincolnshire where it had lain neglected and partially dismantled for many years. After brief negotiations £40 changed hands and I loaded what appeared to be an incomplete heap of rust and filth into the back of my car.

As any resolute moped restorer will know sometimes the apparent basket case does not turn out as hopeless as initially feared. After a fair amount of hard work, a moderate investment of cash, and the assistance of Jim Lee (Puch expert), the bike was restored to a roadworthy condition. No problems with the MOT in April 2006 and the moped has since been ridden on several hundred miles of country road. It has a top speed of somewhere around 35mph and is great fun. Acceleration is as you would imagine fairly poor and therefore they are not ideal on busy roads or in urban traffic.

Puch mopeds were made in Austria from the 1950's. The MS50V model and similar derivatives are very well made with a sturdy pressed steel frame and a 49cc two stroke motor with fan assisted air-cooling. They would have transported many thousands of men and women to their place of employment during the fifties, sixties and into the seventies. Steyr Daimler Puch imported MS50V type mopeds and subsequently Puch Maxis into the UK and for a time they had a healthy share of the moped market. However despite their many qualities they could not offer the level of sophistication available to the UK commuter from bikes like the Honda C50, C70 and C90 and new Puch mopeds do not seem to have been available here since the 80's.

If you come across one, remember it is a piece of transport history. Buy it and either restore it or give it to someone who will.

Friday, 22 December 2006

Shallots and the shortest day

I have vowed on many occasions to keep a diary but have hardly ever got beyond a neat entry on the first day. Will this enterprise be any more successful, perhaps not, but I hope so.
It begins on the day after the shortest day of 2006 and this date is for me significant. I suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and I intensely dislike the short days and long nights. Once it gets dark for me the day is over. Talk of the joys of gathering round the fire to watch some celebrity claptrap or play canasta don't wash with me ( Whoops! Sorry about the regression to the 50's. I'll be on to the delights of Chivers Jelly and sugar sandwiches in a minute.). You cannot get away from it, you are just sitting waiting until it is time to go to bed.
Light boxes have been suggested as a cure but I have never tried one. It seems a rather mechanistic and lifeless alternative to what I think I am missing, the opportunity to be out and about.

I say I suffer from SAD but this is the winter self diagnosis. The rest of the year I just have free floating anxiety and neurosis. My family however think I am just a miserable hypochondriac!

Anyway things get better from now on and by the time we have struggled through the festive season (no misery me) into January I will be feeling quite upbeat and optimistic again.
Whilst we are on the shortest day. My dad advised me many years ago that you should always plant your shallots on the shortest day and harvest them on the longest. Can this be right? Like the light box I have never tried it.