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, 16 February 2008

The cat sat on the............. laptop.
How times have changed, they used to be content with a coal fire and a mat

Another 8 miles on the Puch - and a response to a post

Beautiful sunny cold day and another eight miles on the Puch with no catastrophe. Sold 1976 Honda for £200 on Ebay and feel really guilty as it is too much. I don't think the buyer has researched or knows anything about the C90 market. Anyway he is coming to collect it tomorrow and I have resolved to give him a discount - if he turns up!

Very exciting day as I have recieved not one but two responses to a blog post, most unusual.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Dupuytren's contracture - Three years after the operation

Dupuytren's contracture causes one or more fingers to bend into the palm. As you can see from the two pictures I had one hand operated on three years ago but the other still has the condition.

I first got indications of the problem in my left hand in my early twenties. It started as a lump on my palm and although I discussed it with my GP in my late twenties never had anything done about it at the time.

My right hand began to develop the condition in my forties and progressed more rapidly than the other hand had done, two fingers becoming bent at more than a right angle into the palm. In the end the inconvenience (hardly being able to pick up a pint of beer) overcame my exceedingly high level of anxiety and I was referred to a surgeon. He told me that the operation should be able to be done under a local anaesthetic (arm deadened by a block) so I decided to go ahead. In the event a general anaesthetic was required. When I came round in the basement of the Queens Medical Centre surrounded by many other half awake individuals in flowered nighties I was amazed to find the op had taken two and a half hours!

As I had allowed the condition to progress so far it had been necessary to remove skin from my upper arm to repair my palm and finger. I now have some hair growing on the front of my fingers of my right hand. Mad or what.

The surgeon did an excellent job but I have to say that I was not prepared for the considerable and fairly excruciating pain that I experienced in the post operative period. This was I understand due to the fact that the many nerves present in the fingers are damaged in the course of the operation and need to repair over a period of time. Numbness of the finger ends was also present for a time but this resolved.

Three years on I am clear that the operation was a success. I have more mobility in the right hand although I am unable to clench it as tightly closed as I could. I now have one hand that won't fully close and one that won't fully open.

Why have I not had the other one done?
  • I have concerns about subjecting myself to a two and a half hour anaesthetic for a non life threatening condition - if I had known it was going to take so long I might not have had the right hand done
  • It was very very painful
  • The condition can return though fortunately mine has as yet shown no evidence of returning

I suppose the lesson that I have learned from my experience is that if you begin to develop the condition get it resolved whilst it is in it's early stage of development and requiring less drastic surgical intervention.

Fingers crossed no seizure yet

Another 8 miles today in the cold on the Puch MV50. Still goes "ting, ting, ting" when you first start up but no "nip ups" on todays run. Mind you kept to under 25mph.

The performance (sic) of the bike has definitely been affected by my doctoring of the piston. However the plan is to run it on the old barrel and piston and if the seizures don't recur to replace with new barrel etc. Have just put a bid in on a NOS barrel on Ebay so possibly another spare.

Whilst on the subject of Ebay, the 1976 Honda C90 which I have for sale there has been bid up to £200 which makes me feel uncomfortable. In many ways I hope that it does not go higher. My usual response to this type of uncomfortable/guilt feeling is to give the successful bidder all sorts of extra items when they come to collect their purchase. Must curb this urge now that I face an impecunious future as a pensioner.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Eight miles with just a little tinkle

Eight miles today and no seizure with the MV50. When you first start the bike up there is what I can best describe as a metallic "tinkling" sound. I assume that this is the now doctored (by me) and ill fitting piston rattling in the bore. This sound stops within a few minutes presumably as heat expansion takes place.

So so far so good.

MV50 back on the road - Fingers crossed?

Puch MV50 back together after recent seizure (see previous blog). Seizure suffered by bike not owner. Although I have obtained a new barrel and piston Jim Lee (well known Puch expert and motorcycle raconteur) advised I could try to carefully file down the high spots on the old piston and reuse. So I have done this. I read a story the other day that if you have a spare for any vehicle part the original will not go wrong. I am banking on this.

Took the bike out yesterday with great trepidation as I don't know what the cause of the original fault was. My worry was that the crankcase seals had gone allowing an air leak into the crankcase, a weak mixture and consequent overheating. Jim doesn't think it is the seals otherwise it would be more difficult to start. I have made sure that there are no air leaks en route from the air filter to the cylinder. When the bike seized I was using, for the first time a Miller 2T oil supposedly for older and vintage engines. For the trial run yesterday I went back to a modern two stroke oil.

What happened. The bike started and sounded a little strange for a short while but this settled down and I went for a run of about eight miles keeping the speed to around 20 mph with no obvious mishap. The plan is to repeat this slowly increasing speed and distance if there are no further calamities. Blog to be informed

Monday, 11 February 2008

How Mrs Pilsworth got Community Care

Mrs Pilsworth was an elderly women who lived on Mill Lane in the Lincolnshire village where I spent my childhood and early adult years. I think she probably lived with her grown up children and her grandchildren. She was obviously beginning to suffer from dementia and memory loss because one day as I walked past I noticed a board fixed to the front gate proclaiming the message "Don't let Mam out". The gate was tied shut.

Thereafter Mrs Pilsworth could be seen from time standing at the gate imploring passers-by to "let me out duck".

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Snowdrops at Kelham Hall

Great display of snowdrops at Kelham Hall today. A cheering sight. You do wonder who planted them all. Prior to the building being the headquarters of Newark and Sherwood District Council it was a theological college. Would the monks and their students have dibbed the bulbs in?

Sam Radford, the vicar at St Wilkfreds Church Metheringham in the 60's did his training at Kelham. He used to recount to parishioners and we gullible choirboys stories of his times there but I don't recall him telling any horticultural tales. He later became a probation officer I believe.

I seem to recall a story he told that theological students had to climb upon and polish the copper domed roof. In those days we believed everything that policemen and vicars told us but looking at the roof now I am a bit sceptical. Anyway it would have required an awful lot of Brasso.