Archive for January, 2009

Oh Dear, the Motorbike Returns

January 31, 2009

The kid next door saw me. His little motorbike stopped.

It was running fine. Wonderfully fine. Noisily fine. All kinds of fine. He put it in the garage one afternoon, two days later he got it out and it wouldn’t run.

“Can you have another look at it, please?”

” ‘Course I can. Bring it over when you’ve got a spare minute.”

I’m going on the carburettor for this one. Probably got dirty fuel from that old can his dad uses and clogged a jet.

Looks like the boy’s apprenticeship isn’t over yet.

Clem is Almost Covered

January 31, 2009

The publisher’s artist/book designer has given us some samples for the cover.


Nice work, I reckon. Now we are deciding which one to use. The publisher and I have been emailing everyone we know with teenagers in their family. It’s very low level market research, but it’s interesting that two covers get most of the votes. Next week the publisher will make the decision.

Want a look? The samples are here, for a little while. If the link doesn’t take you there, sorry about that, they are gone.

It’s About Motorbikes Again

January 13, 2009

Sorry Folks,

But you know what it’s like with a one track mind. Well, some of you do. I’ve been riding motorbikes for more than forty years, seems they just won’t stay away.

The next door neighbour came home from holidays. The wagon was packed, and the trailer was packed. And in there was a little Thumpstar dirt bike. One of those noisy things that scream up and down suburban streets before the kid is old enough to hold a license and go far from home.

I noticed the bike. The neighbour said it wasn’t running properly. He’d just bought it from a relative for his boy for Christmas but so far it was a bit of a disappointment. I asked what it was doing, he told me, I suggested a couple of possibilities.

The next day he asked me to have a look at it. And so before long I was teaching his ten year old son what makes the wheels go round on his bike. Most of the problems that develop with these little bikes is caused by some bloke who thinks he knows what he’s doing. Mostly he doesn’t. And he makes it worse. That is what had happened in this case. The problems were all home made by the previous owner. At least my neighbour knew enough not to try to fix it himself.

The second afternoon of working on the thing we got it running hot and strong. The boy took it out the next day and rode it from lunch time to almost sundown. The next day he took it out again but only lasted until the locals couldn’t stand the noise any more.

I suggested that he will be able to ride it longer at a time if he gets a quieter muffler. That’s a tough call for a little kid who is rapidly getting addicted to noise.

I’ve added to the noise pollution of the area a bit, but I’ve also got a ten year old thinking about what is really going on in that carburetor. All in a day’s work.

Back In the Saddle

January 9, 2009

It’s been a while. I’ve been doing other stuff. Motorbike stuff. And writing stuff.

My novel is with the publisher and his editor had me working on a lot of fronts. It’s getting there and is a bit ahead of schedule.

But the real reason to blog is a recent find. I found a real old fashioned men’s barber shop not too far from my new job. Not the normal 21st century metrosexual hairdresser. A real men’s barber shop with a pile of fishing magazines sitting there and the cricket on the radio up on the shelf.

Neville has been working this shop for forty years. He came home from Vietnam, got to work, and has not stopped. I think the only thing that has changed in all that time is the date on the magazines.

His prices are also from a bygone era. Where else do you get a haircut for $11.50? Nowhere, that’s where. And he’s a good man with a pair of scissors.

Finding Neville in his shop is even enough to get me blogging again. Wonders will never cease.