Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Incompetence rapidly rewarded

Being theoretical rather than practical I have initiated many techno-disasters. This was the most spectacular.

Years ago (“the often times” – as my daughter says) one fuelled a two-stroke motorbike by pouring first petrol then oil into the tank then agitating the bike to mix the two. Frequently neat oil got into the carburettor, snuffing out the engine. That meant stripping the carb and cleaning it.

This happened with my 125 cc BSA Bantam, and I carelessly reassembled the carb so that the slide was at the top of its action not the bottom – leaving the throttle wide open. When kickstarted the engine whined immediately to maximum revs. How to stop it? No ignition, of course, and the twistgrip was inoperative.

So I reached for the high tension lead feeding the sparking plug and wrenched it free. But there were many many volts emerging from that lead and I was thrown across the backyard and crashed into the dividing wall. Painful. I will continue to shrive myself in a continuing if intermittent series on other such disasters.

TECHNO-MUSIC AT CHRISTMAS
For he is like a refiner’s fire. Messiah.

Das sehn wir auch den Rädern ab…
Die gar nicht gerne stille stehn...

Die Steine selbst, so schwer sie sind…
Sie tanzen mit den muntern Reihn,
Und wollen gar noch schneller sein...


(We see this also with the wheels…
They don't like to stand still...

The stones themselves, heavy though they are…
They join in the cheerful dance,
And want to go yet faster...) Die schöne Müllerin.

5 comments:

Zhoen said...

Stop it, you have me laughing, and it's not funny, but the way you tell it is, and now I feel guilty for laughing, but it's your fault.

marja-leena said...

Good grief, you led a dangerous life, heh!

Barrett Bonden said...

Zhoen: The perfect reader's response. It's all I live for.

M-L: But it's a two-part post and the second half has me being languidly bi-lingual. The Sorrows of Werther

Avus said...

I bet you never mis-assembled it again (assuming the poor little Bantam still worked after). My first bike was a 150cc Bantam (oneupmanship).
Nothing so drastic/painful ever happened to me but I can still remember doing an oil change on my first 4 stroke motorcycle (A BSA M20 with sidecar). Carefully removing the drain plug I let out the old oil into a tray. Carefully unscrewing a new 1 gallon can I poured in the new oil, wondering why it was taking more than the 4 pints specified. When I looked down at my shoes I realised why and have never forgotten to replace a drain plug since!

Barrett Bonden said...

Avus: Good grief, we're now writing each other's posts. I had one about the tragedies of oil-change all set up for a week next Monday. Now it will have to moulder for a month or so.