Saturday, 19 March 2011

Cattle near Brecon

The painting above is of Cattle near Brecon on the canal. This morning I re-worked the foreground of another oil painting. I had been looking at it for a while and finally decided it needed lightening. It is always a risk to re-work a painting but this worked out okay.

As I have previously said we have had many experiences on motorcycles in the past both good and bad.
Many years ago sometime in the 1970’s we went for the first time to the Elephant Rally in Germany. This is a winter motorcycle rally which takes place in February and attracts large crowds of motorcyclists from Hells Angels to Vintage enthusiasts. The main ingredients are motorcycles, alcohol and snow.

We went on a three cylinder Suzuki and got a fair indication of the weekends outcome when we got off the boat in Ostend at three in the morning. A group of motorcyclists set off down the Autoroute in front of us. One after the other they came off their bikes with people,equipment and machines sliding down the road. The authorities hadn’t gritted the roads and it was well below freezing. Alex and I parked under a motorway bridge until morning and then made our way to the Rally. This was a huge event. We had a tent and camped in 6 inches of snow along with everyone else. It was too cold to even take off your coat. We bought a can of emergency spray starter, which I think was mainly ether for spraying into the carborettor intake in very cold weather. We spent most of the time in cafes or beer tents keeping warm.We didn't drink much beer because we couldn't afford it and in any case we would be riding back on the Sunday. But it was an interesting and enjoyable event.

On the Sunday we made our way back to Ostende and then started up the motorway back to Wales. We were travelling in company with my brother and his girlfriend who were on a 750 Suzuki. At some point in the night I noticed they were not behind us. I pulled over and we walked back down the hard shoulder to see he had a flat rear tyre.

The machine was a bit of a beast and he couldn’t put it on its stand without help. We eventually got the wheel off and fixed the puncture. It was dark and freezing, so that was quite an achievement. Alex and I then walked back to out bike. There was a layer of frost over it and it refused to start. I sprayed a good dose of the ether or nitrate down the air intake and tried the starter. It immediately caught fire. Flames were coming out from under the petrol tank and Alex was trying to pull me away. We did fortunately manage to put it out. The bike started and we got as far as Telford following my brother. He came up behind a gritting lorry and overtook it. I like an idiot followed him. We got about half a mile when I noticed Alex sliding past me down the road with the bike leading the way. Apart from gravel burns we were okay but again we sat it out for couple of hours for conditions to improve.

It was an eventful weekend but we survived.

This afternoon we are watching the rugby.

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