Wednesday, 22 October 2014



‘Pafo’ is doctor’s shorthand for ‘Pissed and fell over.’ ‘Picnic’ is computer nerd’s slang for ‘Problem in Chair, not in Computer’. Pisnib? Problem In Saddle, Not In Bike. Some years ago I set out, heavily laden with luggage, on a longish journey on my Velocette Venom. I’d hardly gone five miles when the bike seemed to run out of petrol, so I reached down and opened the other fuel tap. No go. I shook the bike from side to side and heard plenty of fuel sloshing around in the tank. Then I delved for a plug spanner and checked the spark – yes. Now in my not very long book spark + fuel = engine runs. So I kicked the engine over and away I went.

            A few miles later it happened again. This time I didn’t bother getting the plug spanner out, I just waited a few minutes and set off again. It was a hot day; could the engine be overheating, causing magneto failure? I hoped not.

            When it happened again after another five miles I happened to be on a very quiet stretch of road, and I noticed a gentle hissing sound. Oh, no; not a puncture too? The hissing subsided but the tyres seemed fine, so off I went again.

            And it happened again. This time I simply sat on the roadside bank, lit a cigarette, and had a think. (It is not yet as widely realized as it should be what a disastrous effect the current disapproval of smoking is going to have on Man’s inventive capacities.) There was that hissing again. I prodded the tank bag. The hissing stopped. I re-arranged the tank bag so that it no longer covered the little hole in the fuel cap. Problem solved.


Simon Darragh.
This is actually someone else's Velocette Venom; I can't find any pictures of the one I used to have.

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