Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Three wheels rather than

two means that I have an increased chance of getting a puncture when I pedal. I had a puncture yesterday.
I had gone down to the showgrounds to do the last of my duties as a Steward.  As there were very few people around I was able to park fairly close to the entrance and locked my trusty little machine to a convenient post.
The morning was a busy one passing back items to exhibitors, explaining to some people why their work did not win a prize and congratulating some who did. I packed things in boxes to send to people who enter from far off places. I put tissue paper in boxes and folded metres of material used over display stands.
Eventually, having done all I was supposed to do, I headed out to pedal home. Oh. The rear left wheel was as flat as flat. This was not a tyre in need of air. This was definitely a puncture.
I tried the phone to let the Senior Cat know I would be delayed. It was not working.
What to do next? I went back into the hall to see if I could borrow a phone, ring the Senior Cat and then perhaps an Access Cab to get trusty machine home.
        "Oh Cat, wait - one of the men might be able to help," someone said when she heard my tale of woe, "Just stand there."
I could have asked myself - although I would have hesitated to do so,
        "Hop down to Event Maintenance," a cheerful man tells her, "They will be able to help."
        She goes off to Event Maintenance for me because it is some distance away - and returns with another cheerful man and a bicycle pump. He shakes his head when he sees the tyre.
        "Definitely a puncture."
Neither of us have a puncture repair kit of course.
        "Where do you live?"
I explain. It is not that far, about three kilometres away. If I can get to the railway station I can catch the train and then the Senior Cat can come to the station with a new tube I tell them.
        "No, take you right home."
They bring around a trusty Australian "ute", a vehicle designed to carry just about anything because of the open tray at the back. My little vehicle is lifted onto the back and tied down expertly. I sit next to the driver who says it is "not a problem".
We have a nice conversation about the statistics for the new building at the showgrounds - cost $55m, 10,000 sq m of solar panels serving all their electricity needs and 3.25gigalitres of water stored on the roof if you are interested. He weaves expertly in and out the back streets to avoid the road works near us. On arrival my vehicle is lifted carefully off and wheeled right to the front door.
No, I cannot pay them anything. He just shakes my hand firmly and departs.
The Senior Cat had to go to the bike shop on his gopher. He bought two tubes - which was just as well as one of those turned out to be faulty.
He will return to the bike shop today to replace the faulty tube and buy a second puncture repair kit. We are going to post it to the cheerful men who went out of their way to help. I hope nobody else needs it but I do not doubt they will be prepared to help.