Sunday, March 21, 2010

Blue Magic

Wooden farm wagons have no suspension. They twist. A small stiff monocoque wagon needs suspension so that potholes don't result in an occasional aerial wheel.

Suspension is admirable except when it gets ruined by Blue Magic. We had a blue Moulton once but Blue Magic got to it, which we deduced because it resulted in The Blue Magic Nut. It was not especially magic, confining itself solely to the act of vanishing. It sheared off the rear swing arm leaving a small boy and me to ride back, slightly lop-sided, from Quorn one October day in 1999. A Blue Magic Nut is irresistible to a four-year-old and we spent many hours on subsequent occasions searching when he mislaid it, until, thankfully, the magic ran out of one end and it vanished forever. Is there really something about Blue and small boys? I am reminded of the tale of Louis Knight's blue bear, and because I can't remember the details I have very kindly emailed Mr & Mrs Knight, asking:

I need to do a blog entry on Sucky Blue so you'd best tell me the story again so I don't get it wrong. I remember
a) Louis
b) five or more Sucky Blues
c) radiator. - R

Mr & Mrs Knight have very kindly emailed back:

Sucky Blue.

When Louis was a very tiny baby somebody bought him a medium sized, blue teddy bear. It was an instant success and spent considerable periods of time with either one of its ears or its tail firmly wedged in his mouth. Louis' not the bear's. Over time the ears and tail began to show signs of wear and tear, partickly when he started to get teeth. Louis not the bear. Also the bear had began to smell a bit like a teenager's bedroom and when removed for washing we had a tantrum fest. A plan emerged; we scoured local shops and eventually found an identical medium sized blue bear in a pristine unsucked condition. We waited until Louis was asleep and performed the substitution. We actually watched him until he woke up to see if the pretender would be accepted or rejected. He woke and immediately put the new bear's ear in his mouth. Out it came again and he looked very hard at it. Finally, he decided it really must be Sucky Blue and in it went again. The subterfuge was complete and we could wash either Sucky Blue as often as needed. As more teeth emerged we were forced to extend the plan and ended up with five Sucky Blues at the peak of the operation. We were able to carefully control the integration of the newcomers to ensure that all bears maintained the same state of suckedness. Obviously such a deception required that all bears other than the current Sucky Blue were hidden from view and only swapped when Louis was asleep. Eventually of course, the inevitable happened. We had just returned from holiday and all five Sucky Blues needed a good wash. Louis was asleep and all the bears got washed and lined up on top of a radiator to dry in a hurry. (Gah, do you remember radiators and central heating? How I miss a warm house) For some reason Louis woke and wandered down stairs to find us. He stood transfixed before the radiator in a state of shock. We were unsure how he would react; we thought he might be angry at the deception. It turned out that it was all his birthdays and Christmases at once. He shook with uncontrolled delight.
We now only have the two Sucky Blues. We had to throw three away because they got so bad that washing had little effect. Louis maintains that he still knows which is which and that there is only one real Sucky Blue.
We tried the same trick with Claudia and her toy rabbit, Kerry. Sadly she saw through the trick and rejected the identical imposter immediately. Even now the spare rabbit sits on a shelf unloved and is known as K2. K2 is pristine and Kerry is totally munted. - Bob

Er - where were we? Suspension is what I was on about and I was about to deliver the revelation that the children's wagon has full suspension and, when you're unloading your forty-foot container, it sways with a lathe bed on board.

So I have concluded that for stability, only one pair of wheels should be sprung. And this ties in with what I have concluded about bike trailers, which is that no pairs of wheels should be sprung because when you put 50kg of chicken wheat on the back, the trailer sways from side to side and is Most Annoying.

A sprung trailer, that sways. And is about to have its wheels cannibalised


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