Today there was an auction of the Deceased Estate of a Mr Watson, according to the Motueka and Golden Bay News, so I went along to see what a deceased estate of a (presumably) living man might be. The Motueka and Golden Bay News is a weekly source of enjoyable solecisms, most famous among which has been the advertisement concerning the Pasta of the Church of Christ.
Mr Watson, it seemed, was a car restorer: his Deceased Estate largely comprised tools and I had the feeling there would be a large turnout of large people, there often being a correlation between car enthusiasm and girth. Just as I was arriving a 4WD swung out from a driveway opposite forcing me off the otherwise empty road - the driver hadn't spotted my fluorescent jersey - turned left and immediately parked, a journey of a good three hundred metres, and as I dismounted two vast people were struggling their way out of the seats to join the gathered throng. There were fifty-six bidders and twice that number of spectators. The bidders fully met my hopes. A taxonomist would have got all excited and written down a) skinny; b) massive; c) young; d) moribund and immediately drawn a Venn diagram.
One lot was 'an old engineers lathe' and another was 'old push bikes'. On inspection the lathe was a worn-out Chinese affair with a flimsy cross-slide and a knobbly dead centre welded to the tailstock chuck. The two push bikes were of 1970s vintage, one of them the puzzlingly ubiquitous Raleigh Twenty. Nobody has ever satisfactorily explained why so many Raleigh Twenties exist in the Colonies nor why they fetch high prices, but since every one I lay my hands on is addressed with a hacksaw I am doing my best to increase their rarity value.
I returned home to my emails and found a photograph taken of the corner of Mr Knight's drawing-room. Mr Knight like Mr Watson has a shed but there isn't quite enough space for his twenty-eight-plus bicycles, so some have strayed indoors. Should there ever be an auction of the Deceased Estate of Mr Knight it too will feature old push bikes, but I doubt if it will feature any Raleigh Twenties.
When Mr Knight is at work these bicycles double as clothes-drying racks like my astronomical refractor does when my wife's sister comes to visit. You and I of course would never do such an evil thing, for a quick glance tells us that - from the front - we are looking at
a 54" 1883 Bayliss, Thomas & Co. DEHF (Duplex Excelsior Hollow Fork); a 55" c1885/6 racing model of unknowen make; and a pair of c1920. 28 x 1 3/8 (ETRTO 37-642) wooden rimmed wheels on BSA hubs.
I did not spot Mr Knight among the bidders for Mr Watson's workshop effects, but I do know he is building himself quite a useful Geared Facile, and since not many other people are I have spoken firmly to him about recording the matter for posterity. You and I know what a Geared Facile is, of course, but everyone else will have to go to his new blog and keep track of events as they unfold.