Both of us have been struck down by nasty bugs in the last few weeks and haven't ridden as much as we'd like. Marathon Man, however, decided he'd pump up his tyres last week and take his tourer for a spin around the block. He got out into the lane and BANG! With a sound like a gunshot the front inner tube exploded with such force it blew the tyre off the rim. Whoops!! We looked at it... there was a hole in the tube you could put your fist into.
So new inner tubes have now been installed on his tourer.
On checking my bikes at the weekend poor old Petunia, whom I haven't ridden in a month, has a dead flat back tyre despite her Schwalbes. I'd expect a bit of deflation but this is annoying. T'other half had 'borrowed' the valve cap from her rear tyre to put on his for a few weeks to test if it stopped the tyres deflating (the bike shop had conveniently neglected to return one of his valve caps when they fitted the tyres the first time). So I'll pump her up and see if was just a leaky valve. I'm finally feeling well enough to get back on the bikes; my ears are still full of fluid and my balance isn't great, but my stamina is returning. A few of my friends have had this bug and we've all been on antibiotics and feeling totally crap.
To keep myself amused I've been making Christmas presents. We have a tacit agreement among our friends that we try and limit spending to about $20 per person. Books fall nicely into this category, as do high quality calendars, potplants and the rest. This year most of my friends are getting plants I've propagated, and either home made marmalade or my own Chilli & Garlic oil, which is dead easy to make. The key thing is to use very good quality first pressed extra virgin olive oil - I usually buy it in a five litre tin and that lasts me ages even with decanting some of it to make gifts. The next thing is to find cheap but pretty bottles to make it in. The "$2" discount shops are a great source for such bottles. The pic below is the result - you can see the delicious and fiery chillies have floated to the top of the bottles and the garlic has sunk to the bottom; for the first couple of weeks you have to gently upend the bottle a couple of times a day. One of my girlfriends liked hers so much last year she'd gone through a bottle twice the size in six weeks! Great for BBQing, salad dressing or pan frying.