I’m no expert on the making of conserves – I haven’t made my own in a quarter of a century – but I’m pretty sure that pumping had no part to play in the home-made technique I practised back in the 1980s. Perhaps Technotronic’s hit referred to the industrial process? Talking of which, if you work in a jam factory do you get free access to the scum? When I was a lad, this was a definite perk of hanging around the kitchen when jam was being made as the scum was always the best bit of the jam. Are Tiptree hiring, I wonder?
However, this post is not about jam, or even marmalade or chutney, that whole digression arose from the need for a pump-based title.
My old track pump – not a euphemism – gave up the ghost a few weeks ago, and I’ve been having to keep my bicycle tyres inflated using a compact hand-pump (or, more accurately, lived with an ever decreasing tyre pressure) ever since. As I read back that last sentence, I feel the ghost of Sid James hovering near – but I shall press on regardless. The roads of Southampton are an unforgiving medium – more hole than surface in most places (returning home from the flicks in heavy rain one night, the surface was so bad that my rear brake light was riven in two by the force of the vibration from the much decayed surface) – and so with this afternoon’s sunshine I decided it was time to head over to the Hub Cycleworks for a new pump.
My new pump is a thing of beauty, née wonder. It was the most expensive track pump in the shop (though there was only a choice of two models), but the Bontrager Turbocharger HP is the prince of pumps. It is a good 3 inches taller than its predecessor: a boon for the tall but older chap looking to manage his bending down. A further (related) boon is that the pressure gauge is sited at the top of the pump, not ¼” above the floor (where even the shortest of cyclists must struggle to read it). I no longer have to fiddle around with adapters as I move from Presta to Schrader valves – the pump handles all that for me. Oh, but the pumping force it generates is revelatory – there is a serous risk I could actual explode my tyres so powerful is it. Nevermore (to quote the Raven) shall tyre inflation by a good 5 minute workout, the whole process is over in a few seconds.
So good is my new pump that I did not feel right leaving it outside in the bike store (where it might catch a chill or become lonely), but have brought it into the flat. I think I may buy a special plinth for it, so that it can take pride of place in my parlour as a practical piece of modern, kinetic art. For now, here it is in the hall (waiting for its plinth to come):