I'm sitting here, chuckling in disbelief.
I was working last night (remember, when most people got an extra hour in bed, night workers got an extra hour on their shift, chiz) and got a few hours' sleep this morning. This afternoon, I had promised Anna that I would get everything outside the house tidied away in preparation for the coming storm. I got the wooden garden furniture in the shed, lashed down various bins, tables and barbecues, and performed the 3D jigsaw of getting both 'proper' bikes into the garage. It was a very tight fit, and I had to tunnel out, but they are in there.
Which left the old XT. To remind anyone who is remotely interested, I got a newer version in January and took the XT off the road with the vague intention of restoring it, or perhaps rebuilding it as a 'special' after a thorough overhaul. January was the last time it went on the road. It was wrapped in a waterproof cover and left. Around April time, I took the covers off to check it was OK and tried to fire it up. It started first time. Back went the covers, after I had patted it and made soothing noises. Anna is a bit pertickuler about important lifestyle artefacts (she refers to them as 'junk'), so the XT went under a waterproof cover and was hidden behind the shed. Before I did this, I drained out as much fuel as I could and then ran the engine until it died. The idea is to leave the carbs empty of fuel so that it doesn't evaporate and clog everything up with varnish.
As the bike is parked under some trees, I went to move it to a safer place for tonight. The waterproof cover had ripped to shreds, although the bike underneath looked fine. Just for a laugh, I thought I would try to start it. I knew there was no fuel in there, and I was pretty certain that after six months of inactivity (and almost a year without any significant charging) the battery would be dead as a dead thing. It was new when I bought the bike in 2008,and 3-5 years is considered to be a reasonable life expectancy. With regular use.
Ignition on, fuel on, try to start it. The starter churned away but nothing happened. Then I remembered I had drained the fuel, so I switched it to reserve in the hope that a few drops might have been retained in the bottom of the tank.
Rur-rur-rur ... doff doff doff doff ...
I laughed out loud. I rode it round the garden and twice round the house. Everything worked perfectly.
I have put it somewhere safe, away from falling branches. It's no longer insured, and any serious damage would realistically make it not worth repairing. It has convinced me (I was wavering, I admit) that it deserves some lurve, when I get the time and funds.
It reminds me of that marvellous Top Gear stunt with the Toyota Hilux. The bike seems to be indestructable.
Good luck if you are in the path of this nasty weather. My advice: go to bed with a pint of Scotch and pull the covers over your head.