Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bad car day

My days, generally, are fairly uneventful - but occasionally an unexpected, exciting, un-planned event comes along to raise the heart-rate; if only for a few hours.

The fortnightly cycle of 'interesting things' begins on a Wednesday pension day, and lasts for about four days. I won't mention actually how small, or much the income is; have learned to "live within" a tight budget and, oddly enough, am able to eat well, buy what i need (including new laptop, and the occasional radio controlled helicopter), pay the bills - even able to "save" a small amount each fortnight  (something that have never previously been able to achieve). On the other hand, the 'savings' are small, and am not in a position to "borrow" any substantial amount.  Am not quite sure what i would do if faced with a 'major' expense; especially in relation to my motor vehicle. However, have also learned to 'not worry' about something that hasn't happened yet - and cope with it if or when it does.

Last Wednesday I drove the 35k into Bathurst to stock up on supplies for the fortnight. Can get the occasional bread, milk, and other bits and pieces from Portland, but the choice of product is limited and a bit more expensive. One of the things that i intended to get in Bathurst was a 'dog restraint' (one of those strap thingos that plug into the seatbelt anchor). She usually sits, or sleeps, quietly on the backseat, but occasionally pokes her head over my shoulder to see what's happening.  So, was up early, pottered about; breakfast of pressed ham, fried mushrooms and a Roma tomato (as well as half dozen cups of black coffee .. heh).

Andy from round the back walks his 6yr old to the corner to catch the schoolbus at about 8.30 every morning, so had a chat with him. Asked if he wanted to go to Bathurst for something to do. He said yes, so arranged to pick him up at about 9.30-10.00.

Decided to check the water and oil in the car - both needed top-up, but spilled some oil down the side of the motor. Drat. Went and found an old tea-towel to wipe it up, then left it on a ledge by the side of the engine to soak up the excess. Went back inside to collect wallet and etceteras. Saw Andy walking up the road, so .. um, hurried a bit. Closed car bonnet, and set off.

About fifteen kilometres down the highway, smelt something strange. "Can you smell something funny?" ask i to Andy. "Mmm", he replies, "smells like hot oil".

Had a bit of a think for a millisecond, then - Lightbulb Moment! Oh shit, the tea-towel. Next to the exhaust manifold.

Found a place to pull off to the side of the highway, went round and opened bonnet. OH Faaaark! Flames!

*see warning

Andy saw the smoke and rapidly exited motor vehicle, so did the dog. Here's me frantically rummaging around behind the driver's seat trying to find the fire extinguisher while yelling to Andy to get the dog back into the car (busy highway three feet away), Andy shouting to see if i had any water in the back since there were several plastic bottles, some labelled Turpentine ... "Yes, the little ones", shout i. Couldn't find extinguisher, so grabbed a litre bottle of distilled water, tossed water on the flames.

Fire was extinguished quickly and ... oddly enough, no damage to engine or wiring. Must have caught it just in time.

But wait, there's more. While there was some nervousness on the rest of the journey to Bathurst (waiting for the other proverbial shoe to drop?), the shopping trip went well, no untoward incident. Wasn't until we arrived back at Andy's place that i noticed coolant pouring out of the radiator. Sprung a leak, by the look of it (but not as a result of the fire).  Oh well, there'll be another one at the wreckers, or dump, i guess (surprising, how much of my furniture comes from there)..

*Warning, this is a 'faked' pic, since everyone was too busy to think of cameras or videos. However, if Channel Nine "live news" can use "tricky images".. i can fake a retroperspective pic - but at least i admit it .. heh.


John Myste said...

I was about to mention that if my car was on fire, my first thought would probably not be to get the camera.

Then your confession...

Vest said...

Most large unexpected expenses are related to the joys of motoring.

Davoh said...

glad you read it to the last paragraph, JM.

Vestie, still have 'plan W' - a sturdy pair of boots.