Sunday, 28 November 2010

Cloud Theory

I find myself with an unexpected free day. I should be at the paintball site, but unable to schoosh my windscreen clean I stopped at the garage on the way out of town to refill on 'wash'. On opening the bonnet I found the car's innards glistering with black slime. 'What's happened?' I asked it. A man who was checking his tyres heard and came over: 'Oil cap's missing,' he said, pointing at a lidless well, 'you'll need to check your oil.'

My oil was all over the engine, the battery, the radiator, everything! The sump was empty. I phoned Stevie: 'You won't be able to drive it,' he said, 'the engine will sieze. You'll have to stay home.'

I thought of the sausages, bacon, eggs, milk and rolls I'd just bought; of the frying pan on the backseat; the cups, plates, cutlery, teabags and sugar I'd packed. It's freezing here so I had planned to make everyone a hot, sustaining breakfast as soon as I arrived at the site, and keep the kettle at a peep all day in readiness for much needed warming drinks. The boys will be out, on their feet, in the cold all day. There'll be no time to drive into town to get food.

The garage lady came out: 'Oh, your oil cap's gone!' She said, 'You'll no be able to drive it like that, your engine will sieze.' She searched for the lost cap amongst the greasy hoses and wires: 'Just in case,' but it wasn't there. I closed up the car and brought it the quater mile home.

It's warm and bright in here, and smells deliciously of the slow roasting leg of lamb I put in the oven before I left. The sausages and bacon are now in the fridge, slippers have replaced the boots on my feet, and I have a large frothing cup of coffee beside me on the desk. I feel rather grateful to be home.

But, tomorrow we have 60 odd college students coming to play paintball, as we are short staffed I'll be needed. This isn't a problem in itself as I can go with Stevie and Bob. However, I also need to be able to rush away from the site and get to the university where I'm meant to be acting as second marker for a colleague's students' group presentations at 3pm. How can I fabricate a temporary oil-cap to get me through until a proper replacement can be sought?


Alesa Warcan said...

Aloha Eryl!

Temporary fix: duct tape the opening shut (over the top and down the sides) and then staunchly tie the duct tape down with sturdy twine over the screw threads...

That should hold you til you get a new cap.


Eryl said...

Thanks Alesa. Now where did I put that duct tape?

How are you, by the way?

The Unbearable Banishment said...

You're in a slippery situation!

Sorry. Someone was going to say it sooner or later.

Please pardon my ignorance, but what is a second marker?

God bless duct tape.

angryparsnip said...

I was going to say Duct Tape too !
plus wire to make sure everything is tied down !

So glad your home with a Leg of Lamb in the oven ! slippers on your feet and a mug of coffee in your hands.
sounds rather nice and cozy.

cheers, parsnip

Alesa Warcan said...

Fine fine, I've been having fun and taking pictures.
There's a set up on my second blog if you're interested.
It's nothing special, but it does sorta chronicle what I've been up to these past six to eight weeks.

You seem as busy as ever, enjoying yourself? : j

Charlie said...

This is how I read the following snippet three times:

"On opening the bonnet I found the cat's innards glistering with black slime. 'What's happened?' I asked it."

What in the world is she doing talking to an eviscerated cat? I wondered, thinking of words in your lexicon like daft and dotty.

But I am the daft one, of course. Amongst all your other activities, do you have time to give reading lessons?

Eryl said...

UB ~ I used to know a girl who used duct tape to control her copious assets.

Student's papers, or in this case oral presentations, have to be marked by two people, it's the university's way of trying to ensure objectivity. The class tutor is the primary marker. It will be interesting to work with this particular tutor as this time last year he was marking my papers, and very favourably too.

Parsnip ~ I have had a nice cosy day, and we've just eaten quite a good portion of that lamb leg: delicious!

Ales ~ I am very interested and will come right over.

Once this coming week is over the busyness will subside somewhat. I quite like it for a while, and I really enjoy many aspects of teaching, but I miss having the time to write. In the new year I'll be teaching writing itself, so I'm hoping it will actually feed my work rather than stop it. I might get all my students blogging as a way of practising.

Charlie ~ I can hardly type for laughing, that's the best interpretation of anything I've ever written! I need reading lessons from you.

angryparsnip said...

I just loved Charlie's comment .
That was the best reading ever ! I have been know to reread sentences often as I read a word worng and though OMG what the hell were they saying, I don't understand ? New glasses might help me .

cheers, parsnip

Lulu LaBonne said...

Alesa offered a similar suggestion to one I would've offered - Duct/Gaffer always a boon in any situation

Kim Ayres said...

If you'd managed to get the car going, you could have detoured via our house and picked up a fair amount of left over cake from last night. I don't think there'll be much left by tomorrow though...

Titus said...

Coo! Thanks goodness the practically minded and the struck-dyslexic have got here before me.

Your oil trauma reminded me of one very long surveillance day, and I think we were in the Midlands, certainly at a motorway services. One of the cars in the team (and the most, I repeat, most crucial) wasn't running right, and the oil light thing had been on for the last 100 miles or so. At the services the experienced officers in said vehicle raced into the petrol station bit, purchased oil, then, with a rag (engine very hot) took off the oil cap and proceeded to pour oil in. Oil spillage in process promptly caught fire.
Nice lady in petrol station came out with a fire extinguisher, and covered car in pink foam, which did the job. Pink foam stuck to car, making it a little eye-catching. Not ideal for surveilllance.

I watched the whole thing from a distance of about 25 yards, and having been in my car for about 7 hours very nearly embarassed myself in the micturation department.

Good luck tomorrow, and sorry to have been no help whatsoever.

debra said...

My husband and his siblings used to tease their mom, "the best made plans of mice and moms oft go to hell in a handbasket." So it goes. But at least you got a good cup of coffee.
And preserved the engine as well.

Pat said...

Bummer! But at least you ended up warn and dry and fed and watered. At this time of year such requirements are vital - as I contemplate my lonely journey to Warminster.

Scarlet Blue said...

I don't know. I am rubbish at engines.
But it must have been flipping lovely to get home and into warm slippers. Those are the sort of moments I live for.

Kass said...

I'm "schooshing" around in a lot of snow here too. Great word. I'm stealing it.

Anonymous said...

Any excuse for some sausages!

nick said...

Jeez, what a horrible mess, that would have freaked me out completely! It's never happened to me fortunately so I have absolutely no advice for you! Hope you get it fixed quickly. Not having a usable car is a pain in the bum in these car-dependent times.

Sausage Fingers said...

How did the lamb turn out?

Eryl said...

Parsnip ~ every time I remember Charlie's comment I laugh out loud. If your misreadings are half as funny I'd stick with the glasses you have!

Lulu ~ gaffer tape is the same as duct tape I take it, I never knew that, and have wondered why gaffers had special tape.

Kim ~ now you tell me, I'd have hitched a lift if I'd known there was cake left over.

Titus ~ you ought to write a police comedy, I could see Simon Pegg in the title role!

Debra ~ nothing like a good cup of coffee to make everything alright.

Pat ~ get yourself some handwarmers, I'd have died without mine at the paintball site today, they're great!

Scarlet ~ it was great, and even better for being so unexpected!

Kass ~ schoosh away! A good Scottish word is schoosh.

Jenny ~ absolutely!

Nick ~ if I lived in a city I wouldn't bother with a car, but here over 20 miles from the nearest town sized town, and thus work, it's impossible.

Sausage ~ it was utterly scrumptious, and it made the house smell like a home should all day.

Anonymous said...

Put a cork in. Or a piece of wood. Remember that the engine gets hot and the oil even hotter. You should have a professional engine cleaning.

Philip said...

Hope you get sorted. I'd fill it with oil and use whatever i had to hand, drive to halfords job done. - regarding the spam comments - make you not only mark as spam but delete as well. Helps blogger spam filter. I'm being deluged with them. Must be actual humans as it gets past the word verification.

red-handed said...

Wish I knew -- anything that won't melt.

Isn't it amazing/awful how such a little thing can mess up the whole works?

Eryl said...

Mago ~ a professional engine clean is definitely in order.

Philip ~ since I set up word verification I don't get any spam thank goodness. I guess one problem with being singled out as a blog of note is that all the marketeers are now aware of you.

Red ~ it is amazing, luckily it wasn't a major problem and I now no how to deal with it should it happen again. What I find astonishing is that at my age there are still so many practical matters that can still floor me! Perhaps I should take a motor mechanics course, not to mention a plumbing course, an electrical engineering course...

Eryl said...

I now NO?! It's early, I should be in the shower...

Mary Witzl said...

Did you finally manage to fix this? It would have floored me too. I know people who can look under the hoods of their cars and identify all sorts of things, remedy the problems they find there, and discuss them intelligently. I'm in awe of them. I just stand there, staring and feeling intimidated -- and I keep my mouth shut so as not to reveal my total ignorance.

Pat said...

I'm going to google handwarmers. For MTL - the chemo makes his hands and feet cold.

Golden West said...

Hi Eryl,

I've been unable to open your blog for 3 long months, due to my obstinate, aging computer. I've missed you! My new machine is up and running as of this morning and your blog is one of my first destinations. What a pleasure to catch up with you! Greetings and best regards.

Anonymous said...

Hello my Dear. You spilled all the oil? Where are you?

Eryl said...

Mary ~ we fix one problem only to create a new one. I'm seriously thinking of taking a course in motor mechanics.

Pat ~ hope you got some.

Golden ~ a new machine, how lovely! Thank you for the compliment too, as you can see you haven't missed much.

Mago ~ back now!