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?