Mechanical Mayhem and sundries
Yesterday WOLFGANG WOULDN’T START. I ONLY GOT HIS GOOD FOR ANOTHER YEAR ROAD TEST STICKER ON THE WINDSCREEN THE DAY BEFORE.
Long term readers with too much time on their hands may remember Wolfgang, my sixteen- or seventeen-year-old Golf VW, has an Erratic Fault. If it would come and stay I would have him hauled off to the garage so they could FIX IT. This erratic thing is a real toxic-pond-scum-sucker. And, not surprisingly, it is slowly getting worse, because despite jolly chirpy chaos theory, Newtonian entropy still rules the everyday world, which includes things like cars. Heretofore so long as I didn’t park him (a) nose up and tail down (b) with a less than full tank of diesel (c) and try to start him again while he was still warm from having been somewhere already, I didn’t have a problem. And as long as I parked on the flat I didn’t have a problem. I ONLY had a problem if he was warm AND on a hill.
He was warm yesterday. But he was parked FLAT and his tank was FULL. And he didn’t start.
Furthermore, the not-starting has never lasted more than five or ten minutes. In this particular case the good thing was that he was in his very own parking slot at the cottage so if he just wanted to stay there indefinitely the traffic cops weren’t going to come round in a couple of hours and remonstrate. This is not a good enough thing.
Because he did not start in five minutes. Or ten minutes. I got quite a bit of unscheduled gardening done* while I waited for Wolfgang to reattach the glifflemayer to the obstockling and get on with it. But no. And the hellhounds were getting very tired of the back seat.** And so, cursing liberally and fluently*** I unloaded most of my briefcase equivalent into my knapsack, snapped leads back on immediately happy and reanimated hellhounds, and set out for the mews on foot, listening to my knees crackle and crunch.† ARRRRGH.
This morning I woke to SNOW. SNOW. “(*&^?%$£!!!!!!†† Vast, platter-sized flakes which . . . looking on the bright side . . . did not lie. But they did make skittering down the cottage hill rather more interesting than I enjoyed. ††† So I didn’t even bother with Wolfgang: hellhounds and I had a local hurtle, came back to the cottage for me to slip into the costume for my pack mule imitation again, and trudged off to the mews.‡ Where I’ve been feinting with SHADOWS.
I have a theory. Wolfgang doesn’t like being clean. It makes him nervous.
* * *
* Yaay, as far as that goes. I’m desperate to spend some time in the garden. But not quite on these terms.
** Possibly because they’d already been there for half an hour on the way home from our walk in Ditherington when I noticed my favourite local nursery was OPEN for the first time this year. I only bought six little green things! Well. Maybe seven. But they were little!
*** I added a couple of ‘learn a new Japanese word/phrase every day!’ sites to my Twitter feed. But I bet they don’t give you anything really interesting, like, May your sticky rice always crumble and your yellowtail tuna sashimi always leap out of your chopsticks onto the floor! What’s the Japanese for ‘Mwa hahahahahaha’?
† Six books on Japanese and the complete print-out of too many drafts of SHADOWS. I’m still a paper girl at heart and have I mentioned that the old laptop^ has started making great swathes of text disappear if I try and move around in the file too much^^???? So I print everything out. Just in case it doesn’t all come back. This has, of course, put my printer in a terrible mood, since printers live not to print, as we all know. Mine furthermore has its dashboard specially designed to press its own buttons if you happen to breathe on it too hard let alone let a sleeve brush across it or the gods forbid you should be trying to copy something^^^ and let the cover of a book fall indiscreetly—oh the alarm bells and the screaming and the glinchfarking error messages! I did not tell you that Oisin and I wouldn’t have been able to try Britten’s Salley Gardens on Friday anyway because I discovered that my printer had cleanly and beautifully copied the top half of page two twice . . . instead of, you know, the entire page two, top and bottom, in the standard positions. It was so immaculately done that I’d spent several minutes trying to figure out what madness Britten was up to before I finally checked the original book. But this would have meant that Oisin and I would have been reading off the same copy of the music, and I guarantee that you don’t want my top A right in your ear.
I had no idea that my printer had this interesting capability. And I’m sure it doesn’t, if you wanted it. Which brings me to this superb and revelatory link, sent by the tireless and perspicacious b_twin: http://work.failblog.org/2012/03/01/job-fails-what-really-goes-on/ which made me laugh immoderately, but then I am a poor weak technological fool.
^ I did tell you that I decided that I couldn’t face learning a new sodblasted operating system in the middle of pelting to get a novel done, so the shiny new (returned) laptop is holding the doodle desk to the floor and I’m still using the old one?
^^ Yes, I tried breaking it up into several files. This had no effect whatsoever, except that looking for things was even more of a ratbag.
^^^ Yes. It’s an all in one. This of course is always a mistake, but then all computer hardware is a mistake, and what this means is that I have one machine torturing me triply or quadruply rather than three or four machines torturing me individually.
†† Speaking of fluent cursing.
††† Especially with my knees still complaining about the day before.
‡ And had an Interesting Encounter on the way. About halfway down the main road we found ourselves approaching a Situation. A woman was standing on the pavement, behind the open door of her car, staring at her mobile phone. She had a dog on a long extending lead . . . and the dog had wandered over to the other side of the pavement and was standing up against the wall of a shop, staring at us interestedly. This meant that the lead was stretched completely across the pavement like a trip wire. Furthermore the dog was some kind of Staffie cross and a frelling big one—the other half might have been Lab, something big and square and deep-bodied plus the famous Staffie jaws, with the eight-hundred and sixty-seven teeth and the no-release mechanism. We stopped. I was hoping that the cranglefarbling woman would look up and notice. She didn’t. She went on staring at her phone. I said, “Excuse me.” Nothing. I said it again, louder. She looked up. She stared at me like she had no idea why I was bothering her. “I’d like to get by,” I said. Now, remember, the frelling lead is stretched across the entire width of the pavement, and never mind the pounds-per-inch of the jaws at the end of it. She starts to walk across the pavement toward her dog and says aggrievedly, “It’s not like she’s a dangerous dog.” I’ve heard that one before. “Well, how am I supposed to know that?” I said, as we went past—and she apparently wasn’t a dangerous dog, because the frizzlegabbling woman was certainly not making any particular effort to restrain her. But the woman said, by now clearly offended, “Because I am a responsible dog owner!”
Right. Like this is a tattoo? It had better be on your forehead, because you don’t have time, before battle is engaged, to pull it out from anywhere, like under your sleeve, and you certainly don’t have time to get the card out of your wallet. HOW THE FRELL AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW YOU’RE A RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER. I’VE NEVER SET EYES ON YOU BEFORE AND MY FIRST IMPRESSION IS NOT A POSITIVE ONE. But the woman is just getting started. “I’m right here! And she’s on a lead! And —” But we’re past her now, and barrelling down the last of the hill, and I’m wearing a scarf, a hoodie, and the hushy, crinkly hood of my goretex raincoat, which makes a sound like you’re walking through a waterfall anyway and I’m getting a bit deaf. I don’t think I missed a lot. But I could hear her screaming at me—“People like you!” blah blah blah blah.
It must have been really bad news on her phone.
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