Saturday, 7 January 2012

In other news...

You, dear reader, being the attentive and intelligent person you undoubtedly are, will have formed a mental image of me as you've read my musings and mutterings.
I have no way of knowing whether you find me boring or interesting; what I look like in your minds eye (you might have seen pictures of me from time to time on this blog of course); whether your mental image is anywhere near how I wish to be percieved, etc.

Let me add something to the jigsaw and say that I'm not a mechanically apt person. My middle name isn't "dexterity".

"Dexterity" by the way, derives from "Right Handed".

So in the strict sense of the word, I am far from Dextrous. I am in fact, Sinister.


I am also cack handed. Both in the sense of being left handed, and in the sense of being clumsy.

Or so I've always been told.

"It was a Naccident" was a catchphrase my Dad invented for me. It kind of took the joy out of getting a junior toolkit for christmas.

No matter. I have other skills. I'm perfectly dextrous (with either hand) if you give me a steering wheel.

This week though, I've fixed a car.

You heard me right. I've taken a car that had a fault, and done what was required to make the fault go away. I can't take the credit for diagnosing the fault. That has to go to Bren. She reckoned that the HT leads were the problem. The HT leads take electrical energy from the battery, and feed it to the spark plugs, via something called a distributor - the sparks have to happen in a certain order to make the engine turn the crank)

First part of sorting out this problem was to get off my arse and buy the appropriate make and model HT leads from ebay. When we got around to trying to exchange them, we found that although the connections between the spark plugs and the distributor cap were sound, where the lead from the battery went into the distributer cap both male and female connections had completely corroded. Instead of shiny coppery metal, we had green copper oxide dust. It was remarkable that the car would run at all really, but it was only in damp conditions that it would fail to start.

So I then had to buy a distributor cap. And then I had to fit it. It was fitted over the distributor by two screws. The top screw came out relatively simply with a flathead screwdriver, but the awkwardly placed bottom screw resisted repeated attempts with a variety of flathead, and phillips screwdrivers. Then, looking at the screw I had got out, I noticed that the screwhead was not round but hexagonal. Bingo! I brought pliers, adjustable spanners, and a small mole grip to bear, but still, the screw refused to budge.

So I took the screw inside the house and asked Bren if we had a socket that would fit over it. She dug out the small sockets, and I found one that fitted snugly over the screwhead. Having found the right tool, the stubborn screw offered little resistance, and I was able to remove the old distributor head, replace it with the new one, and correctly put the leads back in the right order, having thoughtfully made a note of their positions prior to removing the old ones.

Now I'm sure that anyone reading this with any aptitude for fixing stuff reads this, they'll be saying, "huh? Big Deal. It's a piss easy job." But I'm pleased with both what I achieved, and how I went about achieving it.

Something else I set my mind to has also borne fruit.

As we were returning from one of the furniture runs I wrote about earlier, I got a text message. This was an enquiry from my website contact form. As it happens, I didn't have my diary with me, and it was getting late so rather than phone the enquirer, I emailed her when I got home.

She called today and I will be giving her son a driving lesson tomorrow. She's talking about doing an intensive course with me, which mean's he's potentially worth several hundred pounds of business to me, which makes the 10p the enquiry cost me, and even the £10 or so I invested overall seem like very small beer.

Good times within the greater gloom. Still smelling smoke. Tired out and bedbound. That's all for today.

driving lessons in Wallasey?

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