The Dirt Rat is dead,
Long live The Dirt Rat!
What the heck? How could this be happening, and now of all times. So, you’ve gotta lower the window all the way down, then keep the switch pressed firmly for a few moments. That will reset the body computer. Then you can wind the window fully back up. Please don’t touch the window controls again.
I’ve got this ongoing joke with pretty much everyone who interacts with me that I’m limited, and as such can only do one thing at a time. Never fails to amuse me, exasperate others, and is inevitably met with disbelief by Sandra. Occasionally exceptions to the general rule have to be made. There we were heading north on the freeway, away from the the direction of the big city. We were headed bush. And the stupid car window was failing to wind back up again. The winter wind at freeway speeds roared into the car through the open window. Whilst driving, instructions were provided as to how to fix the window so as to get it to close. Always wise not to multi-task – you heard it here first.
Fortunately the window was closed, and we could hear ourselves think again. A bit of thinking had been done over the previous ten days. The outcome of the thinking was that we here headed bush on the freeway to pick up a replacement for the Dirt Rat Suzuki. The existing Dirt Rat Suzuki was being traded in for a thousand bucks. The stereo and tyres (tires in US parlance) cost more than that, but best not to quibble about such things in these exciting days of shortages. Also proving that cars are not an investment.
The Dirt Rat Suzuki is old enough that it can legally drink at the local pub if it had wanted to. Mechanically the old car used to be fine. Getting the thing serviced every six months, as per the manufacturers advice, meant that the car started, stopped and got me from A to B without hassles. Servicing looks after the mechanical components, and not the other stuff required to keep a vehicle going.
Recently the electrical wiring began playing up. Only important stuff seemed to be failing, like indicator lamps. Fortunately the stereo worked. However, that was when the discovery was made that the local auto-electrician business had closed. The nearest business was two towns away. A phone call was made, and there was a wait of a month for the next available booking, they were getting smashed. Doing two things at once is difficult, but being polite comes naturally. A bit of empathy for the awful awfulness of the businesses workload reduced the wait time from one month to around three weeks.
In the meantime whilst waiting the three weeks for the indicators to get fixed, using the vehicle was an exciting experience. If the cops had noticed, fines and a demand for a roadworthy certificate would have been made. The car would have been taken off the road. And the expense, far out.
During the three week wait for the repairs, the final nail in the coffin was hammered. The old Dirt Rat began having mechanical problems with the clutch, and that was it for me. What’s frustrating is that all of the problems could be fixed, and most of the work is within my abilities, but long term readers may have noticed: I’m busy. The free days with which to do the repairs, just aren’t there. Last Thursday for example was my first day of no-work for the past three weeks. Did I want to spend that no-work day fixing the car, which after all is another name for work? No.
Developing the property, running a business, the blog, spending time with Sandra, friends, and doing the things needful to keep life running. Those things can be done, maybe only one at a time, but they can be done. Repairing the car is a step too far in terms of work load. And it isn’t just me who’s busy, businesses which repair cars are also busy.
So, weeks ago, the realisation dawned that the old Dirt Rat was past it’s economic lifespan. Long term readers will recall that about four years ago, we spent about half the replacement value on the old Dirt Mouse Suzuki (the other car) on repairs. That was a mugs game, because after all that expenditure the thing still broke down one night in the city. The taxi and towing charges to get home again were phenomenal. No point repeating that mistake, we’ll make new and interesting mistakes instead.
Once realisation turned to acceptance of the problem, it’s not unfair to suggest that the term ‘freaking out’ applied to myself. New cars are as rare as hen’s teeth these days. Talk to a car dealer and the words ‘months’ get thrown around casually with abandon. Some people have to wait over a year. Yup, supply of stuff ain’t what it once was.
Sandra and I, discussed the problem. I need some help with this please, was said. Sandra formulated, then implemented a plan. Every car dealer in the state was called. One of them had to have a demo model that they wanted to get rid of. A car dealer up the bush had a demo with a manual gearbox, and discovered that few people nowadays knew how to use such things. We do. Headed bush and nabbed the car. Done – in ten days. It wasn’t the model we would have chosen, and the colour was someone else’s choice – but it was available. It would be nice if this machine lasted for eighteen years, and maybe it will.
It was the week for replacing faulty machines. Hope the Editor doesn’t notice some of my faults? I’ve got a bit of mileage in me still. The camera used to take all the photos for the blog was doing some very odd things of late.
A replacement second hand camera was sourced from Japan. For some reason, a good supply of second hand high quality cameras in good condition can be found in that part of the world. We nabbed one that was described as in near new condition. The supplier wasn’t lying, and the new blue camera turned up in the mail this week. The new machine takes superb quality photos, but then the old one was no slouch.
With all this stuff going on, somehow we managed to find the time to make a batch of Olive Oil soap. Home made soap is superior, nuff said.
In the courtyard to the rear of the house grow two large olive trees. They were purchased at a clearance sale for a hire firm about a decade ago. And they’ve grown since then. Actually, they’ve grown quite a lot and needed hacking back lest they take over the world.
The height of the trees was reduced by about a third. The trees don’t look all that big until you’re standing on a ladder wielding an electric pole saw and hedge trimmers. At that point you’re wondering to yourself whether you can reach the middle of the tree.
After the haircut, the two Olive trees look pretty good.
The pole saw was also used to reach deep into garden beds and cut out feral black berry canes. It’s not really feasible to stop that plant from growing, but it can be managed so that it doesn’t take over.
Generally pruning material like the Olive tree would be chucked onto garden beds, but this time we had a fire going in the brazier, so we burnt all of it off (with the blackberry canes). It was quite pleasant.
The weather has again been swinging between wet and cold, and sunny and sort of warm-ish.
The many parrots which call the farm home are waiting for the fruit crop to grow.
Onto the flowers:
The temperature outside now at about 9.00am is 9’C (48’F). So far this year there has been 690.4mm (27.2 inches) which is up from last weeks total of 668.4mm (26.3 inches)