Thursday, May 27, 2010

water torture

THERE are moments during your motoring life when you feel a bit like John Cleese in Fawlty Towers or Clockwise. I managed to combine the two on Saturday in a hectic morning that wasn't ideal preparation for the biggest day of the Welsh sporting calendar - Cardiff City in the Championship play-off final against Blackpool at Wembley.
Determined to get to work early I first decided that as my Clio Ramsey had been leaking a bit of water of late it would be best to top it up first to avoid any later catastrophes either on the way to work or on the way home to Bristol afterwards.
Having done this, I set off nice and early.
The clunk came just after leaving the Fat Kid's house but I thought nothing of it. I just assumed something was rolling around in the boot.
Then, 20 minutes later, I suddenly had a thought. I couldn't remember replacing the cap after topping up the water.
Stopping in a layby I lifted the bonnet and my worst fears were realised. Steam was coming out of a gaping hole in my radiator where the cap should have been. Oops.
Then came the dilemma. Do I drive on, find a garage, and just hope they have a cap to fit a Renault? Risky, because I imagine the water could disappear pretty damn fast, evaporating as the temperature grew.
Or do I turn around, drive all the way back and try to find the cap on a rather vast expanse of road just around the corner from my starting point, thus losing all the time gained and making it impossible for me to get to work on time.
My third option was to shout at myself "stupid! stupid! stupid!", though I must admit I did fall short of actually whipping Ramsey with a tree branch.
Eventually I chose the second option, turned the car around and headed back, mumbling under my breath at every motorist in my way, even though it was not their fault I had left my water cap lying around somewhere on the engine when I had left the house that morning.
Finally, after much cussing, I got back to the point where I thought it had fallen off. I scoured the pavements and the road for a good few hundred yards before coming to the conclusion it was a near impossible task.
But wait. Then I saw it lying in the road. Happy days. But not. Some sod had run it over and broken it. I tried to do a temporary repair job on it, then dropped half of it into my radiator. Aaargh! Cue more Fawlty impressions.
Last resort, I pulled out my mobile and dialled the AA explaining, in a frantic way, what the problem was. Bless them, they had someone with me within 15 minutes... and he had a spare water cap on his van.
Having fixed it on and also temporarily repaired a water leak, he was on his way.
Vehicle repair man... I salute you.

More Fawlty impressions followed the next day when Mrs Rippers and I decided to try to put together a chest of drawers for the new arrival. Hmm.
The "easy to assemble" (ha!) kit came from Argos.
First we had to count up whether we had all the right parts. Who puts these things together?
In a bag supposedly containing four screws there were only three. Is it a child's chest of drawers because a child put the bags together and had yet to learn to count up to four? Ridiculous.
Still, we soldiered on and were quite pleased after muscling some screws into a hard piece of wood and attaching a metal runner to it.
Then Mrs Rippers sheepish looked up from the position she had assumed as foreman. "Umm, I have just looked at the instructions again. I think it is on the wrong way around."
Still, after taking two hours to afix the first metal runner we had soon got the hang of it and the second one took 20 minutes - thanks, in no small measure, to the electric screwdriver Mrs Rippers had cunningly purchased.
I don't know about electric screwdriver, I think Dr Who's sonic one is needed here... to whisk us forward into the future when the job is finally completed.

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