for those of you who missed it, you can either go to the post before this one or if you prefer simply click these words right here to go off and read of the train odyssey (and then some) that i went on yesterday. to recap somewhat, as i went on my travels yesterday i kept a significant percentage of New Zealand up to date with my journey via the magic of blueberry and email.
rather than celebrate the triumph of my odyssey - sure, not quite Homer levels of triumph, but still good. and no, not that Homer - both my parents and my sister seemed instead rather keen to make certain comments, and a bit of a fuss too, about the fact that my car appears not to have been washed for some time. in truth, these comments, whilst hardly astute, were correct. my car has not been washed for quite some time. i did point out to them that this is hardly my fault - i am not some sort of Blofeld or Dr Evil type who can construct a weather machine with any ease. i cannot be held responsible for the fact that it has not rained for some time now, and thus my car has not had its natural wash for an equal amount of time.
to me the idea of washing a car is just stupid. it's an insane waste of energy, resources and time. the cleanliness of the car outside (or, in my case, the floor of the passenger side) seldom if ever affects how the combustion engine and other bits work. if anything, my car gets rather angry if i wash it, as history has shown that some sort of major mechanical failure has followed within days of taking it to the cleaners. for the sake of some peace and family harmony, though, i decided to have the car washed.
well, sort of.
what you see above is an image of the nice chap at the petrol station cleaning the front window. here, you see, a full service thing is a given when you head into a petrol station. the chap does the petrol thing for you, checks the oil and water, has a look at the tyre pressure (whatever the hell that is) and fixes it if required (however the hell they do that), and will happily clean your front and back windows. and no i did not bother with the back window, thank you. i have no interest at all in where i have been; it's the front bit that reveals where i am going that is of importance.
in the UK and beyond, of course, one does not get this sort of service. when we go over to the UK, my (considerably) better half often suggests that she is going to have a go at putting petrol into a car all by herself. at crunch time, though, when we are sat at the pumps, i just get asked to do it. Andrew, my Modern Music Advisor, has suggested that there is a petrol station in England that does this service thing for you for an increased cost; i suspect we will use that station in an exclusive way when we are next there.
i would have thought that the answer to for what reason i was at a petrol station today might be a bit obvious. there is a touch of a twist to the visit today, mind. i had a reasonable, if you will acceptable, amount of petrol in the car, but there is a significant price increase as of midnight tonight - juice jumps in cost by somewhere around or over 90c a litre. this means a good deal of sort-of panic buying by most during the course of the day today, and a shortage of petrol at stations for the rest of the week. thinking ahead, then, i thought it best to top up now so i was fine for the remainder of the week.
here, for no apparent reason other than to include a picture to break up the text, is a picture of the petrol pump that recently topped up the petrol quota of my car.
an allegation could be made, then, that my efforts to wash my car a bit were nothing more than a happy, if you will co-incidental accident as a consequence of putting petrol in my car. to a degree i would have to accept the truth in such an allegation, but as it happens i went a bit further than just the window with this "cleaning" business.
i have a tendency to stockpile empty bottles of drink, and indeed empty Marlboro packets, on the floor of the passenger side. throwing them out of the window, as sadly many do, just strikes me as a bad thing to do, really. i do tend to get around to cleaning them out eventually, but see little point in doing so as it is rare that someone is brave enough to be my passenger in my car up in the front. the boys have no choice in the matter and they sit in the back, where it has to be said they have made quite a mess. creme soda and coca cola, if you are interested, totally knack CDs.
anyway, the bottles and packets had been undisturbed for a few months now, meaning the pile pretty much reached the level of the passenger chair. i figured that i might aswell clean it up, then. sadly no "before" picture, but here you go with an "after" one, taken after a conventional sized bin bag was filled to the brim.
what, you may well ask, is that sort of black box that i have left there? that box, dear reader, would contain the set of old brakes that were on my car. they served their purpose in a way that can only inspire admiration, but eventually they grew tired of serving their purpose and just moaned a lot. whereas they did not fail on me, they started making a horrid, annoying screeching sound, that sort of "metal on metal" noise that is apparently quite a bad thing in a car, hence the importance of oil to the world.
this moaning, or if you will crunching of metal, got to be so loud that it was even louder than the music on at the correct volume. imagine, if you can, the idea of something being louder than Live At Leeds by The Who on with the volume set to 50. something needed doing, then, and as i am forever thankful for it being the case, Jayson from verk put some new brakes on the beast for me.
Jayson does like working on cars in general and mine frequently, testing what he can do and what he needs to learn to do to get them running on the road. i in turn much prefer this than going to the more traditional, as it were "professional" car menders. keeping the professional car menders as a last resort tends to be my approach. i have greatly appreciated all the things they have mended on my car, make no mistake, but they are rather expensive - beyond any normal, generous boundary of "everyone has to make a living" expensive - and worse they are quite judgemental. often people employed at the car menders tend to get rather too involved, telling you what you should and should not be doing with your own set of wheels.
for what reason do i keep hold of these moaning old ones if the new ones are installed, armed and fully operational? not sure, really. probably as part of some sort of "spares" thinking. no, i cannot imagine a set of circumstances in which for some reason the new ones need to be taken off and it would be possible for me to somehow, on my own and with pliers and a spanner, put these old ones on. but you never know. "be prepared" and all that sort of thing.
there's also that Jayson left them in the car. Jayson knows a lot more about cars than me, and if he leaves something in the car then without question i accept that it or they should be in the car. to that end, i have quite a few old, possibly obsolete and of no obvious use parts in and around my car. it is entirely possible, for instance, that remnants of something called a "cambelt" (to do with "timing on the engine" i am told, whatever that means. what need an engine has for a watch is beyond me, but if it makes it happy so be it) are sat in the boot. i know for a fact there are at least two old windscreen wiper things in there. Jayson put a lot of heart, soul, effort and work into mending those bits; simply throwing them out would feel like i was slapping him in the face.
looking at it, this post seems to have gone a bit off track somewhat, although always remaining car related. well, except maybe for that bit about The Who. anyway, as you can see, i did something about the constructive yet unsolicited comments about my car and that whole washing business.
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!