Jim was sitting next to the stove, on the steps down from the foredeck, nursing a glass of rum. After the usual inconsequential talk about this and that, he casually mentioned that he'd got the bug that was going round. Bug? What kind of bug?
A nasty kind, as it turned out. Ta, Jim.
So the weekend was mostly spent staunching rivers of snot, and feeling like my eyes were full of grit and my head full of cotton wool.
Most of the rest of the canal folk have had it, or are in the middle of having it, too. It is a bit medieval along here when it comes to plagues and mud. Jim got off quite lightly, cheerfully carrying about his business of whizzing around being helpful and spreading germs. He reminded me of Humphrey Bogart and John Huston on the set of The African Queen, who'd shun the local water and go off to drink whisky in their tent. And they were the only ones on the set not to come down with the fever.
Hey ho. On Tuesday I was recovered enough to ride over to Bradford on Avon and post off some work, and catch up with some folk. Everyone who could be, was out enjoying the weather.
And yesterday I was off on another errand. There was a small pool of damp under the Traveller's engine, so I lifted the bonnet to check the cooling system. Nothing too obviously amiss, but I notcied that the fan belt was coming to bits. Oh dear! So I headed towards Charlie Ware's Morris Centre in Brislington, watching for the signs of complete failure (red battery light, temperature gauge).
Then on the Keynsham bypass, the car started slowing down. What? No battery light showing - has it failed? Bumpity bumpity. Aha, flat tyre. Great, on a dual carriageway with nowhere to pull in. Have to keep going. Some folk I know broke down on this very same dual carriageway and were badly injured when a lorry ploughed into them. I tried not to let the thought bother me excessively as I trundled along like a tank stumbling over breezeblocks. At last, somewhere to pull in!
The flat tyre was totally trashed by now, but the spare had some air in it, even if it was bald as a coot, and Charlie Ware's was only a quarter of a mile away. I fitted the new fan belt as they replaced the tyre, then swapped out the spare, and started up. Let out the clutch, and... funny noises from below, and no movement. Oh no! Not the clutch as well?
No, just me forgetting to drop the rear axle off the jack.
Oh well, it entertained Laurence, watching from the spares section.
|the fan belt that got me there|
|and the tyre that didn't|