Saturday, 23 January 2010

Tired and emotional

Every machine I own has recently been blessed with a bounty of unreliability. Or so it seems.

My car has a failed injector. Not a problem, I'm a bloke, right, at least on the outside. I do cars and bikes, I'll just pick another from the range of machinery I either own or have access to. Unfortunately there's a snag. My spare car (doesn't everyone have a spare car?) is not wearing its many decades on the planet very well and is currently unroadworthy. For the first time in two decades I'm without four wheeled transport. OK then, plan B. Parents. What do you mean, my mother's car's got a noisy wheel bearing?

So I'm left with plan M. Motorcycle. In January. Fear nothing indeed. Wheel it out, damn it needs an MOT safety test. Book the test. Then try to start the thing. Nothing. It was fine just after Christmas, what's up? Battery flat. Uh-oh! At this point it all started to go wrong. An allen bolt for those fortunate enough not to have encountered one, is a bolt with a recessed hexagonal hole in the top. On my bike, an allen bolt holds down the battery cover. Over the winter a nice Japanese mechanic has substituted the steel one that used to be there with one made from chocolate. So when you insert the hexagonal allen key and turn, the hexagonal hole becomes a circular hole. Half an hour of swearing and messing about ensues before I have the battery in front of me. I have fifteen minutes before I have to be on my way to the MOT station. With the aid of a booster battery I start the bike and ride away. After half a mile it stalls. OK, been here before, bump start it. Run down the road with the bike, dump the clutch and hope the accumulated energy is enough to turn the engine and start it. Nothing, except a rather exhausted me. I ring the MOT people to cancel the test and dejectedly wheel the bike back home. I feel like I need to cry, but can't.

"Tired and emotional" is a euphamism used in British political journalism for "drunk". As in "The minister appeared before the select committee in a tired and emotional state". Right now I am genuinely tired and emotional, and rather wish I could become tired and emotional, but can't.

Not a good morning. If you see an elderly tractor on your morning commute on Monday that will be me, because right now it's the only roadworthy vehicle I have left to borrow.


  1. Unfortunately I do know *exactly* what you mean there..

    Down to the spare car being unroadworthy (and no chance of that cahnging for 24 months minimum) and the bike that doesn't start in winter every other year...

    I get it with electronics as well - guranteed that if you buy a Hifi with a fail rate of 1 in 1000000 I will be the person buying that 1.

    Only good side is that my dad is a mechanic so if something does go very wrong I can call in all the tech support I do for them for some car / motorbike support :)

    Good luck with the injector!


  2. I have a similar background and my training's in a very tech field so normally there's not much I can't fix, or if not me then close family. Saturday was merely the confluence of awful weather, multiple things failing at once and a bout of dysphoria-induced insomnia robbing me of some stamina.

    This morning I'll be commuting on a bike whose first owner was probably a Barry Sheene fan. Poor thing, it should be cosseted and given summer B roads, I'm giving it January and salt. Some serious TLC demanded before I put it back in storage.