We had our Guy Fawkes Night party on Sunday the 4th at my parents’ house. My brother in law had acquired an enormous box of fireworks from a friend of his so it was decided to have a party with food thrown in as well. My son, nephew, brother in law and myself were in charge of the fireworks and we made sure they were fired from as safe a distance as was physically possible in my mothers extremely cluttered garden. The first few rockets and fireworks went off as they were supposed to. One rocket decided to misbehave and gave everyone a scare. The fuse was lit and the rocket started to fizz. It then attempted to take off but there seemed to be insufficient thrust. Barely six feet off the ground, the rocket turned 90 degrees towards the watching crowd and then decided to speed up. As everyone dived out of the way it just about missed everyone, including my mother, who was watching from an upstairs window, and bounced off the slates on the roof and nose-dived back downwards landing in the neighbour’s patio with an enormous bang. A few of the little kids there were alarmed but all the teenagers thought it was great and all you could hear were whoops of delight. I was worried that there may be more dud rockets in the box and tried to angle the launch tube away from the house. The rest of the fire works went off without any more surprises and we left the biggest one till last which had everyone applauding at the end. All that was left were a few packets of sparklers, which were distributed between all of us. Once all of them were lit they were waived around in circles creating all sorts of patterns. As there were so many of us in such a confined space it was inevitable that something would go wrong. One of the waiving sparklers made contact with the hood of my daughter’s jacket and promptly caught light. It didn’t just catch light it started blazing which also started to set fire to her hair. Swift action by a few of us was implemented and the fire was put out but the shock was too much for Katie to take and she broke down in tears and had to be taken home by my son. She’s OK now but vow’s never to play with sparklers again.
I’ve had a few more problems with the cab over the last few weeks. The red battery light has been staying alight and then after a while going out. I checked the fan belt and it was tight so could only assume that the alternator was on the way out. But after hearing a recent exchange in the office at my garage where the manager refused to replace the alternator of another cab because it was still charging I decided to say nothing. One day last week I came out to work and the engine barely started. After driving around for a few hours the battery light went out and the battery charged itself so all was well, but I knew it was only a matter of time before the thing let me down.
So on Saturday morning I was driving my daughter to her friend’s house when the red light flashed on and off a good few times and finally settled for “on” permanently. This was also accompanied by a weird noise, prompting me to pull over and investigate further. On raising the bonnet I could see straight away that the fanbelt had come away from the pulley and would either need tightening or replacing. As I was minutes away from dropping Katie at her friend’s I decided to do that first and then find a motor spares shop in the nearby High Street. I found one almost straight away and went in to see if they had the belt I would need. The computer told them what I would need but the belt they brought out seemed too small. They asked if I could bring in the old belt. As It was still in one piece and attached to the cab I had to cut it off with my trusty 8 in one utility tool that goes everywhere with me. They matched the belt but the one they gave me wouldn’t fit so I had to try another three different belts before I got the right one. I was quite pleased for once because I normally get caught out by not having the right tools for the job. I had a lever and the correct spanners so I was able to fit the new fanbelt to the cab outside the shop in West Green Road, North London. As I started the engine the red light was still there. As Dick Dastardly would say, “Drat!! And double-drat!!!” Finally snapping and getting the hump with it all I floored the accelerator hoping to blow the fucking engine up. It wouldn’t blow up. Apparently these Nissan 2.7 engines will run without oil in them so I’d have a job trying to blow one up with oil in it. The red light did eventually go out so I would have needed the fanbelt anyway. The alternator problem would have to be addressed as and when it failed me. Which, as it happens, I didn’t have to wait too long for. I came out to work at around Midday today. As I turned the key………click, click, and nothing. I knew what had to be done. I drove my sons car over next to mine and jump started it with my leads and drove straight to the garage. It was like a morgue in there. No radios playing, no banter. Jim, the genial Irishman, was away on holiday so the owner was in the office. I told him the problem and he said that an alternator would have to be ordered and delivered. That’s a two to three hour wait straight away plus they were short-staffed and all the mechanics were busy so it would take even longer. I felt my blood pressure rising but tried to stay calm. I’d had Sunday off and was really looking to work for four or five hours this afternoon as I have a darts match tonight but it wasn’t looking too good. I settled down to wait in the office and was kept amused as various regular customers arrived with different problems only to be told that nobody was available to help them. Some of them took it badly and threatened to take there business elsewhere to which the owner could only shrug his shoulders and say “What can I do?” I spent a few hours in that office and had a very deep chat with the owner covering a multitude of topics and came away extremely enlightened on a few subjects. As I picked up the newly repaired cab the mechanic informed me that he’d stopped working on another cab especially to fix mine. I thought to my self “Bollocks did you, you did it because you know I’m a good tipper” and true to my word handed over a crisp five-pound note and drove out into the street. The battery was almost flat so it would need a run to charge it up.
It was now too late to go to work so I picked my son up and we drove up the road to buy dinner. He went in as I waited in the cab to keep it running. I eventually switched it off at home and fired it up straight away to test it and it seemed OK.
Hopefully it will be OK after a long cold night on the drive but in any case my son’s car is there for those sorts of emergencies