Satsumas, Oldsmobiles and Chainsaws – Week 44 : 2018

November 7, 2018

There was a strange smell in the car. As opposed to something that you could identify easily it was a chemical smell that might have been screen wash? I couldn’t see anything and expecting something expensive to resolve. The car was booked into the garage.

I handed across the keys but was shortly invited into the workshop to inspect the car. The mechanic had peered beneath the front passenger seat and found a satsuma. Clearly it had advanced to be decomposed in the extreme. The trip was a great waste of my time and there is a running family joke is that no one is allowed to eat in my car! See the image on the left!

Two trips to London were part of the week. The first was as a trustee of the Moores Furniture Group Pension Scheme. With the other trustees we were selecting a fiduciary manager for our investment of the funds. I seldom wear a suit and in fact it is quite a pleasure once in a blue moon: nostalgia overcomes me for cuff links, ties and polished black shoes. So sat on the train I take my spectacles off to scrutinise something closely and put them in a pocket. On eventually restoring them to my face the arm fell off! So I turned up at a meeting to discuss the best deployment of £93 million by first asking if someone had any cellotape.

The second trip, at the weekend, was to stay with Katrina and Matt. However we really visited to see some veteran cars. These are motor cars made before 1905. In fact a large number look like ‘horseless carriages’. After exhibiting themselves on Regent Street on the Saturday they then participate on the Sunday in the London to Brighton Veteran car Run of 50 miles.

In the scheme of things then leaving central London and driving to Brighton by 4.30 pm doesn’t sound difficult but it is. They set off from beside the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, from around 7.30 am. These cars were only ever expected to make short distances and they are chronically unrelaible. I think we take for granted the reliability of modern day machinery. Amusingly then from where they started were pools of oil and water. When diesel and petrol engines are banned, in a couple of decades time, these cars will still be allowed to run with all their pollution.

Even if I dwell on my 1965 Triumph Herald then it had a load of faults that came with cars of the era. For these veteran automobiles the major challenge is not only moving forward but also braking. The brakes are inefficient and you need quite a lot of space to come to stop. Back in the day there wasn’t as much traffic on the road and therefore plenty of space to slow down. Nowadays the roads are crammed. Michael, one of the owners and drivers (to the left in his 1904 Oldsmobile and deer stalker) ruefully talked of cars nipping into these gaps as they approached lights.

I mentioned nostalgia above and never is the subject more alive than on a newstand with the publications that revisit times gone by. I’m usually looking for Country music magazines but the tractor one caught my eye. Back in the day I spent a lot of time buying several items that were originally fitted to this tractor. I was at Ford Motor Company between 1978 to 1984 and bought, during that time, all the electrics, hydraulic tubes, tyres, some cabs, castings and forgings (used on the tractor and in the engine) and other things I forget. Also during this time I bought items and services that were necessary to run the plant and various departments. I bought print and artwork that mainly concerned the manuals that were supplied with each tractor. To think now about air brushing and printed materials is to step back to another century. Today a bright operative sat at an iMac could do the job in a fraction of the time and then publish it all digitally.

Into every life a little rain must pour they say. A deluge arrived when looking out across the trees from our front garden I saw a 15 metre high pole. We were delightfully secluded without any other buidlings or similar in view. This pole is shortly to be adorned with satellite dishes and electronic gubbins. This mast will enable broadband signals to be received from about 4 miles away and then be beamed elsewhere locally. Myself and other neighbours are not impressed at this erection.

So we have got the Council involved who are scheduled to visit to see if it conforms with Planning law and other relevant agencies have been engaged. Needless to say the neighbour who’s allowed this monstrosity to be placed on their land has been spoken to and told that he’s the spawn of Beelzebub. I got a lot of waffly disclaimers back about it not being his responsibility to consult with his neighbours about this pole. Not mentioned is the lucrative contract (thousands of pounds per annum) he’s signed with the company that owns the mast. Anna, when passing by my chair, was signalling for me to calm down as I got more vocal on the ‘phone. We’ll see where our complaint goes. 

One neighbour suggested resolving the problem with a chainsaw. Watch this space. “Timber…”

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