But if it is broke, sometimes its best left broke. Especially if that makes life easier and easylife is what we bought.
August 2009. With the bus now safely home in its new home we could stand back, put our arms round each other’s shoulders (not Conker though, for he has no arms), smile that smile of self satisfaction, glee and smugness and simply admire the 35 year old stinky, creaky, mustard coloured two ton hunk of go-slow-mobile and say “That’s ours that is”.
With my arm around Sarah I had to go easy because my forearms were like Popeye’s after all that power steering and I didn’t want to crack Sarah’s collar bone or anything.
So to the first real inspection of what we’d bought with our hard earned bank loan. At the time of recession it made sense to fight our way into more debt. Almost natural I think. Recession? Keep spending I say. Especially other people’s money.
Where do we start? Basically we have broken the bus down into two completely independent departments. His n Hers if you like. It goes like this. The bits you can see, well that’s Her parts. The bits you can’t see, but you can smell, hear and they make the thing move – clearly they’re His parts. With our roles defined there could be no confusion over responsibilities and decision making. Everything clear cut and wholly transparent – apart from my bits given you can’t see those. Clearly!
Right. We need new curtains, those seats are going, that lining is disgusting, can I smell petrol, have you seen the state of that canvas, and if you think I’m sleeping on that….. I jest of course. These are all in the ‘bits you can see’ department, so absolutely legitimately and thoroughly reviewed by Sarah. Why doesn’t the radio work, why does the clutch squeak, the heater doesn’t make hot air… that petrol smell really stinks… are we going to catch fire?…. Hang on a minute. They sound like my job.
And there you have it and to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t have it any other way. Colour co-ordination is not my gig, but spending hours scratching my head re-reading maintenance manuals, deciding what tool is best, undoing things, doing them back up… sometimes… and generally making sure preparation gets in the way of progress…. That’s my gig.
You can never be too prepared. The level and length of thoroughness boys can go to is immense. You can’t just rush into these things. First you’ve got to make a list. In your head. A headlist.
Here’s the first headlist (although technically it’s down on paper now, so it’s just a list).
- Cigarette lighter broken. Not even wired in.
- Radio broken, Not even wired in
- Speakers in situ. Wires not connected on rear speakers
- Speedometer broken
- Fuel gauge broken
- Dashboard nightlight not working
- Interior fan not connected to anything
- Interior sockets Australian sockets
- Heater Cables missing.
tube things underneath body – missing
- Interior light not working
- Windscreen wash sprayer not working
- Horn IT WORKS
And what a sound it makes – a bit like a clown’s nose when you squeeze it.
All in mostly superficial electrickery stuff. Nothing a man with no car electric experience can’t keep broken. This was gonna be easy. Meanwhile, the other department’s list was building. I have to admit that in this area, whilst I am consulted, I am merely a passenger on decisions. I do my best to guess the right answer to avoid having to explain the wrong answer? You are joking aren’t you? Why would you want that colour in that material when we’ve already decided this colour on that thing is best? Ummm…. Yeah, good point. Are you stupid or what? Ummm
Like I said earlier, you cannot just rush into these things. You’ve got to take the bus as it is and learn to live, love and cherish every squeak, smell and broken spring up yer jacksie. Then, and only then, can you contemplate fixing the fixable broken things …. And the unfixables? Well they become the quirks that maketh the bus!