Friday, January 26, 2007

Hot hot hot 

One of the nice things about South Africa is that it’s a metric country. What this means for a relocated Pom is that I live in blissful ignorance of some of the important issues of daily life. For example, I find from the scales in the gym that I weigh about 96kg. Sounds good to me. Then I converted it, and discover that I am over 15 stone, which came as a bit of a shock. I’m not a complete fat bastard – I am 1.91m tall, after all, but 96kg was OK before it was 15 stone plus.

I have the same problem with temperature. Yesterday was bloody hot, and then this morning some mist had come in and it was lovely and cool. Lovely and cool, according to the thermometer on my desk, equates to 26 Celsius. That sounds OK, until you fish out the converter and find that 26 is 79 Fahrenheit. That used to be hot when I was in London – the kind of temperature that merited newspaper comments and columns offering advice like “wear loose clothing” and “drink cold stuff”. After yesterday it’s blissful. Yesterday was about 38 / 100, and still too, so that cupboards opened this morning dealt a waft of hot air trapped there overnight.

The final metric confusion is the tricky one, as yet untested. How do I persuade a traffic cop that I thought the speed limits were in miles per hour…?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cars and Girls 

One of those email pictures that does the rounds every so often has a picture of an alluring young lady, with a caption that reads something like “somebody, somewhere is tired of her crap”. So it is with old cars. To pinch the old adage from the yachting fraternity, the two happiest days of your life are the day that you buy your classic car – and the day that you sell it. When you first clap your eyes on the next infatuation, you see only the good stuff. The previous custodian has decided that enough is enough, or has moved on to a younger model. He has seen the error of his ways, and found out that under the paint is a high maintenance lady. You, on the other hand, have eyes only for the alluring curves. Thus classic transactions are little oases of happiness – as the buyer rids himself of an expensive affliction, the seller fulfills a dream. Neither can quite believe that he’s getting away with it. It’s a perfect transaction.

Some of us, of course, are in for the long haul – women, cars or both. To my mind, that requires a special kind of man. Infatuation gets you through the early stages, but if you are going to make it for the long term commitment, then you need to put in the work. Just occasionally, too, it helps to get a bit of help or advice from someone who has been around the block a few times. Such an occasion took place this week, with me despairing over a car that had been stuck in the garage for too long with a leaky water pump. Having fixed several non existent problems, I enlisted the help of the older generation. A friend helped me out with a replacement pump from one of the many bits he has lying around, and my own old man, who is out here on holiday - or so he thought – fitted it whilst I was at work.

You will be pleased to hear that there is a happy ending to this story: the new old pump doesn’t leak, and I am now enjoying my second honeymoon. Long may our passion last!

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