Good morning, friends and fans!
Welcome to another “Peek Into My Week”, a behind the scenes look into the (I hope) interesting events occurring in my daily life!
July 05, 2021.
For the most part, my weeks are the usual ensemble of dreary routine events – work, book marketing, finding time to write, tinkering on Dolly (my 1962 Beetle and daily transport), arguing with my wife about dinner, tripping over cats and rearranging the furniture – but just occasionally something interesting happens, interesting enough to want to tell someone about!
Here then, for your enjoyment, is my recollection of noteworthy events in my past week!
Hotel No-Tell – Finished!
On Monday, I pushed “Hotel No-Tell” and gave it what I felt was a satisfying ending! I decided against changing the name in the end, as I feel it fits the story! I’m really proud of this story… but then again I say that about all my stories!
Not to brag, but I first had the idea for this story back in 2019, jotted down a few paragraphs in a text file, and left it there while I worked on other projects. As I mentioned previously, I’d added some material to it a couple of weeks ago. Then, as I told you in last week’s Peek (#9) I awoke on Sunday morning early reeling from being struck with inspiration!
By Monday evening, the story was finally complete, with a word-count of 16,254 – and an ending that even I didn’t see coming! In fact, I have to admit that I was a little choked-up while writing the ending!
When I released “Dust” the third volume in the Panic! series in 2019, it was as a novella containing just one actual story called “Dust”. The two previous volumes contained three and four stories apiece, meaning that volume 3 was somewhat shorter. In the meantime though I’ve joined Hally Park Publishers, and I’ve decided to send both new stories (when the next one is completed) to be included in the second edition of volume 3, which will still be called “Dust”, to be released later via Hally Park.
The trick is, to finish volume 3, I need to also finish “The Song Of The Drillipede” – so, come on Inspiration, hit me!
Nothing Like A Little Car Trouble To Really Ruin A Monday!
I had a really shitty Monday morning… Dolly, my 1962 Beetle and only daily transportation let me down and wouldn’t start. I came to this conclusion after running the battery flat turning the motor over without success. What was I to do next, I thought? Frustration, disappointment and anger cycled through me. I’m pretty sure, between the sound of the battery winding down and leaning under the opened engine cover at 6:45am checking wires, tubes and cables by the light of my smartphone, that I suffered a panic attack. Try as I might, however, I found nothing wrong.
As a last resort, I stuck in the battery charger, thinking that whatever happened I’d still need to charge the battery anyway. After another 15 minutes or so filled with worry and fiddling, and wondering if any of my colleagues would help me out with a lift to work, I tried again, and this time it started!
Yes, these are the joys of owning an old car indeed! I was extremely unimpressed to say the least about that, and raced to work. I still managed to stop in at Spar to get a sandwich for lunch, and got to work in time! The day went quite well after that – until it came to driving home again that afternoon… Yes, you can see where this is going, can’t you?
Again, Dolly just wouldn’t start. Perhaps it was the spark plugs, It thought Dolly’s always been a little hard on those – so after running the battery almost flat again, I stopped, got out the tool box and a set of brand new spark plugs – and much to the amusement of my work colleagues in the parking lot, set about changing them out on the spot. By the time I was done, I was all alone in the parking lot, except for the amused guards observing through the windows. Finally, having packed all my tools away, hands covered in grease and soot almost to the elbows, and feeling very sorry for myself, I climbed back behind the wheel and tried to start the car again – until the battery ran completely flat.
Just when I was cursing this Judas automobile for the tenth time, one of the guards came up – probably figuring his entertainment for the evening was about done, and offered to help me push. He was, in my view, a gentleman, because essentially everything I’d done that day, I’d done alone – surrounded by spectators. A colleague of his joined in, after which Dolly roared back into life with surprising ease! I hooted, waved and drove off to buy dinner, and then went home.
With Dolly in disgrace and enduring whatever automotive equivalent there is to being sent to bed without supper, I put the battery charger on again for the entire night. I spent the rest of the evening falling asleep on the sofa beside my love, Kay, while The Dead Files played in the background.
The Tale Of The Judas Car…ctd.
Come Tuesday morning, Dolly at least started without any difficulty, and although I got to work without any incident, I felt jaded and cynical. You see, I’m tired of worrying if I’ll have transport when it matters. This is why I’ve always maintained I need a second car. I had the Golf, which I was forced to give up on and sell last November, and I can’t justify getting a second car to just have it stand outside in the street, rusting and exposed to thieves like the poor Golf did.
The point being that when I had the second car, Dolly didn’t have to set a wheel out the garage on rainy miserable days – and when she acted up on those rare occasions and didn’t feel like starting, I had other transport and didn’t have to worry too much about it. Then I could sort out whatever went wrong with one or the other at my leisure. Now though, that Dolly’s an only child as it were, when she’s in one of her moods, I have a choice between nothing and walking. Employers don’t really care for the troubles of their employees, so it doesn’t matter to them how you get to work, as long as you get there. And don’t dare be late.
That said, there I was, thinking I had this problem licked. However, much to my disappointment, on my way home that afternoon, Dolly started misfiring and spluttering again! What was I to do?
It’s times like these that I wish I could be one of those ultra-rare creatures – the wealthy author… you know, like Robin Masters in “Magnum P.I.”, with a beachfront estate in Hawaii and a spare Ferrari! But I’m not… at least not yet. Yeah, who am I kidding? That doesn’t happen in real life… does it?
Judas No More – Dolly’s Issues Solved!
After work on Wednesday I stopped by my local mechanic to ask for his advice. I’d already more or less got to the same conclusion – that is, that I needed to adjust the fuel screw on Dolly’s carburetor to reduce the amount of fuel going into the motor, and to fit hotter burning spark plugs. The point of this was to prevent excess fuel from getting stuck on the spark plug electrodes and bunging up the works! That of course was why Dolly was gradually losing spark and eventually not starting!
Of course, my foray into finding hotter plugs previously hadn’t worked out too well, since most places no longer cater to sixty year old VW’s! As it turned out though, I’d realized I’d accidentally fitted a set of brand new VW Golf spark plugs to Dolly. Although these were a tad longer, they still worked because they were the exact same temperature rating as the standard Beetle ones. The risk of course was that they were longer – and that Dolly’s pistons might mash into them while the motor ran! Fortunately this didn’t happen, and there was enough clearance inside the combustion chambers! I explained to the mechanic the issue I had with finding spark plugs previously, and he looked up some numbers in his workshop manual and wrote down three for me: the standard Beetle model, the hotter-burning Beetle model, and the equivalent hotter Golf plug. I thanked him and tootled off to Midas.
As expected, they had the standard colder Beetle plugs – which I already had an abundance of, but they didn’t have the hotter ones. So I got the Golf equivalent, which they did have – I got a set of 4 for R100. Back at home, I changed out the previously brand-new cold plugs which were already pitch black although only 3 days old! There was no sign of impact or other damage, fortunately, so I put the plugs aside and screwed in the new ones. The new hotter plugs went in without too much trouble (although that is of course, relative!) and Dolly fired up without any sounds of metal being shredded or smashed inside the motor! After that, I quickly adjusted the fuel screw on the carburetor. Seeing how far out it was before made me realize that Dolly’s likely to also be quite a bit more economical now as well! Hopefully these plugs will last a lot longer before I need to change them out! As always, I’ll keep you posted!
I could hardly wait to drive Dolly to work the next morning, just to see how she went!
Driving to work on Thursday morning was not only uneventful, but relaxing and enjoyable! It’s still too soon to say if the problem’s been resolved, but it seemed like it so far!
On Thursday morning (once my wi-fi data had recharged, being the 1st of the month) I posted my weekly DIY article. This time I described how to make a simple dust-cover for a car. I needed a cover for Dolly, my 1962 Beetle, whose bedroom is a pretty small garage – too snug for me to move all the way round the car, to “tuck in” such an elastic-fitted cover on all sides – or to remove it again. I needed something flat, like a cloth sheet. In fact, I thought why not use an actual sheet to make a proper dust-cover? So I did – and this is how.
In the afternoon, work closed until Monday as a result of a COVID outbreak. Some of us who had come in contact with a specific colleague were to go for testing the next morning and the rest of us had the rest of Thursday and Friday off! Since we’re working 50-50 for the next month, that meant I scored a long weekend and would only need to return to work next Thursday!
The Wrong Headlight Lens
At our house, Sunday’s feeding day for the birds – mostly doves – that were already gathering at the empty birdfeeder in the garden outside our lounge window like a bunch of intimidating and sinister little gray hooded figures gathering for a ritual circle.
Birds: “It’s feeding day… where’s the food at? There’s no food… look! Have we displeased the gods again? Do we need to make a sacrifice to the gods to appease them so they can feed us? We need a sacrifice… Dave? Has anyone seen Dave?”
Dave: *hiding somewhere else, very quietly*
Me, getting off the sofa, putting on slippers: “Alright, alright, I’m coming… keep your feathers on!” 😂
Ding Dong Dude
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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2021.