Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Downing Street and down time.

Finally! After an appalling hiatus Britain has a Government. I felt some pretty
intense emotions when  Gordon Brown left Downing Street and David Cameron took his place. I don't know how a coalition is going to work, I guess none of us do, but I wish he and Nick Clegg well in the mammoth task they have in front of them.

Looking at the photographs and video of Cameron and his wife entering Number 10 Downing Street made me somewhat wistful for the past. Aged 11 my parents took my younger sister and myself to visit Downing Street. This was back in the days when there were no security gates at the end of the road and you could wander up to number 10 itself. Under great duress I was persuaded to pose for a proud family picture standing on the doorstep!

More years later that I care to admit to I returned to the scene but this time as a lunch guest of the then Prime Minister, John Major. As I climbed into the black taxi and asked to be taken to 10 Downing Street the cab driver turned and ginned, 'Oh yeah darlin' You 'avin lunch or what?' he was astounded as I answered yes and showed him my security pass! I must admit to feeling just a little bit special.

I climbed out of the taxi, flashed my invite at the guard post at the end of the road. They checked me on their list and let me through the huge wrought iron gates. It was pretty unreal as I walked up the road, a bank of journalists opposite the door perked up as they saw me approach then slumped back down as I was a nobody!

As you arrive on the doorstep the big black shiny door swings open as if by magic! No touching that shiny brass doorknob!I believe they phone ahead from the gate and a man waits behind the door for your approach!

So as I watched David and Samantha Cameron make their entrance through that hallowed portal I had a bit of a lump in my throat...

But back down here in the real world we have been having engine problems again... Starting the engine up the other morning I was greeted with a big cloud of white smoke and a sheen of fuel on the water. Bugger. Anything connected to the engine sends me into a cold funk. I immediately start to envisage scenarios of new engines, massive bills, horrible events. TBH always reminds me that most things are simple and I try and remember each time but boy it's hard going where that engine is concerned. I think it's because I feel at a loss when it comes to mechanics so when a problem arises I am rendered so impotent that it reduces me to jelly.

Pulling Nigel Calder from the book shelf I start to troubleshoot. Oh lord it could be polished pistons, blown head gaskets... I feel sicker and sicker. TBH takes a firm hand, pointing out that 95% of problems are linked to dirty fuel he begins by investigating the condition of ours. Yup, he's right, it is appalling! Black and full of suspended particles. Some hours later he has changed the fuel filter, drained some 10 litres of mucky stuff from the bottom of the tank and we are back in business. Well not quite. As I start her up again there seems to be a greatly reduced volume of water spewing from the exhaust, then the temperature gauge starts to rise. damn and blast and double bugger. Off goes the engine. Once again, bit tedious this, panic rises in my breast...what have we blown this time? Dear TBH brings me back to Planet Earth , it can only be allied to the water cooling system so we will start there and again it is usually an impeller or the fan belt. Score 2 to TBH! Right again, the impeller had disintegrated. On top of that the adapter plate, unique to our engine, had badly worn. We had replaced this in Tobago some four years ago. That was fun! Had to get the islands only machine shop, owned by the Dept of Works to make a new one for us. So back to the ignition and, yippee, all was going well.

OH oh! No it wasn't. Now the fridge had stopped chilling. Triple bugger! TBH set too with amazingly good humour and got out his gauges and cans of refrigerant, and soon dealt with yet another problem.  So I  am hoping that after a run of three problems we will have a bit of a respite...Well you can only hope can't you!

Sometimes I just love (!) boating.

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