Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tonka Watch Day 27... and he's BAAAAAAAACK
At ease, Legion of Fans (LOF); snuff out those votive candles, untie those yellow ribbons and cancel the benefit concert by a bunch of failing rockstars who think Tonka is a country in Africa or a political prisoner.
If you've just joined us, he's a Series III Land Rover and after 27 days in captivity he is back on the dusty road again, so crack open a cold one.
It was touch and go to the end, LOF. Yesterday afternoon we were summoned the hospital (the garage in the cane farming town of Malelane on the southern border of the Kruger National Park) and invited to take the patient for a test drive.
He started and, even better, managed to attain his customary maximum speed of 78kph on the N4. Woo hoo. Things were looking good, but I did some serious checking under the bonnet, quibbling like a difficult customer and checking hose clamps, springs and wires.
When I was satisfied Mrs B and I got in him and I turned the key. I noticed, pedant that I had become, that the little orange light indicating the glow plugs (sometimes known as heater plugs) were working didn't come on.
The mechanics had, I was told, replaced one of the glow plugs, but now none of them was working. Consultant surgeon Dr A was paged and arrived, stat, and after much jiggery pokery with the wires discovered that another plug had burned out.
It was 3.50pm Friday afternoon, LOF. There was no way I was going to leave him in that place another night, and no way we were going to get an auto electrician to come visit.
"Forget it," I said to Dr A. "I've got a spare glow plug back at camp. I'll fix it myself."
And guess what? I did.
A small thing, I know, but it was nice to know that as well as having our Land Rover back I was able to contribute, in a tiny way, to his recovery (leaving aside the fact that all four glow plugs were working perfectly when he went to the mechanic). It was, and I hate to use this word, empowering.
I know, I shouldn't ever use the word empowering, and promise never to do so again, but it was a good feeling, all the same, as I sipped a cold Windhoek Draft in between inserting (installing?) the new plug. Mrs B and I danced a little victory jig when the little organge light came on, and we knew, at last, our first born was safe and sound.
And.... as of this morning, sounding more like a VW Kombi than a Land Rover. It appears in their haste to be free of Tonka the mechanics didn't quite reconnect the exhaust (which may also explain why there has been so little smoke coming out the tail pipe - something I was quite pleased about at first).
But I can fix the exhaust.