Saturday, 27 June 2009

"Give me a lever and I can move the world"

I wonder if Archemedes knew that one day I would be laying underneath Althea with my legs sticking out into the road thanking him for inventing the lever. It has been a day of serendipity and friendly neighbours.

Yesterday I crawled underneath and tried to get the bolts that hold the prop shaft on loose. They were hard to get to, rusted in and it wasn't long before I had given up and decided to cut and drill them off instead. That was when I realised I had locked myself out and had to get Peter the caretaker to climb in through my window. I'm sure we looked a sight.

This morning I went to the hardware shop to buy metal drills and goggles and came back with some special sockets for removing rounded off nuts and a length of steel curtain rail instead. I decided to have another go.

At my garage I met the neighbours who are having a 90th birthday party in the grounds and they thanked me for lending them a couple of plastic chairs. Someone mentioned that they had forgotten the covers for their gazebo and I loaned them the covers for mine. The frame for which was destroyed at Glastonwick this year (see post not yet posted) but I kept the covers just in case.

As I started the job the man who has the garage near where she is parked offered to lend me allen keys and electricity. I took a couple of 8mm allen keys off him and destroyed one of them.

I decided I needed something like a traffic cone to put in the road to stop cars running over my legs and found one about three yards away on the pavement.

I tapped the 8mm allen socket into the first screw and slid the curtain rail over the ratchet spanner handle and pulled with all my strength. Something had to give. Either the screw would break, the curtain rail would break or the spanner. There was an almighty clunk and bits flew everywhere. I expected the worst but found that the screw had turned. I worked out a system of moving Althea very slightly to position the next screw and after three more of the same the front end was off. The back was very similar apart from having to use the thing for getting rounded off nuts off with.

While I was doing all this a 60 something woman came and told me how much she loved "that old bus". She told me how much she loves the movies and collects the posters. Sher told me about all the places she's been to to visit the locations and how many times she's seen Titanic. She talked about how if she had been a bit younger she would happily live like a gypsy. It's so nice how the community seem to have adopted Althea. She really does bring out the best in the nice people and the worst in the not so nice.

The prop shaft is now in the garage. I am filthy but very happy. By next week hopefully she will have her new one and I will be able to take her to get the fuel pump and clutch cable sorted.

Below:mucky me, the gazebo and the prop shaft,


Joe said...

That's a huge prop-shaft!

Found the blog quite by accident, and love it! You are doing what I long to, owning an old vehicle and just enjoying it. I live in Norfolk so I'll keep a eye out for you. Good luck with sorting the p.shaft, clutch, and other sundry bits....

Mike said...

So glad you like it Joe. It's such a pleasure to "own" such a vehicle that the work and expense are easily forgotten.