I got to thinking, which I prefer not to do, but the nagging feeling eventually forced me to address the issue: What if I had a puncture in sandy soil?
Ah, shit, OK, I’d better address that.
See, I had fitted new shocks to the bakkie which raised it. And the bakkie’s jack was already too puny and couldn’t lift the vehicle high enough, so I should do something about it. Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve is known to have a bit of sand in places, and I’ve watched my jack heading down into the sand towards Australia without the bakkie lifting up even one millimetre. Not good.
Also, I have long been of the opinion that the elderly should not exhibit their plumber’s crack to the public at any time. Not even when changing a flat tyre in the sand.
So I went to Ford in Mbombela and the nice man didn’t just sell me an R800 jack. No, he said, “Let Me Look At Yours First. The new ones aren’t any bigger than the old ones.” That surprised me, as the new Rangers are a lot bigger than my 15yr-old Ranger.
I unpacked the kak off my back seat and pulled the backrest forward to show him . . . . the bracket for the jack and the brackets for the jack handle. No jack, no jack handle! I’ve been jackless for who knows how long! Not just clueless.
So the kind man fetched a new jack, but it looked just like my missing one: Small and made of tinfoil. I almost bought it on the grounds of it being anyway better than no jack, but luckily the good man suggested I first look at Midas, then at Askari offroad trailer place. At Midas I almost bought a R1500 bottle jack but luckily the people there were totally unhelpful – didn’t even lift their heads when I walked in, so I walked out.
At Askari the very helpful fellow saw me coming. He said, ‘I’m Sommer Going To Show You Ve Best Fing First, Oom’ – and he did! So I bought a R5000 ten ton jack on the following logical basis: 1. I’m on my own; and 2. I’m old; I don’t want to huff and puff with my arse in the air showing my plumbers crack and sukkel.
I bought this automatic, pushbutton, plug-in, motor-driven, remote-operated ten ton 552mm lift hydraulic bottle jack GT – check out the impressive pic.
‘It comes in a very nice carrybag, Oom,’ he said reassuringly, so I knew I’d got a bargain.
Maybe this is why the Afrikaans for jack is ‘domkrag?’
domkrag – literally dumb strength
sukkel – struggle; battle
Update: I tested it. Sadly there is still a plumber’s crack moment when you have to position the damn thing, but after that it’s all nonchalant dignity and pressing a button on a remote while hitching up your trousers and watching the car rise with satisfaction. As long, of course, as the ground beneath you is not too sandy.