Africa, Aitch, Family & Kids, Home, Motorcars_Automobiles

Techno-fob-ia?

Stefanus wrote about a new thing. I paraphrased his rant:

What a bloody stupid idea. The ‘Key Fob’ or ‘Keyless Start’ or ‘Keyless Go’ or ‘Proximity Key’. I have always thought it was a stupid idea but I wasn’t sure why. Tonight I found out why.

Our friend John gets home with his wife after several stops, including our place for a while. Cannot find his ‘fob’; realises the car might have started because his wife had the other fob in her handbag. Panics.

After much driving around and searching in various places, including our place, it ‘turns up’ under his drivers seat where he insists he had searched several times. But ‘it had gone into a crevice.’

Steve expostulates: It’s a lousy idea! You could leave your key fob behind and drive 300 km without knowing you don’t have it, because the car opens and starts with the proximity of the duplicate ‘fob’ in your wife’s handbag. Frikkin stupid, really. Although in hindsight he could have narrowed the search by checking to see if the car would start without his wife’s keys being nearby . . .

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

I wrote:

Aha! A technophobe!

I’m going to ask them to implant mine in a crevice so I can never lose it.

And I won’t let them fob me off.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Steve:

Technophobe – yes. Ask my older brother.

Ja, but how will you avoid forgetting the rest of your keys – the ones that are attached to the – er – transponder? Having your own practice I am pretty sure you have a bunch of keys like a prison guard anyway.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Me:

Me? Keys? Nope.

I am lucky enough to have an “Open Sesame” lifestyle. The practice is always open when I get there at a leisurely hour, and my home is always open. Overrun with bloody kids who all know the 1299# that opens the gate from outside. Me and security are strangers.

Thank goodness for Raksha and the keys at work and Cecelia and the no keys at home.

Sadly, I do have to carry the one single key for the 2007 Ford 4X2 3litre diesel double cab bakkie. White. I lost the canopy key so now it doesn’t lock. Help yourself to my toolbox back there. At times I do spend some time looking for the damn thing on the odd occasions when I put it in a clever place instead of the usual on the kitchen counter. For some reason my Ford key says ‘Mazda.’

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Steve:

I should have realised I was speaking to the wrong person. We tend to lock stuff by and large. Someone came and had an overnight scratch around Wendy’s unlocked car a while ago. Front door gets locked at night or if we are not around. We regularly get wide-eyed warnings from the neighbours about dodgy people seen snooping around the street.

Office keys: I am the first to arrive by a half an hour (OCD) so key needed.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Me:

I am weird that way. Partly slackness, partly – slackness. Been very lucky and fully aware that could change.

1984 – Marriott road flat – nothing. No incidents.

1989 – 7 River Drive Westville – pre-kids. Zanele said she saw an umfaan in our room and she said ‘Hey! Wenzani?’ and he scuttled off through the burglar bars, which were big enough for him to get through.

Years later Aitch found her Zeiss binocs were missing. ‘Stolen!’ she announced. I thought no, ‘Misplaced.’ She thought ‘Poephol, stolen!’ Two years later we found them in the socks drawer.

Then post-kids I got hijacked and taken off in a friend’s car. That wasn’t good.

2003 – 10 Windsor Avenue Westville – Break and enter while we were out and Aitch’s binocs WERE taken. Also her wedding ring. She replaced only the binocs with a shiny newer model – insurance. I still have the new ones.

2005 – 10 Elston Place Westville – nothing.

The reason I have a keypad at the gate where friends just enter the last four digits of their cell number and Open Sesame is I hate closed gates. I once – ca1982 – waited on the pavement in Argyle road outside the palatial home of one of Barks’ friends, ringing the doorbell in vain. Party inside, so they couldn’t hear. Pre-cellphone days. Eventually went home and resolved never to live in a fuckin prison. Still don’t.

Weird? OK.

Confession: I do insist the kids practice common sense security and keep doors locked if they’re alone at home and when they leave the home unattended!

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

umfaan – youngster

Hey! Wenzani? – Oy! Whatchadoin’?

Poephol – husband

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

Talking of phobias, isn’t this a lovely one?

The Fear Of Giants: fee-fi-phobia

Africa, Family & Kids, Motorcars_Automobiles

It’s Just Cos You’re Old

My ole man complains his doc doesn’t even try to help him. “He always just says ‘It’s cos you’re old’ ‘Dis die ouderdom.’ Any problem, there’s no attempt at fixing or understanding – just ‘Hey, you’re old.’ He doesn’t even get up out of his chair!” Now I really empathise with people wanting to be heard; I think every effort should be made to patiently hear out 95yr-olds and understand their problems; Hell, I regularly do just that! Maybe he should make a double appointment?

BUT: I did also suspect that some things – human and mechanical – are simply “because they’re old” – reinforced by Tom’s refrain from The Boondocks: “You’re just mad cos your ass is old.” 

SO: Although I told the ole man he really should get a second opinion – to which he replied, “I’m going to make one last appointment with him and I’m going to tell him I’m leaving him!” Why? I asked, Just leave. “No, what about his other patients!?  He needs to be told!” – I did also secretly think, Hey, some things can’t be fixed.

So my Ford Ranger – that’s my white 3litre diesel 4X2 hi-rider double cab Ford Ranger bakkie – has been a bit noisy, but I was not admitting to it. What? What noise? I can’t hear anything. I once heard a noise and it cost me money.

Then three things happened and forced my hand: One, a very young lady – teenager really – reversed into my left front wheel, BANG. I got out and she burst into tears Waah! I’m sorry! Waah! I’ve had such a terrible day! Waah! I’m going to be in such trouble! I looked at my car: not a scratch. I looked at hers: a dented soft bumper. I said Off You Go. Just Go. As I drove off Tom said Dad! You’re such a sucker! You should have sued her ass! Nah, I said, nothing happened. Then the car starts to shake like its got Parkinson’s. See!? says Tom, I told you. She just suckered you, you should have sued her. We’d gone ten metres and a glance at the young lady – teenager really -‘s car showed she’d already gone seventy metres in the shade. She was outta there!  What to do? I pretended not to feel the shake. What shake? I don’t feel a shake; I once felt a shake and it cost me money. Tom just gave an exasperated eye roll and shook his head.

Two, driving up our road with Jess, a cacophony of sound like forty seven tin cans had been thrown under the car made it hard for even me to ignore it. What was that Dad!? says Jess, who usually doesn’t notice anything automotive. Did you throw all your tin cans under the car, Jess? I deflect. No! That noise is from your car, Dad! she says firmly. Jess, I once heard a noise . . oh, hell, I just kept quiet.

The clincher was I had volunteered my vehicle as able to take the nine lady walkers and me to the Zululand beach walk and I now found out they expected it to drive to the actual beach, then on to fetch us at the next stop and I suddenly thought, “What if it lets me down in front of these grown – not teenage – ladies? That could prove embarrassing.” A 4X4 it ain’t. So I leapt into action: I had the left rear door fixed. It hadn’t opened for a year; And I decided I’d give it new tyres. That always makes it look better. The front ones were worn quite sadly. New tyres, I thought, and then the alignment will probably fix all the other problems which are simply a matter of being out of whack after being whacked by a young lady – teenager really.

And you won’t believe what the tyre man told me as he was doing the alignment! Your Shocks Are Fucked, he tells me. Bluntly; Just like that. How dare he? I was still puffing when he scribbled on my tyre invoice “Four shocks” and said “Go get a quote.” Well, I’m a diplomat and they say the meek will inherit the earth without any land claims, so I absorbed the shock and next thing I’m driving away with two new Dunlop with superblue tyres, balanced and aligned and four new yellow Monroe shock absorbers.

And would you believe it!? Silence! Smoothness! Amazing. Maybe old things CAN be fixed. I may have to re-evaluate.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

While these shocks were being applied, this party bus was having its wheels aligned nearby:

So I dial the number and a voice behind me says “Are you calling me?” It’s Ndumiso and he’s the owner-dude. Sure, he can do Jessie’s bar for her 21st party, he says. No prah-blim. Ha! Two birds with one stone.

You can see from their bumper they’re probably steady, reliable ous.

Update: NOT. He hasn’t phoned, hasn’t returned messages. He’s like King Kong with Faye Wray. I’ll have to play barman.

~~~~oo0oo~~~~

Family & Kids, Free State, Vrystaat, Life

Deja Bloody Vu

Can you believe it? The irresponsibility!

Tom is writing exams, writes five and decides he wants to write the last three when I can invigilate. The others have been invigilated by his tutor Langelihle and another third-year student Rebecca. So we settle on Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

Except he arranges for Ryan to come around and the two of them beetle off gallivanting heavens know where and doing heavens knows what. So he only wrote the last three papers on Monday and Tuesday. Bloody hell! Who would DO something so irresponsible!?

Er, actually, maybe his father?

Back in 1972 I had four matric final exams, then a five day break before the last two. Me and Gabba took the gap and disappeared off to his farm behind the mountain after pulling in at the liquor off-sales on the way where he could legally buy grog, him being eighteen. Plus.

Gabba was a great friend to have, he had a car and lived all alone on his farm where he bought and sold cattle for a living – ‘speculated in cattle’ they called it. In matric! Cool! His farmhouse was a half-house. You picked your way over the rubble of the first half and entered by what used to be an inside door but was now the outside door of the remaining half.

We flattened the beer, which made us thirsty so we scrounged around and found a big old glass two-eared flagon of umqombothi on top of the fridge, fermenting quietly. We finished what was in there and phoned Frank on the party line. Frank was another bachelor alone on his farm nearby. What shall we do? we enquired of Frank, knowing that he would guide us wisely, him a few years older. Frank said “I’ve got beer, come!”

We finished that and Frank said “Let’s go to town”. Who were we to argue? We hopped into his car, I think a Datsun 1800 SSS, and roared off to town at terminal velocity, strong and clever. I remember a narrow bridge across a spruit approach and disappear in a blur with a loud WHUMP! in the middle of it followed by half a second’s silence –  airborne.

Gabba Frank car

In town we woke up the barman of the Royal Hotel down near the railway line. He grumbled a bit, but Frank was having none of it so he went off and reappeared with a case of dumpy beers. We then drove round to the R’s home and threw pebbles against an upstairs window. Penny opened the window, shimmied down the downpipe and we were OFF again on the dirt roads to the farm behind the mountain. At high speed. Invincible.

The next night back at Gabba’s place I phoned my Mom on the party line during a heavy thunderstorm and downpour. “Where have you been? Come home!” was the message but I said “What? Hard to hear you! I’ll be coming back tomorrow”. She said “Yes, rather don’t drive in this weather.” I said “Don’t worry, I’m the responsible type”.

I’m sure* Tommy wasn’t up to kak like that, so maybe he doesn’t take after his Dad.

=========ooo000ooo=========

umqombothi – traditional Zulu beer

spruit – stream

kak – mischief

*- not really sure

 

Life, Motorcars_Automobiles

On Seeking Good Advice

. . and then ignoring it.

I couldn’t believe they wanted R40 000! Forty Thousand! NO WAY!

So I sought advice from someone who really knows cars.

Hi Alan
My VW kombi is a 2005 1,9TDi T5 8-seater – 166 000km.

Repairs needed:
Clutch (R12 800); Brakes (R3 000); Driveshaft (R10 100)
Sliding door not opening; plus 165 000 km service.

I have been quoted R40 537 for the above by Alpine Motors VW.

As a trade-in on a second-hand vehicle (around R250k) they offer me R30 000.

I think I’m ready for a double cab bakkie now. Needn’t be 4X4.

Please tell me what you think. Thanks a lot. Cheers. Pete

(this was in 2012)

=========ooo000ooo=========

Hi Pete.

My value for your kombi: R105 000 less 15 for high kms = 90. Less repairs. So worst case scenario on a trade-in = R50 000.

So their R30 000 offer is taking a chance. You don’t need to give it away, these kombis are very sought-after.

If Alpine sells you another they will do the repairs for half that. Tell them to work a deal and you want 70 as-is on another Kombi.  If not, rather keep it and fix it yourself as the repairs it needs are all wear and tear being the driveshaft, clutch and brakes – not unusual at this mileage.

My advice:
Fix it. That is the cheaper way round. This is not so expensive in comparison to other cars.

Regards, Alan

=========ooo000ooo=========

So: Did I take his advice and spend R40k to get exactly what I wanted?
No, I spent R140k and got a bakkie. Which I didn’t really want. And which I still have and I still don’t really want.

One day I hope to live and learn.

DSCN8788.JPG

Life, Motorcars_Automobiles

Did You Got a Licence?

Dad, asks TomTom, When does this licence expire?

We’re sitting outside a nightclub at 11pm and he’s asking while we’re waiting for the last of the boys so we take home all eleven that we brought (yes, ELEVEN).

Dunno, let’s check, I say. I know he’s interested as we were once bust in Lesotho for an expired licence and he doesn’t want that to happen again. Those okes with guns made him nervous. Me too. Soon after that they had their 2014 coup!

September 2015, I sigh.

So I’m in the queue for my licence for the third time. The first time I sat next to an old toppie. He musta been 60 if he was a day. He was timing the transactions. Average seven minutes per person and there were 17 ahead of me, so I would have been late for work, so I left. The second time I was making good progress when I overheard from the counter “where’s your proof of address”, so I left.

This third time I have all three papers. For the bakkie, the trailer and Jessie’s scooter – those two expired in 2014! And I have my proof of address, my ID card and money.

But not enough. I had R430 and the bakkie alone is R620 so I’ll be back a fourth time with more cash.

Hell is going to be like this. Queues.

=========ooo000ooo=========

.

pic of a more recent disk added later

Family & Kids

Wheels and Status

Car spotting and car bragging is a (very) competitive sport at Tom’s school. Every day I hear tales of Ferraris and Range Rovers taking kids to school and the sad lament of what the isikoroskoro we drive means to his standing.
We usually park far from the school (I let him walk the last few hundred metres) but yesterday I parked right outside the gate and poor Tom got bust: His mates spotted the Ford Ranger double cab. Worse: It’s only 4X2.
This morning we parked far away again as he told me they ragged him mercilessly. “We saw your Dad’s Bhugatti, Thomas!” they said with great delight.

the wish Bhugatti–   reality Ford

– – – – – – 883Kw                                        103Kw

Ah well, he has inflicted pain, he has to learn to take pain.

Birds & Birding, Life, Motorcars_Automobiles, Travel, Travel Africa

Redfoot, the 1979 Land Rover

Aitch knew a doctor in PMB who “did up” Land Rovers. That got me thinking . . .

To my amazement my partners Lello Yoell & Stoute were NOT HUGELY enthusiastic as I twisted their arms to go in as equal shareholders! Even when I told them that, besides the good doctor, it had only one previous owner (omitting that that had been the old KwaZulu Homeland Police Force).

But eventually they agreed, good partners that they are, and we became the proud consortium owners of a handpainted 1979 hole-in-the-floor manual 4X4 long wheelbase Series III station wagon-type 5-door Land Rover. White.
It was fitted with a Ford Essex V6 three litre engine on new birdshit-welded mountings and painted white with an old brush. The wheelrims were painted red with the same brush, from which its name Redfoot. Did I mention handpainted?

Well, we ended up putting three engines into ole Redfoot, and it went up Sani once, to Ladysmith once as 8-seater transport (Prem took it to wedding), Yoell used it once and never again; Soutar used it.

Andre vd Merwe from PE thought he’d buy it but his wife Sue made him turn back NOW after only a few km’s and said he would buy it “Over Her Deceased Corpse”. A Canadian optometrist used it to get to a clinic where he did a volunteer stint in the Valley of 1000 Hills. He brought it back smoking – he didn’t really get the “stick shift” thing, nor the “clutch” thing. That was one of the new engines.

Spent a total of R25k on it in all and sold it for R5k – with relief! Not a runaway success story was Redfoot, but I think my partners exaggerate when they say I promised them an ‘investment opportunity’!

BUT never forget: When we went up Sani with an Isuzu 4X4 and a Toyota 4X4 and a Nissan 4X4, although they flew up and Redfoot had to pause for breath and a radiator top-up everyone had their photos taken next to Redfoot!

The three more capable - but less photogenic - bakkies

The more capable but less photogenic bakkies

Redfoot Sani crop-001
The posing