Monday, October 30, 2006

Go Beyond

Filmed around the area where I live, Land Rover's new ad embodies that sense of adventure and wonder I suppress too often. Go Landy! :-)


Hmm.... this could just be the reason I was struggling to start Olivia! :-) Off to get new sparkplugs this afternoon.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I dreamt very vividly last night of Olivia. Although they were mere flashes, I took her all over the place - visiting people and driving through scenery that I'm not even sure I yet know.

Yes, she's been on my mind lately, and under my nails yet again. There's always something to check or sort out, and I've learnt never to do it in a white shirt. :-)

I know dreams are a reflection of what's on your mind, and mine have followed only 3 lines of thought for the past few weeks. But dreams can also be an expression of the subconcious wishes and desires that fester below the surface of knowing. They can point the way forward when our brains simply can't figure it out during the day.

So when I dream, I listen. Even when I merely dream of Olivia.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Olivia is parked just below my house - I can see her when I gaze out the window. Although not an official parking area, it's out of the way enough that no-one will bash into her. We have had a few scares with large turning trucks though, and she's due for a move to a safer spot.

Today the garden services blokes were in the area, "trimming the verges". In other words making the edges of fields short and leaving the middle. A sort of brazilian wax for grass if you will.

Unfortunately for them Olivia's standing on a verge. They cut very neatly all around her, but no-one was going underneath! :-) When I drive away there will be a lovely Olivia-shaped patch of long grass, smack-bang in the middle of a well-cut section.

I guess there's more than one way to mark your territory as a Landy.

Monday, October 16, 2006


One more thing needed before I can get out and about with Olivia (other than insurance, which goes through today). And that's sorting out the timing, idle speed and mix - all of which I don't want to attempt on mere book knowledge alone.

Nor do I want to pay exorbitant amounts for my usual mechanic to do it for me!

But, as they say in Afrikaans "'n boer maak 'n plan" (farmer makes a plan) - and I'm all for skills-swapping.

So I've bribed a friend's mechanic brother with a tray of brownies in exchange for coming over and showing me exactly how it's done! :-)

Now... who can I bribe for a few tanks of petrol?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


There is no exercise quite like pumping up a rather large tyre on a heavy Landy with a small foot pump....!

Just glad I only had to do one (for now).

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Woman Alone

In the midst of all my planning for trips here and there in Olivia, there's one thing that constantly gnaws at the back of my mind - the issue of safety as a single woman (and perhaps child) travelling on my own.

Many of my trips may be made alone, but in this day and age is that a viable option? Especially here in Africa... There are guys who say they won't travel alone, that the potential for attack or breakdown or lying somewhere hurt for weeks in a remote area is simply too great. And they're right about most of it. Sorta.

On the other hand, travel companions are not exactly plentiful. It's hard to find someone to go with you on a whim, or even on an extended journey (could always hire a hunk for entertainment purposes, I guess... :) ). There are certain trips that should be done alone. But perhaps those should be confined to "populated areas" or places where there is either a cellphone signal or the chance of others happening along within hours?

Yet that kinda defeats the purpose of some journeys. There's an urge to get away from the masses, out into the bush, away from civilization - and letting fear keep you from those experiences is not a good thing.

But I'm also a practical chick. I know my limitations, I know what I can and can't do, what I can and can't handle. I guess my concern is more for other people (potential hazards, worse than the wild things!) than for myself. I don't know the intentions of folk I may run into on the way, nor can I predict what they will or won't do.

I'm aware of the dangers this country holds. Hijackings, murders, rapes, mutilations, theft. Many of them confined to the cities and their surrounds where crime festers naturally. I know how my grandparents live on their Gauteng farm - sleeping with a gun each under the bed, locking everything up tight, shooting first - asking questions later. It's living dominated by fear and suspicion, by necessity. But what of the deserted areas? Surely one is safer there than where people are congregated?

I sometimes doubt my strength of personality to fend off those who don't have good intentions. If I were to travel far and wide, could I deal with the scheming, bribe-seeking masses who pick on anyone who passes through? I'm not sure.

All this and more sits in the back of my head, urging caution. Yet I dream of being alone under a star-spattered sky in the middle of nowhere...

Perhaps I should just pick my "middle of nowhere" carefully?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tourist Attraction

Olivia's quite the tourist attraction! Whether it's photos on the wall in my office, the background I've set on my computer screen or just standing around outside my home, she attracts attention.

And jealousy... :)

I've had a number of folk come by to gaze at her, peer inside and underneath and wistfully wish they had a Landy. Another just dropped by my office. The amount of drooling going on could easily have shorted out the keyboard.

The thing is there's no other vehicle around that looks like her. There's a couple of Series vehicles, but nothing in her grey-blue-green. Nor plastered with flags from where she's been, or kitted out just-so. She stands out from the crowd in a big way.

She's a real beauty. Gorgeous beast - completely amazing. I may look worse as I age, she just keeps looking better.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Monday, October 02, 2006

Oh give me a home...

No buffaloes roam here, but I think Olivia's new view is probably quite different to the one she had a few months ago... :)

However - it doesn't beat the views we still plan to see.


Amazing how just when you think you have one thing sorted, you need to sort something else! (I had a theory with my Mini that if you fix something small, something big's gonna break - so leave the small thing...)

Yesterday's alternator-placing episode was supposed to solve the power drain problem. After lunch I hooked up the Ford, gave her a jumpstart and started up the engine. It took some doing though, the idling is a little low and I still need to sort out timing and mix stuff. But she got going eventually, revved along happily for a few minutes.

And then died! Again! Sounded exactly like the fuel starvation issue we started with.

And the battery had worn down again, once disconnected from the Ford. Eish!

This is the point where I wish I could plug my brain into a couple of really knowledgeable ones, who could immediately identify the problem/s and tell me exactly what to do to fix them. Also explain some of the terminology in the manual ("pierce" the cover? how, exactly?) and point out if I'm doing anything drastically wrong. It would be nice to have a USB port or WiFi access in the head to attract knowledge like a magnet and store it on a shelf somewhere. Instead I have to pick it up bit by bit - often getting frustrated in the attempt.

Thankfully the Landy bloke I ran into last week had some wisdom on Wiring, checking battery leads and various other fiddly bits. I'll do a bit of testing this week to see if anything's perished or loose or undone.

But that's life with cars. You learn a bit more every day, even if it takes a while. And more often then not, fixing one thing is simply yet another link in the chain of finding more things to sort out.

Like the front tyre that seems to be very slowly deflating....

Sunday, October 01, 2006


When you've had a rough weekend and feel like the world has plonked itself on your shoulders, there's nothing like car-wrangling to sort you out. It's very therapeutic!

Today I finally got Olivia's alternator back in (yay, it's fixed!). Then had to turn my attention to the Ford - the bonnet cable slipped out of its moorings (again) so it wouldn't open. Fortunately this time I knew how to fix it, and did a more permanent job than last time's duct tape measures. Unfortunately the other end (beneath the steering wheel) is looking a big dodgy, frayed and threatening to snap.... There's something to be said for simple opening mechanisms such as Olivia has!

Between swearing at bolts, entangling and impaling myself in/on wire cables, lying on recently-rained on ground under two cars, and hunting things that disappear into long grass unexpectedly, I'm feeling a whole lot better than when I began.