Friday, August 29, 2008

Photoblog: Water Hazard

It keeps falling over on my Landy! :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Would you like Wipers with that?

Winter in the Cape is characterized by cold, rain and traffic jams. The Capetonians turn into idiot drivers as soon as a few drops fall from the sky.

On Monday I had a run in Olivia through to one of our e-waste processors, loaded down with the insides of monitors. In the rain. Over horrific roads. And back through Stellenbosch rush hour.

Being the Cape, and specifically the winelands, folk are generally laid back and slow moving. Factor in the post-school pick-ups, the end-of-day uni students and the general office worker / manual labourer traffic - it turns into chaos.

So there I was pottering along in Olivia through 5pm traffic. It's cold, it's raining - and by law you need your lights on in this weather. Except, if I put O's lights on, I can't do anything else! Her battery isn't holding a charge too well. Add a heater to the load (yes, this is a Series III with a heater thanks to her previous owner, along with Favourite Man's fan restoration and ducting) and the voltage drops to the point where her tracking unit starts sending "low battery warning" SMSs! Add wipers... well, same effect. (Add in the dodgy brakes and who needs gym when you're playing in a one-man band to keep everything ticking over while struggling through the gear changes)

Here's how you do it then. When you're idling at a red light, the lights are on. When you pull away, you give a few brief swipes of the wipers as you accelerate to see where you're going, then put them off. Once you've gathered speed, you hope the wind resistance will clear the screen, then hit the heater switch to defrost your hands and feet until the next red light - where everything except the lights goes off again.

Olivia is going to need a battery transplant very soon...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Driving to work in Olivia this morning, I realized that you have to have faith to travel in a Land Rover. Especially one you work on yourself...

A while back we had a go at sorting out the back axles. New oil seals were needed, and the bearings were checked at the same time. This of course involved taking the wheels off, plonking the beast on axle stands, and then putting the wheels back on again.

Which is where faith comes in. I have good faith that those wheel nuts were tightened properly - which is why I don't have to worry about things coming off while I'm driving!

Same goes for the engine. I've been in there and fiddled with stuff. I know that Favourite Man has sorted out the points (and I have faith in his abilities). I have done the carb myself. The wiring is perfect (Favourite Man again). Faith in our abilities has me unworried about potential problems - and knowing who to blame if something does go wrong.. :-)

I have faith that the bumper's not going to fall off. Faith that the roofrack will stay put. Faith that my seat won't fall out onto the road. Faith that the truck will start in the first place.

Yup, driving a Landy's a pretty much religious experience.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Oily matters

This morning Favourite Man checked Olivia's oil before I left for work, reporting back "if you ever wanted to take a photo of oil at a perfect level, that dipstick is it right now".

Yay! That's quite the achievement for an old Landy. Instead of emptying a couple litres into her belly every day, she's doing OK on the oil consumption at last.

Months ago I put diesel oil instead of petrol oil into her by mistake during an oil change. That probably scrubbed crud to a level where compression was lost and oil found new exits... But we added Prolong and it seems to be helping.

Today she was going very well again. Except for the wipers. Blown fuse last time, apparently the same thing this time, and another interesting bit of commute until the windscreen cleared. Favourite Man and I will be spending some time with the electrics this weekend before we take her to stretch her legs and see some whales.

For now I'm just happy the oil level's staying constant. It's amazing how much difference that makes to how she functions.

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Call of Africa

(from a forward, just a bit of inspiration for the day)

When you've acquired a taste for dust,
The scent of our first rain,
You're hooked for life on Africa
And you'll not be right again
Till you can watch the setting moon
And hear the jackals bark
And know that they're around you,
Waiting in the dark.

When you long to see the elephants.
Or to hear the coucal's song,
When the moonrise sets your blood on fire,
You've been away too long
It's time to cut the traces loose
And let your heart go free
Beyond that far horizon,
Where your spirit yearns to be.

Africa is waiting - come!
Since you've touched the open sky
And learned to love the rustling grass,
The wild fish-eagles cry.
You'll always hunger for the bush,
For the lion's rasping roar,
To camp at last beneath the stars
And to be at peace once more.