Thursday, July 31, 2008


Winter in the Cape is a wet one. The general trend is a drifting rain for days - or a couple of hard-hitting cold fronts that rattle the doors and pound the windows.

Today it's a bit of both. And I drove Olivia to work.

She reminded me she loves me by pouring the contents of the gutter down my jacket as soon as I opened the driver's door, then continued to do so with a steady dripping stream as I got all my work goodies inside her. Fortunately my pants soaked up what had hit the seat.

Bar a brief struggle with the fuel pump she started first time, which she's been doing lately - lovely. No more half-hour struggle!

Hit the lights, hit the wipers, hit reverse... hmmm.. something's missing. It's been a while since I drove Olivia in the wet - have I forgotten where the wiper switch is?

Well I fiddled them all, and yup - no wipers. Not even the hint of a reaction from anything mechanical. And no other choice than to simply drive.

I'll say this much - it's not easy driving down a wet road where the markings disappear under streetlight reflection, with oncoming commuter's lights shining in your face! It's even worse when there's rain pounding the windscreen. At the best of times I tend to clear the screen of the merest water while driving. This morning's commute was... well, interesting.

Fortunately Olivia is slow and I could hug the road edge, judging how far over I was by what I could see next to me. Equally fortunate was the gale force wind I drove into, which whisked a good deal of the water away. And also fortunate was the fact that the sun's starting to come up earlier, and it wasn't pitch-black dark.

Fun times, people - fun times.

Tonight Favourite Man gets to check out what's going on behind the dash. Or in the fuse box. Or with the wiper motor. Whether the rain's put paid to a connection, or if it's just Olivia being obstinate.

Whatever the issue is, life with a Landy's never boring.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

On the move

Olivia's on the move this morning.

Favourite Man is taking her and a trailer in to Cape Town to collect e-waste for me, with the kid in tow. Although there are only 4 stops on the list, it's probably going to take most of today, and a couple stops at the petrol stations.

Lucky for me, she's fitted with an FM Protector unit, so I can sit at my desk and watch her progress. Nope, she's not flying in a straight line.. :-) The waypoints are marked by GPS/GPRS at regular intervals, so the route is only picked up and displayed where the point is plotted. We've set it to notify out-of-hours driving and low battery, both of which have come in handy in the past - there's a lot more it can do that we don't have set.

Today though it's main function is peace of mind. I can see where Favourite Man and the kid are, know they haven't been hijacked or veered way off the planned path, and track the stops as they go.

Olivia had a good run on Friday - today she gets to stretch her legs again.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Special Parts

One reason I love Landy people is because they inevitably come with a sense of humour. Proving yet again you can sell anything on e-bay .. :-)

The quest for a signal

Olivia recently acquired a WorldSpace satellite/digital radio, which Favourite Man fitted expertly last weekend.

During Olivia's rennovation, we'd hooked the unit up to the newly-installed wiring to check that it worked, and picked up reception loud and clear. This time around we've struggled to get more than a bar or two, no matter where we place the antenna.

Now there are many theories as to why this is. They range from incorrect installation (basically impossible - it was done properly) to being on the edge of the "satellite footprint" to mere interference from everything else flying around the radio/wireless/satellite channels. The amount of aerials and antennas that have been sprouting everywhere lately is horrific.

The quest for a signal will continue though. That WorldSpace thing is a very handy device.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

All Revved Up

Olivia's been doing weird stuff recently. I'll be just beginning the commute when her revvs will suddenly increase and get stuck there - scary-high with engine screaming. It doesn't happen often, but...

This morning it couldn't have come at a worse time. My side windows were misted up in icy morning darkness, the windscreen wasn't much better, I was approaching a traffic circle, and had cars front and back hemming me in. Suddenly the revvs were hugely high again - instead of merely idling along I was now speeding. Trying to sort that out, not hit the car in front of me and turn around the circle... I didn't see the motorbike coming around the circle next to me!

A split-second later and we would have collided, but fortunately we didn't.

And the revvs problem?

Well I suspect the choke.

It only happens when driving with the choke out - which is a normal occurrence on an early-morning commute. It feels as if the accelerator is sticking - but I think it may actually be the choke cable.

So here goes with a bit of cable-following/fixing very shortly!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Safe & Secure

You may remember a while back we had a bit of a "Surprise" when Olivia's bonnet flew open while travelling.

Well, Favourite Man - being handy and all that - made Olivia a pair of hood sticks to make sure that doesn't happen again. We fitted them a while ago and they've worked most excellently.

As you can see, they're strong and metal and stick up through the bonnet - held closed with an R-clip.

A few weeks ago we moved Olivia from her outside parking to the in-yard one, and noticed that some idiot had nicked the R-clips! This is Africa - these things happen. If it's not tied down and secured it disappears. Unfortunately.

So shortly thereafter I took a trip to our local locksmith. Olivia's bonnet is now VERY secure....

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Blog

It had to happen. The Landy Chick has a new blog - solely for her Land Rover addiction. :-) Comments and submissions are welcome.

This blog remains property of Olivia though.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


You know you drive a Land Rover when you travel with a 5 litre container of engine oil behind the driver's seat... (not to mention 5 ammo boxes of assorted tools, parts, recovery gear and manuals)

In recent weeks Favourite Man has been panicked by Olivia's oil consumption. She was emptying out the supply at an awful rate, leaving the dipstick levels way too low after a simple day's driving.

Last week we decided to try something. We bought a bottle of Prolong and chucked it in to the oil. I've driven her a bit since then, and so far so good.

The oil level this morning hadn't dropped, and she's still running pretty well. Fuel consumption seems to be OK too!

Let's hope this is a long-term solution....