All Moving Parts (Stand Still) 4:59

I got to Fort William in good time even with the bank holiday weekend traffic. You always lose a few at Tyndrum and at Glen Coe where of course parking is plentiful. Really, I’m sure stopping on the carriageway and staring at the parked cars wedged in like drinking straws in a Macdonalds dispenser when the manager’s due in for an inspection will make a space just for you magically appear.

I parked up in the big carpark behind the shops just at the wee shed where the attendant lurks, but I had no change and had to bolt for the shops to get some. I was heading for the Nevis Bakery anyway, so upon attaining one of their legendary hot pies and some tasty accompanyment in an instant, I bolted back to the motor to make a speedy get away with free parking as an added bonus.

Click. Click. Click. Not Vroom! Swiftly followed by the sweet melodies of  Slayer’s Decade of Aggression that had kept me sane on the road up. Click.

“Hello RAC, how can I help?”, “Save me please, I’ve a mountain camp on and a sunset to look at and cuppas to drink…I mean, my motor won’t start”.

It’s not a big town and the good gear shop burnt down so I had Blacks, Ellis Brighams, and Nevisport to content with. I sat in the Nevisport cafe for a bit. Jesus, what have they done to it. It’s been cleared of it’s benches and now has those generic bent plywood chairs and school common room tables and a meccano cuttlery and condiment zone to boot. They didn’t think it through, because the benches lined up with the roof beams and now folk are smacking their heads off the beams because of the freeform seating arrangement and there’s stickers everywhere telling folk not to smack their heads on the beams. Idiots. They’ve taken all the pictures down as well. And the shop downstairs is still pish.

EB has decent kit, but it usually has an air of desperation about it. I got chatting to the guys so that passed a bit of time pleasantly. But that was it, I looked at German army caps in the shooty-knifey shop and decided that Germans had small heads and went back to the motor to wait.

It was after 1700 when the orange van appeared. The boy was good, he stripped down the engine to get at the alternator and luckily had a set of brushes to fit it to see if that was the trouble. He got it back together and we tried it. Nah it was buggered. While this was going on a woman with a young boy on a lead appeared on the scene. The wee fella was very interested in the engine and his mother’s English was much better than my German would have been in her local car park. We’re so bloody lazy here when it comes to such things.

Incidentaly Ft Bill is jumping with bikes and bikers for the Scottish Six Day Trials. A lot of old British stuff cutting about as well which is nice, the sound of a real motorcycle.

My options were to get towed home or drive home after a jump start and don’t stall the engine, use the lights, fan, radio or let the engine get so hot it’s fan would have to run, because it wouldn’t. This is the joy of driving an old diesel powered motor, it’s mechanical. You don’t need electricity to make it go, fuel ignition is by compression. Well I like a challenge, so I got all my food and water onto the passenger seat switched off my kidneys and went for it.

Nae bother all the way to Luss and that’s when the traffic stopped, and that was it all the way to Balloch. Over an hour for that one stretch. I must have aged 20 years, and gained 20 pounds having eaten all the food I could reach to keep myself calm. Energy bars though, for driving at 2mph? Maybe not the best match. However, home was reached safely and today repairs were undertaken. I’ll be back on the road tomorrow.

The sunset was beautiful though, what a night it would have been up there. There will be other nights, this week hopefully.

Oh aye, car parking. When I realised I’d now have to buy a ticket, someone who’d paid for three hours parking and had left after 20 minutes had stuck their ticket on the machine for the benefit of others. I thank them deeply and sincerely.

13 thoughts on “All Moving Parts (Stand Still) 4:59”

  1. It wasn’t till the stop solenoid on my old Talbot Express van packed in whilst in the fast lane of the M25 that I realised how a diesel engine stopped, like you say, electricity isn’t needed, not to run the engine anyway, just to keep this little solenoid open.
    Did you know you can get RAC cover for 1/4 of the price if you pay for it with those vouchers Tesco send you? I don’t think Tesco sell alternators though.

  2. Aye, I got enough of a charge from the RAC transit to keep the solenoid open. Luckily I got home just as it was getting a bit dusky so I never had to use anything electrical at all. Except when I accidentally flipped the wipers on once.

    I broke a piston arm on the last Escort van I had as I started it after visiting Greggs for some sausage rolls. The sound that made had an air of finality about it :o)

  3. I used to own a Fiat. Until then, I’d never realised a car could die in so very many different ways.

  4. My mate’s got a Punto. I love it, every corner is taken sideways regardless of gear, speed or road conditions.
    That’s clever engineering.

  5. Call me strange if you will,but I actually like the sound of diesel engines,kind of reassuring on long journeys in the dark,miles away from home.
    I had a vauxhall combo van a few years back,great workhorse,served me well for a few years…until the engine tried to turn itself inside out,resulting in a none too cheap garage bill.My favourite ever van though was my old Suzuki sj410 santana,great little thing,always made me smile to drive it and was great for hauling logs out of the woods for the winter fire…it rusted away eventually of course.It was a hell of a contrast to the car I had before it,a volvo 480es turbo(which the mrs. hated btw).
    Meat and metal is definately where its at,had both for company in the car on the drive to brecon last weekend for the trail forum meet.Kings x,ensiferum,paradise lost,bathory and a peters minced beef and onion pie…’kin fantastic!

  6. Ah, Bathory. Brings back memories. My mate either had him (Quorthon wasn’t it?) or Venom on every time I went round there.

    Well, the motor is running fine. The weather is looking ropey for the weekend though. Arse.

  7. Yep it was indeed him…some of the early albums are a bit raw and noisy,but some of the later stuff is damn good,especially the ‘nordland’ albums.

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