Some like it hot

Aaah, I love landscapes, like these mountain views.

The never ending summer. Only 26C today, cool! But the 30deg days keep coming in our second month of autumn. Good Friday next weekend is forecast to be 30deg and sunny, which threatens to negate my mantra, “It always rains at Easter”. Well, that’s the Friday forecast, there are still three more days.

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The title is a play on a problem that’s cropped up on Evie, the Pug. It’s staying cool. What’s wrong with that, you say? Well, the water temperature gauge is staying on C for cold for far too long. It does warm up, but very slowly. Still, that’s better than overheating, but I suspect that if the engine stays too cool, the oil will be too sluggish and won’t flow correctly, leading to wear or some other unknown problems.

I suspect that the thermostat is stuck open, meaning the coolant is flowing around the engine all the time. As I said, that’s better than having no coolant flowing, but it’s still bad. I seem to have noticed it straight away, as I look at the gauges a lot and I hadn’t seen this before now.

Anyway, no worries, I thought. I’ll just go to the auto parts shop up the road and buy a new thermostat and install it. I’ve done this before in other cars; the thermostat lives at the top of the radiator, in the cap. Pop the cap off, put the new thermostat in and put the cap back on the radiator. Price for a new thermostat? Around $15 – $25. Piece of piss.

Well, I got my first shock when I put “Peugeot 407 2.7l HDI diesel” into the model description. Suddenly there are only two choices (brands), one at $105 and one at $125. Aaaagh! What’s going on?

So I googled the part and found you can get cheaper ones, down to about $65, but cheap parts ain’t always good.

Then I noticed YouTube links on how to change the thermostat. Aaaarrrrgh! This is a French car, so naturally this is a major job. It’s a transverse, east-west engine and the thermostat is located in a weird looking manifold on the end of the engine, buried in/under a mass of cables and hoses.

The water manifold (circled). All the cables and hoses are cleared away in this view. Photo: Aussiefrogs

And if you want to remove this manifold to get the thermostat out, you have to drain all the coolant from underneath, meaning the car really has to be up on a hoist. This is not a job for the home mechanic, not this one anyway. Bugger! Also, I noticed that when they refilled the radiator coolant, it’s a strange orange colour, not the usual green, so it’s special.

So I think I’ll be safe to drive the car to the RAC workshops in Joondalup (15 minutes away), but I’ll have to pay to get it fixed. That’s OK, because it needs a full service anyway, meaning I want them to drain and change the oil and coolant. I’ve had the car for a year and I’ve been meaning to do it.

That means I have to get the Honda going, meaning new battery. Also, last time I was driving it, I noticed that the steering was very heavy, and the power steering pump was whining. That means low power steering fluid, which from watching YouTube almost certainly means faulty O-rings in the power steering pump. It’s almost do-able by the home mechanic, and I probably would have tackled it ten years ago, but I don’t think I can do it now. Another expense.

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I’ve become quite addicted to the YouTube video clips about car repairs and I’m learning a lot. It’s also reminding me that after 60 years of owning and working on my cars, I’ve learnt a lot over the years and I’m not ignorant about cars and engines. I understand what they’re saying, I know what everything does and if I were stronger, I would tackle a lot of things myself. The only problem is that you need to have the spare parts available, and to hand, such as the O-rings for the P/S pump. These would almost certainly only be available from a Honda dealer.

You also need all the tools, especially a torque wrench. Back in my younger days I had all this, full sets of open ended and ring spanners, a torque wrench, full socket sets, spark plug sockets, everything.

Then when I moved up here in 2013, I had to clear my workshop and felt I had to clear the “junk”. Like an idiot, I gave a lot of stuff away, to one “friend” in particular. Toolboxes full of tools.

Well, a couple of years ago I needed some of these tools and asked him (by email) if I could borrow them back, and if he could give me a hand to do a job. All I got was silence, no reply. I’m upset.

Additionally, I used to have a lot of good power tools – I had three power saws (7″, 8¼”, 10½”), about four power drills including a big Makita from Dad, with his D/L number engraved on the casing, two Ryobi blue jigsaws, including mine with white paint that I spilled on the casing, three routers, again a big green Makita from Dad (after he died I cleaned out his workshop and so inherited a lot of his tools), and so on and so on. I had many, many good tools.

But between Trigg and Butler, somehow these tools have disappeared!! Somehow, before or during the move, someone took them. I might have given the impression that I was giving things away, and I was, but I’m certain that I divided things up so that I had one of everything I needed before I “donated” the other tools.

The only saving grace is that Aldi has been the source of replacements, and they’re usually battery driven now, so I have a reasonable set of new power tools – a 7″ battery power saw (which I have yet to use!), a good battery workshop vacuum, a battery drill, a jigsaw (which I bought for a particular job and have used) and so on.

Even so, who took all my power tools?!! I have my suspicions.

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I’m booked in for my second COVID booster shot on Wed 20th April. I’m over 65, and high risk, so I qualify. I’m happy to have it. Then I have the flu vaccine booked for Sat 30 April. I’m happy to have that too. I have it every year and I haven’t had flu in over 40 years. I haven’t even had a cold in the last three years.

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A friend told me he’s isolated at home at the moment, having been a close contact of someone who is COVID positive at his workplace. My friend has no symptoms and doesn’t think he’s got it, but the rules are the rules so he’s confined to his home until next Wednesday. He doesn’t mind at all. He’s using the time to get his own work done around the house.

I’ve got a box of five COVID Rats (Rapid Antigen Tests) in my fridge that I haven’t even tried to use yet. I suppose I should have a practice run on one test, just to see how to use them. These were the free ones and I believe we’re allowed five a month, so I’m due for another lot now. I’d better keep a stock as you never know.

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Watching the Ukrainian war with Russia is so painful. Russians are barbarians! Uncivilised beasts. They don’t deserve their space on this Earth.

If this was the Australian forces, no Australian soldier or airman would carry out orders to attack hospitals and schools to kill civilians, especially women and children. Australian Rules of Engagement expressly forbid it, but Aussie servicemen would know it was wrong to do such things. How can the Russians not know or not have qualms about killing children and bombing hospitals. This is sheer barbarity!

What to do? Step up the supply or armaments to the Ukrainian armed forces, for one thing. Give them the aircraft they desperately need, and replace the tanks they’ve lost, and more.

How about this – in secret, make the negotiations to quickly admit Ukraine to NATO. Make them a NATO country overnight. That would immediately allow the other NATO partners to use massive overwhelming force to crush the Russian forces and drive them back over the border.

I know that Putin has threatened to use tactical nuclear missiles, but make it very clear that the first response if he does is that he will die in a nuclear strike on Moscow. Meanwhile, use special forces to attack and disable Russia’s nuclear bases. They must be extremely well known and discovered by now. It’s quite possible that Russia’s own troops might not fight back, knowing that if they launched, their homeland Russia would cease to exist.

Oh, this is silly waffling, but surely there must be something we can do. Surely?

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1989 – Me on the left, in case you didn’t know 🙂

As I wrote the other day, we had our annual NSHS Reunion last Saturday and one of the “girls” asked about photos from our early reunions, whether I have any. Shazzam! Have I got photos for you!

The one above is from our 1989 reunion and here’s one from the planning meeting for 1990:

1990. That’s me in the blue polo shirt in the middle.

Oh, to be so slim again! It’s possible, just do the diet and exercise required, but climbing Mt Everest is possible too.

(Hang on! These dates can’t be right – how come my beard is snow white in 1989, but half black in 1990? No, I don’t dye it. I’ll have to correct these dates.)

Anyway, I’ve got at least 100 images from 1989 onwards, so I’m putting them into a big slide show with 60s music. It should be a hit. All the images from that time are pretty poor quality (film) so I’m spending a lot of time beating them into better shape. It takes time, but I enjoy it.

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Speaking of 60s music, I watched the Ron Howard movie about the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night last night. I liked the movie, but wow, the memories of the music! They burst onto the scene in 1963, when I was in fourth year high school aged 16, and so I “grew up” with the Beatles. All the tunes are as familiar as nursery rhymes, the album covers as recognisable as views of my home. I’ve got most of the albums (that American term, they’re LPs!) on CD, plus the double CD just called “1”, which is the compilation of all their number 1 chart topping hits. It takes a double CD to hold them all. Wow, what amazing memories.

And it makes me often think, how much amazing talent comes of of Britain – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen, just to name a few of the top groups. Britain produces special talent, no doubt about it. There are many things that annoy me about the UK, but I have to admit, their talent and inventiveness is outstanding! Concorde, Monty Python, the Goons, I could go-on (get it?)

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Ooooohhh, peripheral neuropathy. Pain! Shapr, shooting pains, mainly in my feet, but also in my legs. Diabetes, sugar crystals in the fine blood vessels acting on the nerves. I’ve had it for many years, but it’s slowly getting worse and is now appearing in my hands. There’s no cure, just pain medication, but I find paracetemol is not enough, nowhere near enough. Yet anything stronger seems to interfere with my sleep.

I’ve heard that CBD Oil (cannabidiol) helps, and it’s available without a prescription at the pharmacy, provided the pharmacist assesses you as a suitable candidate. The problem is the cost. As I understand it, it’s about $200 or more for a small bottle, about a month’s supply. I could afford it to try it out, but I couldn’t afford it for a regular purchase. Hmmmm.