Thursday, 12 March 2015

Locknuts

Serrated leaves
Peckover House, August 2014
It took me a week to publish the last blog post; the whole week after my holiday was a bit too busy with badminton and work and other stuff, and the state of Lola Towers had deteriorated to the extent that when a friend dropped round briefly on Wednesday night (by the way, this NEVER happens) I was very glad indeed that she didn't need to visit the bathroom.

On Thursday I played in a badminton match and I was unexpectedly offered two tickets to the international badminton in Birmingham on Friday night. Having had such a busy time during the week I did think twice about accepting, but couldn't resist in the end. It started at 5 p.m. and I got there at about 5.30, and it went on for ever. I left at 11.30 p.m. before the last match had even started.

The weekend was supposed to be quieter but that didn't happen either. I thought I would have a lie in, but my body clock had other ideas, and because I was awake early I decided to do a Parkrun, followed by house cleaning and a bit of necessary food shopping in town. As I came back from shopping, I glanced at the car, and my heart sank as I saw it had one completely flat tyre. Another job to do - not a difficult one, but it just added to the list of work for the weekend.

It almost turned into the stuff of nightmares. Let me tell you about locknuts. If you haven't changed a car wheel lately, you may not have come across them - one nut on each wheel (the locknut) does not have the usual hexagonal format but is a non-standard shape, and you have an adaptor that converts the special shape into a hexagon so it will fit the wheel spanner. It's intended to prevent the theft of wheels, but I hadn't ever given this much thought in all the time I've owned the car.

I went ahead with changing the flat for the spare wheel and driving up to a tyre repair place in town. As I was discussing the job with the chap there, I realised that I didn't remember storing the locknut adaptor in the car anywhere. I had driven away with it still attached to the wheel, and it had fallen off somewhere along the way.

Have you ever had that sinking feeling when all joy drains out of your heart and an awful doom hovers just over the horizon? Maybe you think you have lost something valuable and essential: a handbag, or a wallet, or the only set of keys to your house or your car, or you realise as you arrive at the airport to check in for a long-haul flight that your passport is at home 3 hours away. It is something that is quite easily misplaced, but maybe you have just looked for it in the wrong place, and if you look in the right place there it will be and everything will be all right, but if you really have lost it or left it at home then you face huge expense and so, so much annoyance and recrimination and disruption to your life.

The man in the tyre place explained what would happen if I really had lost the locknut adaptor. Of course it could be replaced, it is only about £40 for a new adaptor and the four matching wheel nuts, but without the correct adaptor for my current locknuts it wouldn't be possible to take off any of the wheels. He didn't go into detail about how much that job would cost. I just said I was going home to look for it.

It was there, lying in the middle of the road, only a few yards from where I had changed the wheel. When I picked it up, I actually kissed it.

After that the puncture repair proceeded without further incident. By the time I got home and fired up the computer for the first time that day and it reminded me about the monthly clarinet choir rehearsal, it was too late and I'd missed it. Saturday was not a good day. Sunday was better.

I was going to continue with work news of my annual review, very low carb and conference news, but I've run out of time - it will have to wait.

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