Against a back drop of hijackings, armed robberies, murders and near misses, a Nation thriving despite the inherent crime, South Africans survive by being prepared, vigilant and armed! Aware, working hard, living well but without fear! Should that guard ever drop, a backup force is there in the ether, the rearguard!
Who has had the experience of being in the right place at the wrong time? Every single one of us without a doubt!
We have all heard those stories about would be passengers on aircraft who have missed their flights or bookings and someone has taken their place only to later, tragically, learn that the flight was doomed.
Some months ago I had a telephone call from a client who had collected his vehicle 48 hours previously after a major service! The low mileage Jaguar V8 was overheating and inexplicably losing water!
1 A classic shape and beautiful picture of a V8 Jaguar!
The water leak had suddenly developed on the highway, sending the Jag’s temp gauge into the red and the computer had flashed lights and warned the driver to stop! Luckily my client was close to an off-ramp and a service station where the competent staff slowly trickled coolant into the engine to top it up, but sadly the water was running out as quickly as it was poured in.
My somewhat irritated client eventually arrived home in the cab of an AA tow truck, the waterless Jag resting peacefully on the back. With the fanfare of flashing tow truck lights, and noisy diesel engine attracting way too much attention, my client noticed a BMW, with the usual 3 potential hijackers on board, accelerate quickly away from where they had been waiting for him to get home!
2 AA membership is an absolute must! (Angels Anonymous)
Possible Divine intervention or just “one of those things”, we towed the Jag to the workshop the next day and investigated.
Each time a vehicle is serviced the cooling system is pressure tested. This is done to prevent problems like the above occurring, and if there is a weak hose let it burst in the workshop rather than on the road. A pressure test to the Jag’s cooling system made it obvious that a housing or gasket had burst, but not in an obvious place but deep down under the massive centre intake manifold of the engine! Made of strong heat resistant plastic, the housing had split like a banana, dumping the engine’s coolant as quickly as you could fill it!
3 Beautiful Jaguar V8 engine but tucked under that centre manifold the Angels were at work!
Another possible case where the Angels got involved in Earthly business happened last Thursday when a Ford Bantam bakkie rocked up at the time of day which always causes me to say: “I hate lunchtimes and tea breaks, because every time I need to get something done, it’s either lunchtime or tea time!” The small LDV had a squealing fan belt, which I cured by spraying the belt with a silicon spray, or mechanic in a can! The water and oil levels were all correct and no other extraneous noises were coming from the engine, so I sent the driver on his way.
4 Mechanic in a can!
At about 5:30pm that evening a call came in from the vehicle’s owner saying that as the bakkie turned into his premises the fan belt had fallen off! Arrangements were made and the vehicle was towed to our workshop the next morning at about 9 am. The water pump had failed so badly that the fan belt had simply fallen off! Mysteriously though not a drop of water had leaked out of the water pump’s critical seal! A failure such as this would normally have dumped the engine’s water, possibly blown the head gasket and worse still, seized the pistons! Being someone who is often stymied by inexplicable failures, I asked the driver who had accompanied the tow truck, whether he believed in Angels. “Yes” he said, “And I am a regular church goer!”
“Well”, I said pensively, “That can be the only explanation!” There must have been some place you weren’t supposed to be at, either this morning or yesterday!
Two hours later, new water pump fitted we sent him on his way!
5 A new water pump and off you go!
The Angels were most definitely busy at work on a recent extended road test to Pretoria, the Jacaranda City and almost sister city to Johannesburg, just a half an hour away on the fast flowing, in non-peak hour traffic, Ben Schoeman Highway! The vehicle I was driving had an electrical failure and cut out in the middle of Pretoria West, notoriously busy with some dubious inhabitants! Not the most savoury place to be stranded on the side of the road, with a flashing water light and engine error light!
6 An eighteen wheeler has no respect for car, nor stricken mechanic!
Two passersby, probably Heaven sent, helped push the stricken vehicle out of the traffic lane to a nearby service station, with impatient drivers tooting at us to get out of the way! An eighteen wheeler just missed my out stretched leg as I strained to push my way to safety! Once safely out of harm’s way, and searching for the mysterious electrical failure, I noticed water leaking from a plastic fitting, and tested the connection which literally fell to pieces in my fingertips, leaving me with two problems to solve and repair before I could drive back to my workshop!
7 A getting to know you walking tour of Pretoria West ensued, looking for repair pieces such as these!
It was a long search and repair exercise but had me eventually admitting to myself that rather the vital water fitting to have broken in my presence than with my client in some faraway place, with a massively damaged engine and possibly without backup protection in the ether! The electrical fault, although difficult to locate was a relatively simple fix!
Not everyone was into ABBA in the Seventies, but with hits like Fernando, Dancing Queen and Mamma Mia, the disparagers could but shake their heads in amazement! Here is ABBA and Do You Believe in Angels:
St Vincent School For The Deaf Angels and Saints:
Down Durban way The Fulton School for The Deaf:
Abraham Kriel Childcare group, caring while we work: