The Mechanic

Ran 10k yesterday morning. 15 miles this morning. Horrible mish-mash of units of measurement there but I don’t fucking know how many kilometres there are in 15 miles. Just went nice and easy. Tried to keep good form and a high cadence. Calf is still not 100%. Blah blah blah, running running running. Is that all I bloomin’ well think about? Ways of getting faster? Ways of beating Gilmour? Gilmour who always labels his Garmin Connect runs ‘EASY’? Yeah, it is all I think about. Usually. But yesterday the van wouldn’t start.

Started, moved it – I was doing the hedges so those Branchage dicks don’t get all up in my grill – and then it wouldn’t start! That would be bad enough but I’d moved it to a really awkward place. Like, it was blocking everything. I was, like, God, do NOT fuck with me today!

Wouldn’t start. Was acting like the battery was flat. I don’t know anything about cars but I know if it clicks the battery is probably flat. Just a click when I turned the key. So I got jump leads to the Land Rover. Van still wouldn’t start. Had to take a few deep breaths, you know? Stop myself from Basil Fawltying the van but with a sledge-hammer. Luckily I’d run 10k in the morning so I was only at 97% stressed.

Had to check Google for a solution. Starter motor. Try hitting it with a hammer. Symptoms suggested a stuck starter motor and a wallop from a hammer should free it right up.

Went back to the van. What the fuck does a starter motor look like? And where the fuck is it? You know? I found the engine. The engine was under the passenger seat but it was all black and one part was indistinguishable from the next, you know? It was just a big lump of old black shit.

Went back to Google and found a picture of a starter motor. Went back to the van and eventually found something that looked like the starter. It was right underneath. Similar shape. So I had to get underneath to hit it with a hammer, which I did, and the amount of shit that went in my eyes, well, you would not believe it. That’s why mechanics wear goggles! I mused. And then I realised they don’t and I was thinking of World War 1 bi-plane pilots. With the flapping scarves. I twatted it a few more times and then dragged myself out. I was nervous turning the key in case it didn’t work and it didn’t work.

I got a bigger hammer.

No joy.

I got a lump hammer. Fuck it, right? If it’s not fixed you can’t break it, as the saying goes. I fucking hit this starter motor like Dan Romeril hits the town when there’s a function offering free drinks. It was do or die.

Scrambled out. Turned the key. Click.

Oh you fucking…

I went mental on the key just turning it, you know, to teach it a lesson. On the third turn the fucking thing started! I’d fixed it with a hammer! I was a fantastic mechanic! Drove it around Corbiere to make sure it was running fine. It was. Parked at home felling pretty good about myself. Turned it off and then, to make sure it was fixed I turned the key.


Oh no you didn’t.

I sat there laughing for a while. Or crying, one or the other. Starter motor was definitely fucked. I knew where it was, though. That was one thing. I decided to take it off the van and throw it into the neighbour’s pool. That’s if I could get it off. I doubted I could, even though I have a socket set. Got under the van and because I was trying to undo it from the back of it I couldn’t fucking work out which way to turn the nuts. Literally could not work it out. I was making imaginary clocks with my ratchet thing – because anticlockwise loosens – and then looking at it from different angles but seriously. I was fucked. I was losing it. Trying to look at the back of a clock that wasn’t really there and was turning anticlockwise was beyond my mental capacity as I lay under the van. The sun had come out and my legs were burning.

Then the first bolt loosened. HOLY FUCK! Took the bolt out. The second bolt was in a much harder to get to position. Even when I got the socket on the nut I couldn’t get my arms up to turn it. I mean there was a tiny gap, I tried that and HOLY FUCK! That one came out too.

These things do not happen to me. Things do not go well for me. So I got the nuts out. I’d never be able to get the star- HOLY FUCK! It came out! And I only had to undo the wires! I had a starter motor in my hand and even more shit in my eyes. And also in my ears.

Now, earlier on Google I’d seen a man with an indeterminable accent explain how to test a start motor. It looked very dangerous. Connecting jump cables to it when it was out and then putting a piece of metal to two points to see if it starts.

There are things that frighten me far more than death so I gave it a try. Sparks but nothing else. It was fucked. I made more sparks and then it started. And it started again. And the starter motor was fine.

So I cleaned the connections. Don’t know why. It’s not like it would go back. Getting it out was one thing, getting it back just was not on the agenda. Damn. Some-fucking-how I refitted it. Like, it all went back. This big heavy motor thing, I managed to put back in a fucking tiny backwards space I couldn’t see. It was actually a peice of piss. But as I’ve said, good things don’t happen to me so after it was all refitted I turned the key and it started. Couldn’t fucking believe it. Tried again. Worked. Tried again. Worked. I was on top of the world and putting the tools away I didn’t even kick the cat. It felt good. It must be how Dan Romeril feels all the time.

It’s how I’m going to feel when I beat Gilmour. I’m done fucking around with training methods and technique, though. I’m going to run loads and lose a few kilos. That should be enough. There’s nothing special about Gilmour. I’ll end up looking like Christian Bale in The Mechanic. A film I haven’t seen but I’ve named this post after it.

Actually the film I was thinking about was called The Machinist. The Mechanic is a different film. One I also haven’t seen. Ah, fuck it.

My favourite Christian Bale movie is American Psycho.


My favourite TV show is Antiques Roadshow. I was on it once. You can read about it HERE


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