Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Trailing Home (Tail Between her Legs)

There she comes, then, trailing home with her tail between her legs, poor old Clara Bow, 2 weeks overdue for her NCT re-test and her owner's wallet €280 lighter. We called by the garage today having heard nothing, to see if she was finished, to find that they had just finished putting her back together and cleaning her up before they phoned me. Not brilliant service this time but I do sympathise. They had taken her in to do some easy tweaks on the carburettor which weren't going to cost much and would be done by garage owner Keiran who'd taken over the task from son Aaron. They knew I wanted the car back for the 14th and knew not to spend too much on her.

2CV carburettor (pale grey, centre of picture)
In the event both K and A jazzed off to the USA to mechanic on a Kart race (in which their other son, Andy, was driving for Ireland) having first posted the carb off (without asking me) to a specialist in Dublin. At this point it all went a bit astray. The carb needed €280 worth of work and was no way going to be back for the 14th. Hey ho, I asked them to just re-assemble the car and I'd either drive or have it towed home, end of job, end of hobby, car officially booked off road on a SORN notice. Unbeknownst to me, the specialist guy had already fixed the carb.

I wasn't happy, but these are old, unfamiliar cars and the guys left on site were doing their honest best. They were very apologetic and offered to charge me only what the carb guy had charged them, no labour on their part and no VAT. It would have been unfair to hurt the Dublin guy so I bit the bullet and paid up thinking, philosophically, that at least it will be the final spend on the car. I drove home enjoying the feel of the repaired mixture and smiling a wry smile - I was probably driving a perfectly good car which might well breeze an NCT but, No, we have made our decision and this baby gets to sit in the car port, SORN'd and getting used only within the 'farm'. Maybe the law will change and the statutory age for 'classics' exempt from NCTs will hop forward from its current 1980 date; cars have to be 33 years old here to be exempt, mine is only a youngster at 27 years old.

Christmas Pud
But enough of 2CVs for the moment. We have progress on the sheep front at last! Sheep Mentor Kenny is almost fixed from his broken collar bone and is able to drive his enormous 4 x 4 if he takes it carefully. He texts me out of the blue to say he is coming to see if our lambs are ready. I round them up using food bait and he gets a chance to grab some thighs and press down on some spines checking for the chunky muscle blocks of Beltex sired lambs and the right amount of fat along the spine, covering the tops of the ribs. He pronounces himself happy; They are 'Finished' he declares and can go to slaughter. He will be OK doing the haulage, he assures us. Book them in.

Hollyhocks still in flower on 27th November
Our job now is to contact the small slaughterhouse -stroke-butcher who we use, Ignatius G in Castlerea. This proves easier said than done, as he is either engaged on the phone all afternoon, or he is so busy he has taken the thing off the hook. We are in town tomorrow, though, so we can drop in and make arrangements face to face. Kenny quickly threw another couple of complications my way, but that's Kenny. "See if you can get carcass weights," he asked "by breed and sex" This is just for his own interest, but it should be easy enough. We have, in the group of 5, 2 rams and 3 ewes. All are sired by his Beltex ram, but there are 3 breeds of 'Mum', one out of a Texel, 2 out of Suffolk Down ewes and 2 out of Galway ewes. I had to note down breed and sex against their ear tag numbers, so when I fed them tonight and their noses were safely in the trough, I was sneaking around tickling ears till I could see the ear tag codes and then looking under the tail of each for dangly bits. They all carried on eating but they were a bit fidgetty at all this weird invasion of their supper time! Kenny's other 'complication' was that he has a hospital appointment in Galway at 13:00 on the Monday, so we need to be in, sheep delivered nice and early.

And finally, Andy and the Kart race? Apparently they were doing OK and enjoying themselves but in the big final race "some Mexican guy" punted Andy up the back end on a corner and knocked him off the track. Andy's OK, but the kart was wrecked, so no trophies this year.

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