Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Oily bits are best and I now officially have an OM


My view from the crumbly cottage. I'm missing it1
It's been a strange seven days. Yes, I know that's a week, but I always think of a week as being Monday to Sunday. You'll notice, though, that this post is a bit late and my seven days have run from Wednesday to Wednesday...oh dear, why am I rabbiting on about this? Well, the thing is, our routine is all upside down. Normally, I spend the week days in Rotterdam on the Vereeniging and the weekends in the crumbly cottage, but last week, Koos was also in Rotterdam and we stayed for the weekend as it was his birthday...the big seven oh.

A happy Koos with his birthday gift
A small amplifier for making a big noise!
Rock on Koos!

But to back track, while he was here, we did a very good deed that turned out to be a very dirty job. I don't know if I've mentioned before that the Vereeniging had the dreaded diesel bug? Well, for anyone who doesn't know what this is, it's a bacterial infection that the modern bio-diesels get if they've been sitting a long time and condensation has occurred in the tank. It seems this creates an ideal breeding ground for the most horrible fungal growth and it gets into the systems and ultimately stops the engine from running. It can be quite catastrophic.

Well having solved this problem and had the engine running again, we still noticed that it smoked too much, so I'd asked our favourite diesel man to look at it. His first suggestion was that we take it out, get it to his workshop and let him overhaul it. As you might imagine, I was not so eager, mentally seeing the euros skyrocketing at just the process of removing and replacing the motor, let alone the costs of overhauling it. He must have heard my alarm bells clanging (or else saw the look of frozen horror on my face) because he then relented and suggested we first change the oil and use V-Power diesel (a sort of super fuel that apparently burns more cleanly) and just go faring to see what happened.


A not very clear photo, but you can get an idea

Now, owing to the fact we haven't really been anywhere in the Vereeniging since this engine was installed, I confess we've never changed the oil. I know, I know, but with only a few hours running time, why should it have needed it? But oh my! Was it ever necessary! For those not interested in oily bits, you might want to skip this bit; I actually found it fascinating.

My engine doesn't have a sump plug for draining the oil; it has its own hand pump which unfortunately wasn't working as the rubber gasket that creates the suction had perished. After spending a morning trying to find one, we ended up making our own, and that was the first major achievement. A real thumbs up woohoo feeling that we'd creatively overcome such an obstacle.

With the oil out, Koos then opened up the side cover on the engine to remove the filter. That was our second shock. The gauze of the filter was completely blocked with muck and the only reason it had worked at all was down to the holes in it. Awful. There was also a thick layer of black sludge at the bottom of the block. What a horrible mess! I was amazed the motor had run at all and very glad we hadn't tried faring anywhere. No wonder it smoked so much.

Koos, bless him, cleaned out all the ghastly gunk from the bottom while I cleaned the filter with turps. We then bought some new steel gauze to replace the old and put everything back in place. With about six litres of fresh new oil, we got the engine running again, and were delighted to see the amount of smoke was massively reduced. Now we just have to try the super V-Power diesel on a trip out and see if that eliminates it altogether. Go us...or something like that! We are at least significantly closer to that dream trip to Utrecht.

Anyway, that was before the weekend, and then on Saturday, we celebrated Koos' other achievement (that of reaching 70, which is quite something) with family and friends at our favourite Rotterdam pub. I can now officially call him my old man, or OM as social media would have it. It was a lovely, cheerful and happy occasion.

Some guests found it all too tiring
Our intention was to head down to the crumbly cottage on Sunday, but when we arrived home after the party, the car refused to start. On Sunday morning, it still refused, so we called the ANWB (the Dutch road rescue service) who obligingly came and diagnosed a fuel pump problem. They towed the poor old Opel to the garage for us, but of course it meant we couldn't leave and we've been in Rotterdam since. I must admit, it feels like ages, even though it's only Wednesday. I'm so used to my weekends in the country, this has upset my body clock as effectively as jet lag. What's more, this coming Saturday is my daughter's birthday celebration, so we will be here another weekend to compound the strangeness.

Missing my garden too


Never mind, it will all get back to normal again soon, I suppose, but then of course, we'll be off faring to France...

Here we are on the Vereeniging, though. From the inside looking out

Have a good week allemaal. Enjoy this glorious weather we're having...long may it last!

24 comments:

  1. With all the introductory implications, here I thought you’d bought yourself an outboard motor...

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  2. That being said, I know how you feel about your weeks being out of sync, topsey-turvey, and all round behind and backwards!
    I have re recently gone into semi-retirement, aka, left my managerial position in the hospitality industry for something a bit more manageable. I now have two vey pleasant part-time jobs that no longer take me from Monday to Friday. I’m having so much fun!
    Now, back to you, Val. I am happy to hear Koos had an equally, if not happier, happy birthday. Also, please wish your daughter an equally happy birthday from me!
    Keep that motor running and happy faring! xo

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    1. Thank you, Dale! I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying your semi retirement, dear! A change can be everything!

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  3. What a dreadful set of jobs you had to do on the engine! Go you!! Diesel bug's a nightmare, I know. We're doing our best to avoid it, but that's easier said, isn't it? Belated Happy Birthday to the OM! I hope life returns to "normal" (is it ever??) for you both soon.

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    1. Thanks, Roger! You know better than most what horrible jobs they are. Life on a boat is never really normal, is it?

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  4. It is amazing how a change of routine like this can throw everything out, I sympathise. Reading this has made me realise that I should never risk living on a boat - I couldn't cope with it at all :) I hope you get things sorted in time for your daughter's birthday!

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    1. Jenny, it certainly keeps us on our toes :) Life on a boat is not for the faint-hearted, that’s for sure. Many thanks for your empathy!

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  5. Hello Val, what a disjointed week you are having! Happy Birthday to Koos, on reaching the Big Seven O, as we like to say in the Antipodes. As for the engines, must admit I skipped that bit - too much like the conversations of my three brothers and my old Dad! Enjoy your daughter's birthday celebration, and may life find its usual routine for you asap :)

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    1. Thank you, Patricia! I hope your life continues on its exciting round! I shall look forward to your next travel post :)

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  6. Hi Val - great you and Koos managed to sort everything out - and I think he deserved his ear-buster amplifier - he certainly looks happy! Congratulations to both for their birthdays - while your garden looks delightful with its garden overhang - love it ... cheers and here's to happy travelling when you set off again - Hilary

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    1. My garden has been a joy this year, Hilary but with our lack of water, it’s hard to keep it that way. I’m afraid it will look very sorry by the time we get back.

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  7. You have been having an eventful week full of icky tasks; however, congrats to Koos for reaching the big 7 Oh.

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    1. Thank you very much, Terra! Icky is really the right word!

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  8. Hi Val, hope your topsy-turvy world rights itself soon, once you've been faring this will all be a distant dream. Congratulations to Koos on his big birthday. My OH then is already my OM so what will that make me in December this year?

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    1. Don’t tell me you will be there too, Carol! I shan’t believe it. You are much too young! We are off faring next week...all being well I can’t wait now!

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  9. ‘Back to normal’? I’ve begun to think nothing in your eventful life is normal!

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    1. Oh dear, Jo. I’m afraid you’re right, but I do quite enjoy messing about with engines,so it’s not all bad.

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  10. Only you, Val, have enough skill as a writer to interest me in motor oil and gunk! Congrats to Koos on his birthday and to both of y'all for your marvelous engine intervention. (Steph)

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    1. Thank you, Steph. You are such a blessing xx

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  11. Hi Val, I've just noticed your Privacy Statement on your blog - please can I copy it for mine making a couple of changes to suit my purpose?

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    1. Of course you can, Carol! No problem at all. Go ahead :)

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  12. A diesel bug? Lol! I thought it was April 1st for a minute. Hope you get to your cottage soon. Happy belated birthday Koos, mine was on the 1st but I'm younger! Ha! Ha!
    Anne Mackle.

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    1. Thank you, Anne! A belated happy birthday to you too! I hope your much more youthful birthday was lots of fun and that you’ll have a wonderful year ahead :) And I promise you, diesel bug is nooooo joke... ;)

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