All ready, and nowhere to go.

A week of respite from the weather – in Hobart on Saturday it got to 18 degrees – positively balmy! Aaaaaand tomorrow morning it’s going down to minus three. The last month or so has been a steady slog – M has had his mental-health-dinghy project, I have started working a few hours a week at the local organic shop – in return for produce, which is fine with me…

Rakali's last few minutes inside the LBT
Rakali’s last few minutes in the LBT shed.

The car situation is dire. Della the Delica barely lasted three months in our care. An undiagnosed radiator problem led to overheating, buggered head gasket and scoring to one of the cylinders. Nightmare. Costs too much to fix. I was so down about it – and have I mentioned that having no car here means we are again going shopping using either Bella or Foamy, washing is a pain in the arse and going anywhere else requires one of the very occasional buses? Probably.

149/366 • …my favourite joint in the Hobart CBD and my favourite 12yo - so glad I mucked up the 🚌 times 💫…• .
Small Z and I happily killing an hour at the Alabama Hotel.

None of the above is horrifying, but it’s so much easier to deal with when we are travelling! Stuck in one spot for months is just not what we signed up for. Things are harder in different ways.

Unless you’ve chosen to live in a houseboat, the appeal of life aboard a boat that was built for speed and warm climates pales in the face of a going-nowhere Tasmanian winter. Why are we continuing to go nowhere? Because we’re hoping to build a Very Small House – but in the meantime, we’re kind of stuck in a Groundhog Day situation. I would like to spend this time working on the garden, but without a car and very few tools, it feels disheartening.

Consolation and condolence.
Consolation and condolence. Nature art.

Small Z continues to like school more than she dislikes it. Small DB continues to declare that she doesn’t want to and will not go. M is at kind of a loose end because we launched the dinghy he’s been working on yesterday and me? I’m flailing between wondering what the hell we’re doing here, loving the town, despairing of council bureaucracy, and feeling impatient that we can’t just start BUILDING SOMETHING so there is some kind of structure in place by Christmas (yes, I can hear the hollow laughing of Kevin McCloud even as I type this…) .

Early morning. Winter.

With Victoria locked down under stage four restrictions, this all sounds like a whine. I know it. I am hopeful that by tomorrow I will have a lead on a car that might stick around a bit longer than the last…

Top Gear

I’m not sure if it’s karma for breaking my car purchasing ground rule (never spend more than $5000 on a vehicle) or just stupid bad luck. M asserts that it is our fault for never checking the water level in the radiator; my theory is that the radiator was stuffed – which is why it fractured, drained all the coolant, which then overheated the car and trashed the head gasket…and possibly the head itself. (There’s a $1000 difference between those scenarios – but who cares, when the car is basically ripping money from you in any way it possibly can?)

The Delica came home from M’s Solo-Man adventure on the back of a truck after I hurriedly joined the RACT. M came home in the front of the truck. It was with extraordinary foresight that I’d purchased a block of land next door to a mechanic. The tow truck deposited the Delica next to the shipping container and all I had to do was lean through the tiny side door and wail.

“Roger…. M killed the Delica….” (Which, while not strictly true, was an accurate representation of what was going through my head at the time.)

Roger is already friendly with the Delica, having replaced the starter motor in it three weeks before. Six hundred dollars. Jesus. He came out, wiping his hands. Listened to it once, and like an ornithologist identifying a rare bird, cocked his head to one side and said,
“Head gasket. No compression in the engine.”
He bade one of his minions to put a hose in the radiator and fill it up, but this proved impossible as it leaked out as fast as it went in. Like a mocking automotive sieve.

By this time I was in a foetal position. There was little option. I either sell the dead Delica for no money, spend $3500 to save it and then sell it and by a reliable $5000 HiAce, or trust that the massive cash injection into it will mean that it runs like an angel for the next ten years…

“Tell me,” I begged Roger. “Is this car just a piece of crap? A disaster car?”

“Well, I look after about four of them, and generally they just tend to go and go. Until they don’t.”

I exhaled. The credit card is going to take a beating. I’m trusting that the repairs will encourage to live a long and healthful life.