People Borrowing Tools - Jon Faine In The Shed

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Few things are more annoying than people borrowing tools and not bringing them back.

I am a generous and tolerant individual, but if the death penalty Philippines-style was to be introduced, with on the spot execution without trial for serious offenders, then tool borrowing ought be right up there as a trigger with drug trafficking or people smuggling.

Last month I reported on the hours spent searching through the carcass of the entire fleet for two missing ratchet spanners. Which cavity in which car was harbouring the refugees? I trawled the entrails of four cars, under seats, below steering racks, under radiators and even down the crevice between the back of the work bench and the garage wall searching for the elusive pair.

Accused of being OCD, I instead simply explained there is no sin in being organised and if those clamouring to diagnose me could form a neat queue ranked in height order I would answer all their questions once I had finished tidying the "miscellaneous nuts and bolts awaiting sorting" box.

It is on the shelf next to the tin labelled "bits of string too short to be useful".

And then younger son cheerfully wanders in and triumphantly plonks one of the stray spanners on the dinner table, proudly announcing that – wait for it – all on his own he had helped his friend with a Corolla swap over a dead battery for a good new one. And they only lost one of the two spanners he had helped himself to in the process. How good was that, Dad?

Well, far from wanting to discourage him, I summonsed enough zen to avoid a boil over and instead channelled my energy to sleuthing the whereabouts of the still absent 8mm ratchet spanner.

"Oh that might be in the back of the car…. or it might be with the dead battery" was all we could establish. Grrrrrrrrrr. The entire episode reminded me of the month spent waiting for good friend Peter to return the power saw, cordless drill, grinder and other tools I assumed that he had helped himself to. When I finally lost patience he calmly explained he had not borrowed anything, whereupon a closer inspection revealed the garage had in fact been burgled.

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Then I found myself on the receiving end. I had to degrease a decade of crud off the running gear and engine bay of the DS23 Citroen. The Karcher pressure washer and a pallet load of aerosol can degreaser from the local car shop were making as much impression as my beard trimmer on the back lawn. A generous offer to grab some down time late on a Friday afternoon borrowing the hoist at Tony’s garage was not to be sneered at. So I find myself frocked up in a dust coat and hitting the beast with their diesel fired Jetblaster – the Donald Trump of pressure washers. Just like the Donald, it supplies an endless hot stream of toxic foam cutting through everything and spraying muck around without much regard for whatever is in the way. You have not seen grease dissolve like this except when at the mercy of a German banker.

What a device. It has a stainless steel boiler and a zillion killer pascals or something of finger nail lifting pressure and together with what smelled like oven cleaner brought the caked crud to account. it also turned a tiny pin hole in the drive shaft boot into a giant split, removed the last trace of the rear suspension arm bump stop and possibly despatched to extinction an entire species of spiders. Then we could finally attack the oil filter housing, count the suspension leaks, source the front end clunks and stocktake the torn boots and bump stops. Their generosity in allowing me to borrow some of their equipment made me feel mean about a lousy missing 8mm ratchet spanner. So I rang my son and apologised and told him I would withdraw the court order after all.

Marvellous what damage you can do when you have the right tools but no real idea how to use them.

 


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