Today has been, as has most of the week, get ready-for-the-new-job day. I usually shop once a week for basics for the house - you know - toilet paper, tins of tomatoes, fabic conditioner - that sort of non-perishable, non-branded stuff, at a local cheap-as-chips supermarket.
I then shop on a second day basis for fresh fruit and veg and meat to make the main meals that constitute keeping six feckers and two grown adults in eating. But that had to be upscaled today, as I adopted the tactics usually observed by people who believe that the world is going to end - or when there's snow expected.
My second youngest daughter said it all:
'Wow, the fridge is full, Mammy. The last time it was full was when Granddad had his party here.'
You see, living with this lot is like living with a herd of one year old bullocks. They graze from one end of the field to the bottom, liberally spraying the place with cow-pats while they're at it. Okay, except for the cowpats, but you'd wonder sometimes when you visit the bathroom and have to flush before you use the loo! I digress.
Another part of the frantic rushing around has been that the oul 106 finally made it over the NCT (MOT) hurdle at the second attempt after a quite definite refusal first time around. Reparations (I do mean that) to the car included: a new bonnet, which had to be re-sprayed, a quick changing around of tyres, but the worst bit was the emissions bit. This is where the Hydrocarbons and other noxious bits must fall between certain tolerances. My wee 106 failed on the closest of fails to these tolerance levels.
It was supposed to be serviced by the garage. They did not do this job - why? Well, I reckon it just didn't occur to yer man to actually figure that bit out. It certainly wasn't for the want of asking. I took the car to another garage to have its exhaust checked. Nothing wrong with it there.
So, what do you do when you're car's not well, and you know what's wrong but just want a quick fix? That's right, look it up on the internet and see what fellow NCT strugglers have done. The last word on emissions, is an engine additive called STOP SMOKE. No - it's not another prophylactic for would be non-smokers, it's for the 'older' engine.
After this addition I took it to yet another garage man to have the emission levels checked again. Before testing it, he comfortingly told me that his machine has been on the blink for several weeks. He then tested it. His machine told him that my car could beat records for Hydrocarbons - three times the levels it should have. I came home in a stinking bad mood. My car would fail the test again...
This morning I took my wee car for a short drive along the coastal route near where I live, through a small village called Blackrock to warm up the engine.
I then drove it into the test centre, fully prepared for the white sheet of paper afterwards telling me how it had broken the test centre records for failures. Turns out that your man's machine was definitely up the Swanee river. My car passed!
And the best laugh of all is that all this bringing it here and there to get it to pass cost me - the grand total of €0. How could they charge me, when they hadn't actually done anything? Well, except perhaps for the €4.99 for the Smoke treatment additive and I put that in myself.
By the way, did you know that there's a lunar eclipse about tonight? Hmm.