The machines have it

These last couple of days have been the triumph of things mechanical over the human inhabitants of the Grannary. First, her car decided that a full complement of brakes was no longer on the agenda when she was heading off to Oban to get the messages; fortunately well before she was into the bends and bealachs of the main road. So, my car was pressed into service for shopping and she consigned hers to the local garage on Sunday for tender ministrations.

Second, the undertray on my own car took sad injury on Islay and requires to be replaced, as does a worn ball joint on a drive wheel. So, into the chap who does things mechanical for me this morning, only for him to wait all day for parts to be couriered from Glasgow and not arrive. Back in tomorrow for that work, before I head off down the road to Suffolk on Thursday.

Third, and most frustratingly, the oil-fired range gave up the ghost on Sunday and refused to fire. In the confidence that we had a regular top-up service from one of the local fuel suppliers, no consideration was given to stocks of oil and I concentrated on seeing whether the burner was blocked. There was a little bit of grot in there, the baffles now badly deteriorated and in need of replacement, but still only concerted spluttering and a lack of the usual reassuring roar.

Eventually decided to check the oil tank yesterday evening and found it dry as a witch’s tit. We’d either been robbed of our oil, as had several other people in the village over the winter, or our suppliers had failed to fulfill their commitment to keep us topped up. More concern when the neighbours said they’d seen the oil lorry parked outside the house the previous week and the driver out and doing something. Turned out, when I finally spoke to them this morning, that they’d completely forgotten to check our tank and top it up since May last year – astonishing that the supplies had lasted that long. Much apologies from the area manager and an emergency delivery of 200 litres made today, with promises of more on the morrow.

Stanley, the range, is a temperamental chap and took a lot of re-lighting. I even called on the advice and services of the neighbours, from whom we bought the house and know its idiosyncracies well, but no joy. Finally, it was herself who applied the magic touch and jiggled the air filter, resulting in a satisfying roar and the reintroduction of central heating to our lives.