Thursday, 5 June 2014

Annus Horribilis

Just for the avoidance of doubt, that's definitely annus horribilis - not anus horribilis, which would be something quite different altogether!

That's overstating it because it's actually been about eight months of horribilis-ness rather than a whole annus, but it's starting to feel like it's been a very, very long time since I made any significant progress on the Saloon. And as far as the Spitfire's concerned, well, that's not a happy story either.

Not long after I was able to start work on the Saloon again in April after six months of inaction due to a skin condition, I spent a couple of weekends getting the Spitfire ready for what we planned was going to be a busy year for it.

Then, on 2 May, at a roundabout in Edinburgh, I did this:

The O/S bonnet tube is bent and whole bonnet assembly has been pushed back a couple of inches on that side. The paint on the leading edge of both doors and the scuttle is badly chipped.

What maybe isn't obvious from the photos above is that the bonnet is badly bowed. It got compressed against the scuttle before it popped up and out.

It's going to need a new bonnet, O/S bonnet hinge tube, front bumper, O/S quarter valance, O/S outrider, O/S headlamp, a new radiator and the doors and scuttle partly repainted and blended into the new bonnet.

I can't blame anyone else for this, it was my fault. The car in front was next to pull out onto the roundabout. It set off and I followed it, then looked right to check that the roundabout was still clear, at which point the car in front stopped (for reasons that are still unclear to me) and I couldn't avoid running into the back of it. I hit the rear of it fairly central and we reckon it's had a towing attachment fitted hence the shape of the dent in my bonnet.

Repairs haven't started yet - it wasn't until last week that an engineer was appointed to inspect the car on behalf of the insurers and his report wasn't submitted until the end of last week. We're hoping that things will start to move more quickly within the next few days - but as things stand at the moment I have no clear idea when we will have the car back on the road.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, I did something very, very stupid a couple of weekends ago. I was working on the Land Rover and had just finished replacing the O/S front CV that I had broken during an off-road challenge event. I had the front of the Land Rover jacked up with a Hi Lift Jack so that I could get the O/S front wheel back on and remove the axle stand.

Now, in the operational safety page of the manual for the Hi Lift Jack, it states:
Always place the handle against the steel standard (bar) with the handle clip holding it up before moving the reversing latch. This will prevent the handle from moving up and down rapidly, which could cause serious injury or death if it comes into contact with any part of your body. Always keep your head out of the travel path of the handle.
Well, guess what I didn't do. When I moved the reversing latch the handle operated and - WHACK - hit me on the side of the head knocking me to the ground. I wasn't unconscious at any point, and after I'd picked myself up and figured out that I just felt a little stunned, I actually carried on for fifteen minutes and finished what I was doing.

However, shortly after getting back into the house, it become obvious that something was badly wrong. I started to feel horribly dizzy, and started to be violently sick. NHS 24 told us to get down to A&E pronto. After hearing what had happened and what my symptoms were the consultant sent me for a CT scan. It turned out that I had broken my skull just above the hairline in front of my right ear - not badly enough to require "intervention" - but nevertheless I was immediately admitted to the hospital for observation.

They let me out 24 hours later by which point I was feeling much better, albeit a bit groggy and with an intermittent headache! Two and a half weeks on the concussion symptoms have cleared and I feel more-or-less back to normal. But I'm under orders to take it easy until the skull fracture has had time to heal fully, which normally takes about six weeks from when the fracture occurred. So that's no work of any substance on the Saloon, or anything else for that matter, for the best part of another month.

I have no idea why I was so stupid. I have been working with Hi Lifts since my late teens, when I started helping my Grandad on the farm. I am fully aware of the risks and the do's and dont's. In all that time I have been extremely careful when using Hi Lifts and I normally take inordinate care when using them. I am at a complete loss to explain why - on this one occasion - I got it so wrong.

On the upside, at least I'm still around to tell the tale.

Fingers crossed that that's the end of the horribilis-ness for this annus!

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