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16 May 2016

A Fair Maiden's Quest For A Filter Of Fuel & Magical Boat Spells

Thank you Graphics Fairy for the wizard image.

Let me just apologize now. I had some wine with dinner last night. Here’s the problem when you have a glass of wine, the voices in your head become very convincing. “Go on, Ellen,” they said rubbing their imaginary hands together, “Take that boring story about changing a fuel filter on your diesel engine and turn it into a whimsical fairy tale. Everyone is going to love it!”

I had another sip of wine, mopped up the rest of my spaghetti sauce with some bread, decided the voices in my head were right - it was a brilliant idea - and this is the result. You might want to have a glass or wine while you read this - it will probably make more sense that way.

****

Once upon a time, there was a fair maiden with mousy brown hair named Ellen who grew up in tiny hamlet near the Great Lake of Erie. It was a peaceful childhood. She frolicked in the brisk air, playing in the creek during the summer and building snow forts during the long winters with her younger sister, who had lovely flaxen hair which she secretly coveted.

She was surrounded by loyal companions who taught her the value of friendship, tolerating the quirks of others and the necessity of daily allergy pills. Sunny, a beautiful black and white longhair who suffered postpartum depression after her kittens wouldn’t stay in their box and then spent her remaining days sitting in a corner and wondering where her life had gone wrong. Alice, a petite tabby, who, although ladylike in appearance, suffered from terrible gas. And Scamper, a feisty tortoiseshell, who had been possessed by a demon which caused her to hiss and brandish her claws whenever anyone approached too near.

She was tutored in the fine arts of algebra, Ohio history and English literature. While there were times that she questioned the importance of knowing that there are 88 counties in the Great State of Ohio, how to use a quadratic equation and deciphering the ancient text of The Canterbury Tales, she came to have faith that this arcane knowledge would serve her well in the future.

As she came of age, she went off to pursue more arcane knowledge in the capital of her country’s land, learning about important things like the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, fungible currencies and structural-functional theory. Later she met and married a prince from the kingdom of Dakota du Nord and traveled overseas to faraway islands with him. Their life was full of good fortune and happiness. She thought she was the luckiest girl in the world.

Years later, she found herself living on a boat in the middle of a swamp filled with alligators, turtles and fish. They reminded her of her loyal companions of childhood. The alligators were like Scamper – feisty and threatening at times. The turtles were like Sunny – they kept to themselves and retreated into their shells to ponder their lives. The fish were like Alice – sweet and good natured, but stinky on occasion.

She lived happily with her new friends of the swamp until one day a terrible tragedy befell her. An evil sorcerer cursed her boat’s Great Machine and caused it to stop working. Each time she tried to start the Great Machine, it would refuse to fire. She could hear the evil sorcerer cackle every time the Great Machine made sputtering noises. Without the Great Machine, she wondered, how would she move her boat when Mother Nature's winds were absent from the skies?

The Great Machine was a menacing creature made out of chunks of metal and rubber gaskets. Normally, it was locked away behind a door in a dark chamber in the middle of the boat, where it feasted on large vats of oil and diesel soup and muttered to itself about injectors and glow plugs.

One day, she worked up her courage to open the Great Machine's chamber and look upon it. She stared at the Great Machine and sighed as she recalled her studies as a young maiden. If only her tutors had taught her magic instead of algebra, she would be able to revive the Great Machine, but, alas, she was helpless.

In despair, she searched the boat high and low until one day she discovered a book of magic spells written by a great wizard himself, Sir Nigel Calder - The Encyclopedia of Magical Boat Incantations. Sometimes it was referred to as the Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual, so as to disguise its true nature from those who were ignorant of the magical nature of the watercraft who travel the seas. Sir Nigel was a truly clever wizard - a name like the Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual would be so dull and boring to the average mortal that they would never bother to open the tome's pages and discover the magical spells it contained.

Sir Nigel was so powerful of a wizard that he called the Great Machine by its true name – the Darkly Dangerous Diesel Engine. She herself didn’t dare speak its true name for fear that she would be beset by another curse, like water leaking from the stuffing box. She read through the magic spells by candlelight, while drinking glass after glass of wine, desperately seeking a spell that would remove the curse from the Great Machine and allow her to take her boat back out to the sea.

****

Here’s the other problem with having wine with dinner. It makes you sleepy. So sleepy that you don’t want to finish your blog post. Plus, it’s way too long already. So, I’ll just leave you hanging until another day. Will the fair maiden be able to successfully cast a spell and bring the Great Machine back to life?  Or, will she herself be cursed by the evil sorcerer and trade her sailboat in for a trawler with a brand new Great Machine crafted by elves from the realm of Yanmar?

Are you a DIY type of person? Do you fix things in your house, boat or RV when they break or do you call in an expert instead?

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44 comments:

  1. Hey! I want the ending.
    I am not a handyman. The day I learned to change the guts in my toilet will be forever celebrated at our house.

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    1. Fixing the toilet is definitely grounds for celebration :-)

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  2. I live in a house but rent the basement of it so I don't own it. The homeowner is very knowledgeable and can do plumbing, electrical work, etc., and he even fixes his own car. So if anything goes wrong here he comes down and takes care of it.

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    1. That's so handy to have the homeowner right there and able to fix anything that goes wrong.

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  3. Eep! I hope you manage to fix it!

    Me? I'm not much of a DIY person, although I'll try if forced to. ;-)

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    1. You'll have to wait for a future installment to see if it gets fixed :-)

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  4. You'll get it fixed. I'm sure of that.

    We hire an expert to fix things at home and on our boat. It works for us.

    Have a fabulous day Ellen. ☺

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  5. It seems like the Cynical Sailor has been gone a long time, leaving the Salty Sidekick to get into trouble. Will he be returning sometime?

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    1. I know - the Salty Sidekick has been unsupervised for far too long and getting in all sorts of trouble. No word yet on his return - he's still working away.

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  6. Have you been watching "Into the Woods"? Because if you haven't, you probably should (assuming you like musicals, that is). :-)

    Happy Monday!

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    1. I've never heard of it. I love musicals - will need to check it out.

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  7. There are some things I will work on (I did rebuild a Lightning once), but I also know when I'm over my head (and when replacing a fuel filter on a engine buried in the bottom of a boat, I'd be over my head...). BTW, I did sail this weekend for the first time since January 9 when I was injured.

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    1. Yay on getting out sailing! Fortunately our fuel filter is relatively easy to access.

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  8. You're SOOO funny! I love this. I think you're like me...alcohol doesn't really change your writing all that much, it just makes you freer to share! These days I just let someone else fix things. I don't even try because it won't end well, I know it.

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    1. That's so true - wine makes you think hitting the publish button on your blog is a good idea :-)

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  9. When things go wrong around the house I'm extremely good at pointing them out and then waiting patiently for the other half to do something about it. And then nagging gently about 'a proper plumber/electrician/tree surgeon when he doesn't. :) :) Who'd be married to me?

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    1. You sounds like you've got a good system going there :-)

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  10. I have no wine (boo!) but I still enjoyed that. Re DIY I'm clueless but have the good fortune to be married to a man who seems to be able to put anything back together.
    The Glasgow Gallivanter

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    1. Shame about not having a glass of wine :-( I'm pretty clueless when it comes to DIY but slowing learning a few tricks.

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  11. First don't put the wine into the fuel tank. Wine has too much water in it and it is a waste. The wine is for you. Second, Nigel is knowledgeable, but he asumes you know a fair amount about engines. What is really helpful is the official shop manual for your engine. The Yanmar manuals were about $80 last time I bought one, which was in 2003. The manual itself is a good reason to take care of your engine so you don't need to get another manual. The manual is good because it will have criptic discriptions which asume you know a lot about engines, and it will have exploded diagrams of your engine which are invaluble when you start to take stuff apart. The other great use for a manual is to write notes in such as this nut is a 13mm or the part number for the water pump is xyz.
    The thing that is missing is experience. Experience is often the difference between sucess and wondering why the engine won't start. You need to find the old guy who used to work as a mechanic and will give advice and help in exchange for a beer, just wait until the engine starts before distributing the beer.

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    1. Oh no! That's where I went wrong! I put wine in the fuel tank :-(

      I've managed to get a hold of a manual for our engine, but it doesn't have a lot of detail. We've got a Thoryncroft - a British engine which isn't made anymore and its a bit trickier to get info on it, as well as spare parts. But, it does have pictures of all of the parts which is helpful as you say. Although, I'm not sure I want to take too much apart.

      Did you want to come out here for a visit? I have beer. Not that you're an old guy by any stretch of the imagination, but I bet you know a thing or two about engines.

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  12. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog. I am not at all a DIY type of a person. I need to call someone to fix it all up.

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    1. I was glad I popped by and thanks for returning the visit :-)

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  13. I hope Nigel told you to use a algae inhibitor in your diesel. You might have to have your diesel filtered.

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    1. We have added that to our diesel and the tank is fully topped up (which helps keep algae from growing). You're right, we may need to get it polished, but I'm hoping we don't.

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  14. I thought that book of spells created deep sleep, like in Sleeping Beauty. Because that's what happens to me every time I try to read it. I fear that in my case, it would truly take Mike being away from the boat like your prince for me to venture into the cave of the beast. I'm always afraid I'd break something. And besides, wine makes me sleep, too.

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    1. It does induce sleepiness which is why it takes me so long to ever fix anything on my boat :-)

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  15. Well, it's 10:00am, and I'm pretty sure that drinking wine would be inappropriate this early in the day. I did read the post anyway. I haven't attempted that book of spells yet, as I live with the "fixer of ALL things". I did grow up with 3 brothers, and as a result, I do have an idea of how engines work, and I love football! We had a very liberated household before it was fashionable, my brothers helped with the housework, and I helped with changing tires, and doing tuneups.

    Donna/Denali Rose

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    1. I'd have to agree - 10:00 am would probably be a bit early. Although as some people will tell you, it's 5:00 pm somewhere :-)

      Sounds like your parents raised some well-rounded kids.

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  16. I am one of those lucky gals who has a man of many talents, one of which was turning Sir Nigel's wise advice into successful action, after a few tries. :-)

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  17. I'll have a go if it looks manageable but if not I get the experts in (hubby is a DIY disaster waiting to happen) but I like to have an idea of what's involved so the experts can't get away with ripping me off. Fun post apart from what prompted it :)

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    1. That's a very good point to have some idea of what's involved so that you don't get ripped off. Even if you don't want to fix it yourself, makes sense to learn a bit about it.

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  18. "...elves from the realm of Yanmar."! I think I just blew milk out of my nose!

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    1. Wine, you're supposed to be drinking wine, not milk. So much more fun when you snort wine out of your nose :-)

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  19. You're right! I should of had that glass of wine! Ho ho ho

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  20. Hubby is the DIY type. He found the bit of seaweed that clogged our yacht's engine causing it to overheat (and resulting in a tow back to the marina).

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    1. It's good to have at least one DIY type in a family. Glad you were able to get a tow back and all was okay.

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  21. I will always look at something and believe that I am capable of fixing it.
    I never realise that I am in over my head until I am gasping for breath, looking up at the surface!

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    1. That's a very good attitude to have. I could probably use a bit more of that.

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  22. Best maintenance blog post EVER, with or without wine! I'm on the edge of my seat over here: what will the fair maiden do?!?! We do almost all of our own maintenance and the Dastardly Diesels are a definite source of angst. Good luck!

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    1. The Fair Maiden has a hangover from drinking too much wine and hasn't gotten around to writing another blog post update on her quest for a functional Great Machine. One of these days, she'll get around to it :-)

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