Wheels

supervisorWell – that was a roller coaster weekend. I’ve had it set aside for a few months as Lomax MOT preparation – Hortense and Scabbers are both unroadworthy at the moment and the Triumph has no MOT so if I can’t get the Lomax through I’ll be reduced to my CG125 for all my transport needs.

It’s been a long process. We had two days in Norfolk last month so that the splendid Alexander of the eponymous 2CV workshop could replace the front wheel bearings and kingpins. I have the Special Tool for kingpins but live in fear that I will get them out but not get the new ones in. Alexander fought them all day and reported that Bill the Bodger had done some unusual welding and peening on the old bearings which made removing them rather heavier engineering than normal, but that all had ended well.

Next on the list was the seatbelt clasp. Last year we sneaked through with gaffer tape and a miracle. This year I had bought a splendid new three-point static harness but worried that I’d get the seat out and fit the new belt but not be able to get back onto the rails. The Traction Engineer dropped in to help. The job involved breaking several Dremel parts and a drill bit but now it’s not just Shakey that can clunk-click every trip.

And all that was left was valve clearances, points and timing, oil changes, and handbrake adjustment. And bodging some brackets onto the front wing as I think ‘bodywork dropping off’ would lessen my chances of passing. These days, these are easy jobs.

It was a good day for fettling. Shakey supervised. And when everything was back on the car and the tools were tidied away he crouched down to go under a low bar and did something awful to himself. When he’s hurt or scared he runs for a cuddle. And he was very hurt. We went to the vet for a morphine jab, and in the morning we went back to the vet as soon as they opened because he was crying with pain and I was crying too because I couldn’t make it better.

He was whisked away for methadone and x-rays with a warning that I should think about having him put to sleep if the pain couldn’t be brought under control.

If it had been our last trip in the Lomax it would have been a lovely one, with the sun freshly-risen and the flowers along the verges nodding as we passed. But it is not time yet to say goodbye.

The vet called about 3pm.

“How did he lose his leg again?”

“He got run over, I’m told”

“It’s just that he’s got six bullets in his body.”

Not content with beating him and abandoning him, some scrote in Portugal took pot shots at him with an air rifle.

He’s also got a slightly dislocated hip and arthritis in his back legs and spine. This happens when you are a front-leg amputee.

When we were in Norfolk waiting for the Lomax to be fettled we met a pair of Border Terriers who were friends with Baldrick. Poor Baldrick had his front legs munched off by a big Staffie and he has a cart from Eddie’s Wheels. We had a chat about wheels at the time but I filed them in the ‘maybe later’ spot.

Waiting at home for the vet to call was awful. I am never at home without Shakey. Occasionally I will be away at work and he stays with friends, but that’s added up to less than two weeks in since he came to live with me. He is my wingman and we do things together or we don’t do them at all.

Driving him back from the vets I realised the time for wheels isn’t later, it’s now.  But 700 quid is a lot of money for me these days. Why not pass the hat round, said friends. I thought about it. You can call it crowdfunding, or kick-starter, or GoFundMe, but at the end of the day it’s all begging, isn’t it?

As kids we weren’t allowed to go Trick or Treating or carol singing because it was just begging. Sound of mother spinning in grave. But she was wrong about a lot of things.

I checked in with a couple of friends. Don’t be daft, they said. He needs the wheels and people will want to help.

And in less than one day he has a full piggy bank and will be measured for his wheels at the weekend.

I write quite often about how I am blessed in my friends. Today has been another demonstration, if proof were ever needed, that despite all the horror that is surrounding us in the news at the moment, it will always be outweighed by love. Thank you.

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