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No Spark and Looking Vagrant


When I moved into my van, I swore on my guinea pigs life that I wouldn’t have a junk drawer. You know that drawer that’s full of shit that you can’t find a forever home for. The old phone charger leads, headphones that only one side works. A couple of those old Bluetooth hands free headsets that hook over your ear “hello, can I take your order please” and copious amounts of dead batteries that may work in one of the copious amounts of tv remotes you’ve collected, absolutely unaware of what even happened to the TVs they were for! Thousands of pens that still have ink but point blank refuse to work but one day, they may just spring into life…

Well I’ve stuck to my word and I still don’t have a junk drawer. Instead I have 4 of those massive lidded plastic boxes full of shit. Just different shit. All shit that may come in handy one day to fix something or indeed break it even more whilst trying to fix it! Pretty sure I’ve got a spare headlight bulb for a 1989 Austin Metro in there too. I’ve got spare fuel line for my diesel night heater. 16 million assorted zip ties. 2 left hand gloves. A packet of chilli seeds and 3 boxes of assorted screws and fixings. How did this happen? What’s happening to me! I fear I’m getting to that age where one likes to be prepared for any eventuality: “ah damn, the flange has perished on this flux lubricating switch gear” no matter! I have just the thing! *reaches for box marked “super unlikely eventualities only”.

As time has passed, I’ve added to the plethora of oddities that occupy a quarter of my “garage” space. I recently, and for no apparent reason really other than it looked cool and came in a lush box, added a gas powered soldering iron and today, that very item has come in handy! It was a eureka moment for me as I’d caught the wire to the igniter for my gas hob. With out my gas hob I can’t have my coffee. Without my coffee, people will die. Anyway, I after many loud clicks of the button and no magical flame I set about trying to work out why there was no spark. As soon as I stuck my head under the hob I saw the wire hanging loosely, just dangling there hanging around, chilling like a 15 year old teenager outside the Co Op with a spliff and a can of K cider. “Shit, now people are going to die” I muttered. I didn’t have a lighter nor matches. I do have a Ferro rod and striker that smashes 3000°c sparks all over the gaff but that’s not very practical in a van made almost entirely of tinder. Then boom! I remembered my gas powered soldering iron! And just as quickly I remembered it needed gas So I jump in the front and drive to the newsagents a couple of miles away and ask for “2 cans of lighter gas please give” and was greeted with a blank look. “Yes or nah?” He was looking at me like I’d just grown 3 fingers from my ear. “That stuff will kill you, you know” he said, still not willing to pass it over. “You what mate? I’m not gonna sniff it dude! I’m 45 and content with my life. It’s for a soldering iron.” He relaxed and smiled. “Got any I.D. sir?” “Are you kidding me? No I don’t have any identification. Just sell me the fucking gas mate because I need to fix my hob so I can make coffee so that many people don’t die. If you don’t sell me the gas I shall make sure that you sir, are first on my murder list!”

I was well aware of how vagrant I looked, walking out of the shop with 2 bright yellow and red cans of lighter gas and climbing into the back of my van with them. But I didn’t give a toss as all I wanted to do was save some lives by having a coffee. After a few hours, a whole spool of solder and 15,132 burns on my fingers, arm, thigh, and weirdly my ear, the wire was reunited with its former place of abode and fire was accomplished! Coffee was brewed imminently and a murderous death spree was avoided. Just the one coffee though as the wire promptly fell off again and I’ve run out of solder. You know sometimes I do wonder why me.  Right, where’s my axe now…
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Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older. I doubt very much that’ll be me…


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