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Sleepless night

On the way home from work yesterday, in addition to Felicity's many rattles, and that ringing noise, was something that sounded like the clattery end of spinning a hub cap on a road. It was not a pleasant noise.

Home, bonnet up, nothing looked like it was about to fall off. I gave both variateurs a shake and they seemed suitably solid. Everything else checked, nothing seemed particularly unusual or out of whack in such a way that would suggest something terrible about to happen.

Today, driving too work, and back again, I didn't hear that noise. Now, yesterday was an odd day. It was quite cold and then suddenly shot up to something like 18°C with around 90% humidity. There were a few rooms/corridors at work that backed onto freezers that had water literally pouring down the walls because the humidity condensed. The cow barn at home was only barely better. And the outside (stone) walls were weeping for the same reason. So it's possible that something in the variateur that likes to be dry...wasn't. I don't know.
Suffice to say that I didn't sleep. Or eat. Because no car equals no work, which would be a really bad thing. And unlike in the past, when I had a friend or two who could take me to work, one sells property which is not an "essential" business, so he is closed, and the other lives just a stone's throw away, but in a different region, so she can't come over into lovely Brittany (full of weird rocks and dragons and stuff). And I'm not sure either of them could take a passenger - is car sharing permitted? It wasn't last time...

I got in touch with the dealer up in Rennes. I want them to do the work, after the debacle (and huge expense) of the local garage earlier in the year, I'd feel happier knowing that the person about to open the bonnet won't say "the **** is this?" as their first sentence. Also, if spares are needed, an Aixam repair outfit will have such things. A guy used to Citroën and Peugeot won't (again, local garage, I had to mail order the bits myself because...).

My bad luck that the other mechanic is "en arrête" (signed off work). Maybe until the end of the week, or maybe next week. That's the bad news. The good news is that he said that they can come and collect my car (when its not just him there). So maybe a week or two and Felicity can have bits poked and prodded. I'll keep on to this, giving them a call on Friday, because I really want this seen to as soon as possible. You know, peace of mind.

As for the ringing noise, in my mind (as an untrained mechanic, note), I have narrowed it down to two possibilities. The water pump is on the way out, or it's the alternator. I have a dim recollection of the guy who did the oil change (the story with the weird bar and the boy offering random olives) telling me something about the alternator. So with any luck it'll be that. It'll be the cheapest/simplest thing to fix, too. Checking/changing the water pump means taking the cooling system apart to get to it. And, if it's something inside like the cam follower (I just made that up), then OMFG.

I have ordered from Amazon a little widget that might help me better tell where the noise is coming from, as a small yet loud clattery diesel engine with a faint noise (when one isn't doing 45 down the road) is a little hard to localise.

But, at any rate, I need this seen to (as well as the oil/filter changes) soon. Because I, for one, do not expect the current lockdown to finish on the 1st of December. Last time we had a month of lockdown with reviews every 15 days, and it ended up taking... what two or two and a half months?


What the hell, France?

In response to the lockdown, various small businesses like book shops lobbied the government to be allowed to remain open. I'm sure somebody somewhere pointed out that "supermarkets can sell books".
Well, the government, with arms of iron, mandated that all non-essential aisles are to be closed. No more books. No more clothes (WTF?). No more toys, like literally a week after putting out all the Christmas stuff. No more white goods. It's basically toilet paper and food.

So on Monday, while my local supermarket was closing up the aisles, I popped in and got myself an oil filter remover thingy. Just in case. I also got two cans of bottled gas. Sure, it's from the "camping equipment" area, but given that is how I cook stuff that isn't done in the microwave/oven/rice maker, I thought it wise to have some gas spare. I also bought a kettle. I don't need a kettle, but I know damn well that if I didn't buy a kettle, then the one that has kept me supplied with plenty of hot tea since mom bought the house (in 1992) would immediately and inexplicably pack up. I have luck like that.
But since I have a shiny new kettle in a box in the kitchen, my reliable kettle is still working. Long may it continue heating water for my tea! Vive la kettle!

Now, I sort of get the point behind this. It's a toss up between silencing whinging shopkeepers and ramming home the point that you're supposed to stay the hell at home. The problem is, it's a very flawed plan since industry is mostly working as normal. Children (of all ages) are still going to school. Lots of people are still mixing with lots of other people. And while the government may be thinking of people's physical health, their habit of announcing these things "to take effect from the following day" is not doing a lot of good to people's mental health.
This is the time when people need to be able to buy books, games, DVDs, knitting wool, acrylic paint, and so on. Obviously with enhanced restrictions, like no more than 'x' people in the shop at once, and a strict "you touch it you buy it" rule (to save people endlessly browsing and touching everything).
Thank god for services like Netflix, Canal+, and Prime Video. So at least there's something to do in the endless days of the.... what is this? the 248th of March or something?


As I said above, I do not expect this lockdown to finish on the 1st of December. Furthermore, given that this virus is here, it spreads easily, it's dangerous, and it has already mutated... I think everybody clamouring for a return to normal are missing one very important point - this is our normal now - and until there is sufficient vaccination and human immunity to make this virus little more troubling than the seasonal flu, I do not anticipate this changing in a hurry. Are we going to have potentially a third of every year missing in spring and autumn lockdowns of two months each? That would be ruinous, and drive everybody nuts. You can already see those who have lost faith in the powers that be are out protesting and rioting. So while we accept this second lockdown because the infection rate has skyrocketed and it needs to be brought under control, we are also acutely aware that we have this second period of confinement because the first did not work.
That's the question that needs to be answered. Is handwashing ineffective? Are the masks useless? Should people stay within their area (I'd say "within 100km" not based upon region or county, as that would mean I could not shop in Châteaubriant just down there a ways, but I could happily go up to St. Malo - so a limitation based upon distance makes more sense). Should Shengen be suspended? What about air travel, going on holiday? One thing is clear is that this new second wave started in Catalonia and now more and more of Europe is either locked down or preparing to do so. Why? Why has this spread "everywhere" so rapidly? Or, to put it another way, what are we doing wrong?

There will be no return to normal, not for a couple of years. Maybe more. This is our normal now, so we have to find ways of dealing with what's going on without shutting everything down for weeks/months at a time.

And France, not letting people buy books and stuff so they don't go stir crazy during their time of confinement "because it isn't an essential"? For shame.
Mental health matters.



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David Pilling, 4th November 2020, 03:55
Wales has done the thing with limiting what supermarkets can sell. Yesterday papers reporting testing whole cities at a time. Today GPs put on standby to do vaccinations before Christmas. Clutching at any passing straw.
Mick, 4th November 2020, 22:51
46k dead in the UK still not everyone wearing masks on transport or inside shops. Does a mask help anything? I dunno. It does show that some don't give a damn about anyone but no.1. Those who can't wear a mask should wear a visor or stay off transport! 

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