Ireland 2015

Off to Ireland for a week or three, to visit the oul’ Mammy for a bit and then go off into the west for a bit of camping.

Well met by lamplight. New cozier Herman, with Mazza reading, of an evening
Well met by lamplight. New cozier Herman, with Mazza reading, of an evening

I have to say, the lad played a blinder. I’m not going to tempt fate by even contemplating thinking about saying he’s almost boringly reliable –coz that’s just asking for trouble. But, apart from someone pulling the heid off our lucky mascot cat on the front bumper [in my own home town of Glengormley, of all places!] the following was the only real “mechanical trouble” we had to face during the three weeks we were over there. I’ve decided to wittily refer to it as:

Cold Comfort

We always take a few ‘snacks for the journey’ with us, when we leave Manchester for the long drive up to Scotland and usually there’ll be a few perishables that we’ll stick in our 240V/12V Fridge-cum-Coolbox thingy. On this occasion however, we just made some sarnies and brought a flask with us, so we didn’t bother plugging the device in, on the journey over to Ireland. Had we done so, we might have noticed that it had stopped working on 12V and was only working on 240V [of which there ain’t a lot about, when you’re wild camping].

Anyway, it was only after, spending a week at the Mammy’s and heading off into the west, that we noticed the coolbox wasn’t working. Not a welcome discovery, given that, the day before we set off, we’d bought a load of perishables like meat and dairy products to cook with, while off camping.

Not a very cool box at all
Not a very cool box at all

So, on our first night away from ‘civilisation’ [although, after the mindless decapitation of our ‘lucky cat’, I’m reluctant to use the term any more when referring to Glengormley] we were faced with the prospect of having to eat half a buffalo each and wash it down with a bucket full of milk, to get rid of the food in the fridge before it went off.

I tried to open up the recalcitrant cooler to have a look at its innards, but it seemed to have been designed to frustrate any such attempts, because all the screws were inset down long narrow holes which none of my screw-drivers had a hope in hell of reaching the bottom of. As is often my wont, I decided to forget about it for the moment, get drunk and enjoy the scenery, and see if inspiration came to me while I slept.

It worked! –Next morning I awoke with the audacious idea of ‘making’ a long-bladed screw-driver, suitable for the job. I looked through my toolboxes and found a suitable candidate; an electrical screwdriver with a nice rubberised grip and [most importantly] an almost full-tang blade which would be easily long enough to reach down the screw-holes, if the handle wasn’t so rugged.

This looks like a suitable candidate
This looks like a suitable candidate

I then got out my Leatherman and spent the next 15 or 20 mins sawing away at the handle of the screwdriver –which proved to be made of sterner stuff than its rubberised outer layer had me believe.

Sawing away, like a smoothing iron
Sawing away, like a smoothing iron

Eventually and piece by piece the screwdriver surrendered to my unwelcome attentions and I removed enough of the handle to make the blade long enough to get the coolbox lid apart and expose its innards.

One home made long-handled screwdriver
One home made long-handled screwdriver

After checking for loose connections and finding none, I was starting to think maybe the fridge was beyond repair, when I spotted a dubious looking soldered joint on one of the circuit boards. Sure enough, when I plugged the thing in and squuezed that joint together, the fridge wheezed into life. So I knew I’d found the culprit.

That doesn't look right!
That doesn't look right!

There then followed another hunt through various cupboards and toolboxes til I unearthed a roll of solder and one of those mini butane ‘Pen Torches’. With Mazza heroically holding the blade of my Leatherman behind the wobbly joint to act as a barrier and try and contain the flame from burning anything else, I managed to melt another blob of solder over the joint and fix it in place.

Mini blow-torch soldering
Mini blow-torch soldering

Not the prettiest job in the world. But it worked and the fridge stayed working for the rest of the holiday. So, all together now…. “Job’s a Good ‘Un!’”

Back in business
Back in business

Warm Comfort

And now for the sake of younger viewers, who might not find tales of ‘Extreme Soldering’ as exciting as the rest of us, here are one or two gratuitous shots of bits of the rest of the camping part of our holiday –as ever, for the most part selected more for the fact they have Herman in or near them, rather than for any particular artistic merit.

You can't beat a bowl of home made broth in the evening
You can't beat a bowl of home made broth in the evening
Malin Beg. A zillion French campers arrived in convoy in the evening. Poor Herman was quite outnumbered.
Malin Beg. A zillion French campers arrived in convoy in the evening. Poor Herman was quite outnumbered.
Malin Beg. View from Herman's 'doorstep'
Malin Beg. View from Herman's 'doorstep'
Glenade Loch sunset
Glenade Loch sunset
Cozy glow from Herman lit up at night, by Glenade Loch. No photo does justice to the amount of stars you can see there
Cozy glow from Herman lit up at night, by Glenade Loch. No photo does justice to the amount of stars you can see there
Leaving Glenade Loch. That roadworks sign reminds me of somebody!
Leaving Glenade Loch. That roadworks sign reminds me of somebody!