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It’s nearly Christmas so naturally, we are going camping.

Yes, I know we live in Ontario, home of frosty windows and big, fat snowflakes and other wintery stuff (like -40 antifreeze for the car because we need that, yes, we truly do) but, camping in December is not such a stretch.

We’ve got trees in the forest on our property.

We’ve got a fire pit, around which to toast marshmallows and the like.

We’ve got the super-duper, flannel, camping sheet set and three or twelve duvets (and a partridge in a pear tree.)

Okay, fine.

We’re not camping.

That’s just Practical Man, driving around the lawn on your average Tuesday, towing our vintage Boler travel trailer.

I’m pretty sure the neighbours are whispering about me.  They wouldn’t blame it on Practical Man because they all know him.  I’m the mysterious person who drives up the driveway into the garage and disappears inside (away from The Nature).  He is the guy who is always out in the yard on one tractor or another, or on the roof, or in the forest, or building something or growing something.  Plus, he fixes things for the neighbours, regularly.  People who fix things don’t drive around the lawn on your average Tuesday in December in Ontario, towing their travel trailer, unless they are very sweet and have been put up to it by an annoyingly festive ELF.

Like this one:

me, dressed as an elf, standing beside our Christmas tree

Tra-la-la.

Or, as I like to say at Christmas, when I’m wearing an elf get-up that I made out of a green sweater, some felt, and a pair of socks:

Fa-la-Tra-la-la!

Aren’t you glad you don’t live with me?

(The socks are at my wrists, in case you can’t concentrate, after my costume-making teaser.)

It all began when I joined one of those groups on Facebook–or maybe, I can blame the Facebook algorithm.  You know the algorithm:  it thinks I need bifocals and wrinkle cream.

Evil algorithm.

Yes, let’s blame it.

Anyhoo, I kept seeing pictures from some group foisted on me by the evil, mind-reading algorithm.  Disturbing, provocative pictures–you know the kind–pictures of pretty barns and burlap all swirly-dirly and bells and thing-a-ma-bobs that bring out the inner decorator dictator in me.

Mere minutes scrolling through these groups and I get obsessed with teeny, insignificant details…like angels and angles.

Now that sounded a bit confusing.

That is to say, I’m obsessed with whether the angels on our shelves are at a 45 degree angle to…I’m not sure what.

They looked so good on Pinterest.

There are evil algorithms there, too.

Algorithms and angled angels anon.

(That’s called festive alliteration.)

Lest you think I’m reaching, I’ll have you know that “anon” is the festive word for “and other junk that I feel the need to copy, for reasons that must be based in my primitive, lizard brain because it is un-explainable, even to me, why I would care about this kind of fluff”.

To get back to my point, I was on one of those groups and there were other vintage trailer weirdos like me and well, they don’t live in Ontario.  They live in warm climates where there is still green grass visible on the ground, not to mention palm trees (public service announcement:  it’s very un-Christmassy to blatantly display aka gloat about your palm trees at this time of year to a Canadian).  Then, to add insult to palm-tree injury, they post pictures of their vintage trailers all dicky-doo’d up for the holidays.

I do love a little festooning and such.

So says the evil algorithm.

Insert lizard brain here.

But, I live in Ontario, home of frosty windows and big, fat snowflakes and other wintery stuff (like -40 antifreeze for the car because we need that, yes, we truly do).

Year-round festooning.  What luxury is this?

The luxury is living in San Anbambino or some place where they don’t know what long underwear is–that’s what.

Still, all I see is post after post of cute, vintage trailers with Christmas lights and mistletoe and plaid blankets and stuff.

Sometimes with snow (why oh why doesn’t our snow fall when I have a camera in hand?)

Sometimes without snow (and avec the aforementioned gloat-y palm trees.)

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

Or, as I like to say,

‘Tis the season to be jealous.

At any rate, before I knew it, out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter.

The clatter being due to the fact that I had batted my not-insignificant eyelashes (Rimmel’s Extra Super Lash mascara) and asked Practical Man to hitch up the “sleigh” (aka vintage Boler travel trailer) and move it to a more photogenic location so I could get my festive festooning underway.

On the one day we haven’t had snow in the last 2 months, yessirree.

Practical Man is forever granting my Christmas wishes.  Year round.

But, even he can’t summon the snow where the snow won’t be summoned.

Palm trees, either (although with enough notice, I have no doubt he would have grown something from a pineapple nub he got at the grocery store).

The point is, there I was, in the front of the front yard’s brown-ish grass, throw cushions and wreathes in hand, decorator dictatorship rearing its ugly head.

Cue the whispering neighbours.

green and white boler decorated with red chairs, ,pillows and a vintage metal cooler

My lizard brain was desperate to decorate and I love our tiny Boler but, its figurative chair (or vintage, metal lawn chairs, as the case may be) is never at our Christmas table, on account of it’s always put away for the winter at this time of year.

It’s kind of the Tiny Tim of our yard.

Sob.

But now, joy of joys!  Thanks to Practical Man and my lizard brain, here was my very own Tiny Tim, in the front yard.  So, in the repentant manner of Ebenezer Scrooge, I got busy with the festive festooning while also reflecting on the 2016 ghosts of past, present, and future.

  • Practical Man had a near record maple syrup crop in the Spring.
  • I learned more songs on the guitar from musicians too-soon taken.
  • We met new friends who joined us as I twirled my way through our first Bolerama.  And, Practical Man survived!
  • We shared wonderful memories (and mosquitoes) with family and friends in the summer.
  • We worried about people fleeing violence around the world and here.
  • We cried for Practical Man’s Mutti, who died in October.  She will be cried about for some long time to come.
  • I made a snowman, tobogganned and shovelled snow with some English sweeties, before Winter was really due.
  • We are trying to be advocates and people of hope in the wake of an earthquake-y election, even though it wasn’t ours.

I feel so lucky to have a small, safe place like a Boler.

It’s a little nest.  A place to curl up and take a nap or maybe just stare around the inside or pretend you’re Laurie Partridge for a while (because when you’re a Boler geek like I am, that’s a fun afternoon).

Of course, the Boler is not my only blessing or refuge, by a long shot.  I am sheltered and fed and loved and safe.

Occasionally, I have useful eyelashes.

I am so, so lucky.

I hope you all are, too.

Except for the evil algorithm.

Sorry.

That was my lizard brain again.

A Very Merry Christmas and Happy Everything from our house to yours.

Green and white Boler travel trailer decorated for Christmas, with 2 red chairs in front, a vintage, plaid cooler, red wreath, bell wreath and "Santa, I can explain" sign.

 

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Today was all rusty and sweaty and full of (luckily, not too many) deer flies and one magnificent wild strawberry.

Yes indeedy, I love me a vintage junkyard.

Or, scrapyard, as Practical Man calls it.

Potato, Patahto.

car fan that looks like a flower

If you are like him and call a junkyard a scrapyard, be sure to convey the word with all the enthusiasm that Practical Man uses when he utters it.  My usually reserved, strong-silent type guy can barely contain his glee when it comes to scrapyards.  With those mere two syllables, he manages to morph into someone who looks and sounds exactly like a 7 year-old boy on Christmas Eve.

In other words, he kind of resembles…well, ME.

Minus a little of the tra-la-la.  But only just.

Not that I mind his enthusiasm for the world of auto wreckers.  I am a big fan of old-school scrapyards myself.

Y’know, like most women in their middle of ages.

Well, maybe not.

Anyhoo, ever since my favourite junkyard, Minakers, closed for business, I have been somewhat bereft.  Bereft of real-for-true, old-school junkyards, that is.

Minakers was even better than a regular junkyard because it had been around a long, long time and was chock-a-block with antique cars.  Wanderers there were hard pressed to find anything newer than about 1970.

It was scrapyard nirvana.

There were 1940s bread vans with trees growing through the engines.  Sedan deliveries and original Beetles and ’30s gangster cars with swoopy running boards.  I spent most of my time there running around, stumbling over thing-a-ma-bobs from 1953 and squealing, from one wreck to the next.

What?  You’ve never heard a grown woman squeal in a junk yard before?

Maybe that’s because you’ve only ever darkened the doors of a modern-day junkyard.  You know the kind (or maybe you don’t, in which case I’m here to help):  there is no “wandering” amid the wreckage.   You have to know what you want before you go in!  Then, they go and FETCH IT FOR YOU.

Junkyard Joy Stealers:  that’s what they are.  They rob you of every little bit of the tripping and squinting and dreaming and squealing.

There is no squealing in a modern-day junkyard.  Only safety vests and liability clauses and steel-toed boots.

And, people who call you “ma’am”.

It’s tragic, really.

But, we spotted what looked like an old-school, rural junkyard on a recent trip and today was the day to go and explore.   Our vintage Boler travel trailer could use a few bits and bobs and we have a derelict boat that needs a windscreen and who knows what other treasures we might find?

Yes indeedy, I love the smell of broken safety glass and grease in the mornings.

First, I put on my lucky socks.  It’s very important to have lucky socks on when you are wandering and tripping and squinting and squealing.

purple socks with pale purple polka dots

Also, some hole-y, derelict, work boots circa 1991, which I still happen to have for occasions such as this.

When we got there–to my very own version of Canada’s Wonderland–I said hello to my first love at the gate:

Rusty Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser – SWOON!

After I bid my first love a tearful goodbye, we went in.  We were armed with bug juice, hats, water (not nearly enough for a junkyard extravaganza, it turned out), a gigantic toolbox and an additional bag of tools (and some socket sets and a first aid kit that we left in the car “just in case”.)

I was with Practical Man, after all.  Who needs safety vests and liability clauses when I have him?

Soon enough, I found my second love:

rusty green truck

Soooo pretty, pretty.

And then, my third love:

Blue truck among the ruins

How can my second love compete with my third love?  Third love is really a Colin Firth kind of truck and you know you don’t find those trucks every old day of the week.  I think our vintage Boler travel trailer really needs a vintage truck companion, don’t you?  A Colin Firth kind of vintage truck companion (I hope I’m not getting above myself).

Then, there was a very exciting PILE.  You have to have a heart of stone, not to love a junkyard PILE.

pile of junkyard cars heaped high

We were looking for trailers so that we could source a screen door (to re-make into a teeny, tiny Boler-sized screen door) and maybe even some outside cubby doors.  There were lots and lots of cars.  There were only a few trailers and they were scattered far and wide through the junkyard.

All the better to ensure the tripping and wandering and dreaming and squealing.

There were fallen-down trees (this junkyard was kind of in a forest) and tall grass (all the better to hide lyme-disease carrying ticks in) and lots and lots of poison ivy.

But, there were also beautiful sparkles of broken safety glass:

sparkly broken safety glass on the ground

And lace-like patterns shining in the sun:

cracked glass

There were old soul vehicles:  the ones that rest quietly among the trees and grass, like silent guardians over a sacred place.

old truck among the trees

We finally settled on our donor vehicles and got to work.  Practical Man’s modern-day tools made short work of the harvesting of parts in this old-timey junkyard.  No aching wrists from manually unscrewing scores of rusted hardware.  Just a few short bursts from the cordless drill and we were victorious:  two cubby doors and an RV screen door for our Boler!

And in this place where beauty and ruin are best of friends, I found the unlikeliest of treasures:

wild strawberry

One succulent explosion of summertime flavour.

It’s strawberry season at the scrapyard.

Tra-la-la.


Last week, I traded maple syrup for mold.

What, what, what?

Maple Sap bucket full of sap attached to a tree

Yep.  You see, around these parts, it’s maple syrup season.  I wrote about the details of this rural Canadian pastime last year.  Basically, it means a whole lotta:

  • gathering of sap
  • obsessively clicking The Weather Network’s website to see if the conditions will be right for sap flow
  • collecting sap into barrels and piling snow from around the yard against them so the sap won’t spoil
  • obsessively clicking The Weather Network’s website to see if the conditions will be right for sap boiling
  • spending from early morning until evening standing over a giant, homemade, sap-boiling extravaganza while sticky steam gives you a sort of reverse facial and, if you’re me, you somehow get a sunburn on your legs, even though you’re not really an outdoor girl and you probably only helped for a grand total of 15 minutes AND you were wearing two layers of clothing
  • skimming and scooping and skimming and scooping and thwacking the thing that you used for skimming to get the sludge off and then some more skimming and scooping
  • and so on and so on…for about 4-6 weeks

Practical Man l-o-o-oves this time of year.  He is in his element.  That is, out in The Nature, that I love not quite so much, and making something out of mostly nothing.

What could be better?

Practical Man moving sap from one pan to another

He looks cute in his lumberjack shirt and he smells of yummy wood smoke after a day of boiling sap, so I go along with it.

What can I say?  I am weak for wood smoke and plaid clothing.

Anyway, the whole maple syrup thing, while quaint and stereotypical for some of us rural Canucks, is a LOT of work.  There are many more bullet points I left out of my list above, because I thought you’d get tired of reading them (and I know I get tired just writing them) and I definitely get tired doing more than a few of them, so I am pretty much only a sporadic cheerleader, inept and inconsistent skimmer, lunch runner and such.

I’m basically maple syrup middle management.

Luckily, Practical Man is not a complainer by nature.  Even though he’s married to a person who is a complainer about The Nature.

During one of the sap boils this season, I realized I had a bonafide excuse for getting out of maple syrup work and I gleefully embarked on it.

Dressed to kill, as you can see:

Me, wearing an elaborate breathing mask

We have recently met some new Boler Buddies–people who are in love with the cute, vintage, marshmallow-shaped trailers known as Bolers in Canada and Scamps in the US–and we have offered to fix up their trailer a little, so they could try camping in it this summer.

Boler trailer with orange bottom and cream top

This is our Boler Buddies’ Boler…but I’m sort of pretending it’s ours, even though I’m obviously giving it back once we’ve finished with its spa treatments.

Having two Bolers on our property made me as giddy as a Practical Man, boiling sap.

Tra-la-la!

So giddy, that I didn’t mind at all the first job involved with the little jewel:  scraping the un-adhered interior paint, applied by a previous owner, where it had been disguising some fairly extensive surface mold.

Mmmmm.  Mold.

And you thought my breathing apparatus getup was just for fun.

Scraaaaape.

Scraaaaape.

Scraaaaape.

Scraped kitchen walls in the Boler - paint chips everywhere and mold visible

I was scraping with a cool, rounded scraper thingy that only a Practical Man would own.  It didn’t damage any of the interior insulation (called Ensolite) but it niftily scraped off the loose paint.

From outside the little Boler, it sounded as if a very large rodent was trying to claw its way out.  But really, it was just a very large rodent who was not helping with the sap boil, whatsoever.

Ha!

Inside the Boler, there was lots of flaking paint.  Lots of surface mold.  But, the definite bonus was that I could pretend I was Darth Vader with a sunburn.

I do recall he was pasty like me, when they took his mask off.

Anyway, my arms jiggly from the scraping (yep, that’s why they’re jiggly), I then got to use one of my favourite tools:  the shop vac.

Wee-whoo!  I love me a shop vac.

Lady Gaga and I shop vac’d the flaking paint up a storm (and chipmunk droppings accumulated during the Boler’s 14 years bravely surviving The Nature).  There may have been some gyrating hips, I do confess.

What happens in the Boler, stays in the Boler.

Tra-la-la.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2016.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet

 


Tra la la.  It’s finally happening:  the heady days of March in southern Ontario.

Oh sure, there have been blizzard warnings (and worse–actual blizzards!) the last three Wednesdays in a row, but that can’t drag me down because I know, with a cheesy song in my heart, that Spring is just around the corner.

Practical Man on riding snowplow

Practical Man, out in the Spring weather.

Yes, indeedy.

That mythical, magical time that we collectively fool ourselves into thinking is in March–when actually, let’s face it people, it’s really May–but no matter, it’s time to start psyching ourselves up for it.  Watching for any sign, no matter how teensy-weensy.

Ahhhhhh.   Spring!

Is that an above zero Celcius breeze I feel tickling my neck?

Is that the asphalt/gravel on my driveway peeking through already?

How time flies (when one is pretending one is on vacation with the rest of the country, in the Caribbean)!

This is how we Canadians survive the winter:  we pretend we live in Victoria, BC.  We pretend winter only lasts from after Christmas until late February, unless of course that pesky rodent–friend to no one but The Weather Network (I mean, how can they lose?) on February 2–dooms us to what we all know is inevitable anyway:

that is, It’s Still Winter.

But, let’s not go there.

Surely, Spring is on its way.  Just around the corner.  Past that eight-foot high pile of dirty snow in the parking lot.

Surely.

I can tell that Spring is nearly here by the way the complaining from my fellow Ontarians gets louder around this time in March.  Even though we’ve barely had three weeks of real winter this year, it’s already begun with a vengeance.  Yes indeedy, we love us some complaining about the weather.

It’s too CO-O-O-O-L-D!   (Only Rolling Up The Rim appears to provoke any joy when it’s cold outside.)

Too much S-N-O-W-W-W-W-W!

Then, a few short months later:

It’s too HO-T-T-T-T!

It’s so H-U-U-U-U-MID!

No wonder Mother Nature is confused.

I can also tell it’s nearly Spring by the way the light changes.  The changing light signals my urge to compulsively start sewing things for our vintage Boler travel trailer and our vintage, Fiat 500.

Useful things, like bunting and flowery pillow head rests.

Boler bunting

Bunting I am making to festoon the Boler. I love festooning!

I’m like a pregnant woman in her third trimester (or a Canadian on the brink of March).

I’m nesting, yep.  God knows there are no birds doing that yet, even though, it’s practically (insert hysterical giggle here) Spring!

And, lest you think this is some sort of vintage-inspired female hysteria, men are not immune, either. Practical Man has been sniffing the air for weeks now.  Air sniffing and more recently, hole drilling.  Nary a maple tree in these parts is safe from his scrutiny.

It’s March after all.  The season of joy, the season of nature’s bounty, the season of MAPLE SYRUP!

Oh sure, you need an ideal temperature of 3-4 degrees above zero during the day and 3-4 degrees below zero at night to produce the sap flow necessary for nature’s bounty.

No matter that it’s still -9 plus a windchill.

That doesn’t stop Practical Man from obsessively clicking over to The Weather Network and wielding his trusty tools until there is a tidy sap line just poised for a thaw.

maple trees with sap buckets attached to them

One of Practical Man’s many sap lines, 2016

Tra la la Spring:  we are READY for you.

See you in May.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2016.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet


I just accomplished the Nearly Impossible.

We recently had to buy a new computer–at the kind of great expense that I hate spending on stuff like that–because why would you spend big money on a computer when you could, for roughly the same price, score yourself a vintage Vespa scooter (tra-la-la)?

Anyway, Practical Man doesn’t seem to mind the whole big money spending on boring stuff like computers because

  1. for some reason, he seems to think they’re just as fun as a vintage Vespa.  Um, no.
  2. he wouldn’t be caught dead on a vintage Vespa (it’s bad enough he has to drive a Fiat 500 occasionally) and
  3. he love, love, loves the whole research-and-read-consumer-reports thing that he gets to do before he buys a big money item.  Those pesky “compare and contrast” essays I used to have to do in A-level English?   I bet he would have loved those.  Practical Man is a born comparer and contraster.

So, after he read all the consumer reports and debated the merits of the new operating system versus the older, new operating system that everybody hates; and the really expensive manufacturer that everyone loves (and some mock) but would mean we’d have to convert everything we own; and this graphic card versus that graphic card; and this many giga-bytes versus that many tera-bytes; and he had oogled and jiggled computers all over town, we bought one.

A new computer, that is.  Not a vintage Vespa.

Imagine my disappointment.

Today, I opened my writing folder for the first time on the new system (which is not even called a “laptop” anymore because apparently that name potentially leads to burned thighs and not from the sunburn you got while riding on the Amalfi coast for hours and hours on your vintage Vespa) and realized that many of my projects were written using a software that you pay for and then download from online.

Uh, oh, I thought.

Online!!

That sinking feeling in my stomach was because for middle of ages people like me, “online!” meant that there were no disks to help me re-load the software on our shiny new computer.

Okay, I know they’re called CDs now.

Or DVDs.

Whatever.

It’s not a vintage Vespa so I can’t be bothered to pay attention.

Anyway, since I had no thinga-ma-bobs to re-load the software on the new system, I had to get Practical Man’s flash drive (or as he calls it, the “key fob”), open it and wander into the recesses of his brain.  Because, that’s what it’s like going into his flash drive.  It has folders and stuff that mean absolutely nothing to me, whatsoever.

It looks as if he used English to name the folders and yet…I am completely…can’t…what…?

It’s sort of like that time I tried to fold kirigami trees, only more difficult.

I was looking for his passwords file, in hopes that he would have recorded the magic numbers I needed to re-download Scrivener.  Because, being Practical Man, he does things like that.  He keeps the receipts for the thinga-ma-bob we bought in 1999 just in case we might need it so I was fairly confident that he would have recorded the registration number on his “key fob” that I needed to re-download the program that wasn’t on a disk (because it’s no longer 1987).

But, being all Secret Agent-y as he is, the passwords file is in a sub directory and he doesn’t label the sub directories anything that mean anything to me (although I was intrigued by the folder marked “Minion”) and of course, even if you can manage to get down in the recesses of his brain, the passwords file is not in a file called “passwords”.  Because otherwise, when the evil, super villan breaks into our house, goes through our closet and finds the key fob/flash drive in the pocket of Practical Man’s jeans, he could, MWAH-HA-HA get easy access to all our passwords!

I know.  It does make sense.  I just like to mock Practical Man sometimes.

It’s an old married couple thing.   Kind of like flossing our teeth in front of each other.

(Our dental hygienist is very proud).

Anyway, today, I successfully THOUGHT LIKE A PRACTICAL MAN (no easy feat, lemme tell ya) and four or five hours later, figured out which file the passwords were hidden in.

Of course, it was encrypted with a password.

The password file had a password.

Again.  Very sensible.

Sigh.

After all that, the super secret Scrivener registration code wasn’t even there.

Turns out, I had saved it somewhere else.

I should have bought a vintage Vespa.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet


I am not brave.

In fact, I’m fairly sure I can easily be classified as a bonafide ‘fraidy cat.

Cows scare me (all that eye rolling surely leads to stampeding or something ominous with their big teeth.)

Revolving doors give me pause (I do quite enough spinning on my own, thankyouverymuch.)

Even the letter “X” can cause a shiver (seems a bit pointy, at times.)

Stop snickering.

Like I said, I am not brave.  And I’m a diagnosed swoony, fainty type, so really, I should have been born last century or in a Jane Austen novel.

It’s as if I’m of another era, so maybe that’s why I find myself loving and buying antique vehicles.

Back of the boler, as it's rolling down the road.

They’re not easy or economical or practical (kind of like me).  But Practical Man loves me and I love them, so he overlooks these points.  Not to mention, spends hours and months fixing and maintaining them.

Meanwhile, I’m twirling, making flowery seat covers, and taking pictures of the cute-shaped hunks of metal (Beetle, Fiat) or fiberglass (Boler).  Tra-la-la!

Because, that’s what antique vehicles are for, right?

Stop snickering.

I used to have a 1973 Beetle.

My beetle - yellow and white

It didn’t look scary with its chubby shape and cheery yellow and white paint, but it terrified me at first.

You see, the rule is, if you’re a swoony, fainty type:  you can’t drive.

Probably a good rule.

But, I had finally got effective treatment and was allowed, after 15+ years, to get my driver’s license back.  I had to take my final driver’s test and parallel park and blah, blah, blah to get my full license but I am good at tests, so fairly shortly thereafter, we bought the Beetle.  But, my time behind the wheel of any car, let alone one with old car idiosyncrasies, had been very limited.

I remember driving the Beetle back to our house from where we purchased it (about 2.5 scary hours away).  My hands were sweaty, I found myself grinding the gears and shouting things into the wind out the sunroof (bad words don’t count if you shout them into the wind–or in German).  Practical Man drove behind me in the chase car, seemingly unfazed by my driving or bad, German words.  Meanwhile, I was having 17 heart attacks, especially when I accidentally ended up on the Big Fat Scary Speedy Highway.

I screamed the whole time I was trying to merge on to the highway with my 1600 cc engine (and basket of old/new driver insecurities).

Yippee!

Not exactly.

Fast forward 10 years and here I am again, nauseated, sweating and in full ‘fraidy cat mode.

The classic Fiat500 is soooo very cute.

Rear view Fiat 500

But, it makes a very, very expensive lawn ornament.  And, I don’t yet have my glassed-wall garage where I can admire the vehicles from the comfort of our living room.

Hence, the little Fiat must be driven.

Yikes.

Practical Man has been wrestling with the engine on it for a while now.  It got new stuff added by a mechanic and came back broken but, Practical Man used his superior problem solving skills and stick-toitiveness and problem solved and stuck to it until he got it working.

But, it was a false alarm until he used more of his superior problem solving skills and stick-tuitiveness (and possibly some Seafoam in the engine) and now, yes, it is really working.

Yippee!

Except…that means, ahem, I actually have to drive it.

Not just sew it fun seat covers and stuff to hang from the rear view mirror.

The flowery seat covers I made for my classic Fiat500

Gulp.

I went out this afternoon on a solo mission.  If that makes me sounds like an astronaut, it’s because I felt like one.

You see, it’s an old and very simple little car. (Not unlike its owner, actually.)

There is no glove compartment or radio or even a gas gauge.

Hedgehug has a very tiny engine (only 2 cylinders), standard transmission (with no synchromeshing so, you need to double-clutch between each gear when you shift), a manual starter lever, a manual choke, and a 1970 gearbox.

Good grief.

Today, I stuck to the country roads and took deep breaths and tried to calm the rapid, fluttery sensation around my heart.  I said nothing in German, but , there was some gear grinding and one stall, as Hedgehug and I tried to learn how to get along with each other.

There will be quite a few more of these days before I am brave enough to grind gears and stall it in the city.   Then, it will be October and time to put it away for the winter.  And come next May and Old Car Goes On The Road for the Summer Day, I’ll have to be brave all over again.

Honestly, it’s enough to make me faint.

Luckily, I take medication for that now.

Picture of Hedgehug in the garage, with flowery magnet on the hood

 


As I’ve said before, not everyone appreciates a vintage life.

Case in point:  Practical Man has been known to shake his head at something I’ve purchased while muttering, “I threw one of those out in 1978” under his breath.

It seems to happen quite frequently during yard/garage sale season.  Lots and lots of head shaking and muttering.

But, I ask you:

Who will bring the ugly ducklings of the world home to be loved and cherished, if not I?

daisy pattern on the Lawnware lamp - up close

Oooh, look at the pretty patterns!

Especially when they’re vintage Lawnware for RVs (whatever that is) and only $1.

This particular vintage Lawnware for RVs needed a plug, but Practical Man is so very handy that a mere plug was no impediment to the purchase.

More muttering.

inside the lamp

A look up into the “gubbins” of the lamp, as my dad would say. Isn’t saying “gubbins” fun?

When I lived in England decades ago, I once wired a plug on to my newly-purchased curling iron after arriving home and remembering (when I went to use said curling iron and had only some metal wire sticking out the end of the cord) that small appliances didn’t come with plugs.  That way, they could sell them all over Europe and everyone could put their respective plug on or electrocute themselves trying because they couldn’t remember how to do it since it was O level Physics the last time they had tried and there was a really cute teenager distracting them from Ms. Russell’s fascinating lessons on plugs and besides that was so long ago because O level Physics hasn’t existed in a generation.

Anyway.

I haven’t wired a plug since then, but I will assume that Practical Man did it correctly.

Possibly, while muttering.

Even I have to admit, this is kind of an ugly duckling.  But, it has a style about its ugly duckling-ness, don’t you think?

The lamp in its entirety

Especially once the wasp nest inside and 40 years of gummified dust was cleaned off.

It will work perfectly for a romantic evening under the stars (or Ugliest Lamp in the World)  celebration as we hang out on our $1 for the pair, vintage, metal, scald-your-legs lawn chairs (totally impractical but I l-o-v-e them anyway).

red vintage lawn chairs (2)

Mutter, mutter.

Or, it will look fetching and appropriately “Lawnware for RV-ish” in our ugly duckling, vintage Boler trailer.

The lamp lit, with all its multi-coloured lights glowing

Ooooooh Aaaaaaah!

It’s like the Lite Brite of lamps!

Who wouldn’t like that?

Practical Man seems to be raising his hand.

And muttering.

Tra-la-la.

Copyright Christine Fader, 2015.  Did you enjoy this post from A Vintage Life?    Share on Facebook       Tweet