It was only fitting that that I scared the lovely Sharon on Samhain.  I could have jumped out on her unexpectedly, or even fitted false vampire teeth.  This would have all have been wasted on her.  Instead I waited until she slipped away to get the little man’s hair cut.  She drove off down the lane in my car, before I turned my socket set on hers.  By the time she returned I was covered in diesel and held a vital component of her precious car ‘Ruby’ in front of her.  This had the desired effect.


She had a worried and skeptical look as she shook her head and muttered something about hoping that I knew what I was doing.  I genuinely believe that she thinks I get all my car maintenance knowledge from youtube videos.  She also pointed out that I am used to working on petrol engines and not diesel engines like her Ruby.  I will admit that, with some details, youtube does help.  However, youtube cannot replace the apprenticeship I had with what I consider to be the greatest engineer in Ireland; my Dad.  I want to laugh in the lovely Sharon’s face and say, “Diesel engines? pppppphhhhh. My dad used to work on diesel engines bigger than our house!  At sea!  In rough weather!”  Instead I reassure her that I am sure I can get it working in the end. Instead, I apply all the tricks and confidence I learned from the greatest engineer in Ireland.  Then I hit a snag.

I thought the hard part was over and all I had to do was put it back together and turn the key.  The problem, to be technical, was that the priming pump wouldn’t prime the fuel filter.  I was seriously considering picking up the phone and having a conference call with the greatest engineer when the lovely Sharon’s own father appeared on the scene.  He arrived for this evening’s pumpkin party and he brought with him some wisdom.  He looked at the problem, pondered it, and proposed priming the priming pump with fuel before using it to prime the fuel filter.  Prime the thing whose job it was to prime? I was now the skeptical one.  I went with it anyway, and it worked perfectly. Later he revealed to me that he was inspired by the need to prime water pumps with water before they drew water from wells; a memory from his childhood.  This is what engineering is all about in my mind; seeing a system, seeing how it works, and applying it in unfamiliar situations.

Once Ruby was purring away with her usual tractor-like sound (she is a diesel) I set about getting ready for the pumpkin party.  The lovely Sharon set herself up in the kitchen while I did manly things, like light fires.  I moved the pumpkins into the orchard and hung pumpkin lights in the trees around a wood pile fire for all our tiny guests to light their sparklers.  We filled ourselves with food, with woodsmoke, with apple pie, and with memories.  We welcomed in the Celtic new year with friends and family, and fun.