Saturday, May 08, 2010

Twists and turns in language, life, love and loss

Image: A Rolls-Royce 20/25 - courtesy

WITH great respect for the vast majority of our loyal readers, newspapers have long suffered from the very small minority of 'difficult customers'. Whether they are forever dropping in on deadline day to discuss the twists and turns of their pet interests or back again with a complaint about this or that, we try to always be courteous, politely answer their needs and get back to business. Sometimes this is not enough and things get a bit tense or even heated. One of my editors way back dubbed them 'serial pests'; we love to hate them, or should that be vice versa?

SO when an associate, reading aloud during a recent browse of the Classified muttered, "crank ... lost", I thought tempers had flared and wondered if a crank had 'lost it' in the foyer. This was far from the meaning of the Lost & Found notice under scrutiny. Who would expect, in year 2010, to read about the loss of a vehicle crank handle?

RETIRED engineer Rob Gabb, now on holiday at Evans Head, is still lamenting the sad event of April 13, when he took his 1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 on the first trial run after years of restoration. "I inadvertently left the crank handle in place and I heard it fall out but in the five or 10 minutes it took me to turn around and get back there someone must have picked it up," Rob said. This all happened between Long and South Streets, east of Bloomfield Street on Tuesday, April 13.

THE handle is quite a miniature for a car that is classified as a 'limousine saloon' - it is only about 100 millimetres long. Rob at least can still start his beloved 20/25, on which he has worked "seven days a week" for three and a half years. "The car has a dual ignition system so it also has an electric starter," he said. "Rolls-Royce always said their cars 'should never fail to proceed'. "I bought it from a chap who acquired it with a property. It had been under the house for more than 20 years. It was a mess. The engine was full of water ... all the woodwork was rotten. I needed to get a new cylinder head and other parts from England. It has been a major project."

ROB says the car is now ready for the finishing touches and he will soon take it to a trimmer to get new leather upholstery. "A bloke in England is looking for another crank handle for me -- they are hard to find," he said.The 20/25 has a garage-mate at Rob's Princess Street, Cleveland home -- another 'Roller', a 1926 Super Sports. Ron certainly has been busy on his labours of love in the decade since he took down his electrical consultant's sign at Cleveland House and 'retired'.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Queensland, Australia.

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