Eccentricity

technology

Regular readers will know of my fondness for Scrapheap Challenge. Now that the series has finished, my craving for watching people toiling over oily things is being sated by Salvage Squad. The tasks are less endearingly pointless (the antique fireboat they did up last week might come actually come in handy if the Green Goddesses can't cope during a fire strike), but there's enough cursing of awkward flanges and engineering ingenuity to keep me happy. You get the misty-eyed tearfulness of the grateful antique-owner at the end when they see their pride and joy restored to its former glory, and there's Claire: my role model, mistress of steam, and the one who keeps her head when Axel and Jerry are throwing sledgehammers around.

This week's episode had two high points. First was the world-class eccentricity and borderline obsessive tendencies of Steve Jones. Steve, you see, has a bit of a thing about dustcarts and bin rounds. Actually, that's a vast understatement. His house is full of photos of dustcarts, he works on a bin round, and — get this — when he goes on holiday to the Isles of Scilly, he joins in on the bin round without payment. Just for the hell of it. It comes as no surprise at all that he spent a considerable part of one holiday stalking a special ‘Mini-Me' dustcart, designed for the narrow streets, to the landfill site and then bought it when he found out it was going to be scrapped. Not that I'm in any position to pass judgement of the sanity of other people's interests: I read computer manuals for fun.

The second great thing was Claire's stroke of engineering genius. They tried to fit the cab from a full sized dustcart on to their Mini-Me, but the radiator was getting in the way. The men jumped up and down on the cab hoping they could make it fit (the Big Hammer Approach). Then Claire quietly suggested turning the radiator upside down. The others looked at her as if they were dying to say, "Don't be idiotic, woman — what sort of a mad idea is that?", until they realised she was absolutely right: the radiator was designed to be reversible. They flipped it over and the new cab fit like a glove. Woman 5, Men 1 (Axel did pretty well with his hydraulic ram, so he gets a point for that).

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