Thursday, July 31, 2008

Medical Update

It's been another tough day for Sport Boy. I spoke to him this afternoon and asked how he was feeling? His feeble little voice replied with a one word answer that made it abundantly clear how he was: "crap"!
Mrs Holt Press suggested that it would be good if I came up to visit to boost his morale a bit, and to deliver all the things she forgot to bring yesterday! Tape measure, scissors, phone charger etc.
I bought a couple of bags of lollies and a packet of chips for him too and set off for Bunbury.

He was sitting up on the bed when I arrived, his torso stained with red antiseptic paint from the op, his wound visible beneath the plastic dressing, a look of misery on his face.
His first comment was, "Don't make me laugh".
I replied that would be difficult seeing as I'm such an exceptionally funny person but I'd try my best. The grimace that followed was enough to convince me of the need to follow his request assiduously. He was in pain, feeling nauseous and exhausted from a recent trip to the toilet. Walking etc are very uncomfortable and taxing at this stage.

I held his hand and tried to comfort him while Mrs HP took advantage of the team tag to go and buy some credit for her phone. His dinner arrived, chicken nuggets, mashed potato, peas and corn and I cut it up and fed him small mouthfuls. He only managed about 7-8 before he'd had enough. It tasted good but he was too sore and unwell to get any more down.

Mrs HP returned. I went and got the Captain Starlight console and set up a movie for him.
He was watching "Cats and Dogs" when I left. I didn't want to go but I have a volleyball game in ten minutes that I had to get back for.
His last comment broke my heart. "Do you have to go?" "I'll miss you".

I've arranged for three of his school friends to visit him tomorrow after school and I'll sneak in another quick visit before my taxi shift. Hopefully this time tomorrow he'll be feeling a bit better.

Sport Boy Goes Under the Knife

Sport Boy no longer has an appendix.

It was removed sometime between 6.30 and 7.30 this evening.

He did not enjoy the experience.

We got to the hospital in Bunbury about 1.00 this morning and they admitted him shortly after.
It took about an hour before we got settled in a ward, him in a hospital bed, me on a folding stretcher! The pain he'd been experiencing for the last three days was treated with morphine! It had a dramatic effect! It spun poor Sport Boy out and he didn't like it much, but it did reduce the pain and enable him to sleep.

We were awoken this morning by nurses and doctors checking on him, doing the obligatory poking of the belly (his not mine) to the accompanying query, "Does that hurt?"
"Appendicitis" was the unanimous diagnosis, "sign here" (me not him) giving them permission to cut open my little boy and take out the offending piece of anatomy.

I rang work to tell them where I was and I wouldn't be there this morning then called Mrs Holt Press with the news and she packed a bag and headed for Bunbury. She must have got lost or weigh-laid along the way because the 40 minute journey took her two and a half hours. By then it was nearly lunchtime (for me not him, he was fasting pre-op) and I figured as I'd already missed half the day at work I'd stay with the patient for moral support. This was when the projected time for surgery was 2.30.

2.30 came and went, the surgery didn't! I read more of my book and Sport Boy got hungrier and more uncomfortable. He at least had the benefit of Captain Starlight to cheer him up and the use of a game and TV console, also courtesy of Captain Starlight, to keep him occupied. Another little boy in the next bed had had his appendix out on Monday so they shared stories and turns on the Nintendo.

His Dad challenged me to a game of chess. I accepted but was concerned when he explained a couple of rules I'd never heard of before we started. My concern was further increased when I committed a blunder with my second move, losing one of my rooks to his bishop. But I managed to fight back and stave off his attacks, including what I realised was an imminent check-mate with a move that even impressed me with its brilliance and audacity! The tide had turned and I was now on the attack. It was parry and thrust, attack and counter attack, until another fiendishly clever move on my part was followed by a major blunder on his and I had him, check mate!
He challenged me to a rematch but visitors and interruptions conspired against his hopes for revenge and then his appendix-less son was discharged and I remained undefeated chess king of the appendectomy ward!

Meanwhile, back on the surgery front, the latest estimate of theatre time was 4.00pm. Sport Boy was becoming more distressed as the lack of food and drink bit and a headache developed but thankfully some Painstop took the edge off it and he fell asleep. Mum and Walter had called in to visit him enroute to Perth and that cheered him up a little bit.

When he awoke he was hungry, thirsty, in pain and not happy. I felt helpless and distressed myself seeing him in pain. I held his hand and fought back tears then encouraged him to breathe deeply and as he breathed out to relax all the parts of his body that were tensed up. I'm pleased to say this had a calming effect and not long after he fell back to sleep. The latest time estimate for the operation was 7.30pm!
It had been a long day and looked like being a long night.
I read my book, Mrs Holt Press knitted and did cryptic crosswords and we waited...

Finally the good news came, at about 6.15, they were ready for him in the operating theatre.
I kissed him and told him I loved him and they wheeled him off down the corridor, Mrs HP at his side to accompany him to theatre (only one parent allowed!).
I went and got some food for us both and we returned to waiting, reading, knitting, watching TV etc.

He was away a long time, longer than we'd anticipated but finally around 8.15 they said we could go down to the recovery room and bring him back to the ward, although again, only one parent was allowed. This time I went.

When I got there however, Sport Boy was not in good shape, he was distressed and in pain, sweaty and bleeding and not ready to go back to the ward. I tried to encourage him to take the oral pain medication the nurse was trying to administer but he couldn't handle the taste and in the end, despite his protests, he was given more morphine. Again it worked almost instantly, causing him to settle down and become sleepy but it was nearly another hour before they gave him the all clear to return to the ward. His pulse was up and they wanted to get it down a bit but in the end the anaethatist gave the go ahead and he was allowed out of post-op. He was semi-conscious and not in pain and when he got back to the ward fell asleep fairly quickly.
I rang Favourite Daughter and The Hair & Heir to update them on their little brother's progress and they were all relieved and sent their love and prayers.

That was my cue to depart. Mrs Holt Press has clocked on for the night shift, sleeping beside him on the fold out bed. There's another infant in the ward now who is not very happy and crying a lot so I hope for Sport Boy and Mrs HP's sake he has settled down by now and they're able to get some sleep.

SB will be in hospital at least until Friday.

No soccer for a few weeks and no Country Week training but as Country Week itself is not until October he should be well and truly recovered in time for that.

It's been a long night and day and night but the worst of it is over now and hopefully my beautiful little boy will make a swift recovery.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sport Boy Unwell

I'm about to take Sport Boy to the hospital in Bunbury to see a surgeon. We've just been to Busso hospital and the Dr has referred him to Bunbury with suspected appendicitis.
He's been sick since Sunday with constant tummy pain and went to the Dr and the hospital yesterday. Things haven't improved so we're taking the precaution of checking it out at Bunbury.

Sport Boy's greatest concern? The news that if he has to have his appendix out he could miss up to 6 weeks of sport (soccer)!

Let's hope it's not that serious!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Smog Effect?

The Chinese authorities keep insisting that the air in Beijing won't affect the athletes at the Olympics. I'm not so sure!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Day of Rest and Recovery

It was a tough return to taxi driving last night, my first shift since getting back from Melbourne.
I ended up with the all-nighter, not finishing until 6.00am. I slept the last hour of it in a fierce storm at a beach front car park with the car being buffeted by the wind and the waves pounding against the shore. Prior to that my last fare, at about 4.30 was hard yakka, I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open and I was crawling along at about 40km/hr.
Even after sleeping the last hour I could barely stay awake and drove back to the depot at about 30km/hr.
I didn't even stay up long enough to count my takings, I went straight to bed and slept till after 3.00 this arvo.
On the plus side, the long shift was quite profitable and I had three jobs to Dunsborough and one return which is always a bonus.

This afternoon I painted for a while while listening to the footy, watched the episodes of House I missed while I was away and then went into town and bought noodles for the family for dinner.
Seafood Mee Goreng mmmm!!

Yesterday afternoon I repaired and relocated our letter box which has been attacked by vandals a number of times. Hopefully its new location further back from the street will help protect it. Buoyed by completing one domestic task I ambitiously attempted another: replacing the washers in the kitchen! This was not as simple or successful as I'd hoped it would be, with the hot tap refusing to turn on or off after the new washer was inserted. This lead to further ambition: the complete replacement of the hot and cold tap and faucet which has been leaking and in need of attention for a while. I had previously suggested to Mrs Holt Press that perhaps we should swap it for a new post mix tap. I trekked off to Bunnings and purchased a moderately priced piece of plumbing that looked like it would do the trick and returned home, intent on installing it. Let's just say that I have renewed and profound respect for plumbers! The old tap is so inconveniently positioned/attached under the sink it would take a tradesman descended from Harry Houdini to get at it. Unable to undo it from below, I tried attacking it from above, attempting to prise the whole sink up enough to allow access with a large spanner. No good! So, the current staus is: sink in place but not secured, hot tap broken, new taps not attached, temporary replacement installed for hot tap to enable water to be turned back on, plumbers number ready to be called first thing Monday morning.
I feel humbled and chastened that I contemplated such a demanding task, one that was clearly beyond my limited capabilities, in that it required some mechanical aptitude, plumbing skill, and common sense.
Better men than I, like Phil or Birchy would no doubt have finished the job and still had time to write a book or father another child before the day was finished, but lesser mortals like myself, and Broadie, just scratch our heads and marvel at the apparent ease with which these super-men complete such tasks. I blame my genes!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cornerstone V Vasse: A Ripper

It was back into the fray of coaching Sport Boy's soccer team this morning. After the term break the under 11's league have been divided into the Premier League (Top 5 teams) and Championship (bottom 4 teams). We'll play each team once then play off in knockout finals.
Today was the first Premier League game, against Vasse with whom we drew 6-6 early in the season. That game was a classic, today's was the equal or better of it.
Vasse scored three goals in the first half to take a 3-0 lead. Poor goal-keeping and defending on our part got us into trouble although their third goal was a ripper.
We pulled one back before half time to get back some confidence.
I made a couple of changes at half time, swapping the goalie and jiggling the midfield around a little.
We played with much greater fluidity and effectiveness in the second half and withing 10 minutes had equalised. The third goal was one of the best I've evr seen in a kids game, a high cross from Jacob and Daniel headed it in. Eilidh, who is a little timid but tries hard then got on the end of an attacking move and poked the ball in the net. The momentum was with us until another we let in another "soft" goal.
To compound matters, their goalie was on fire, making one great save after another.
But the kids didn't give up. Sport Boy was having a great game and scored one goal and set up another to put us 5-4 in front. The last 10 minutes were very intense with both teams having chances but we finally got the goal to seal the game with another good goal from Eilidh.

Final score 6-4 and both teams received a rousing reception from the parents and coaches at the end of the game.

Cats v Hawks: A Ripper

There's been a 17 week build up to tonight's game between Geelong and Hawthorn and the result lived up to the hype and expectation; it was a thriller, an arm wrestle, a packed house at the MCG, a struggle for supremacy, and the good news is the good guys won. The Cats got up by 11 points.
Late in the 3rd quarter and early in the last the momentum was with the Hawks and they briefly hit the front, but the Cats refused to surrender and fought back, led by the brilliance of Joel Selwood and Jimmy Bartel.
Considering Geelong were without Gary Ablett, Cameron Ling, Darren Milburn, David Wojinski, and lost Paul Chapman to a hamstring injury before half time, it was an even more impressive victory against the team in third place and who are widely tipped to be in the Grand Final.

I broke my usual rule regarding the footy when Geelong are playing. Normally I avoid the radio, the news, the net, or any other source of info that might reveal the result and ruin the game for me until I can watch it on the telly. But with so much riding on this game I just had to listen to it on the ABC, or the first quarter at least. At 1/4 time I decided to leave the radio on until 1/2 time! Similarly at the long break I couldn't bring myself to stop listening and then when it was only 4 points the diff at 3/4 time I just had to know what would happen. I had to put up with the open bias of Parkin and Schwab in the commentary, both Hawthorn men through and through, and their constant complaints and criticism. Gerard Whately is a devout Geelong fan yet his commentating was unbiased and enthusiastic and an example to the rest of how it should be done.

Sport Boy and I were greatly relieved and pleased when the final siren sounded and the Cats had won.

I then went round to Dave's and watched it all over again! It was much more relaxing and enjoyable knowing we would win!

Friday, July 25, 2008

NZ Names

I heard this gem of a news article on Triple J today and I knew you'd want me to share it with you.

A New Zealand magistrate has criticised parents who give their children stupid names and ordered that a young girl's name be changed to prevent her being ridiculed.

Apparently, naming your child "Talulah does the hula from Hawaii" is not cool with the NZ judiciary.

Nor were they impressed with "Midnight Chardonnay", "Violence" or my personal favourite, "No. 16 Bus Shelter".

It's a shame the Kiwi's imaginations aren't matched by their Court's sense of humour.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Close Encounter with the Pope-Mobile

Pope Benedict XVI leaving the welcoming mass at Barangaroo (Bar-n-Guru?) on Thursday last week. Just after he passed me the pope-mobile took off and disappeared out of sight. Despite this swift exit the police saw fit to hold the crowd back for a further 15 minutes to let him get clear as a security precaution. It seemed somewhat unnecessary, we were on foot, he was in a bullet proof car and well on his way.

Today was my first day back at work and I eased into it with some unpacking and decorating, I always collect a bundle of souvenirs when I travel, tickets, badges, maps, cards etc, mementos more than souvenirs. I've taken to collecting metal and enamel pins and badges and came home with a bundle of them from Melbourne and Sydney. I found a stack of them at a second hand store in Brunswick the day before I left.

I bought several hoodie jackets for the family in Melbourne, they are all the rage over there. Favourite Daughter, Sport Boy, The Heir and Mrs Holt Press all like theirs, but to my surprise The Hair wasn't so impressed, "they're gangsta" being his assessment!! The irony is I thought he'd be the most into them!! Sport Boy doesn't mind, he says he'll have them! They're too big for him at the moment so it looks like he'll have a steady supply of jackets for the next few years!
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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Footy Trip Blog Link

For the next couple of weeks you can keep up with my adventures by going to the Melbourne Footy Trip blog.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Bon Voyage

Leaving for Perth now.

Flying to Melbourne tomorrow.


It's Going to 5

The Wimbledon Men's Singles Final has just entered a 5th set after some breath-taking tennis from both players.
Nadal won the first two sets 6-4 6-4 and looked like he was going to depose the king but Fderer fought back, taking the next two sets in tie-breakers 7-6 7-6 saving match points in the process.
It is edge of the seat stuff!
Thank goodness I live in WA where it's only quarter to three in the morning and not in the eastern states where it's approaching 5am!!
And thank goodness I'm on holiday and can sleep in in the morning!

I'm barracking for Federer though I don't really mind who wins. I do wish Nadal would stop pulling his undies out of his bum! If you don't like playing with a wedgie Rafa, don't wear such tight shorts!!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Final

Tonight's the night. The BIG finale. The Final. Only the best are left and now they slug it out to see who is the champion. There's nothing better than seeing supremely fit and super skilled athletes fighting it out for victory. And if you can't be there in person, the next best thing is watching it on the TV from the comfort of your lounge room, Vanilla Diet Coke in one hand and remote in the other! That's where I am right now, enjoying the contest and the spectacle.
Sport Boy is with me, barracking for his favourite.
We've watched their progress through the rounds, their victories in the semi-finals, and now they face off in the biggest final of all!

The big question is, can they overcome Amazon, Viper, Tank and Thunder in the race to The Eliminator?

Yes, it's Grand Final night on Gladiators!!!!

Oh, and later tonight Roger Federer plays Rafael Nadal in the men's singles final in his attempt to win an unprecedented 6th successive Wimbledon title!!

Cam Comes Through

I knew I could rely on Holt Press readers, who are, it goes without saying, a class above the average blog reader! I set a challenge and within 24 hours Cam had texted me with another word that fits the requirements, ie. a word with the same vowel pronounced three different ways. And the word he suggested is: yesteryear. Nice work Cam.
You've won a year's free subscription to Holt Press.

I slept in today, not because I had to, but just because I could! Oh the joy of weekends and holidays!

I spent the afternoon tidying up papers on my desk while watching episodes of The West Wing on the computer, then delivering The Hair and two friends to Dunsborough for Zac W's birthday party/sleepover. They are sleeping in a shed. It's very cold in this region at the moment. Draw your own conclusions.

The rest of the night was spent driving the taxi, my last shift before going to Melbourne on Tuesday.
We had very sad news tonight that one of our regular drivers, Leggy, died suddenly yesterday, at the age of just 52! We are all a bit stunned at the news.
His funeral is on Friday but I won't be able to attend because of the Melbourne trip.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Cats Crush Crows

The Cats rolled on in their quest for consecutive premierships tonight with a 68 point win against the Crows at AAMI Stadium. Sport Boy and I went round to watch it at Dave's, even though Dave wasn't home. He went to Mandurah for the night but gave me a key this arvo so we could get in. "You and Mr S____ must be good friends for him to give you the keys to his house" said Sport Boy! True enough.

Geelong have won their last 8 interstate games and 32 of their last 34 games. They are starting to peak as we move toward the business end of the season.

I look forward to going to their next two games, in Geelong, especially the round 16 clash with the Western Bulldogs who are second on the ladder.

The school term is over, the holidays have begun!

The countdown to Tuesday is well and truly on now.

I rang Mum with a tempting offer this arvo. Virgin are offering return airfares from Perth to Los Angeles for $1234, the best price I've heard of in a long time! She was tempted but said it was unlikely given Walter's health at the moment.

I'm sorely tempted myself!! The fares are for travel in April-May next year. I've wanted to go back and visit some good friends in California for a long time. But, we've got financial commitments to deal with that mean we can't afford it at the moment.

Not unless we win Lotto, and considering I don't buy Lotto tickets, that's fairly unlikely.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Friday on my Mind

Fridays always feel good, the end of the working week, the start of the weekend.

And the last Friday of the term feels even better! Two weeks of "freedom" coming up.

And the last Friday of term when you're about to go on a trip to Melbourne for a feast of football?
It doesn't get much better than that!!

Throw in Friday night football when your team is playing and you don't have to work, woohoo!
The Cats play the Crows tomorrow night and I'm going round to Dave's to watch it.

You may have noticed I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

Talking of tomorrow, as I was walking back from Priceys with my two bread rolls for lunch today I was thinking about the word "tomorrow" and realised it is unusual. Maybe even unique?
That's what I'm about to ask you readers to establish, or refute.

What makes it so different?

It's the only word I could think of that contains the same vowel three times with the said vowel being pronounced differently each time.
ie. to with an oo, morr with an o (for orange), ow with an O (for Oklahoma).

There may be others but I haven't thought of any.

So, there's your task dear readers, see if you can think of another word with the same characteristic, ie. the same vowel pronounced three different ways in the one word.

We won volleyball tonight in a one-sided game that was hard to stay motivated in, but I do applaud the name of the other team, one of the cleverest I've ever heard of, they are called "Safe Sets"!

Favourite Daughter
It's a very exciting time for Favourite Daughter as she prepares to move to Perth to study at Tabor College for the next six months. There is a lot to organise and she was feeling a little overwhelmed by it all last night so Mrs Holt Press and I prayed for her. One of the items on her list was getting a pair of glasses. She's been wearing contact lenses for a few years but they've been troubling a bit recently and they are expensive to replenish every few months. Today she went into an OPSM store just to have a look and to her delight discovered they were having a 50% sale on glasses, and combined with the benefits from our private health cover, the glasses only cost her $180 instead of the full price of $480! One less thing to be anxious about.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

State of Origin

I've just watched Queensland beat NSW to win the State of Origin series for the third year in a row. It was a typically tough and bruising game, with the Cockroaches probably having the better of it but not getting the points on the board. I don't particularly like rugby league but always enjoy watching the State of Origin series, it is played at such an intense level and the quality is always well above that of a standard league game. In fact, one day I'd really like to go to a State of Origin decider. In the absence of Aussie Rules I actually played a few games of league for Rosewood, the little country town in Queensland where I lived for 3 years, which is why I barrack for the Maroons.

The Kite Runner

I've just watched a stunning film, The Kite Runner, a story of two childhood friends in Kabul and what happens to them before, during and after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan and the rise of the Taliban. It is both beautiful and heart-wrenching, inspiring and depressing. It is a story of loyalty, betrayal and the search for redemption, and the importance of family.

I haven't read the book so didn't know anything about the story but with close friends Phil and Julie back working in Kabul have more than a passing interest in all things Afghanistan.

It is not a film for the feint hearted but it is brilliant none-the-less.
One memorable line talks about stealing:

There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft... When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Mercedes Dilemma

On Thursday I was due to take a group of 5 kids, including The Hair, to Bunbury for a World Vision Global Leadership Convention. Neither of our cars can carry more than 5 people so I needed a car with greater carrying capacity.
Stu has a Kia Carnival people mover but when I asked if I could borrow it said he didn't think it would make it to Bunbury and back!!(A distance of 50km!) He unnecessarily added, "Don't ever buy a Kia"!
He suggested I ask Ozzy who has a 7 seater Mercedes and is known to be a generous man.
(I borrowed his truck when we moved into this house.)
Ozzy was in Perth when I rang but readily agreed to let me use the Merc and rang Jo to tell her I'd be around to pick it up later.

When I arrived to collect it Jo said "Its pretty straight forward, no tricks you need to know to drive it".
OK I thought, I've driven plenty of cars in my life, this should be easy enough.
Do you sense a story of under-preparedness and over-confidence coming on?
You should.
I should have suspected things would not be straight-forward when I went to put the key in the ignition and it wasn't there! The ignition that is.
A short search turned it up on the wrong side of the steering wheel, not the right side where it should be.
Fair enough, at least I found it, and the car started when I turned the key. But only the first time. When I stalled it it wouldn't restart until I turned it off completely and tried again. A little idiosyncratic but still not a big problem. We were under way.
Then I noticed the brake light on the dashboard was on, suggesting that the handbrake was still engaged.
Then I noticed it didn't have a hand brake!!
Not on the floor.
Not on the right.
Not on the left.
Not under the dashboard.
Not anywhere!!
There was a strange looking lever jammed tight down beside the seat but no matter how hard I pulled it nothing happened. Then I noticed a strange extra little pedal on the far left, well beyond and above where a clutch pedal would be if it weren't an automatic.
With nothing left to try I pushed it and it seemed to engage in a way similar to a hand brake.
Next problem, how to disengage it? Pushing it didn't unlock it.
Hooking my foot beneath it and pulling refused to budge it. If it was the hand brake it was now stuck on.
Then I tried the little handle labelled P (which I thought was the petrol cap cover release, but more of that later!) beneath the light switch and lo and behold, the little pedal snapped back out. I repeated the process to check it hadn't been a fluke and the same thing happened.
Fancy that, a foot operated hand brake!
But! The brake light did not go off!!
Deciding to ignore the light. I headed for the school to pick up the kids, if a burning smell occurred I'd investigate further, otherwise, we needed to get going.
Kids aboard we set out for Bunbury.
Trying the radio I discovered it would not pick up FM and there was no CD playyer so the kids were condemned to listening to ABC AM, which could only be tuned in by the most unusual tuning "dial" I've ever seen. It was a little rubber "conveyor belt" you have to manipulate until you find the station you're after. The volume on the other side worked the same way!
Just after we passed the petrol station I looked at the fuel gauge and saw it was very low.
In my own car I'd have known if it would make it to Bunbury on that amount of fuel, but in a strange car, that was already causing me concern concern and knowing there was no other fuel available until Bunbury, I decided caution was called for and doubled back to the servo.
That's when things started to bet really surreal!
I began looking for a release switch for the fuel cap which as you can see has no key hole.
There wasn't one!
I was tempted to try the same P labelled handle that had released the hand (foot) brake seeing as it felt much the same as a typical fuel release catch when I pulled it.
Perhaps German engineering had given it a dual function I mused somewhat illogically!
That didn't work.
I got out and got down on my hands and knees and hunted high and low for something that wouldn't open the fuel cap cover.
No good! Nothing.
Feeling slightly awkward and self-conscious in front of a group of kids I didn't know, all my "non-mechanical self image demons " came to taunt me!
With no idea what to do, and time ticking away, I did what any sensible man would do.
No I didn't swear and kick the car.
I rang for help.
Not having Jo's number, I rang Ozzy and explained my predicament.
With admirable self-restraint and patience he explained that all I had to do was push on the fuel cap cover and it would swing open!!!!!!!
I had been aiming way too high, expecting something mechanical, or electronic, or sensible!!
It never occurred to me to try force!!
While I had him on the phone I asked about the brake light.
"Oh yeah, that stays on, I don't know why, the hand (foot) brake doesn't work, but the light won't go off" !!!!
Great, at least I'd solved that riddle!
Finally, with petrol in the tank we were on our way. The Hair's favourite part of the car was the rear facing back seats where he and Emily sat, chuckling away as they read a Far Side book.
The rest of the journey passed without mishap!
PS. When I arrived at the school to pick up the 5 kids only four showed up!!!!!!!!!!!