Finished work three villages away and was cruising home along a pretty straightforward and easy road when I heard the dam sirens going off. These are the big WOOOOOO WOOOOOOO WOOOOOOO sounding sirens that go off when they are letting water out of the dams up the mountain.
Ahhhh the dam sirens....
It hasn't rained in over a week.
It's not snowmelt season.
And come to think of it I wasn't actually driving anywhere near the river so why on earth would I be able to hear the sirens??
I closed my window to see if it was something environmental or mechanical....
The noise was just as loud....
I checked for warning lights on the dash.
Checked the completely-mysterious-to-me second gear stick thing that goes into weird gears like 4L or something in case I had knocked it out of its correct position and into something called 'dam siren gear'.
I had no recollection whatsoever what the normal setting for mysterious-to-me second gearstick is.
Checked the dash for the umpteenth time. K had warned me gravely that running out of petrol in a diesel engine would be catastrophic to journey, engine and bank balance.
Nope. Still had a 1/4 tank.
Sheesh!! The car was hot.
As in the temperature needle was not near H.
Not even on H.
It was beyond H.
Pulled over immediately into an unnamed gravel patch/ carpark. (Yeah for country roads with random carparks!)
Fabulous white night K left work, picked the girls up form afterschool care and met me at the gravel patch.
(I had put my hazard lights on and raised the bonnet while waiting for K just to make sure people realised I wasn't setting up camp.)
It is a little known fact that I took automotive technology in Grade 10.
It was a rather pitiful attempt at educational rebellion when the student advisor told me I couldn't study all Arts subjects and suggested Chemistry or Biology as a science requirement.
Automotive technology seemed far less likely to distract me from English Literature and Japanese.
Anyway, all that is to say that I have six months of formal study in all things automotive under my belt.
Well, almost. The Auto tech teacher was not actually all that pleased to have me in the class full of farm boys building cars in their sheds and wannabe revheads.
I spent a lot of time cleaning sparkplugs and drawing and labeling pictures of engines from different makes of car the school owned while my classmates excelled at speaking in an impenatrable automotive language with the teacher, speaking knowledgably about mysterious mechanical whatnots they removed and replaced from a variety of engines (without my inevitable bunch of extra parts) and drooled over pictures of hotted up cars.
Nevertheless, glossing over the details of my undeniable formal automotive training I took the opportunity while waiting for K to peer under the bonnet.
No obvious missing parts...
I remembered being a really little kid and watching my dad taking the kettle out and using a towel to open an overheated radiator cap and ducking the steam to refill the radiator.
Found the radiator cap.
(In a different place than I remember from my diagrams. Bloody useless automotive tech training.)
Big warning on it: DO NOT OPEN WHEN HOT.
(Stupidly) touched radiator cap.
Pondered stupidity while sucking on burnt fingers. Well, I was ale to conclude one thing anyway. Whatever was wrong with the car it wasn't the temperature gauge.
K arrived eventually and told me we (21st century? double income?) Fukases don't put water in our radiators.
(and after I'd found an ancient bottle of water in the back of the car and all.)
We use some evil looking fluoro green coolant stuff.
Unfortunately (for the car anyway!) I don't drink that so there was none in the car and we inched to the neighbouring village gym carpark where we left the car and headed home (in the other car.)
And today, before we headed out to the car supermarket (in the other car) to buy evil green stuff to pump into (the sick) car to get it to the mechanic I was talking to Dad on skype and telling him about our woes.
"It was making this really weird dam siren noise."
"That's your water pump."
And what do you know, a few hours later (after we had driven about 2 kilometres through town with an evil green trail literally pouring out behind us.) the mechanic took one look inside the bonnet and pronounced:
Not only is my dad not a mechanic he lives on a mountainless, damless island. I think, if he's heard dam sirens before it was in Japan two years ago.
Freaky car ESP or what, huh?
So, I'd like to introduce my new business venture- "Heather's dad's skype car consultations." I think it's a goer, hey?