John's been thinking of some funny episodes which may bring back some memories.
Sam the workshop dog trying to be helpful.
I remember the time when I was working under one of Sundowner’s buses and was dropping a propshaft. I was lying on my back and had placed the pile of nuts and bolts within arms reach as I removed them. I held the shaft up again to replace it and put out my hand to retrieve the nuts and bolts. I felt everywhere, but for some unknown reason they were nowhere to be found. I had to drop the shaft again, pull myself out from under the bus and noticed that they had all completely disappeared.
I initially thought that one of you ‘Jokers’ were playing a trick on me. We searched everywhere in the workshop and later found them across the far side of the workshop in a small pile under another bus.
Dear old Sam was sitting nearby looking very pleased with herself. I guess she thought she was helping me!!
Norm never really got on with Sam though. I remember him crawling under a bus and quickly crawling back out shouting “AH this fuck’n dog shit under the buses” and Gordon retorting in his usual unsympathetic manner “Well - she’s got to go somewhere”.
Medium not Course
What about the time when I had just rebuilt an old Sundowners bus and was mostly finished but hadn’t replaced the engine cover which was at the front next to the driver’s seat. One of their brainless drivers (of which there were many at Sundowners) decided to sweep out the gangway and thought the hole in the floor around the engine a handy place to sweep all the shit and crap.
I came back to pick up all my tools and noticed that one of my pin punches were missing. I looked into the engine and saw piles of shit and rubbish and bits of old dried food and wrappers all over it, jammed in every nook and cranny. My eyes were drawn to the air intake which looked very vulnerable and inviting, almost asking for any hard steel scraps to be swallowed. I thought ‘Oh no surely not’ I mentioned it to some of the lads and they all thought it would have been a tad unlucky if it had gone down there. We looked inside as far as we could but decided to give it a go. Over went the engine only to stop in a violent BANG!!!
My worst fears had been realised. When I again looked in I could see a small piece of red paint the same colour as was on the punch. As the bus was going out the next morning we had to remove the cylinder head that night. As we lifted it off I could see the pin punch firmly jammed between the inlet valve and the seat. Norm pulled out the valve and noticed that there was an exact copy of the knurled punch shaft recreated right across the valve seat.
Norm being Norm grabbed a huge screwdriver and hammer, and began smashing away trying to cut a new seat in the head – as you do!!!
He hadn’t actually done a bad job considering, and asked me to get some grinding paste toot-sweet. I went into the store area and grabbed a tin of paste and handed it to him – he looked at it and said “I think some medium would be better than course” I said to him, "Norm – you have just dug out a seat with a fuckin’ hammer and screwdriver and you’re telling me you want a finer grade of paste"!!! We all cracked up - even Norm.