Bits and pieces

I miss my truck. Well, it was not mine. It was the company vehicle assigned to me at my last job in Zimbabwe before I emigrated. As trucks go, it was comfortable, and had a 2.7-litre engine. What I loved most was that it was useful.

I could have done with that truck the other morning when I chanced upon a large, discarded pallet (1.75 x 1.15 m) at the community centre. I got permission to cart it away. After struggling to load it into my Opel Corsa hatchback, I had to admit that the pallet was, in fact, about 15 cm too wide to fit into my vehicle.

Oh, but I wanted that pallet! I had to come up with a plan.

One option would have been to drag it the 500 metres or so from the community centre to my home. The best way to do that would have been to attach the two ends of a rope to two of the corners of the pallet, and pull it, harness-like. The narrowness of the road (and the impossibility of moving out of the way fast enough for any oncoming traffic put me off the idea.

It also triggered an unpleasant memory of hockey training back in 1981 during which we had to ‘sprint’ back and forth repeatedly until exhausted across the width of the hockey pitch with one end of a rope tied around our waist and the other around an old car tyre trailing behind us flat on its side and kicking up dust. I was hardly going to re-enact the most primitive form of strength training I have ever experienced—36 years later and in public! Besides which, I left my trusty length of all-purpose rope behind in Zimbabwe eight years ago. A plan doomed from the start, I would say.

I had a hair appointment in the early afternoon, so I loaded my little car with the necessary tools before I left home. Once I had my lovely new hair cut, I made a beeline for the community centre car park where I had left the large pallet, and parked at the far end, out of the way. I dragged the heavy pallet to a spot between my car and a convenient lamp post. Sadly, I did not dare use my brand new splitting wedge and hammer to take the pallet apart, for this would have made far too much noise and attracted far too much negative attention.

I took out my saw, and sawed through eight planks to make the pallet about 15 cm narrower. Excellent! The resultant post would be perfect to support the heaviest branch of the pomegranate tree, now bereft of fruit and leaves: perfect timing.

To say that the pallet now fitted well into my car is perhaps somewhat of an exaggeration:

As you can see, once I had loaded the pallet and its sawn-off longitudinal edge (pictured here beneath the pallet in both images), there was precious little space for me, the driver. By the way, the broom handle in the left image does a much better job of propping up the boot-lid than the dysfunctional hydraulic arm which used to be there.

I drove home, triumphant, with one hand on the steering wheel, and the other covering the sharp end of the protruding plank less than a hand span from my nose. Imprudent, perhaps, but I arrived home without incident.

It was Saturday today. I have been busy with my splitting wedge (on two other pallets), and saw, and hammer and nails. You will have to wait to see the final outcome, but in the meantime, I can show you part of the mess I have made mid-project, so to speak:


I will deal with the large pallet tomorrow, inter alia, as they say in academic texts.

©2017 Allison Wright

3 thoughts on “Bits and pieces

Add yours

    1. There are indeed termites in Portugal, but they do not seem to be as aggressive as their African cousins. The one pallet I am using has been quite near an ant’s nest for months, and shows no discernible damage.


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