I met my friend who I affectionately dubbed Yoda, coming on 8 Years. His wife introduced us. Yoda was a classic mini enthusiast who had rallied them many years prior. He looked over my 1976 Leyland Clubman and gave me a comprehensive list of things that needed fixing. To which he said “but I only had a quick look”. With my list in hand and NFI how to fix any of it, I sheepishly asked if he could help me. He quickly became my go to for EVERYTHING mini related and despite us always coming to a fair price negotiation on all work completed, I always have felt I could never repay him. His wealth of knowledge and ability was far superior to anything I could offer in return. I felt I had no transferable skills that I could use in a barter system. The best I thought I could do was outsource my mechanical fitter husband on demand.
From the first time I met Yoda he had an early girl mini shell in his shed that he was going to build. When I tornadoed into his life his focus shifted towards my Yellow Terror, and work stalled on his. Offering to repay some of my debt I would head up on weekends to help in what little way I could sometimes in a ‘hold this’ capacity. My small and nimble hands came in handy for those hard to reach wiring jobs behind the modified dash that no one enjoyed doing. Other times I feel we both just enjoyed the company as my mechanical knowledge hasn’t grown over our time together and I still have the same confused look my face when he speaks of carburetors and crank shafts, reinforcing my belief that my skill sets held little merit.
Work on the early girl was all but complete. We watched Youtube clips on how to install windows and both agreed the string method was the way to go and to our surprise we successfully installed two windscreens with only minimal cursing. It is amazing how much difference windscreens make to a car.
Next the window seal chrome strip fillers, a full day in the shed and with absolutely no success. The tool was a waste of money we concluded walking away beaten. Months passed and Yoda had her up and running in the driveway. The only job left standing in the way of a blue slip, those dam filler strips. Coincidentally, I had picked up a heater for my mini and got to talking to the seller about the chrome strips. He claimed he had installed 10 windscreens using the same tool we had. Hope was reignited and I called Yoda telling him to clear his schedule on Sunday, that I was coming up and I was going to make them ‘my bitch’. Sunday came. Everyone could see the confidence in my step. We got out to the shed got the tool ready, some soap suds for extra lubricant, chrome strip in hand, hope in my eyes and …. Nothing. Kane and Yoda spoke of how to modify the tool, and further research was required. I left beat but not beaten. I spent some time reviewing a few Youtube clips and pinpointed our problem. The tool came with a set of 4 heads and the advice given on the site was incorrect. We were using the wrong head! I messaged Yoda, I was coming back.
When I arrived Yoda was in his lounge room. He wasn’t convinced but humoured me anyway. A quick change of the head and within minutes the filler strip was going in, a little pressure was needed and 45mins later the back windscreen was complete! We tried to do the front which was meant to be easier, but it kept popping out. Happy with our progress Yoda said ‘don’t take this the wrong way Butch but well done’. A smile beamed across my face and I was proud. 2 days later I out sourced Kane to come up while I was at work and I get a phone call boasting it took 15 mins.
Turns out my tenaciousness and ability to outsource does have its place and sometimes what we take for granted is actually worth something to another. We all have these skills we just don’t always identify them until someone else points them out to us.