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DRIES

23 October 2012, 11:58
DRIESDRIES was not his name but a pseudonym . Of all the things in  life that washes up on its beaches,  Dries was the best by far.  He started his apprenticeship in 1965 on the Railways and turned out to be one of the best artisans that the Railways produced. Dries was highly intelligent and sorted out most problems that may occur, in a jiffy, and hence popular with the lesser artisans and apprentices.     

One morning Dries was called to a harbour tug to repair the motor of that little window on the windscreen. This circular piece of glass spins at a high speed to throw off any sea water which may accumulate on it and hence clear the view outside, for the navigator. The motor is about the same size as the motor of a standard domestic fan and difficult to obtain.  Dries arrives on the job laden with a bag of tools and removes the motor from its mounting, tests it and throws it into the sea,  The foreman went ballistic.     A used spare motor was located and found to be faulty too. Two appies were summonsed to strip and repair the motor.

Dries assisted the appies and due to the accumulation of dirt benzene was used as a solvent. Later it sounded like a party with Dries and the appies intoxicated by the fumes. They got the motor going and Dries installed it.    

 Dries had a huge bike and drove around the harbour area like a maniac giving others lifts etc. Usually after hours. Until the railway cops kindly asked him to leave the railway area.      Dries decided that his bike did not have enough woema and something had to be done about it. He stripped off the cylinder heads and climed into the job mainly with a Vernier and wrote all the data down. So much was to be skimmed of the heads and so much of the cylinders. A cutting tool was devised to skim the heads using a pedestal drilling machine. The results were perfect. The motor was re-assembled and a setting here and a setting there and it sprang into life. Now for the test run: when Dries pulled away the front wheel lifted off the ground and he had to hang on for dear life.

The bike almost became airborne, like a horse out of control. After the test runs Dries with his swashbuckling humour, asked if there was anyone who wanted a lift.  Dead silence.      A few weeks later Dries claimed there is too much woema in his bike and now wants to make a super bike. At the time I was driving a Colt 1100 bakkie. Dries asked if I will take him to the railway hostel at lunch time as he wanted to collect something there. No problem.    

 One of the other artisans smashed his 1100 colt gallant sedan and our friend Dries had shares in the engine. During the lunch hour we loaded the engine and brought it to work. Bit illegal but Dries could talk his way out of any corner.. The idea was to replace the bike engine with the colt engine.     Soon after I left the railways and so did Dries. Some years later I heard he died in a motorcycle accident   

R.I.P.   DRIES

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