You Married Your Best Investment

By Staff

Reprinted with permission from The Stationary Engine

Undoubtedly the best investment any of us men ever made was THE
WIFE. Have you noticed how adaptable she is: for example, after
leaving school/college, she worked in an office, factory, hospital
or trained for some special duty like female S.A.S. or nursinghandy
if we are a bit clumsy with a starting handle or poke our finger,
or some other part of our anatomy, between a nice set of meshing
gears! She gave up all this in order to cater for our every whim
and be an engine enthusiast’s wife, as well as a house-keeper,
and in some instances a mother, in her spare time. So when we men
take up a hobby like engine collecting she is recruited to the arts
of engine painting, cleaning kit, making sandwiches for the lads,
as well as selling the odd engine when a possible buyer calls when
we are at work. She talks about ‘hoppers’ with great aplomb
and knows that a Lister water hopper holds a pint more than her
sink, and an egg will boil in the hopper in 67 minutes if starting
from cold! She buys paint, oil, and the other paraphernalia, at
such times as when we can’t slip out of work funny how she buys
it cheaper than we can, and never forgets the change when old
Joe’s wife comes in to buy his paint. She also finds out that
Joe’s last paint job ‘pickled up’ AND that his engine
caught fire when he started it funny, old Joe never said anything
at the club. Funnier still is that old Joe is booked to give a talk
on painting engines, and safety first at the club soon.

We wonder where the housekeeping money goes and moan when we see
the cost of biscuits for the month. WE EARN the money, yet strange
as it may seem, WE SPEND IT AS WELL! That magneto cost 60 to
overhaul (don’t tell the wife), the crank cost 25 to grind, and
what about that engine you bought from Tony for 120just at a time
when it was agreed not to buy any more. A new pair of shoes for the
wife? ‘Yes, luv, here’s 3, buy yourself a nice scarf as
well.’ What a magnanimous gesture.

What about the engine club: how many of us would go if it were
not held in a pub? ‘We only have a swift half before the
meeting, luv.’ (And two pints at half-time, and a pint after
wards and if we are lucky, we can pop back to Rob’s to see his
Amanco and have a quick half in his kitchen if we are lucky! I
remember giving a talk in Cornwall and the clinking glasses through
the talk sounded like a brass band accompaniment! ‘Yes, luv,
you take your friends out for drink after the bingohere’s

Then there’s the car: it wants an oil change, the radiator
leaks, the brakes are bad, it wants a clean yet ‘I won 1st
prize at Beaulieu, luv, cleanest engine at the show, not a water
leak, and the oil in the lubricators was like new.’ ‘The
car? Oh, yes, I will look at it tomorrow.’ What about the
garden: it wants digging, the gate has fallen down.. .’Yes,
luv, old Joe will do the gate, his woodwork is second to none.’
Later, ‘They loved my trolley at Beaulieu, best woodwork they
had ever seen, won 1st prize again.’ Late, same day, ‘Just
can’t dig the garden, it’s my back.’ Same day,
evening’ Just popping up to old Tom’s. He wants a lift with
his Blackstone.’

‘Go on holiday? I can’t go away in case they want me
back at work at a moment’s notice.’ The postman
arrives’ Oh, here’s a letter from old Angus up in Aberdeen,
he’s found a shed full of engines and wants US to go and have a
look see.’ And then comes the food problem, ‘. . .your
birthday, luv, take you out for a steak or up the chippie, sorry
there’s problems with my ‘pantry hut’ (gut), have to
take it easy.’ The tale is different when our tired rallyist
returns home the next weekend” went back to old Eric’s
after the rally, had chips and egg, soup, ice cream, lemonade, a
few beers, and we even drank the chip fat for a bet! Feeling O.K.?
Of course.’ What about the paper bill ‘Must cut down, luv,
cancel Women’s Own, Lady of Leisure, Lady Penthouse just stick
with the daily papers.’ ‘Oh, I was forgetting, we must have
a cheque for the new religious magazine Sabatical Educator, just
make out the cheque to ‘S.E.’, luv, I’ll post it

Yes this may sound a big joke, but it does contain a subtle
element of truth, there is a vital role for matrimony in the
stationary engine movement. Don’t let’s take our wives for
granted, bring home some fish and chips once a month or take her to
the Chinese or steak house and wives LET ME KNOW IF THEY

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