Sunday, 7 February 2010
A good book
Not the good book - although this could well become my bible - nor a book to read on the train, but an amazing gift from a fellow boater, whom I had never met or even communicated with before but who had heard that I had acquired Chertsey complete with the mythical beast the PD2, and who happened to have an Operators Handbook looking for a good home. Isn't that wonderful.
And the book is wonderful too. Not just because it's a detailed guide to everything you could possibly need to know about maintaining the engine, but because of the way it's written and illustrated. Decades before we started worrying about 'accessability' and 'plain English' this booklet is beautifully written, in delightfully straightforward and friendly style. It is packed with a level of detail that manufacturers would not dare provide today - and anyway, there'd be no point, because these days no-one can do their own repairs and maintenance because of the high tech and computerised nature of everything.
Somewhat xenophobically, perhaps, it is wonderfully refreshing that it is written entirely in English - you don't have to wade through a dozen different language versions every time you lose your place. And it's not xenophobic really - I bet Petters produced manuals in a range of languages - the difference being that they produced a separate one for each market rather than cutting costs by foisting the same multilingual one on everyone.
But best of all perhaps are the diagrams; every part illustrated in beautiful and stunningly clear detail and the wonderful thing is to realise that these weren't done on a computer; every single line was drawn by someone sitting at a drawing board; every line of shading deliberately added to make the drawing's message clearer. The trouble and the skill that went into them, dozens for this booklet alone, is awe-inspiring.
You can rest assured that this won't be going anywhere near Chertsey's engine hole. With a disregard for copyright that is most unlike me, I have phoptocopied the entire thing and am about to slip the copies into one of those display folders where each page is enclosed in plastic, and put the treasured original back in my Chertsey scrapbook. I'm sure they wouldn't mind. And maybe, one day, I'll be passing it on to someone else.