Friday, 12 October 2007

Ritkis, the Mechanic

Today has been a good day. Joe had the day off and we were going to go across to St Martin to the Mitsubishi Dealership there to talk to them about our wing mirror.

I should explain that we have an ancient and much loved Pajero which we imported from Japan to Bangladesh and then exported to Anguilla where she has been giving reasonably reliable service for the last two and a half years. A short while ago Joe was driving along and a large stone hit the driver’s side wing mirror, smashing it and showering him in slithers of glass through the open window.

We could not find a replacement wing mirror here on Anguilla, on St Martin or in the US so ordered one at great expense in the UK and our son, Thomas, brought it out with him when he came to visit recently. Joe immediately went to change it and that is when the fun started.

The supports the mirror sits on came off the car easily enough but that was the only thing that could be called easy about the whole endeavour. Quite simply, the screw holding the supporting bar was rusted into place and NOTHING was going to shift it. What should have been a five minute job to take the assembly apart and insert the new mirror has taken weeks to fix as a succession of people have tried to undo it for us. Joe tried of course, with good old WD40 and took our friend Colin’s advice, (he’s a retired engineer) to try soaking it in vinegar but it was not going to move. Others tried and failed and eventually the screw looked like it had been through a grinder. So, today was to be the trip to St Martin to the dealer to see if he could help.

On the way to the ferry in our other car, an-almost-as-old-but-not-quite Suzuki Escudo, I got fed up with its steering which has been getting noisy of late. This has been looked at by a mechanic and pronounced ok but it creaks as it goes around corners and occasionally gets very heavy to handle. To us, these are all signs that the power steering is ailing and should be fixed. On the spur of the moment, I turned into the Suzuki dealer and car hire establishment in The Valley and asked the staff there if their mechanic could have a look at our Suzuki. We were directed to their workshop where we met Ritkis, the Suzuki mechanic.

This gentleman, hot and dirty, intelligent and smiling, cheerfully made an appointment for the car to be brought in next Wednesday and then looked at the carrier bag Joe held. Inside it was the Pajero mirror.

Well reader, now we have a pair of wing mirrors on the car and did not have to trek to St Martin in the hope that we could get it sorted out. Ritkis drilled and pulled and soon the assembly was apart, the mirror replaced and the whole put together again. He was clearly up to his ears in work but he found the time to do this for us. Bless him.

I look forward to seeing what he can do for the Escudo. We both have our fingers crossed.

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