Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Some things are sent to try us...

... and, oh boy, don't they just?

At the weekend a stone hit the car and chipped the windscreen. Yesterday I called the freecall number to the insurance windscreen glass repairer and made an appointment for the repair to be made at home this afternoon. All good so far.

After I had made the appointment I thought I would take the car out and nip to the post office, the library and run a few domestic errands. This is where the fun started. The steering wheel lock was well and truly on. What's more, it did not want to come off despite my best efforts. I couldn't get out of the drive, let alone go anywhere. I called the local Nissan dealer for advice. 'Try jiggling the key in the ignition and the steering wheel at the same time,' they said. I did so. It remained stubbornly locked. I looked through the handbook. There was no mention of the steering lock. According to Nissan the car hadn't got one. Sigh. I jiggled some more. No, it did not want to play.

I looked through the warranty book that came with the car when we bought it a few months ago. It mentioned the RAC so I looked for the number, secure in the knowledge that we had breakdown cover that came with the car. No number anywhere. I called the dealer thinking I just could not find the number. Guess what? It was an optional extra, not mentioned to us at the time, and we have not got it.

By now I am getting a little cross. I called the insurance company and arranged breakdown cover over the 'phone. 'This takes three days to set up,' the clerk helpfully told me. I fumed. I certainly could not wait for three days for the car to be released. I therefore sat inside and jiggled some more. Over an hour of jiggling and it suddenly released. HURRAH! With my blood pressure considerably raised, off I went on my chores.

This afternoon surfer and PADI Diver Craig turned up from National Windscreen Repairs. I watched,
fascinated, as he drilled and filled the chip. Soon it was good as new. It really is amazing that the windscreen is now stronger than it was before and the mark that the stone left is no more. Fantastic, and really good service from the repair company. Thanks Craig.

Then I tried to start the car. Dead. Craig was still filling out the paperwork and I had jump leads, so we thought that we would push the car out on to the road and connect his van to the Nissan. But, (yes, of course there is always a 'but' in a story like this) the car was too heavy to move. Luckily Michael across the road was just coming home. Soon he was pushing too but this time the car, an automatic, would not go into neutral so we could move it. ARRRRRRGH!

'I have a trickle charger. We could use that,' said Michael. While he went to get it, Craig left for his next job. Bless him, he did not have to help and I am really pleased that he did what he could. Thanks Craig.

Back to the charger. It did not want to work with the battery still on the car and I could not find a spanner to take the battery off. I felt very old. Michael once more came to the rescue by nipping home and coming back with a set of very useful looking tools. As I write the battery is now trickle charging. Fingers crossed it will start the car later on.

Have you ever felt that the odds were against you? That is how I feel these last few days. Yes, things are sent to try us and by golly, they do indeed! I'm just glad that we have good neighbours. My heartfelt thanks to Michael, who has saved the day.


Rob Innis said...

What a day you have had! Cars are fine until they go wrong - always at the wrong time. I learnt this week it is unwise to pressure wash your wheels as it can (and did) upset the valve which equals a flat tyre.
Don't get caught by that one (like I did)

Simon Whaley said...

This dropped into my inbox, just as I got back from dropping my car off at the garage for it's annual service!

Living on a hill, I've asked the garage to adjust the handbrake for me because it isn't always holding the car when it's parked out on the street. "It'll be another £30 on top of the service," he says. Hmmm. Tough choice - spend £30 to get handbrake sorted, or wait until I find car in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the road one morning? What would you do? Then he mentions, "Oh, I see this is the car's 4th service. We would recommend that the brake fluid is changed every 2 years, so it's due to be changed again. The fluid can deteriorate over time, but it'll cost another £25 on top of the service."

Don't you feel caught over a barrel? I mean, those brakey things cars have come in handy from time to time don't they? At the end of the day it is nice to be able to stop the vehicle you happen to be driving. Ohwell, let's see how much change I get out of £300 at the end of the day. Better sell an article then!

Penny Legg said...

Crumbs, you two!

Simon, what a pain but you must have brakes! I had a mental image of your car at the bottom of the hill in a crumpled heap....

Rob, now that is a first! Deflating your tyres without using your hands!

Seriously though, in this day and age, we really rely on our cars and miss them when we don't have the use of them. I am keeping my fingers well and truly crossed for all three of us that nothing else happens to our precious vehicles!