As a rule we don’t name our vehicles in my household. They merely get referred to as “the car” or “the bike”. After all it is impossible to get them confused so why bother being more personal?
“The car”, however, has now earnt the moniker “Christine”.
Yes, as in the film.
Karen, the kids and I were on holiday last week. We had lot of plans to visit people and places. To see the country. To travel. The weather was set to be good. Things were looking up. We just had to get the car through the MOT.
Christine decided to malfunction the day before the MOT. A big overheating problem. However, we managed to limp her to the Peugeot garage for her MOT.
They rang back fairly quickly. The head gasket had “gone”. I don’t know where it had gone, ‘cos it was there last time we looked, but it had gone.
Annoyingly, if the car had fully broken down amid smoke and bits of spewed metal, my wife would have called out the AA who, bound by the terms of the insurance agreement my wife has with them, would have replaced the head gasket and carried out all repairs at no cost to us.
But because the damn thing hadn’t the grace to breakdown properly and we’d got it to the garage we were now liable for all repairs.
Although I wasn’t there, Christine’s headlights glowed evilly red as the garage hit us with their quote to do the work.
1800 effing £!
That’s a serious dent in our savings. In the end, after much deliberation – might it be worth just buying a new car? – we decided to get other quotes and go for a repair. We just can’t afford to tie up thousands of pounds in a new car until Tom is at school and Karen is working full-time again.
So we found another garage. A reputable, well recommended one. He could do the job for £900. Only thing is he couldn’t start until the penultimate day of our holiday and we wouldn’t have the car back until the day we were all due to return to work / school.
We had no option. So all our travel plans were scuppered. No visiting of friends. No drives around the country. Christine sat on our drive exuding brimstone from her exhaust and revving her engine in praise of Satan for much of our holiday week until we finally offloaded her onto the mechanic last Thursday.
We should have got her back on Monday but the repair took longer. Something about a fan blade shearing off and taking out the radiator grills. I’m guessing she was trying to snuff out one of the grease monkeys who were working on her...
So Karen, who needs the car to get to and from work, had to ring her employers to say she couldn’t make it in. This meant taking an unpaid day off. That’s us £50 down already before we even pay the garage.
We finally got the car back yesterday afternoon (so another day off unpaid for Karen) but... and here’s the rub. The car now has to be re-MOT’d. The mechanic can’t do that. We have to take her elsewhere. That’s a third day at home for my wife. We are now £150 down this month on top of the repair bill.
Christine meanwhile was writing “666 in clover” in engine oil all over the floor of the mechanic’s garage and buggering a virgin over the pile of tyres the mechanic keeps at the back of his repair bay.
Today the position is this: we’ve managed to get her into another garage today for an emergency post-repair MOT at midday. Should she pass we’re all sorted and only a grand down. If not then we will be throwing more money after bad...
Did I say bad? Harrumph. I’m calling a priest. That car needs some serious exorcising.