by Mike Peake
I was in work early on Monday 12th May 2014 and as expected, I had soon located everything I would need to fit the electric washer pump. It was all in the scrap bins to be thrown away…honest!
I booked the Tuesday off work and optimistically booked the MOT and set up some insurance. Then had to try and concentrate to do some work, which wasn’t easy!
Tuesday morning found me sat on the front door step waiting for the postie. I eventually saw her sauntering up the road in her own good time. Didn’t she realise I was in a hurry? I snatched our post off of her and threw anything that didn’t look like it contained my goodies into the house, Jumped into the Honda and left the surprised looking Postie in my dust.
On arrival at my lock up I set to immediately. Out came the drill and the pack of Tesco Value drill bits that I’d bought on a whim some time ago. Unfortunately, Tesco Value drill bits are made of chocolate. The 1st one snapped before I’d even pressed the trigger on the drill and the 2nd one didn’t last much longer and barely scratched the paint.
Fortunately, we have one of those very rare independent hardware stores on our High Street. (Well it is ROYAL Wootton Bassett after all). It is a family run business called Rouse and Sons and is an Aladdin’s cave of goodies. It stocks everything from 5 bar gates and animal food troughs down to a packet of washers. Oddly, It also has a well-stocked kitchen department and as baking is my 2nd hobby, I have been known to spend days mooching around in there. Not today though, I purchased my new non-chocolate drills and was soon back at the lock up and had everything fitted wired and plumbed in very fast time.
Poppy was now ready to be offered up for judgement to the man from the ministry. I drove her out of the garage and ventured onto public roads for the 1st time in 3 years. The ½ mile to the test centre was covered faultlessly. After a final satisfactory prod of the washer button and horn, I handed over the keys and set off on the walk home with a heart mostly full of dread and, dare I say, just a little hope.
After 90 of the longest minutes of my life, the phone rang. I picked up the receiver to a cheerful sounding mechanic. I worry when they are cheerful. “I’m sorry to say that she has failed” he said, not sounding the least bit sorry. My heart sank to the floor. Whilst she’d been on the axle stands I had cast my inexpert eye under her and not spotted any gaping holes in the floor or chassis but what did I know, I’m just an incompetent bumbling fool and visions of an expensive weld-a-thon flashed before my eyes. I forced back the tears and with bottom lip a-trembling and a very un-manly squeaky voice, I heard myself say “What on?” “The screen washers. They don’t work at all” he said, still sounding annoyingly cheerful. “That’s odd” I said. “They were working when I dropped it off…You did spot the electric pump didn’t you?” “Ahh…Hold on a minute” he put the phone down and I heard his footsteps fading into the distance. After a short pause, I heard his footsteps returning and he picked up the phone again. “I’m pleased to say that she has passed” he said, not sounding at all pleased!
The roller coaster of my emotions had taken me to the top. I was on cloud nine. I grabbed my insurance documents and V5 and skipped back up to the test centre.
With hindsight maybe skipping wasn’t such a good idea. The sight of a fat bloke skipping along the street does draw some rather funny looks. Several small children and animals were terrified and the emergency services received 15 calls reporting a minor earthquake in the North Wilts area but I didn’t care. I had found my Holy Grail and it had a Ministry stamp on it!
I got to the garage and picked up my keys and the fresh ticket. I left them in no doubt about how happy I was. It’s OK though. The restraining order they took out only lasts six months so I should be able to take Poppy back for her next MOT test.
Clutching all my necessary documents I skipped across the road to the Post Office and only one pensioner showed any signs of distress as it was just a short skip. Still grinning stupidly I handed over my documents and said my most favourite words of classic ownership. “Can I have my free tax disc please?” A very short time later, I was cruising around the local B-roads in a fully road legal Poppy with 10 days to spare before the Prom and a stupid grin that the doctors are still trying to remove.
I shall now let you bask in my glory and gaze upon my Ministry of Transport certificate of roadworthiness. You may also marvel at the complete lack of advisories.
to be continued ...
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