Monday, 7 September 2009


My car wouldn’t start on Saturday morning. It turned over (apparently) but wouldn’t fire (also apparently). David did what all men do in these situations and asked me to “pop the bonnet”. This is I did and waited for the verdict.

“Could be your alternator, seeing as it’s turning over but not kicking in” he pointed out, leaning manfully over the bonnet and fiddling with a red cable like he knew what he was doing. I have to be honest here and point out that I have no real reason to be smug here at all: my knowledge of under t’bonnet is limited to oil, water and power steering fluid and even I know when I’m nearly out of those.

I rang Green Flag muttering “well, I pay ‘em enough each month” and my call was answered almost immediately by a charming young lady called Felicity. I sat back and examined my nails as she ran through the usual security checks. I confirmed my registration number, first line of my address, my post code and my password. I confirmed that yes, my car is a black Ford Focus, petrol driven and no four wheel drive.

“What is the problem with the vehicle?” she enquired in posh tones “It won’t start!” said I and then roared with laughter at the sheer bizarreness of the whole situation. She didn’t join in. “Does the vehicle have petrol?” she went on.

Now. This really annoys me. Assuming that I haven’t put any petrol in it, how basic is that? Not only that but a fellow woman, asking me if I’m that ditsy that I’ve failed to fill my car up. “Yes” I muttered through clenched teeth. Junior Dog, who was lying at my feet, sensed my tone and did a runner. “Thank you madam, I’ll get someone out to you from DooDah Motors within the hour” she retorted before wishing me a good day. Mutter, mutter, chunter, whinge.

“It’s a standard question, they have to ask it” David said when I recounted the treachery to him. “If you had rung they wouldn’t have dared asked you, a MAN!” I boomed. “Yes they would, they have to” he went on but his smug smile said otherwise.

To be fair, after an hour of pacing (I hate waiting. For anything) a bright green DooDah Motors van appeared. All three dogs went into a frenzy of barking which meant that the gentleman who rang my doorbell vaulted over the fence without opening the gate.

After a little bit of probing, asking questions and generally doing what David did but with a little bit more authority, Mechanic Man decided that it was a “fuel pump system problem”. I looked at him blankly (not because I didn’t know what he was talking about but because I was wondering how many zeroes would be attached to the resulting garage bill). “Basically, your fuel isn’t getting through the injectors which indicates a problem with your pump” he translated. I thanked him profusely and headed inside to ring my garage.

I have one, you know. A garage that I trust implicitly…..if Tom says something needs doing, then it needs doing. He’s amazing. He amazed me even more when I rang him to ask when he could fit my ailing Focus in, I was already mentally rearranging my Wednesday or Thursday morning. “If you can get it here before two today I’ll do it first thing Monday morning” he said. David was as amazed as I was at the swiftness but pointed out that I’d be “lucky” to get a towtruck here on a Saturday. It was just gone half past ten when I rang Green Flag and requested an “immediate pick up”.

I sat and smirked when they said they’d have someone from DooDah Motors with me within the hour for the second time that day. David went out to do some weeding (in a sulk) while I made a cup of tea. No sooner had I dunked my bag when there was a dingdong on the door and more canine boisterousness. This time the man from DooDah Motors stayed on the doorstep and wondered why I was staring open mouthed at him. Time between my call and his arrival: seven minutes. This was all going too well for my liking.

David came out and observed the miracle too. Mac returned from his sleepover at Ben’s house and expressed dismay that Minty (don’t ask) wasn’t working. “Is that man taking him to be mended?” he asked David as they sat side by side on the windowsill. “Righto love,” said the DooDah Motors man once he’d got the ramps in place “Drive it up onto the ramps for me”. I exhaled slowly and pointed out that the reason he was about to load my car onto his towtruck was because the bloody thing wouldn’t start. “Oh” said he, reading his notes from Green Flag. “Okay, humour me, give it a go”.

I threw myself into the car thinking “hah, I’ll show HIM!” and the bloody car started. “That’s not your fuel system pump love, that sounds more like your injectors” DooDah Motors man went on as he listened to my poor Focus cough and splutter.

Apparently, this is called “hunting”. Hm.

Anyway the men decided that the best thing all round would be to take it into the garage anyway so it can “be looked at”. Which is where it still is now. It's been looked at by two mechanics and is, even as I type, being run through a diagnostic machine. I dread to think how much all this is costing and Mac is making my car a get well soon card. I've put him on stand by: I may need one when I get the final bill......


Domestic Goddesque said...

If I call Green Flag would they send someone out within the hour to restart me?!!

Anonymous said...

I really thought you were going to say it was out of petrol! I was so relieved!

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

thank goodness it DID have fuel. I've had similar situations where I've huffed and puffed, only to have to slink embarrassedly and admit I was wrong. needless to say, I HATE it when that happens. xx

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Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.