King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Monday, July 3

Definitely not a Dry Blackthorn day.

And so, last Saturday, I faced one of my pet fears. The MOT for my car was due up, and without it I was unable to buy a new tax disc meaning that DVLA couldn't get the hefty whack of my wedge they seem to think they so richly deserve. I turn up at 10, as requested and booked in 2 weeks ago, to be asked if I was "Jason." They'd double booked me, so being MOTless and Taxless I went home, and spent most of the weekend housebound safe in the knowledge I can return on Monday morning for a proper test, booked in and everything.

Now, before we go any further, a few things need to be clarified. I don't claim to be an expert mechanic. I potch with cars as a hobby, and as such I repair them for entertainment. I had my suspicions about the MOT passability, mainly with the handbrake which was a little softer then I would have liked.

In goes the car this morning, and one of the first tests was the usual lights, seatbelts and windscreen wipers. That's where I fell at the first hurdle. I'd checked the lights and the seatbelts, and I assumed that as long as the wipers wipe then all would be okay. The washers are also tested, and nearly a year ago I had to take one out because it was blocked. I went to remove it and it snapped. So, I thought I'd just nick the one for the passenger side and put it on the driver's side instead. That snapped as well. In fact ones in scrapyards all snap when you try to remove them, so I hadn't bothered. I'd just gaffer taped the rubber hose down through the hole underneath my windscreen, so when I needed water I got a large flow across the screen. So, I failed on that count. Suddenly the house of cards was looking a little shaky.

the car was raised up onto the ramps and inspection showed up a loud clunking I've heard for weeks. My mate (the real mechanic) had been in the car with me, and he said it was nothing to worry about, so I left it. It turns out it's the bush for the anti-roll bar, hardly the crime of the century, but enough to cause another frown by my new found friend in the MOT station.

And finally the car was moved onto the brake testing rolling road thingy. As suspected, the handbrake failed miserably, getting only 14% efficiency* (!). Final reports of the now failed car were printed out and it highlighted that the rear brakes were less then satisfactory overall, failing as well on footbrake with an efficiency of only 49%**

So, off I head to buy some spare parts. Inspection shows that one of the calipers is working less then well on the back wheel, so I decide to replace that. I order the handbrake cable, but it's not in stock so it'll (hopefully) be here by tomorrow morning. I take a trip to Volvo, where people seem surprised to see a fat bloke with shorts and t-shirt walking in, and order my parts. The jets are reasonable enough at on £2.21 each +vat. The anti-rollbar is a lump of rubber, about 2 inches long, and shaped to fit around the rollbar. £21+vat. Where else can I go for it though?

I leave Volvo's Extortion Emporium, to see one of my best mates has phoned. I gave him a call earlier to see if he wanted to spend lunch with me, because I was near his work. He's having a worse day then me, when his scooter was dying and his shift at work didn't finish until 9 tonight. He was facing some 20+ mile walk home because the buses don't think that people want buses up to here at that time of night. I went to collect him, now illegal in my car, passing the copper with the camera on the way and devoid of valid tax disc. We loaded his bike into the back of my car (yes, the one with the knackered suspension) dripping fuel all over it, and headed home.

In the meantime, I'm getting emails for a customer who's ordered all his computer needs at once from a computer website. His credit card has been refused, because his bank have a lock on fraudulant large payments. When I get home I realise this, and retry his number in case I've typed it wrong. It comes back again, and this time I phone them to find out why. My customer phones his bank, gets the ban lifted, and then phones me to let me know I can now get the payment checked again. I phone them back...

"Sorry, our offices are now closed."

[insert expletive here]

*don't park below me on a hill.
**in fact, don't stop in front of me at all.