Monday, March 19, 2007

One step forward, two steps back

Life is taking on momentum of its own right now.

The list of things we have to accomplish and sort out before we go doesn't seem to be getting any shorter.

It works like this. We do something which uncovers three more things that need doing. Or we spend all weekend 'accomplishing' stuff, only to be blindsided by some completely unexpected event.

To illustrate, we spent this weekend at the boy's house, doing countless decorating and DIY joblets that need to be finished. On Saturday I painted his garden fence as he braved tall ladders to go and do battle with the starlings that are nesting in his roof. Then I sewed up his curtains (see how we divide labour along traditional lines....). Then on Sunday morning I did some more cutain sewing as he draught proofed windows and hung the now finished curtains.

Just before lunchtime on Sunday I went outside to start on the job of removing the rally stickers from his car. His little Peuegot has been to central Asia and back again, a fact advertised by the 'London-Tashkent 2005' stickers down the side. However, this is not something he feels future owners of the vehicle may be too enamoured by, so I set about removing them using a sponge, some hot soapy water, and the strength of my own fingernails.

As I worked, my own car was but 10 feet away. I'd paid it enough attention to notice it was there, but little more than that, when suddenly, a passing kid on a bike stopped to gawp at it. I followed his gaze and realised what had stopped him in his tracks was the shattered window on the drivers' side. Some sods had thrown a rock through my car window.

I checked to see whether anything had been nicked. It hadn't. The glovebox was unopened, the stereo front still inside. The bag I'd mistakenly left in the back with my sunglasses and a skirt in had not gone. The security lock was still on the steering wheel, without any sign of being tampered with.

It seems all they were after was a cheap thrill. No doubt kids daring eachother on. Probably the same kids that graffiteed the boy's garden wall several weeks ago.

It sounds so predictably Daily Mail but if I could get my hands on the little bastards... It's funny how angry indiscriminate crime can make you.

There then ensued ninety minutes of being on hold and speaking to various companies including:
1. Insurance companies (to find out I wasn't covered)
2. Autoglass (to find out they couldn't give us a quote as their database was down)
3. Local windscreen replacement companies (to find out it would cost me more than 50% of the value of the car to get done, which given I would be selling it in four weeks time seems rather pointless - I could get more out of it by scrapping it)
4. Insurance companies again (to see if i would be covered on the boy's car should I have decided to scrap mine - the answer being yes, I would be covered, for third party only)
5. The AA (to see if my membership would afford me any discounts for Autoglass who were due to ring back, the answer being yes, I would get 15% off, but they never did ring back)
6. Scrapyards (to see if they had any windows for the drivers' side of a 5 door Peugeot 309.... Our erstwhile friends at J&R Recovery in Hereford didn't have any in, but my friendly breakers' yard at Twigworth - who helped me greatly when I did the PDC rally in the Citroen van - happened to have one)

So I ended up driving the 40 minutes down to Twigworth, wrapped up in all my clothes with the boy's hat and gloves on, heating on full blast. Watched my friendly breaker remove the new glass from the scrap car, paying close attention to how it all worked. Nice man only charged me £10 for it. Then I drove the 30 minutes to my parents' house, where i was due for a Mother's Day visit and dinner before heading back to London. My father and I then proceeded to spend 45 minutes in the snow and hail fitting the new window without breaking too much of the existing car. I managed to snap off a tiny bit of trim and the inner window fitting around the wing mirror but for a Weeden bodge job it wasn't too bad.

But it did mean we had virtually ignored my mother, and left her to prepare dinner for 7 all by herself on Mother's Day. Oops.

Much later, I drove back to London. I dropped the car off where I park it at 12.30am. I went to lock the drivers' side door, only to realise we've obviously buggered up the lock somehow as it wouldn't turn and lock the door. I then shut it, realised it had jammed but couldn't turn the key to get it open again but couldn't be bothered to hang around til the early hours figuring it out. As long as it didn't open I wouldn't get tramps sleeping in my car.

But who knows if Chantal & Peter will still want to buy it. It may be a bargain £125 but the exhaust is blowing, the starter motor is on the way out, half the mirrors are hanging off it at rakish angles, and now it looks like they may have to climb in through the passenger's side.

I will have to break this to them gently and see if they still want it.

And I shall have to apologise to my mother for monopolising events.

And we shall have to find time to do all the stuff we were meant to be doing when we got sidetracked by events...

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