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Monday, September 05, 2011

Car Exhaust 'blows'

Early this morning we went to collect Steve, who is a teacher at the Academy, and lives in Bletchley, in a flat not far from Bletchley Park, and opposite Bletchley railway station. We did this on a regular basis when we lived in Chevalier Grove, and I recall the early-mornings driving there in the midst of some quite deep snow, with a real frost on the ground and having to de-ice the car before setting off at about 6.40 (or thereabouts) to enable Carol and Steve to get to the Academy on time and then allow me to get to my first 'call' when I used to work for Guardian. We drove back towards the Academy, but for some unaccountable reason we didn't come back along Saxon Street and went along Bletcham Way and then back towards Saxon Street by way of a somewhat convoluted route (lovely sentence, that.) and as we turned into the road that leads to the Academy, we heard a somewhat nasty sound as the car's exhaust gave way. It has been threatening to come adrift for some time now. I had my doubts that it would survive much longer, and Daniel has mentioned that something was making a strange vibrating noise. I managed to drop Carol and Steve off within the Academy campus, and then came home. I left it until gone 9 o'clock to venture out, first to the cash-point at Tesco's in Oldbrook (just to check that there was sufficient funds in the bank account.) and then to T and H off Watling Street at Bletchley (not far from Asda and the MK Dons football stadium.) We have used this car repair shop on a number of occasions, and had no cause to worry about their quality of work, or being ripped off, so it was an automatic response of mine to go there again so that they could look at the exhaust and give me a quote as to the cost etc etc.
I was somewhat amazed, and not a trifle amazed, that no sooner had I drawn up in the car park at T and H, than someone appeared and said 'we can sort out your exhaust for you' or at least, words to that effect. I'm not surprised really, considering the noise the car was making as I drove in, somewhat a cross between a very ancient tractor and a First World War bi-plane! The car was in their workshop and up on a lift before I could barely draw breath, and being offered a coffee and told to please wait in the waiting room. In a minute or two I was being asked to come and look at the exhaust by one of the mechanics, and was shocked to see how rusty the old exhaust was, and how it had come adrift from the engine and was hanging on by a thread. I was given a rough estimate of the cost, just over £400, which was something of a shock, and said that there was no way I could pay the full price at the moment. I was told that they could do most of the work, which included a new catolitic converter and rear section, so I agreed and then they told me the part would take around 20 minutes to come from the supplier so I went back into the waiting room and read some of their magazine section. The work was soon completed, a good deal faster than I imagined, and then paid the bill, and left.
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