Monday, January 31, 2011

Getting one over on the crims

I’ve been a bad blogger this week, no new posts since last Sunday, not because I didn’t want to but because I had so many things that I couldn’t decide which to write about.  Would I blog about my (in)famous weevil curry? Or would it be the problems of dealing with the BBC Central Payments Department who bring new meaning to the words ‘incompetent, effing fools’?  Or maybe my embarrassing meeting with members of the local shoot? All good blogging material but in the end I have decided on a post about my Crapmobile and more importantly a recent attempted theft from the aforementioned.

When we moved back from France I sent my beloved Grand Gasguzzler to new life in the sunny climes of Spain where hopefully the slightly less hilly terrain would alleviate the need for a new set of brake pads every six months and with no need for the weekly St Amans dash to catch the school bus, he could enjoy a slower pace of life.  This left us without a car. My sister-in-law is disabled and was about to get a new car through the Motability scheme and so she offered to give us her old one, a less than beautiful Renault 19 (Biarritz no less, the posh version) which will shortly celebrate it’s 16th birthday. Thinking that we’d be able to buy something a bit more classy within a few months we accepted her offer. 18 months later the by now renamed Crapmobile is still in residence.

Now, the Crapmobile is not a thing of beauty, having a liberal sprinkling of rust spots, a bit of missing trim and a dent in the passenger door but she is (notice this one is a she) quite honestly, the most reliable car I’ve ever owned. Through the coldest weather she starts on first turn of the key, has never broken down except on the two occasions I’ve left the headlights on but more of that later and the time that the brake pads disintegrated in the middle of the town. While the much newer Discovery pays regular visits to the Landrover Hospital, the Crapmobile defies the odds and in the words (almost) of the Spencer Davis Group just keeps on running. She even sailed through her MOT with just a small outlay for a bit of perished piping.

She has her foibles.  The alarm that alerts you of the fact that you’ve left the headlights on may or may not work. The interior light may or may no illuminate when you open the door. The central locking may or may not lock all the doors, often leaving one rear passenger door unlocked just for good measure.  The boot lid may or may not stay up as you load your shopping necessitating either chucking your bags through the rapidly diminishing gap or wearing a crash helmet.  Frustrating to some but it sure keeps you on your toes!  The heater works eventually but never quite gets hot enough for you to discard the hat, gloves and scarf that are more or less essential wear in the winter months and I’m sure there are plenty of other people who have to use de-icer on the inside of the windscreen (No?  Just me then!).  As testament to the general…. well…. crappiness of The Crapmobile, The Husband left it parked outside the house with the keys dangling from the driver’s door all weekend and no-one tried to steal it!

The Crapmobile is a constant source of embarrassment to The Boy.  He refuses to let me drop him off at school or at parties in The Crapmobile and the look of sheer horror when I hooted and waved at him with his new girlfriend the other day said it all. He actually told her that it must have been a case of mistaken identity because he had NO idea who that strange woman in the old banger was. Whenever he needs picking up he always requests that I bring the Landrover which, despite being not the newest model apparently has more cachet and is socially acceptable.

The Crapmobile’s piece de resistance is undoubtedly the cassette/radio.  I like a bit of background music in the car as I drive to work but in common with many if not most of us 21st century earthlings I don’t own a single cassette. Does anybody these days? The  local charity shops, usually the source of all those hard to find items like a navel fluff remover or 1970s fondue set complete with different coloured forks, could only  offer Matt Munro and Showaddywaddy, neither of which appealed. (Which reminds me. Did I ever tell you about the time I danced on stage with Showaddywaddy? Not my greatest moment!)  So that just leaves the radio for my in-car entertainment, unless I bought one of those Ipod thingummyjigs to plug into the cigarette lighter, but then I don’t think it works.

The radio only picks up Radio 1 and BBC Radio Wales – in Welsh – a fact not helped by the fact that The Husband accidentally broke off the aerial when he was washing it.  To be fair, every time we wash it another bit falls off.  Of the two radio stations, I almost prefer Radio Wales and feel sure I could now converse reasonably well with Blodwen Jones and her sister Myfanwy from llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch on the subject of microwave dinners.  Did you know that the colloquial word for microwave, especially in North Wales is ‘popty ping’? Isn’t that the most wonderful onomatopoeia?

However, my companion on my drive to work is usually Chris Moyles, who is to my day what salt is to open wounds and Vlad was to sharp implements. A smugger, more self-absorbed and quite frankly boring individual I would be hard pressed to find. How is this man worth £600,000 a year and how on earth did he not make it onto my list of slebs I’d like to punch (along with the uber-perky right-on Fearne Cotton)?  He broadcasts from a studio somewhere in the bowels of Broadcasting House surrounded by a bunch of sycophantic acolytes. His breakfast show is like eavesdropping on the conversation of a particularly tedious bunch of adolescents and by the time I reach work my voice is usually hoarse from shouting insults at him and my shoulders are so tense that I need a deep tissue massage. I often wonder why I put myself through it but then when the only other option is ‘Da bore chan BBC Radio Cymru’ my options are limited.

I got into the car the other day and reached for the radio. It wouldn’t turn on. Yet another vital part of the Crapmobile bites the dust.  I tried again and the plastic surround fell off. It was then that I noticed telltale gouges in the dashboard around the radio and the metal housing into which it is screwed was sporting some fetching crinkly edges. Clearly someone had attempted to steal the radio.  Poor, poor buggers!I haven’t laughed so much since my cousin, at the time an undischarged bankrupt, had his identity stolen. It’s so nice to get one up on the casual thief.  I’m almost sorry they didn’t steal it. It would be so nice to imagine them fitting it to their own pimped up, spoiler bedecked, gold wheeled, super-dooper sub-woofered 1985 BMW only to discover they’d wasted their time stealing a completely dud radio – unless of course they had an interest in learning the Welsh language.

“Well at least they didn’t steal my new toothbrush” said The Daughter cheerily pointing to it still sitting on the back seat.

To be honest, it was probably more valuable and far more use!

Sadly, our love/hate affair with The Crapmobile is soon to come to an end. The Husband, as part of my birthday present, has bought me an Audi A6 estate, not new but a veritable toddler compared to The Crapmobile. I was due to collect it on Friday but just before we arrived some dingbat reversed into the side of it so it sits awaiting the insurance assessor’s decision on new door or panel beating and the Crapmobile lives to drive another day.

And here's a far nicer one that ours!
                                                         




24 comments:

Mac n' Janet said...

Loved this, I drive a 17 year old Mazda, still looks good, drives well once it has finished it's opening spaz attack that feels like Joe Cocker use to look singing. Hoping to get one more year out of it, fingers crossed.

Sarah said...

When I'm in the car in the early morning, usually with my son, we listen to Manu à la radio on Sky which is hilarious, not smug and totally unsuitable.

Hopefully your new Audi will have more radio/music options!

I got lumbered with an old banger once, a Peugeot 405 estate which gradually died a death on me. I still managed to sell it for parts and a keen young mechanic came with ideas to repair all the bits and set it up as roadworthy once more! I'm sure I've seen it about...

Wylye Girl said...

Sarah, don't think there's much chance of The Crapmobile picking up Sky radio in Montpellier. Damn, will have to concentrate on improving my Welsh!

Wylye Girl said...

Mac n'Janet - I went to see Joe Cocker at the Hammersmith Apollo so I can picture the scene! Hope you get one more year - if not, I can recommend a nice Renault, just a bit far to drive it to you!

The Return of the Native ... sort of. said...

As you didn't give me your recipe for weevil curry GW couldn't win the curry cook off! But that doesn't matter, because I did - yeah!

Wylye Girl said...

Yay for the Native! Curry cook extraordinaire. I will post next about the Weevil Curry! It was your post that made me think of it so I'll link back to you too.

Steve said...

If you read your post in the voice of Jeremy Clarkson, I swear to God it is like a genuine episode of Top Gear.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Good Lord! Cars are a constant headache in some form or other aren't they? Poor Crapmobile. It sounds....well loved. :)

I drive an eleven year old Pontiac. For a year (last year)I left it on my friends' farm, happily vacationing in the barn while I drove a twelve year old Oldsmobile that my friends had abandoned due to a shiny new Lexus. The Olds had been a top of the line model in its day even though it was a year older than the Pontiac it was much more comfortable and full of wood panelling inside on the dash and all electronic everything.

It also, I found out later, had about four trillion little things not working anymore, like the fan, the exhaust and oh! The brakes at times. Yeah. Sadly I'd left the Pontiac 500 miles away on the farm so had to drive the old knacker of an Oldsmobile back there to reclaim the old car.

The Pontiac is held together by rust and goodwill and is less comfortable but at least the basic features operate, it passes the safety exam and I don't think I was going to die going down hills. Of course occasionally I put the key in the driver's door lock (How old fashioned, eh!) and the entire lock comes out, due to some lock jemmying by a spirited car thief a few years back. I've superglued that thing about ten times. It stalls out on hot days in intersections sometimes and I don't think the handbrake works at all so I never use it. Or park it on hills.

One day I'd love a car that is somewhat new. Sigh. It's the stuff dreams are made of.

Trish @ Mum's Gone to... said...

Oh there's so many unanswered things in this post - weevil curry, Showaddywaddy - and plenty of stuff to laugh at and agree on (Chris Moyles and his lackies being one of them).
I have a whole box full of cassettes in the cupboard under the stairs but now you're getting a new-ish Audi, you won't need them!

Alienne said...

It's clearly karma - you dissed the Crapmobile so your new car got a pasting!! Maybe she is related to Christine (v old film about car like Herbie but nasty in case you haven't heard of it)

Wylye Girl said...

Steve, perhaps I should offer JC the Crapmobile. They could do a new piece, something like Celbs in a Crapmobile. Do you think it has legs?

Veggie, I have the theory that the more you move away from a bit of chewing gum and an old piece of string, the more there is to go wrong. Your Olds definitely sounds like the American cousin of the Crapmobile.

Wylye Girl said...

Trish, I will answer all those questions in time, I promise. You have cassettes? If only I'd known...

Alienne, Stephen King (including Christine) scared the crap out of me for much of my teenage years. I do try to be nice to the Crappy, just in case. I have a friend who knows Stephen King. She was holidaying near his home and, on a bet, went and knocked on his door. They became good friends. She says he's quite normal. How can that be?

Hadriana's Treasures said...

Hi there,

I've linked to you and swapped over the previous links...so hopefully it should all work. Sorry about an amazing lack of comments from me. Just mega busy with stuff! Good luck with the car. New style blog looks great! :)

Lou said...

Great post. I love the Crapmobile.

Our Dizzy doesn't have a radio, must have already been gauged out before it got to the auction.

I still use cassettes....and videos... I'll pass you a couple when we meet for lunch... Lots of James Taylor, 1 gorgeous Gordon Lightfoot and my fave, Anita Baker's Rapture.

Curry Queen said...

Showaddywaddy??????????? Sorry cannot comment further as am LMAO!!! ps any chance of the weevil curry recipe for the Shah?

Wylye Girl said...

Hadriana, lovely to see you over here. I keep up with your adventures so I know how busy you are.

Lou, Oooh yes to James Taylor.... and Gordon Lightfoot, I'd forgotten about him.

CQ - Showaddywaddy.... I may even still have the photos! Weevil curry recipe is easy. Make curry. Add weevils. Voila!

Sharon said...

Showaddywaddy? I loved Showaddywaddy (of course I was a lot younger then!)

My husband and I just purchased a small farm in Nova Scotia but I'm originally from the UK and it's nice to here how life is over there.

As for crapmobiles...I used to have an Austin Mini with NO heat! I remember trying to drive to work in the winter, wrapped up in scarves, hats and mittens and having to roll down the window because of the fogging up inside...those where the days.

Iota said...

You danced on stage with Showaddywaddy? That's a blog post waiting to be written. (And I think it might have removed your right to comment on Bono...)

Wylye Girl said...

Sharon, hello and welcome to my blog. My dearest friend comes from Nova Scotia, well Prince Edward Island to be exact. I have lovely memories of holidays there in 'the days before children', especially sitting on the beach in Cumberland eating freshly cooked lobster dipped in melted butter. I absolutely love Canada. It's the only place apart from the UK I could ever foresee myself living. Whereabouts are you? I've added you to my blogroll so I can follow your adventures

Wylye Girl said...

Iota, it will get written. I just want to see if I can find the photos first

Sharon said...

Wylye Girl, we are close to Annapolis Royal (about 7 mins away up the Mountain). There are lots of Brits here (and I use the term "lots" very loosely, with such a tiny population). Our new friends here came from Leeds about 5 years ago.

You must tell us about your Showaddywaddy encounter...I'm all ears!

Thanks for the link:)

Wylye Girl said...

I've looked you up on Google maps Sharon so I know where you are. I went whale watching in the Bay of Fundy. Fantastic experience. I'm packing my bags and coming over!

Sharon said...

Let me know when, and I'll put the coffee on...or will that be tea? It's a perfect time if you like snow!

Wylye Girl said...

Sharon, either is fine. I'm packing my bags now....

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