Ullo John, Gotta New Motor?

Ullo John, Gotta New Motor?

Well, it’s not exactly new, but I wanted to acknowledge the new car in my life.
Well, it’s not exactly new, but I wanted to acknowledge the new car in my life.

My in-laws gave up their Mitsubishi Galant 2.5 V6 EXi, so that we might have something to get about in, rather than on.
My in-laws gave up their Mitsubishi Galant 2.5 V6 EXi, so that we might have something to get about in, rather than on.

She’s a lovely car, but 3 things have needed attention in the last few months.  Worrying times?
She’s a lovely car, but 3 things have needed attention in the last few months.  Worrying times?

Okay, I’ll stop the tiresome repetition, but it’s my little homage to Alexei Sayle’s lyrics from which the title of this post is taken.  It’ll mean nowt to many readers, so here’s a slice of 1982 pop nonsense:

The Galant, now carefully tucked up in the car port below where I write, is about 16 years old (I think) and has some 140,000 kms on the clock; she’s got a 4 speed automatic gearbox and runs beautifully, with that lovely V6 growl I first knew when I was the proud owner of an Alfa Romeo 164 way back in the 90s.  I hope I’ve not just put the mockers on her, but since she’s getting on a bit, it’s only reasonable to expect a few little problems, and I often catch myself thinking that I may end up stranded somewhere, unable to call the RAC, AA or Green Flag (other breakdown services are available).  Actually, do they even have an equivalent in Taiwan?

Several months ago, late one Friday evening, we set out to buy a camera from the Taiwanese version of Curry’s about a mile or so from home.  As I pulled up to park, the gear selector went all floppy.  My stomach flipped with that queasy feeling of doom, and I pictured major repair work and enormous wads of $NTs to get it sorted.  This was going to be painful.

A few weeks ago, the indicator lights started clicking at double speed, so I knew that a bulb had blown and quickly ascertained that to change the bulb I’d need to remove the light unit.  I have no tools here.  We made our way to the Mitsubishi dealer as I anticipated further $NTs for a job I could do myself quickly and cheaply, given different circumstances.

Last Sunday evening, we decided to get into the Christmas spirit, so a short drive to the delights of Costco seemed appropriate.  As we settled in to the car, we quickly unsettled ourselves as the motor would not turn over.  The battery was as flat as a pancake.  Funnily enough, at breakfast that morning, I saw the face of Jesus looking back at me.  Here’s the proof:

Image

Turnin-Shroud-type-incidents aside, we had to get rolling.  Our neighbour gave us the number of a local garage.  5pm, Sunday evening.  More $NTs.  The chap said he’d be right with us.  He turned up within 5 minutes and his portable battery did the job of getting us going, but he warned us that a short drive to Costco would not generate enough charge, and told us to call him later if we found ourselves stuck on Level B1 with the bonnet up.  Sure enough, we did; he came again and we made it home with only a short delay.

The cost of all this has now reached the grand total of three hundred and ninety six.  396.  Dollars.  New Taiwan Dollars.  That’s just over 8 quid.  New gear shift switch (supplied and fitted at the roadside): $200.  Light bulb (supplied and fitted at the dealer): $96.  Two call-outs to get car started (home and car-park): $100, with the first one done without any charge.  The battery has gone for a re-charge at a local garage.  They want just $50 for the privilege.  Just for a bit of perspective, when my battery failed in England the cost for getting the AA/RAC (I forget which) to come and help us (with Ming heavily pregnant we had little choice) was in the region of £150.  It really is a different world.

The pancake incident reminds me of another revelation from a some years ago.  One week, as we trawled around Sainsbury’s, we decided to try a tub of spread instead of our usual Anchor salted variety dairy product.  It was on offer and looked like a good buy.  Next morning, while my slice of hot toast waited in eager anticipation, I removed the top from the tub and was amazed to see that the spread left behind a perfect image of Christ on the underside of the lid.  Ming was thoroughly unimpressed and she turned to me with a look of disbelief across her face:

“I can’t believe it’s not Buddha!”

More picture/wordage based hilarity to follow shortly.

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