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a little grey ghost story

8/5/07 10:13 am - a little grey ghost story


went to bed unaccustomedly early friday night, so as to be up early & into lancaster in time to go to the sorting office before opening up the shop, to see whether they'd had a packet sent to sheffield returned to them/not sent, for some reason.
so not entirely gruntled to discover, yesterday morning, that little grey ghost had a flat tyre.
still, this should only delay me ten-fifteen minutes - 'specially as i know there's a brand-new tyre on the spare, and i check its pressure when i do the others, once a week - right?

wrong.

the little wind-up jack in the wheel-change kit's an unfamiliar design, but it works the way it's intended to, and the wrench from the same kit-bag, supplied with little grey ghost by the m.o.d. when they sent it to auction

doesn't fit the nuts holding the wheel onto the hub.

damn! and i don't have the old one from big red monster, to try - nor even my set of spanners, as nearly all my tools're in the shop. okay, a bit early for a saturday, perhaps, but time to meet the new next-door neighbours...

so, with apologies for disturbing them the saturday after they've just moved in, borrow one of their wheel wrenches, undo the nuts - which are in fact bolts, another a difference from big red monster - remove the wheel, offer up the new wheel to the hub, and

it doesn't fit, either.


what? it can't not fit - it's the same size wheel, i must be doing something wrong - mustn't i?
re-check the tyre - yes, it's definitely a 175/70 R14; check the wheel it's on, so far as i can - yes, it's the same - well, almost the same as the one i've taken off; slightly different design of holes punched in it in manufacture, but that's not going to make any difference; same lip around the central hole, to fit onto the hub & take the weight, so that the bolts don't;

but, all the same,
it just doesn't fit.


time to call in the experts - via green flag, but a local garage, not a flash van from a breakdown service as'll try to sell me a new battery, but can't actually fix something as stupid as this; i've got a flat tyre on a wheel that fits lgg, a new tyre on one that doesn't - and i can't drive anywhere on three wheels, to get the new tyre swapped onto the wheel that fits.
and it'll give them a laugh, too.

green flag's freephone number doesn't work.

arrrgh! - i don't have any other number for them - the sticky tax disc-holder with the numbers was on big red monster's windscreen - rummage, rummage, rummage

ok, an 0845- number, that's annoying, but it'll do;

- interminable advert for other group services -

"name?"
"address?"
"i'm sorry, caller, i can find no record of your membership."

arrrrgh! - you must have; i pay by direct debit - you've been taking my membership subs for twenty years!

"you're sure you're a member? please hold the line while i transfer you to someone else."

- muzak -

"hello, my name is ~; how can i help you?"
re-explain the situation and that i'm definitely a fully-paid up member of the breakdown service;

"what's your name, please?"
"post code?"
"registration number?"
"is that a vauxhall astra, diesel?"
"and you've broken down?"
re-re-iterate details
"are you at home?"
"what's your phone number?"
"can you be reached on this, if we need to?"
"right; someone should be with you within an hour; they'll be from a local garage, atkinsons."

dum-de-dum-de-dum...

only twenty-five minutes later, atkinson's tow-truck turns up, and i have to explain things again, as they've not had the thrice demanded and thrice-supplied details passed on to them.
the driver-mechanic takes a look, tries fitting the new wheel to little grey ghost, and comments, "that's never going to fit, not in a month of sundays."
i explain that i know i need to swap the good tyre onto the wheel that fits, but that i can't drive anywhere on three wheels, not being a reliant robin...
he grins, and says he'll take them back to the workshop, and be back as soon as he can.

dum-de-dum-de-dum...

the rain starts.

dum-de-dum-de-dum...

the rain gets serious.

dum-de-dum-de-dum...

half an hour later, he's back, the translated tyre+wheel's successfully fitted, the wheel wrench is returned to the next-door neighbours with deep-felt expression of thanks, green flag paperwork's signed, and we're off!

instead of getting into the sorting office, and then in to open up on time, i open IMT two hours late, wondering how many would-be customers & browsers i've managed to disappoint, discombobulate - or deter forever...



- and on monday, instead of going to the sorting office, i've got to find a new spare tyre+wheel, and a wheel-brace, and try not to be too late getting in, as there's the week's new releases to type up for the web-site, still...

ho-hum...
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