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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?


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 -

"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."


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.


the rain starts.


the rain gets serious.


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...

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