Thursday, 6 January 2011

My car

My beautiful car! I love my car. It's 11 years old and it's been mine for 10 of those years. It's been my car longer than I've been a qualified teacher. If there's anything that sums up my existence more than my 2 girls, it's my mini. It's called Tuppy. This is because my first mini was called Bertie, as in Bertie Wooster, and Tuppy is a friend of Bertie.

For a mini, it's not ancient. For a modern car, it's old. But for a mini, it's probably just middle aged. But the years are beginning to show. It has a long term love/hate relationship with it's battery. This has been going on for a good 5 years now. I buy it a new battery, it tolerates it for a while and then rejects it, like an organ transplant gone wrong. In the past 5 years, it's probably had 5 batteries. We're about to take another one back to the shop because it's only 6 months old and has been driven to suicide by my mini already - but this battery came with a 2 year warranty, more fool the shop that sold it to us!

Tuppys' latest wheeze is over heating. It did this about 2 months ago on the way home from work (bearing in mind that I was 7-8 months pregnant at this point). The electrics started going mental. I ended up having to turn off as many electrical items as I could - which was a bit hairy at dusk, in the rain.  I decided not to pick up little i straight away and went home to park the car instead. By the time I got to the drive way, the engine was smoking. I ran out of the car and rang the Fire Brigade. Thankfully, the car wasn't on fire and stopped smoking while I was waiting for the engine. We rang 'the mini man' who is a local mechanic who specialises in old minis.

The mini man is brilliant. He's honest, doesn't over charge and loves the car he's chosen to work on. He has replaced a front light for me, on my way home or while I was at the swimming pool, in 5 mins and only charges £5!

The mini man came to pick the car up with his trailer and took it to his workshop. This was the first time I thought the mini may have been at the end of it's regular working life. However, he rang the next day to say that a wire had corroded so stopped the fan (and other electrics) from working. Wire replace - £30 charge for pick up, labour and parts - my car returned to me, good as new.

Since then my car has not been used as much as it's used to. The snow and ice before Christmas limited my ability to leave the house as a heavily pregnant woman on maternity leave. Then, of course, the baby arrived and my partner, Rob, has been off work and we've been using his car. Yesterday, he decided to check that the mini was ok. It wasn't. Another battery rejected, but we've learnt about my cars little ways and we had a spare battery in the garage.  Rob took it out for a drive. A little while later he returned and asked me if I was ok as soon as he walked through the door. At this point I knew something bad must have happened. So, understandably, I asked 'what have you done to my car?'

The mini had over heated again. This time, it couldn't get home and Rob had abandoned it in a pub car park and run (yes run) home. We rang the mini man who came and picked it up with his trailer once again and once again, I thought I may be looking at the end of my beautiful car.

But No! The water tank in the engine had cracked in the cold weather and all the water had leaked out. Now, if I owned a new style BMW mini a new water tank would cost about £180, but this is an old style mini we're taking about. These things are made to last and at a reasonable budget. Mr mini man has had to order the part from the internet but at the most it will cost £35.

The mini lives to fight another day!

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