Today was the day to take the car for service in Helensburgh, the only other nearby VW dealer being on Islay and they couldn’t fit it in for a couple of weeks. In addition to the usual minor niggles, I have also developed a small oil leak, which I put down to a very rough public road on Islay where the car came down with an almighty bump a few weeks ago. Anyway, got down to Helensburgh okay and booked the car in for its service, planning to go into Glasgow for the day on the train and pick the car up at the end of the day.
So, off I toddled, catching the train just up behind the VW dealer’s premises and getting a return into town for £6.60, which I didn’t think was too bad. Pleasant run into town with a bright clear day and a train full of schoolgirls. Got off the train a stop early and walked through the city centre to find a caff where I could get a coffee, a bacon butty and a read of the paper. Job done, I browsed my way around bookshops and bought Her Maj a present of T S Eliot poems to make up for the fact that I was getting a day in Glasgow and she was getting a day with the great unwashed in school. Four Quartets and Old Possums’s Book of Practical Cats, if you must know. The former to remember Somerset and the latter to remind ourselves that having a cat can be fun (except when the d**n thing leaves presents beneath the bed at three in the morning and uses the wardrobe as a scratching post). My treat to myself were the first and second Rumpole omnibus editions, having already enjoyed the third.
A trip to the Gallery of Modern Art followed, where a splendid hour or so was spent in the company of Stanley Spencer, L S Lowrie and Grayson Perry. Perry’s work was far more compelling than I had expected; the pots are glamorous, stately and pretty from a distance but fierce and unrelenting from closer observation.
Down to Fat Boab’s for lunch and a pint of Velvet and a chili con carne (plus pitta bread) for refreshment. The plan was to mooch around Sauchiehall Street for an hour or so en route to PC World to pick up the new printer to replace the one I damaged beyond repair at the weekend, before catching the suburban trains back to Helensburgh, the car and the journey home. No such luck …
Just finished the fud (“food” in local accent) when the phone went and it was the garage to inform me that, not only were the tyres illegal on the front (which I suspected), that a track rod end had gone and that the sump was cracked (neither of which I expected). Worse news was that (a) parts would not be available until tomorrow and (b) they had no spare courtesy cars. Sh*t, D**n, Bu**er, Bl*st, F**k, C**k and C**t were my immediate responses to the situation; not only would I have to find £163 for the new sump but I was stranded in Glasgow with no transport back to Argyll, or at least none that would sensibly get me to work tomorrow and back into Helensburgh to pick up the car. All that on top of having to buy a new printer because of my own carelessness. You might suspect that I was pretty jacked off with the whole situation, and, you’d be right.
Car hire now seemed the only option, coming back into Glasgow to return it tomorrow afternoon, training it out the Helensburgh to collect the car and hitting the credit card harder than I’d really fancy into the bargain. A quick chat at the tourist information office and the fellow behind the counter suggested I contact Enterprise car rental, who were rumoured to be helpful. The clouds parted a little bit when I discovered that their depot was in the same road as the PC World store that was holding my new printer for me, so I decided to go over and see what they could do.
The car hire place was about a mile outside the city centre in what one might call an aspiring neighbourhood if one was being exceptionally generous. At least business was sufficiently good for McPlod to have opened an office in the vicinity. That reminds me, passed a takeaway called MacDonners en route … Found the car hire depot and walked in, told my tale of woe to the man at the counter and he took me out to see what cars were available. Glory be – they had a small car ready for hire and he offered it to me for the very good price of £28 for 24 hours and not to worry about the fuel on return. It was a one of those new Renault Moronos, or whatever they’re called, the one with the car-park horseplay on the telly. I decided, under the prevalent disdain which is coming my way from Lady Luck, that I would spend another tenner and go for the full insurance cover with no excess. It’s not that I’m superstitious, I really can do without having to fork out another £350 if there was a collision.
So, once again finding the folk of Glasgow amongst the most generous and helpful in the world, I drove across the road (I told you it was close) to PC World to collect my new printer, which was ready and waiting for me, and made my weary way home by road, stopping only to blag another afternoon’s leave from the boss.
Oh, on the chook side, no more goose eggs, but all three broody ladies are still hard at it on their nests, although I have yet to see the chooks get off to feed or water themselves, unlike grey goose, who has a very low boredom threshold and is constantly off to see what everyone else is up to.