Halfway to Bristol again

Two days ago I drove halfway to Bristol when the phone rang and the puppet wasn’t ready and I had to turn back.

Today I drove halfway to Bristol. The puppet WAS ready. I was stationary in a car crash queue when Jo phoned me. Moving goalposts again. The puppet was suddenly needed for the evening show. I was an hour and a half out of Bristol. It was half past four. They were going to put it on the train as it wasn’t physically possible for me to get it there in time. I got turned back again.

Two days ago I was turned back in a van rented for another job. No harm done and not much extra fuel. Made the day shorter. No trouble.

Today I was in my brand new (to me) Nissan Xtrail and it was my only mission. (I didn’t take a photo. When will I ever learn?) I was enjoying getting to know it.

The reason I was so slow to Bristol is because Arnold Clark – the huge inflexible dealership – were having a bloody nightmare. I went back to pay the balance on my Amex and they declined it. Calls to my Amex and much vacillating led to us establishing that it was definitely on their end which led to them essentially announcing that there was nothing they could do. I was dealing with poor Jim in a portacabin in Lingfield with nothing but his prodigious patience and certainly no ability to affect anything. “We’ve only got one card terminal. We’re just a tiny click and collect”.

We took ages and he stuck with it, and eventually we established that £500 payments would go through, so we made a load of them. He stapled all the declined transactions and all the smaller accepted transactions in my book and he kept a tight log calmly despite me getting more and more pissed off with everything. The next customers were fuming in the parking lot by the time I left. “This is our lunch break!”

I had no battery left and realised I couldn’t charge from the car USB adequately in heat without a cigarette lighter jack. “8 hours until charged”. You know, when the charging barely matches the demand…

I sat in the parking lot with the air con on, fighting the battery as I tried to get myself insured. I’m not making that mistake twice and just driving home where internet works and chargers are many. Six points is enough thanks. With 2 per cent left I clicked “pay” and it was declined. “Sorry but there’s been a problem.”

They didn’t like me much when I angrily reappeared in the portacabin and wordlessly plugged my phone in by the photocopier so I could just try to pay this damn insurance and get the damn car on the road. Thankfully they didn’t kick me out, but a guy who came in after me was told very firmly to sanitise his hands.

Fraud prevention. That’s why my insurance was declined. All the little payments Jim and I had to make because they wouldn’t accept a large payment. I find myself having to answer questions about my earning capacity and it’s all taking SO MUCH TIME and it feels like it’s because I’ve never made a purchase like this before so obviously I’m not supposed to make big purchases because KEEP DOWN KEEP DOWN STAMP STAMP STAMP

But we got there. Now I’ve got a car that is useful for production driving. It also has a good carrying capacity. Or it can take up to 7 passengers. It is currently unblemished. It only has 28k on the clock and it’s smooth to drive. Pay me to drive your things!

My aborted trip to Bristol gave me a chance to give it some head, and after the Audi it has a disappointing lack of grunt which is probably for the best. If you floor it in third gear it isn’t gonna jump for you. You have to change down. Still, it’s economic and big and grown up. And believe it or not it’s cheaper to insure with 6 points than the Audi was with none.

I didn’t want to go the extra mile and have a battery car as I think that nobody has really thought about disposal for those things and there is a whole world of nasty chemicals rotting their way into the soil just waiting to happen.

Now I’m back with the lovely pussycat. I’m going to wash the filth off in the bath. All is right with the world.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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