These last few weeks have been about as fun as a kick in the nuts.
I think I am cursed. Actually, I know it. The evidence is beginning to stack up.
You may recall my last journal about how terrible the roads are around here and how my car had square wheels thanks to a few craters that I can only assume were caused by meteorite strikes. Well, it so happens that square wheels were the tip of an iceberg of bullshit floating in my proverbial ocean.
That very same weekend, I took my car in for an MOT. It's not actually due one until end of Jan 2014, I only wanted a pre-emptive check, but the garage was like "meh, might as well do a full MOT to see if it needs work", which it transpires is Bad Advice on an old and crappy car.
It's Bad Advice because (and this seems so obvious now) the car was doomed to fail that test miserably. And wow, did it fail. It failed so hard
that it filled the failure AND the advisory boxes, and when I went to pick it up, the mechanic who did the work summarised the situation for me with a cheery "It's shit!"
It's Bad Advice because, as I am now aware, it failing an MOT technically means I am aware that it is un-roadworthy, which means I am aware it is not supposed to be on the road, which means my existing MOT is basically meaningless. If I had not MOT'd it, and continued driving it down the road with bits falling off as it slowly bursts into flames, spewing oil all over the road and choking passing wildlife to death on its emissions, that would have been just fine in the eyes of the law. But no, I went and MOT'd it, and now I can't drive it because I'm thick.
Fucking hurray, guess I'm buying a new car then, because this one was more than I wanted to spend to fix! This would be the second bit of helpful advice from the garage as well, who said I should "treat myself".
So fuck it, I WOULD treat myself. I began a week-long stressful hunt for my next wheels, fervently hoping none of them were square, and that nothing would catch fire, and that nothing leaked, knocked, banged, snapped, fell off or didn't work. Requirements that, in retrospect, were a little unrealistic for my budget (sod all) as I found that nearly every car that I went to view was indisputably shittier than my own. I viewed one which was tatty but workable until I put my foot down and it wouldn't move. I viewed another which turned out to have been crashed. Another which had suspension best described as "missing" because there WASN'T ANY. That thing was broke as fuck, or as the dealer liked to put it, "it's meant to be that way, it's a sports car" followed by "oh... that
hard? Yeah I think the guy cut the springs to lower it or something".
So imagine my surprise when I find a near perfect example of a cheap, fun-looking car, with MUCH lower miles than any of the others I'd been seeing, had been owned by an enthusiast who was part of an ownership club, had full service history, was pretty quick, sounded great and drove really well! Sounds great, right?
And it was, so I bought it. I became the happy owner of my first British sports car - a tidy, well looked-after MGF. I did tons of research beforehand, learnt all about it (I do this with any car before buying), its quirks, common issues, what to look for, what to ask about, running costs, the lot. It checked out in every way; it ticked every box. All critical work had been done, some as recently as last year, TONS of work actually, and it was cheaper to insure, faster, and used less fuel than my current car.
An epic mission was undertaken to go pick up this car, which was some 150 miles away. Took the day off work; First I would go down there, view it, check it, test it, buy it, return home, take my existing car to a family home where I could store it for sale, sort out tax/ins, then get picked up by the girlfriend to drive all the way back to pick up my new car. Felt like some 500 miles had been covered that day between us, sorting that one out, but finally, late at night, I return triumphant in my car, which was a wonderful drive.
I go to work the next day, and at lunch take my Dad out for a drive. All is well. Then, as soon as we get back, steam erupts from the engine bay. Of course I assume it's fire, and I'm all like "IT'S OKAY I HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER" and scrambling to unplug the battery and everything before I realise it's coolant. Hoping it's a split pipe, I call the AA, who on arrival inform me it looks like the water pump popped. My documentation said that had only been changed last year, so I was still holding out for a simple repair.
So to an MG-specialist garage it is towed, where it sits for a week, a week of tortured distraction and agony and panic, because they're fully booked but were nice enough to store it while I waited. I also get a parking ticket for PARKING IN MY OWN FUCKING SPACE with the company car, which I borrowed when it became clear there was no way I was getting my car back before the end of the week.
(That's a whole new journal post right there, but I'll hold off for now because the drama is still developing on that one.)
When the garage got round to it, it turns out that the seller had been honest and yeah, the work he'd said had been done had been done, and the water pump was fine. What wasn't fine was the head gasket, which had given no signs of its impending failure because it was actually healthy inside (no oil/water contamination) and had simply chosen to pop outside instead. Still, the repair cost what I just paid for the bastard car in the first place.
THANK YOU, LIFE. YOU'RE MY FAVOURITE, TOO.
I perform all the due diligence in buying cars, and I do treat them respectfully. So I guess I'm just cursed. I've broken three cars this year. One caught fire, the next went from whistle-clean MOT to catastrophic test failure, and this one blew up outside the office.
Oh well. I actually stubbornly fixed this one instead of just buying another, because despite its betrayal of my wallet I really like it, it is easily the most fun and possibly the nicest looking car I've owned, everyone I show it to loves it, and I am NOT searching for cars again, I hate doing that.
So yeah, that's where I've been for the last few weeks.
Maybe now I can get back to drawing??!