A rattle, a rumble, a big bill and a touch of Procrastination


Tuesday 20th – Thursday 29th  November 2018

As every good horse rider knows, at the end of a long day in the saddle a rider always look after their horse before themselves. With this in mind Gandalf, our trusty stead these last 4 months, was booked in for a once over within 2 days of our return.

There had, in the last week or so, been some rumblings, the odd, or should I say an odd, knocking noise and some potential steering issues.

How bad can it be?

It’s probably nothing. Right?

This is how bad it can be…

Poor Gandalf

It turns out that the loud bang we heard one evening whilst parked up in a campsite was not, as we suspected, something hitting the pop-top roof but, was probably the rear suspension coil snapping. I told Mrs P not to eat that last pain au chocolat.

Here’s how it went…

Mr P to nice man at the garage: “Well, that’s the steering issue sorted but, what about the funny knocking noise?”

Nice man at the garage: “Ah, well sir, that’s your engine mount bracket flange that is…

(Now, there is a possibility I am not using the precise. or most technically accurate terms he used but, for all my knowledge about motors, he might as well have said this word for word)

…It’s worn. Probably what’s causing the noise sir. Oh, and your turbo injector doodleflap seal is leaking. Your spondulix levels were a bit low too but we topped that up for nothing.”

Mr P (head in hands): “How much?”

Garage man (licks end of pencil and starts totting up the cost): “Broken suspension coil at.. and you’ll need ’em both doing of course. Can’t just do one. Doodleflap seal, spondulix…”

Mr P : “Hang on. You said you sorted the spondulix thing for free.”

Not so nice garage man: “Well, we did but, the spondulix joint obviously needs rebalancing and the Arbuthnot loop must of course be galvanised. So, all that, plus labour… add the tax. Take off the 0.0001% discount because you’ve been keeping my family holiday funds topped up on a regular basis and that comes to… Lemme see… arbitrary figure, multiplied by 7, divide by 0.5 and that comes to.. Hang on… seventeen plus 12, carry 2 and.. £897.55 please sir.”

Mr P : “£897!”

Hateful man: “And 55 pence. Yes sir. Cash or card sir?”


That’s a painful bill for the P family. I have now been out of work for 8 months and Mrs P has not worked since July.

Only one thing to do…


A few days of decompression before the inevitable search for paying work begins. We go for a walk near Christmas Common in the Chilterns for a start.

All terribly autumnal

And, since the idea of actually starting the process of looking for work is… what can I say?… daunting, unnerving, horrifying even (Mrs P is suffering from similar feelings), perhaps a further week of procrastination is in order.

So, off to Wales for the Alpine Club AGM and dinner. I shan’t go into the event in too much detail apart from to say, it was an odd affair. Guest speakers talked about their lives of crime (!?) with a serious lack of remorse. Their invite, it seems, was all part of  an attempt to ‘inspire’ the younger members. Go figure. Add to that the fact that 2 out of 3 slide shows were poor (one was excellent). Positives; great food, great company, well run AGM.

A few, not terribly successful,  days of outdoor activities ensued…

Some cold walks,
An abandoned climb…
A cold night or 3 (+3 was also the temperature inside the van)…
Some serious reflection…
A few brief moments of clarity…
And more rain than we saw in 4 months.

So, we ran away home. To procrastinate further, in our warm house, in front of the log fire. I don’t think we are acclimatised yet to the British winter. 

4 thoughts on “A rattle, a rumble, a big bill and a touch of Procrastination

  1. Cost unfortunately sounds about right, we had to have two rear coil springs fitted before or trip this year, cost incl oil and filter changes £757. On the upside your EGR valve still works, if that goes as mine did you will need circa £2k. Good to see you are trying to get out and adventure, we are doing local stuff, trying some sport climbing at our local climbing centre EICA and still working on the new bike till the snow arrives.


  2. I wish I had, you could call it an ExhaustoGasoValublator if you wanted, but in reality it is an exhaust gas recycle valve (EGR) and extra part added to make desire engines cleaner. And very expensive to repair.


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