Saturday, 16 January 2010

This is not funny. Seriously.

The Mechanical Malfunction Fairy continues with her nefarious practices. I don't know what I have done to cause such offence, but if anyone knows where one goes to make a sacrifice to pacify her, please let me know. (What, I wonder would you sacrifice to the Mechanical Malfunction Fairy? Stamp on a perfectly functioning watch, perhaps? Try making a gravel smoothie in your blender?)

Today, I had agreed with my Dad that I would drive down to the Lake District with him. My now ex-pat brother had agreed to sell him his car, the plan being that Little Brother would drive up in said car for their visit just after Christmas and Dad would then drive them all back down again in time for their flight to Oz. The snow put paid to that and the car has been languishing in a kind neighbour's drive just outside Cockermouth for the past couple of weeks. I agreed therefore to drive Dad down to pick it up. We decided to take my car as I felt happier driving on the motorway in my own car with which I was familiar and, more importantly, for which I have fully comprehensive insurance.

Everything went swimmingly until we hit a part of the M74 that was closed due to flooding (all that melting snow has to go somewhere) and we were diverted off. As we pulled off the motorway, we heard a sudden strange noise. Dad and I both immediately reached the same conclusion: we had a flat tyre. Fortunately we were about to pass a service area so we pulled in, both dreading having to go through the operation of remembering how to jack up the car and change the tyre and then actually jacking up the car and changing the tyre.

I pulled into a spot well away from the services building, to ensure we had plenty of space and we climbed out. To discover that all four tyres were fine. Two guys in a white van behind us called over and pointed out that there was something wrong at the front of my car. We looked. A bit had fallen off the front of my car. The panel underneath that protects all the engine gubbins from the elements had simply dropped to the ground and was being dragged along. (Damn you M.M.F!) Dad and I were slightly stunned. Not so our White Van Heroes (who turned out to be Polish). They both came over, crawled around on the muddy ground peering under my car and then one of them nipped back to the van, reappearing with a couple of heavy duty cable ties. He then dropped down and re-attached the panel with the cable ties.

I was gobsmacked, not only by my good fortune in picking that space in those services in which to park (Ha! Take that Mechanical Malfunction Fairy!) but by how unbelievably kind, helpful and well-equipped those guys were. They refused to take anything for their trouble, just saying cheerfully as they left "We are Polish, by the way - remember Polish people are cool!" Too right they are.

I know there is no chance they will read this, but to those two guys, thank you very much. I got safely to Cockermouth and back and with only about 10 minutes added to my journey. You are geniuses. Kind, obliging, mechanically inventive and well-equipped Polish geniuses.


  1. I absolutely love the 'We are Polish' statement. How fab!! Maybe they go around in their white van doing good deeds and spreading the 'Polish people are cool' message!!

  2. Funnily enough, Ottawa also has a Polish good fairy who drives around the freeways from time to time and rescues people. Wonderful to meet such helpful folk in time of need.
    I am thinking up ceremonies as fast as possible - now that the snowmobile is home and I have all this leisure.
    First off the top, try burning a manual to something, at midnight at a cross road, maybe.

  3. Goodness. Well, my little Polish chap is LOVELY so maybe yours are his brothers.

    I'm still wondering if Alf the Elf has something to do with this.

    Beelezbalf the Elf?

    S(a)tan the Elf?

    Maybe you should advertise him in a giveaway? (cackle cackle cackle...)

  4. Ah, I'm so glad that you got sorted! I was afraid that this was going to be a story about the £600 repair on the car.

    I feel really bad for the Polish people here. So many Irish people think such rubbish about them. I let an Eastern European guy who only had a couple of items in ahead of me in Lidl and you would have thought I'd given him 100 euro he was so grateful to have been let in, which just made me sad, actually.

  5. I can't think of a worse place to break down than near Cockermouth.

    Sorry to anyone who likes it.

  6. Again with the Cockermouth? Anyway, I think the answer here is not to appease this naughty fairy, but to show it who's boss. Take one of the mechanical object that have been acting up and make a big spectacle of disposing of it completely. Do not replace it unless with something non-mechanical and then make a big spectacle of showing how happy you are without the mechanical thing. The others will soon get the message and toe the line.

  7. Ok, here's what you do: first you find the queen lentil...


    Your Polish heroes sound wonderful.