A One Woman Campaign in Witney: Election day Special

7 May, 2010

It’s been a tense past few days in Witney.  A lot of intense negotiations around the town.  Who was telling the truth? Well how should I know?  But my gut instinct told me I had to find out.  These are hard economic times and big mistakes can have long term consequences.  Sure, there were a few fraught moments when, frankly, I thought I couldn’t trust myself, I’m just a mum, I have no in depth knowledge of such worldly things.  Who am I to question the powerful prevailing forces in this town?  But that’s the way life goes, just as you abandon all hope, things click into place and it all comes together.

Only a week ago, I was standing outside a garage in Witney crying at the forecast written down infront of me.  It was going to take billions of pounds to keep my car on the road and get it through the MOT it had just failed.  What could I do?

The man in the garage had helpfully spread doom and gloom about the difficulty of finding the right parts, and the utter impossibility getting them delivered anytime soon.  I felt like the owner of a vintage Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, rather than the Skoda Fabia I’d driven in.  As I sat in the car, sad and stressed, I read down the list of “Fails”; suspension, bushes, lights, lights cluster, then a strange thought crossed my mind.  “What if this was just another rip-off piss-take of a vulnerable and defenceless woman?  Then I thought, “Even if she weren’t vulnerable and defenceless, it could still be a rip off.  What if my car was actually ok?”  I ran with it.

Actually, I drove with it, all the way to my local garage and showed them the fail.  They started crying.  For them, having spent so much time caring for my car over the past few months, this was akin to seeing your child trip over in a bridesmaid dress, and arrive at the church plastered in mud.  It just couldn’t be happening.

So Steve, my local mechanic, kicked a few of my tyres and peered at my light cluster and after this mechanical inspection he announced; “Ders nufin wrong wiv dat car”.  Then in his professional capacity he advise me to, “Get it redone at Olly’s. He’ll pass it. That garage is a prick, for failing that.”  Ours minds were one (briefly).  He called Steve over, (both mechanics are called Steve, but only one of them can drive).  After a several minutes of discussion about bookings and slots etc., where they both attempted to remember what was on the calendar, without walking six feet to look at it, they agreed on Thursday.

Thursday morning it went in a failure, and Thursday afternoon it came out the proud owner of it’s MOT.  If I were one of those mums who kept my kids certificates for swimming, reading, breathing etc., then for sure, this one would be up on display with the rest of them.

However, my Fabia’s outstanding achievement also left me with the predicament of the dodgy first MOT,  I had now paid for the test twice.  So I rang rip-off garage.  (I should clarify, this absolutely wasn’t the local Skoda dealer.  Last time I went in there, they told me I needed the engine completely stripped and rebuilt for emissions output.  Steve’s comment that time was “Dats total bollocks”).
I enthusiastically let rip-off garage know just how well my car had done in today’s MOT, hoping they’d be happy for me.  Not wanting to be unfair about the situation, I left it up to them to decide to refund me or be reported to Trading Standards.  I told them to think about it and give me a ring back.  It was strange how quiet the man at the other end went.  I don’t know him, but I’d guess he doesn’t talk to many assertive women.  Anyway, he obviously really liked me, because he eagerly called back within five minutes.  He said that although MOT is a matter of the “opinion” of a mechanic, (rather than a rigid set of requirements for you car to be on the road).  And because they didn’t like having dissatisfied customers, (so kind of them to think of me), in light of these two things, they would give me a full refund.

How very sweet of them.

Then with consumer power pulsing through my veins, I went to the village hall and voted in the General Elections.  I forgot to stay up and see who’d won the Witney seat though.

Bye xxx

4 Responses to “A One Woman Campaign in Witney: Election day Special”

  1. Stuart Says:

    When you going to start writing this kinda stuff for the Guardian magazine… Top dollar and all that?

  2. Hari Says:

    Thanks Stuart. I nearly deleted this, thinking it was a bit boring, whining on about my MOT.

    Below is link to the VOSA area intelligence units, where you can lodge a complaint about a dodgy MOT station. Or you can use their national email:


  3. hedgewytch Says:

    YAY! Go you! well done for that!
    I hate it when people walk all over me, and I really fear things like this happening *Hugs*
    so glad it turned out ok and you went back to the other garage. Hah!
    Oh I LOVE the way you write, you really should write a book, and yes for the papers as well. Have a column 😉 xxx

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