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A challenging week

Once the repairs were done, I had a day of doing nothing. The next morning, I tacked down, then, with Rowan onboard, headed for a supermarket in Haslemere. Out of the supermarket, I took the A286 Midhurst road. Within a very short distance, there was the horrible grinding noise of metal on metal each time I touched the brakes. I had to stop! Fortunately, I didn’t need to travel much further before I spotted a layby. A good one at that. It was quiet, off the road by enough that the traffic wasn’t a concern and had loads of woods alongside.


The next challenge was to get brake pads. I couldn’t find anyone who was prepared to deliver, despite my predicament. I then resolved to arrange for a local taxi to collect the parts and deliver them to me. However, incredibly, I couldn’t find anyone who was prepared to take payment for the parts over the ‘phone! It was suggested by one person that I get an account as it is the only way to receive any form of service/assistance. “How do I apply for an account?”


“By popping into the shop and filling in a form.”


Ridiculous! I would have to arrange for a taxi to collect me, take me to the shop, then bring me back.


Then, I got a ‘phone call. Greta, my old friend who I had visited on Thanet,* had died that morning.


The next day, I got on with removing the brake pads. More problems. A bolt had seized. It would not budge. I have nut-remover sockets that are specifically designed to grab the worn heads of bolts. The trouble was, the particular socket that I needed had gone missing! I now had to find a replacement socket. I couldn’t get one without buying a set. Michael ordered a set from a tool supplier that was, believe it or not, next door to the motor factor that I ordered the brake pads from. I could pick everything up at the same time.


Then Lindsay ‘phoned. She wanted to visit with our mum. Unexpected bonus! She could pick me up and take me to collect the brake pads and tools before we went for lunch. I then packed up for the day and relaxed, listening to the cricket.


The next day, Lindsay and mum arrived in good time. Mum had more home-cooked meals, cakes and banoffee pie for me. Lindsay also delivered a new SIM to me. Daniel had ordered it, as my old one is so old that it may not have been compatible with 5G. We thought that it would help with the issue of poor signal. (It hasn't.) Lindsay took me to the motor factor and tool shop, we then did some shopping, before going for lunch at a nice café called the Lion’s Den.


The next day, I got back on with dealing with the truck. The bolt still wouldn’t shift. The only way that it was going to come out was with gas and air. I had to find a mobile mechanic with oxy-acetylene.


I ‘phoned the motor factor that I had bought the brake pads from. I was given the number of some-one called Harry. I telephoned several times before I eventually got a response. I explained the situation. He said that he was just about to start on a job. He said that he had the equipment needed and would call me back in a few hours. I never heard from him again. He did not answer any of my calls or respond to text messages.


I got on the internet and found two people through something called Check-A-Trade. There were loads of good reviews for both; reliable and competent. What could go wrong? Well, the first one I rang no longer does mobile jobs. The second's van had broken down.


I found a bloke in Borden, just a few miles from here, on the Facebook marketplace thing. Ken returned my call. Great start! He was positive and understanding about the situation. He said that he was on a job and would ‘phone me in the evening to arrange a time to do the job. He assured me that he would not let me down. That was the last I heard from him.


I had been stranded for four days by this point. I inevitably was ‘noticed’. On this occasion, by the local top cop, who then sent one of his minions to investigate. The constable sent introduced himself as Matt. He was friendly, polite and respectful. He was sympathetic of the situation and wished me well.


I then had the idea of joining all the local Facebook groups and posting an appeal. I had a few responses. One was from a John Mark. He was keen to get going, assuring me that he had all the equipment needed. But then, he wanted money up front, for ‘fuel’. He claimed to be within 20 minutes of me. Suspicious, I refused any upfront payments, told him to borrow the fuel money from a friend and looked at his Fb profile. I had already become suspicious before he asked for money. The language was pidgin American. The Fb profile was of a person from the United States. It was a scam.


I then got a message from some-one called Vanessa. She put me onto a bloke called Luke. He couldn’t help, but he had a mate stood next to him at that moment who probably could. Sam (rawlinswelding@gmail.com) is a mobile welder. A little more than half an hour later, he pulled into the layby. Within half an hour of that, the bolt was off. Absolutely brilliant! That’s what I call a service. No messing, no bullshit. He asked for a fair bunce, too, which I was happy enough to give him.


A couple of hours later, the truck was ready to roll.




*see entry Thanet and Reculver






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