Latest Words of Wisdom

Well, baby R is really beginning to vocalise now.  Only yesterday she was a tiny infant who could barely differentiate her cries; I know that in a short blink of time she’ll probably be a sullen, unresponsive, grunting teenager.  So for now, I’m enjoying hearing her little voice emerge, and I’m loving listening to her sisters learn to articulate their thoughts.

We had some friends and their kids over for Sunday lunch today and Maxi Minx waved goodbye to them.  She was pouting out the window and starting to strop.  “C’s so far away – how will she see my little small hand waving?” she wailed.

On holiday, Maxi made friends with twins, a boy and a girl.  She was especially good friends with the girl, G, and usually complained that the little boy, J, was rough with her.  On the last night, G and J came out their room (2 down from ours) and saw Maxi Minx all dressed up, ready for Mini Disco.  “Oooooooh, P!” sighed J, “You look soooooo beautiful!”  Both me and J’s mother gasped and blinked back tears.   “What a lovely thing to say!” I exclaimed.  Maxi Minx blushed and thanked him.  The Boss darkly muttered something about lucky he was only 4 or he’d have had A Word.

Midi Minx’s speech is less garbled since she stopped getting ear infections every month, however she stills confuses Vs and Bs, and Ps and Bs.  So Poppy becomes Bobby, clever becomes cleber.  And Vaseline becomes ballallee.  It took me till tonight to figure out that that’s what she’s been demanding for the last month for her chapped lips:

“Mummy, gib me ballallee.  Peeeeeease.  Now, thankoo”
“Ballallee?  Is that one of your Tomliboos?  A new Telly-tubby?  Someone on CBeebies?  A sweetie?  A friend?  Eh?!”

Yesterday Mini Minx was particularly pissed-off with not being picked up when she wanted to be.  She’d cycled through her cute coos, her sharp shrieks and had graduated to cross chirps.  Eventually she furiously beat her little fists on her cot bars and yelled, “Dadadadadadadada!”  Once she was safely cuddled in my arms and had heard the reassuring click of my feeding bra being opened, she sighed, “Mumumumumummmmmmm”.  So she’s already associating Mum with nice things and Dad with not-so-nice.  Attagirl!

Finally, The Boss dropped a real pearler today.  He was referring to our daughters as Maxi, Midi and Mini Minx (so I guess he reads my blog: gotcha!)  And without skipping a beat, he called me Mega Minx.  Hmph!  No wonder I am, and will always remain, a Grumpy Old Trout!

🙂

More Day-To-Day Minxiness

Just went upstairs to put Mini Minx in her newly-lowered cot.  It’s like a bloomin’ cage!  She pouted at me in her sleep – obviously she’s still cross that I only fed her a whole (!) herring for her dinner tonight instead of 2.  Or 4.  Four is Midi Minx’s favourite number.  If you ask her anything, she’ll reply “4!”

I tiptoed into Midi and Maxi’s rooms to check on them.  Check for what, I know not – that they’ve not kicked their covers off?  That they’ve not turned their rooms upside down?  That they’re still alive?

Typically, Maxi had laid out 4 or 5 little beds for her favourite stuffed toys.  She’s all curled up in a corner of her bed while Baby Annabell is on a pillow of her own, covered with a blanky-tag; Grandad Teddy is on a cushion covered with a toy quilt; Barbie is on Maxi’s favourite rolled-up soft jumper covered with a cushion cover; Bagpuss (favourite toy) is in the middle of the bed, on the biggest pillow, covered with a huge fleece blanket.  Maxi loves that Bagpuss so much that she cries if anyone picks it up by the neck or head. “Poor Bagpuss!” she wailed, “He won’t survive another bath in the washing machine!”

Midi, meanwhile, loves her Teddy so much she carries it around like a dog.  In her mouth.  She likes to gnaw on its legs.  I fear it won’t last the week, never mind another wash.

At bedtime, Maxi leaned in close after her bedtime story (one of Dorothy Edwards’ ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ stories – Midi is the reincarnation of the little sister) and whispered that she wanted to tell me a secret.  Only so long as I promised not to tell Daddy.  Oh oh.  Red alert.  She lifted my hair and shy said, “When I grow up, I’m going to be an artist”.  Sweetheart, any fool can see that!  I hugged her and agreed that would be a good plan.  I asked her if she wanted to use my easel outside when she was bigger.  “Oh yes, Mummy!” she enthused.  “I will use a real easel, and real paints, with real paintbrushes.  And I will wear a real artist’s hat!”  You’d have been proud of me: I didn’t giggle or snigger, just patted her head and said “Yes, sweetheart”.  Bless!

So, Maxi Minx is going to be an artist when she grows up.  I think Mini Minx will be a singer or actress.  Midi?  She’ll be a wrestler.

Day-to-Day Minxdom

We dropped baby R’s cot base down to the lowest level yesterday.  My little Houdini is a tiny baby no longer.  She’s also a fully-fledged minx: I discovered that the reason why she happily went to bed without a fight last night is because she’s found a new toy!  I could hear her gurgling and singing her happy tummy song (‘mum-mum-mum’ = yum-yum-yum) to herself.  Then the chirrups changed to a more determined: “Da! Da! Ba-ba-BAAAA!” so I peered in to check on her.  All I could see in the gloom was a snatching little arm waving through the bars of her cot, covered in 4 or 5 bangles.  The bangles were her Daddy’s pants, and she’d obviously grabbed them from an opened drawer by our bed (she’s still in our room because we’re too lazy to move her I’m still breastfeeding her last thing at night and first thing every morning).  I strode in to rescue my clean laundry only to find it was a lost cause: every single clean pair of pants The Boss owns were draped over her wrists or her teddy.  She had a rolled-up pair of socks in each little fist and one in her mouth, dangling off her 2 teeth, worrying it like a terrier.  She saw me, beamed wider, loosening her death-grip on the socks and chuckled.  I think that picture of innocent delight in the midst of a mountain of male underwear will be engraved on my heart till I die.

Speaking of never-to-be-forgotten images, Midi Minx was allowed to accompany Maxi Minx to her ballet class yesterday.  She’ll be 3 next month, and the teacher is happy to let her try it out a few times with a view to starting formally at 3.  (Well, as formal as you get in a class that’s just for fun).  It helps that Midi’s not tried to eat anyone recently.  Parents aren’t encouraged to watch the class, but I had to peep round the corner to check Midi was behaving herself and not sat in a corner, munching on ripped-off toddler leg or something.  The sight of Midi and Maxi in pink ballet kit and slipper, skipping nicely in a circle with the other children, *holding each other’s hand* melted my hard old black heart.  I may have gasped.  Midi looked up, yelled “Mummeeeeee!” and came thundering over, sending the other kids flying and the wall pictures a-tumbling.  They may have their work cut out to turn my beautiful, flexible but heavy-heeled Tarzan into a willowy Jane.

Which reminds me of my eternal struggles with Maxi to get her to eat.  I’ve kind of stuck with explaining why we eat food (‘building blocks for your body’) and what contribution each particular bit of food will make to her overall health, eg “lamb’s building blocks are: protein to make your muscles strong and make you feel full up, iron to give you energy and B vitamins to make you healthy.  So eat it up!”  She normally listens politely, nods sagely, then rejects it all anyway.  This morning I wasn’t in a rush (!) so allowed them to watch 10 mins of CBeebies before nursery, so long as breakfast had been eaten.  I never thought it would happen.  Ha!  Maxi wolfed down her scrambled egg and toast in 3 bites (I counted), poured her beaker of milk down her throat without appearing to swallow at all, and raced off into the living room to catch Octonauts with a cheeky, “Full steam ahead, Mummy!”

Sod the grown-up explanations – from now on I’m going to stick to bribes!

Code For Free Goodies

I eat too many chocolate biscuits.  I know the saturated fat is terrible for my arteries, but they’re so easy and super-fast to eat when you’re trying to answer the phone, argue with the postman, change a baby’s nappy, keep the cat out of last night’s chicken leftovers and get 2 toddlers to eat their breakfasts.  (Or even a little bit of breakfast.  Just a bite).  All at the same time.

I got a few Graze boxes in the past and ate their relatively healthier snacks instead of the biscuits.  Graze are a company who send you a little box of snack-type things every week or so.  The snacks are things like dried fruit, seeds and nuts, both plain and chocolate- or yogurt-covered.  It’s cheaper to buy these kinds of things yourself, but I’m too lazy busy to buy them in, get them out the cupboard, dispense into snack-sized bowls, etc.  Plus, they’re a lovely treat and are more cost-effective than the bulk-buying if you have a discount code or voucher.

Which is where this post comes in.  If you fancy trying a Graze box entirely for free, then just go to www.graze.com, and enter the code 2JKFZ1B3.  You’ll get a box of 4 snacks for free, I’ll get £1 off my next box, and Graze get potentially a new customer.  Everyone wins!

The Minxes Unleashed

Rep 1: I *am* the expert, you know!

Rep 2: your lions hurt my head

I tangled with the new management at the girls’ nursery today for the first time; I think we’re in for some ‘interesting’ times.

Quick background: it’s a ‘work’ nursery.  Work decided to re-tender the contract.  Vicious rumour has it that the decision was actually based on a certain someone in a certain department being jealous about the current provider being a successful businesswoman.  In a letter to parents, the head honcho at work listed the criteria that bidders were to be assessed on and promised there would be absolutely no noticeable change to parents or children no matter what.  Hooey.  And again, hooey.  From start to finish.  The current supplier lost the bid.  There were angry (and very surprised) parents at the meeting that was eventually called to info us all on what was going on.  The criteria for assessment were blatantly not followed.  The new providers have never run a nursery, never mind one in Scotland (it’s a different system with different requirements to that in England and they’ve come a cropper of it twice already in just a few short weeks).  The previous supplier is having to stay on for now, under TUPE regulations.  Brilliant for the kids, who love her; difficult for her.

Anyway, I’m disgruntled because I was very happy and satisfied with the previous supplier and am suspicious and cynical of the new lot.  My hackles generally go up when faced with eejits: at the parents’ meeting, one rep of the new lot answered every question with the desperate assertion: “I’m a project manager!”; another smiled through her panic; the third patronised the crowd with some see-through lies and untruths.  In fact, she reminded me a lot of Justin Fletcher’s ‘Ann Teak’ character…

On with the story.  So, normally we pay fees a month in advance.  I got the invoice for January’s fees 2 days ago (24th Jan).  I got a big A4 sheet each for Maxi and Midi Minx, with some shiny new massive logos on them, and one small line with just a numerical figure on it.  And despite all the additional paperwork I had to fill out last month (‘no noticeable change to parents or children’ my fat arse!), they still mispelled Midi’s name.  It’s only one of the most popular names in the country, for goodness’ sake!  (Hint: Midi is not actually her given name…).  Worse, the figures don’t seem to be a multiple of the hourly rate, so that first alerted me to the fact that the figure was wrong.

So, 2 of the new company’s reps were up today.  (Oh, did I tell you they’re trying to manage it from 400 miles away…?)  Honestly, there really wasn’t a glint in my eye as I informed them their invoices were wrong.  Their spokeswoman looked crestfallen.  “Oh, haha, you’ll never get the same figure twice from me!” she trilled.  Professional outfit, huh?  So I unleashed the Minxes.  Just for a laugh.  Because I was impotent in the face of their rubbishness.

“I’m a lion”, I prison whispered to the girls, as they milled round my ankles waiting to go home.

“Rarrrrrrr!” shouted Maxi Minx.

“RRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!” roared her sister.

“AAAAAAGGGGH!” screamed Maxi.

“RRRRRAAAAARRR!” they yelled in unison.

You get the picture.  They stopped breathing and just screeched and roared and growled.  Wow.  Baby R blinked, being used to such volume of silliness.  The 2 newbies just stared slack-jawed.  I think the spokeswoman got a spontaneous migraine.  The Poor Previous Supplier In A Difficult Position winked at me; I smirked back.  I asked a few more questions (I can project my voice quite a bit, trust me) and feigned a spot of deafness at their unsatisfactory replies.  Eventually I turned to the Minxes and said loudly, “Enough!”  For once, they were good as gold and fell silent instantly.  I gathered the 3 minxes and some shreds of dignity and breezed out the door.

Childish?  Hell yes.  Such fun.

The Potting Shed

I don’t know if you know this about wordpress, but blog owners can see a little report every day listing the sites where people have put a link to their blog.  As my little, new blog isn’t exactly heaving with comments (and also because I’m a nosy old trout), I like to check out the links to see who’s talking about me, and whether they like what I write about or not.  I only ever either say ‘hello’ or just lurk and feel a warm glow if they approve of my rantings.

17 people have visited from www.thepottingshed.proboards.com.  Wow.  I’m intrigued!  I did try registering openly, as ‘Grumpy Old Trout’, but the links to my blog are in a hidden forum that only accepts bona fide ex-BBC Gardening Boards posters.  Whilst I love gardening, I am not such a person, so (probably quite rightly) I can’t access where the links to my blog are.  So, I thought I’d put this post on to say: I don’t know if you like my rantings or not, but ‘hello!’  <waves cheerily>

To all readers of this blog: please do give me some feedback via the comments.  Blogs are always more interesting if they turn into a dialogue, especially if they turn into a argument discussion.  Do you agree with my ramblings?  Vehemently disagree?  Think I’m a nutjob howling at the moon?  Got pet subjects you want to read me rant about?  Gosh that could be fun: rent-a-rant 😀

Air Travel

The Trout and The Boss

I think The Boss needs a holiday to get over this one.  We had a great time while we were there, so it wasn’t that.  Spending time there with his parents was relatively fun, so it wasn’t that.  He’s used to sitting around now, so it wasn’t the 1hr 15 coach transfer plus 4hr 30 flight plus 5hr car drive home plus all the hanging around (left hotel at 1135hrs and got home at 0215hrs), though that was tough enough with 3 little minxes.  No, it was the actual flight.

He’s 6ft 1 with legs in proportion to his height.  So he’s tall, but not abnormally so.  Yet he physically can’t bend his frame into the seats.  He has to take absolutely everything out the seat pocket, then sit with his knees apart and up, for the entire flight.  No wonder I got to hold the baby throughout.  That can’t be safe, can it?  It’s not like you can even get up for a leg-stretch every hour or so – the stewardesses are too busy whizzing up and down the aisle selling headphones, scratchcards, duty-free, toys, drinks, meals, charity donations and a patridge in a pear tree.  I got up to change the baby’s humming nappy and had to wait to let a trolley past.  Not only were the stewardesses snippy about me standing to wait (well, I can’t levitate, dearie, and if I don’t get in the toilet queue now, I’ll not get in for another 2 hrs), but 2 of my fellow sardines got very unhappy about me blocking their view of their favourite in-flight entertainment screen.  The other 30-odd screens visible to them obviously didn’t meet with their favour – they’d paid extra for more leg-room and boy, did they want us cheap-skate plebby mortals to know it!  I shrugged, moved to the other side, and considered how lucky they’d been that I was too sleep-deprived to remonstrate.  Or rip their stupid heads off and shove the contents of Mini Minx’s nappy down their necks.

Anyway.  When we had fewer kids, we’d quickly agree before take-off what we’d do in an emergency: “you grab Maxi, I’ll foist Midi off on some poor sucker; we’ll trample over that little old lady there to get to this door here.  Don’t wait for me.  Save as much duty free as you can.  See you on the other side.  Whizzo.  Chin-chin”.  Now I wonder if The Boss would be able to get out of his seat in an emergency at all.  I worry not because I love him (I do), but because we’ve been married 5 years now and his guarantee’s run out.  And I can’t haul 3 kids out a blazing aircraft on my own.

Hmph.  I’d pay extra for the more legroom seats (relatively) happily, but you’re not allowed to if you’re travelling with children.  Pity.  I’ve carried out 2 emergency aircraft evacuations myself, so would probably be a good passenger to operate the emergency exit and lead everyone to safety as I hot-footed it into the safe distance.  Oh well.  Better keep practicing the handy-bendy yoga.

10 Month Baby Milestones

Baby R will be 10 months old tomorrow.  She’s sitting beside me on her Daddy’s knee, desperately trying to get my attention: blowing me garlicky kisses, hissing, clapping her little hands, shouting, “Mim-mim!” and “Ath bith!”  I’m ignoring her, so now she’s trying to pull The Boss’s glasses off.  Subtle.  Nice.

She’s had a week of one milestone after another, so I thought I’d log them all, starting with today’s biggie: her second tooth.  It’s her lower left incisor and it’s been giving her grief for days.  I think she’s only happy now because we’ve given her some Nurofen.  Well, it’s either eased the pain in her gum or eased the taste of the roast garlic she had for dinner.  Either way, she’s much happier.

This morning she threw an almighty tantrum.  I forget what about, probably because she wasn’t allowed to feed herself baby slop with a spoon.  Instead of shaking with rage, this time she clapped her hands in fury.  I laughed, which wasn’t really the reaction she was after.  She learned to clap and say “Ba ba” last week at the same time, maybe Day 3 of the holiday.

The last day of the holiday, she had another double milestone within the same 5 minutes: she learned to sit up from lying down all by herself and actually crawled *forwards*.  I think she was so shocked that she’s forgotten how to do either again.

The Boss just reminded me of the milestone he’s most proud of: her third word, uttered yesterday, was “Dada”.  Awwwww!

Post-Holiday Grumps

Today was like wading through treacle.  Even as I yelled at the littlest lights of my life to Get. Those. Shoes. On. NOW, I knew the day could only get better.  It did, but it was touch and go for a while.  Nothing dramatic, just a combination of lack of quality sleep (I woke up painfully furled in and out and around the eldest 2 girls and The Boss; they had the covers and the pillow and I didn’t), still ill (3 days of dodgy tum), brain still on holiday (God, it’s such an effort to think in a straight line!), and the rest of the zoo feeling equally tired and grumpy.

I’m also grouchy because the house looks like a clothes factory fell through the roof and there appears to be a thick layer of dust everywhere.  Don’t even talk to me about the state of the kitchen floor <bleee>  Yet I went without precious sleep to clean the bloomin’ gaffe before we set off for the week!  We didn’t take that much stuff, so I don’t know where it’s all come from.  I hate, hate, hate living in a messy house.  Having junk and general detritus on every single available flat (and some wonky) surface is enough to induce OCD in even the most slovenly of people.  Maybe I should rent out tours of the place to the dirty and lazy, shock them into keeping their homes tidy…

Worse, the smell is driving me bonkers: Midi Minx peed on the sofa, the cat ‘forgot’ to poo outside (or has been chased off her normal toilet territory) and let rip all over her cat kibble, and Mini Minx’s nappies are full of 3 days of jarred baby slop: she demolished baby tuna bake like a baby possessed but its transformation from faintly pongy baby-food to evil stench from Hell in her guts was apparently accompanied by incredible volumes of gas.  Oh yeah, and I can’t find the nappy sacks, so a single night of hand-folded nappies with most of the contents flushed down the toilet has left the most dreadful smell in the entire house.  Even cooking up some of my frozen bolognaise didn’t shift the stubborn odour.  (I say ‘bolognaise’, but it’s really a meat and veg mush held together with dried oregano).

Anyway, so there we are: smell, mess, dirt, dust, clutter.  Oh yeah, and in case I wasn’t busy enough post-holiday, some bright spark thought “Wouldn’t it be a great idea to put 17 things on eBay while we’re away on holiday just in case they sell?”  They didn’t just sell, we were inundated with questions every day.  Both me and The Boss innocently thought that putting big baby items (car seats, moses basket, pram, etc.) on with ‘collection only’ would deter everyone, because we live in the middle of nowhere.  We reckoned someone local might buy each thing for a penny a piece and come along and take the lot off our hands, which was the whole point – pretty much just give it away to someone who wants it, rather than ditch it at the dump.  I didn’t expect people from France, Hungary and Germany to ask if we’d reconsider and send the items to them.  Bit hard to calculate postage when you’re on a timed, dodgy internet connection, your family are whining at your feet for another ice cream (and that was just The Boss…) and you’ve no idea of the weight of the things.  Still, I’m delighted that everything sold.  Not much, but enough for me to buy a bottle of wine and sniffle hormonally about my babies growing out of their moses basket, first car seat, tiny carry cot and pram.  I know they’re just things, but I have such happy memories attached to them of each of my girls in their tiny infancies.

So, today was spent wrapping and shuttling to the post office, cursing about The Boss miscalculating the postage costs, and trying to be helpful about chaining myself to the house for a week so courier companies and local customers can come and pick-up.  I think I’ll leave The Boss to deal with the latter.  After all, he was the instigator of the clear-out: I was happy storing it for The Future Grandchildren like the bonkers Grannie I intend to become.  Besides, if I met the new owners, I’d only spend all day wistfully talking about newborns.

What else?  Oh yeah – I discovered at 1545hrs today that this was the last day to register Maxi Minx for her first year at primary school and Midi for pre-school.  Ulp.  I lurched from the Post Office to the school, got some paperwork to fill in so long as I promised to return first thing Monday morning.  Even I, Brave Old Trout of Grump, felt very intimidated by the woman in reception.  I therefore approve of the school as a potential tamer of Midi Minx.

PS We had a brilliant holiday, no-one wanted to come home.  We only got back at barmy o’clock yesterday, so I’ll tell you about it later.  Promise.

Contents resemble my day

Longest Angry Rant Yet

Short Version

Car garages.  Need I say more?

Long Version

OK.  I drive a Renault Grand Scenic.  Not by choice, mind.  When we had one baby I clung to driving my nippy, reliable, joyful and safe Ford Puma.  The downgrade to the battlebus of a Ford Focus Estate was needed with the impending arrival of Baby 2, need for space to fit a double buggy and a week’s food shopping and mountainous nappy change bag.  Not cool (burgundy…) but surprisingly powerful, reliable, safe and spacious.  We reluctantly changed from estate to MPV exactly a year ago when we discovered that the battlebus wouldn’t fit 3 car seats plus 2 adults (plus buggy, shopping, nappy bag, blah, blah, blah).  Factoring in costs brought our choices to Grand Scenic or Grand Scenic.  Luckily, there was just one for sale in N Scotland, about an hour’s drive away, at a main dealers.  We agreed a good price and part-exchanged the battle bus.  It seemed fated and I felt good.

Well, I did see in all my research before buying that Grand Scenics were rated highly for everything except reliability.  You’re not kidding.

We bought the car with some known defects (broken bits and pieces of luxury, pointless gadgets that we could live with, like a side window blind, the fan would only go up to ‘3’ because ‘4’ wouldn’t work, the back window would go down but never back up unless you locked the whole car, etc).  We anticipated a few things to go amiss, because in a 5 year old car, they generally do.  However…

In the cold, the car won’t accelerate well.  Well, it got to -18degC here.  And my driving is c/o the Stampy-Stampy School of Transit Vans.  I learned of the automatic power and acceleration limitations alongside a cheery fault message just as I was overtaking a tractor with another oncoming.  It takes time to think “OMFG, what the…?  Eh?  Oh.  OH!” as well as footer with accelerator, then drop down a gear for more poke, then ultimately brake (hard) and steer tightly.  My heart’s racing now at the recollection.

In summer, we discovered the air-con didn’t work.  The dealer (let’s call them ‘Carnold Lark’ to protect their identify) declared it needed a costly repair.  The local garage disagreed and suggested it might be because there was absolutely no fluid at all in the system.  Yet there were no leaks.  And when the fluid was replaced, it worked perfectly and continued to do so.  They hinted that Carnold Lark had a reputation for draining the system, then charging buyers for ‘fixing it’ later on.

One tyre wouldn’t hold pressure.  (Oh, did I tell you the fancy automatic tyre pressure sensors in each wheel didn’t work?  The Boss assumed they did; Cynical Me assumed they didn’t.  I won).  Renault recalled it to reprogramme the handbrake, so we asked the Renault Dealer (Garage 1) to check for a puncture and repair the tyre.  They changed the wrong tyre.  Neither they nor The Boss spotted the error, either – it was me with my suspicious head on, 2 weeks later, because the tyre still wouldn’t hold pressure.  Garage 1 refused to admit they’d done anything wrong (!) and wanted an additional premium charge to fit a new tyre on the original non-pressure-holding wheel. 

We went to Garage 2, who said it was ‘leaking on a dirty bead’.  They kindly took the tyre off and cleaned it out free.  No joy.  Still having to pump up tyre every journey.  Went back to Garage 2.  They’d been burgled in the night, said sorry we’re shut (or was it sorry we’re shit?  I forget), so we took it to Garage 3.  Garage 3 said definitely leaking on the bead, cleaned it up, and it’s been fine. Phew.

So you can imagine how upset I got when a week later *another* tyre got a puncture from the many nails left in the road from the building site next door…  This time, the only hassle was that suddenly the garage (Garage 2 again) noted that the car needed “Special” tyres because of the all-up weight.  That nearly doubled the price, and by now we were a zero salary family, on a hope and a promise of The Boss getting work soon.  Garage 1 were cheaper, so we returned to them sheepishly, having complaining about their fit-any-bloody-tyre-we-like to Trading Standards.

It’s now annual service time, so we went to Garage 4.  When it went, it worked fine.  When it returned, operating the rear windscreen wash mysteriously directed water to the *front*.  Turning on the rear wipers suddenly made you descend 2 flight levels and your radio retune to Radio 4.  (OK I lied about the FLs and radio – just to keep you awake).  I decided to live with this problem rather than take it back yet again because I feared what would go wrong with another ‘service’.  And negotiating visits to the garage is worse than trying to get a GP’s appointment.

So, imagine the gnashing of teeth and bumping of gums when The Boss admitted that Garage 4 had said that the rear brakes were binding because the handbrake cable was stuck and that they’d detected a botch job of a random spring being fitted to stop the handbrake binding.  Helpfully they took the spring off and affected surprise at there being no functioning handbrake.  “Nothing to do with us”, they insisted.  “We can’t even fix it”.

I can barely bring myself to write about it, I’m so angry.  We limped on for a bit leaving the car parked in first gear and carrying a wedge of a rock to use as a wheel chock just in case.  But ‘Safety First, Safety Second’, so we swapped £700 we didn’t have for one new entire handbrake module.  Still, we got a free carwash (worth £2.50!  Bonus!).  And they kindly *delivered* a free hire car to us for the day – Twingo.  With me, 3 kids and a double buggy shoehorned in to do the nursery run, ok it wouldn’t go above 45 mph on a slight incline, but I’m tempted to buy one, attach roof bars and botch-tape The Boss to them anytime we wanted to go anywhere as a family.

Anyone want to swap one for a crappy Grand Scenic?  I’ll throw in its current fuel tank, some of the minxes’ toys and some ground up biscuits in the carpet for free.