Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Oh the joys of motoring. Yesterday I left my office at about one o'clock, and noticed that my car seemed to have a bit of a lean to it. Yupp, flat tyre. Flat. As a pancake. I opened the boot, got out the jack, the socket wrench, and the spare wheel.

Then I consulted the handbook to find out where you're supposed to stick the jack. I've always wondered what those discs on the sills of BMWs were for. Now I know; they cover the holes where you stick the arm of the jack in. Very neat.

I played with the jack a bit, and then removed the wheel cover and had a go at undoing the nuts. Bugger! The socket wrench is a couple of sizes too big! I had a rummage around in the boot, but couldn't find another wrench. Sod it. I was dripping with sweat, covered in muck and not an entirely happy bunny.

I developed a plan. Get a cab to Geant, buy a car toolkit, go to the pub and return early the next day to do the business. Sounded like a good 'un.

The only thing that Geant could offer me was a 100-piece toolkit. Made in China. Dhs 30. Yes, clearly a whole pile of crap that would not be up to the job, but I bought it anyway. I'm exaggerating, of course. The hammer works.

Up at 5.30 this morning, and back at the car by 6.10. Pull off the wheel cover, select the right-sized head for the feeble little torque wrench. Apply to nut. Exert effort. Absolutely no movement whatsoever. Scratch head. Borrow wrench from watching taxi driver. Too big. Approach several vehicle owners over the next half hour. Nada. All too big.

Call garage. Wait while their laughter subsides. They'll send somebody to change the wheel and take the busted one back for repair. About an hour later my buddy Babu shows up (having done a tour of TECOM that sounds a bit like the one I did the other day). Being a pro, Babu has a torque wrench with a two-foot handle. He has the old wheel off and the spare on in about three minutes and has not even broken into a sweat.

We have a look at the old tyre - there's a chuffing great nail in it. Bloody hell.

Now I'm waiting for the garage to call to tell me they've fixed the old tyre (or not). And I can't wait for the wallet damage report.