It has been an interesting few weeks. I recently met up with my good friend Jamie from Cornwall and had a nice meal with him and Smith. When I returned to my car and started it all hell broke loose and it sounded as though the exhaust had fallen off! I turned it on again just to see what would happen and – BLAM – still the same [sexy for a race car] noise. There is no way a Toyota Prius should sound like that. So I had to call the AA for Bora Horza Gobuchul. Now, being a male and having broken the car in the leafy Surrey suburbs I was not top of the list to be helped, but that is perfectly fine. It makes sense that women and vulnerable people should be helped first. We shouldn’t live in a world where that discrimination is necessary but as there is a very clear problem with male-on-female violence I’m happy to wait.
The AA man turned up and I described what the car sounded like. He grabbed a torch and looked underneath the vehicle. “Your catalytic converter’s been nicked”. In the couple of hours I was with my friends people had come and jacked up my car and sawn out the catalytic converter. This was a bit of a “bugger” moment as I was hoping he could just do some bolts up and I’d be on my way back home. Nope. The AA man called for a flat-bed truck to come and get me. Again, I’m down the list of priority so I had to wait until 0230 for the truck to arrive. I was slightly terrified of having to start the engine to get the car onto the truck as the Prius can only be put into neutral with the power system turned on, if the battery is low the engine will start. It turned out there was enough juice in the hybrid battery to run the car on EV power for a short while. It was loaded onto the truck and we headed off to Kent.
I had Bora Horza Gobuchul dropped off at an exhaust centre a couple of miles from my house and I got home a little before 0400. I went to bed and got up after not sleeping particularly well to organise work things and getting to the exhaust centre to explain the car dumped outside their workshop. I had already planned to cycle to work for a few days this particular week and so I had all my shower kit and spare clothes at school. So, I just had to cycle a few more days. Fortunately the weather was good and quite warm. Hopefully it’ll be similar the next time I cycle to work. The ride is about thirty minutes and as the majority of it follows the Medway towpath is actually really pleasant.
After speaking to insurance people and various garages it turned out that if I needed a courtesy car then I would have to get Bora Horza Gobuchul fixed at their choice of garage. In Ashford. The guys at ATS couldn’t fix the Prius because they can only replace the exhaust with OEM parts and they don’t have a deal with Toyota. So I had to get the car fixed in Ashford. After calling them I had to wait five days before they could get to me! Five days. I phoned them on the Friday, they couldn’t get the car picked up until I had uploaded a photograph of the car showing it can’t be driven. This was an amusing piece of administration as I couldn’t take a photo of the bits of the car showing I couldn’t drive it because from the outside it just looked like a normal car. While they understood this they also said that they can’t proceed until I upload a photo. I was at work. My car was thirty minutes bike ride away. So, I had an old photo of the car, cropped the background out, removed the meta-data and uploaded that. The garage said they would be able to get to me for Tuesday morning between 0800 and 1300.
I managed to borrow a friend’s car for the weekend and to run small jobs and the sorts of journeys you take for granted when you have a car. Even so I was mighty pissed off that I was expecting a speedy service and all that happened with me was delay and delay. So, I am currently in the position of waiting for Bora Horza Gobuchul to be fixed. I have a courtesy car which is ok. It’s a car. I don’t like it, but it’s a car. It’s nice to be mobile. All the money side of the admin has yet to be completed and I’m hoping to get the Prius early next week. I have no idea whether I’ll get a cat-lock fitted next time it’s in for a service. I suspect that if people want to steal my catalytic converter then they will.