Posts Tagged ‘charade’

Hallelujah – the car is sold!

Over our holidays in the back of our minds had been selling the sodding car as it had become a bit of a stress. At New Year, in a casual conversation with friends we had stayed with in Praslin, they mentioned they were after a second motor. We thought nothing of it. A day later, a phone call and they come round to see our little car. We thought nothing of it again being inured to people’s enthusiasm but lack of action. A day later and they ask if someone more expert can come and look at it – yes of course please do! Hopes creeping up.  A thumbs up from the expert, hopes soared, and before you could say ‘what a charade’, we’d sold the car. Woop woop.

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Car sale stagnation

We were led to believe that selling our car would be a cinch (we’re selling it for an automatic, the green one being sold by our mate who might not make it back from his operation). Believe it or not, apparently Daihatsu Charades are desired by some island inhabitants, being small and nippy and all that (and to be fair after our teething problems, the little blighter has been fine of late). We were also told that cars tend to hold their value and as we have had it only a couple of months, we put it for sale at the price it was advertised (with room for negotiation).

It didn’t help that the newspaper, The Nation, in which we placed a classified ad for the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday screwed up.

Firstly, it only appeared in the Wednesday edition and even realising this wasn’t simple; the paper isn’t sold in many shops and the other one rarely has time to check the school copy until after he’s finished work (by which time the print deadline for the next day has passed). A phone call to them and we were promised the ad would reappear in the Saturday and Monday editions.

It appeared in the Saturday copy only.

Another call and a promise it would be in Wednesday’s edition. It wasn’t. It finally appeared on the Friday, a week later than it should have been.

We had calls, we had people promise to see the car who didn’t, we had people interested in buying it who never called back, we put a sign in the car and had calls, we emailed round the school, we spoke to our mechanic, we put another ad in the Nation (not much choice!) and still not one person biting properly. We called our mate with the car and he kindly agreed to wait for us.

We still have the piggin car.

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Car swap shop!

After my mini whizz in the automatic car while staying in Praslin, we’ve been thinking about getting one, hopefully so I’ll stop getting so annoyed with myself and the other one will have an excuse to get rid of our current tin pot (so essentially swapping one noddy car for another!). Not being sure how many automatics are for sale, we start looking and find one in our price range (providing we sell ours first of course).

As the Creole accent can sometimes be difficult to understand over the phone, the other one ends up making some laboured arrangement with a guy whose car we want to see. After calling twice, we find the place and are ushered into some offices where we meet two guys, one of them thrusting car keys into our hands, waving us towards the car park telling us ‘it’s the green one’. Rather confused about the abrupt exchange, we find the lime green Toyota Sprinter and hop it. It’s a proper Seychellois mobile in my eyes, boxy, slung low and old (14 years we found out). It’s bigger than ours and though much older, feels way more solid. The other one likes it.

After a test drive, we return to the offices and are ushered in once again, not quite sure who to have the conversation with. Over the course of the next half hour (yup that’s how long we are there), the situation becomes less confused/ more surreal. For starters, it seems we had interrupted a business meeting that the guy selling the car was having, to sign over papers for his business that he had just sold. He’s selling everything as he’s going overseas for an operation that, in his words, he might not return from. Not quite sure what to say to that one, we smiled and said sure that it’d all work out fine. We then ascertain that we are in the offices of the other guy, who was sealing the business deal for our car seller, and who turns out to be the ex Minister of Defence (hence confusion earlier as the car  seller man was obviously keen to minimise any inconvenience to him). Ex-Minister waxed lyrical, showing us round his office proffering anecdotes, ‘when I was talking to the Chinese President’ and so on and so forth and we stood there and chatted and nodded and it was honestly, all very interesting.

But really our only concern was whether we could get a better price for the car.

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The little car that could…nearly

the beast

So I’m upfront in the car with the other one and our buddies A, B and M (why couldn’t she have a name beginning with C?) are in the back. Exiting the Four Season’s car park by Anse Soleil there’s a hill that we’ve had no problem with before – but untried with extra passengers.

The car huffed…it puffed…got halfway up and it rolled the way down.

Like the start of ‘Shameless’ when he shouts ‘Scatter’ we all leaped out (not the other one obviously) and still the car rolled. The other one applied handbrake and footbrake and the little blighter still rolled. Finally, it too had had enough and stopped. The car behind us – yes there was one – patiently watched the comedy caper unfold and the other one got the car up the hill and off we went.

 Into a ditch.

The other one, perhaps distracted by our previous mishap, didn’t notice a ditch at the right of the road as he was overtaking a car faffing in front. He pitched the front right wheel right into it and what with the extra weight, there was a loud thunk as the rear hit the ditch too. We scattered once again and the other one sheepishly trundled forward to where he could safely rev himself out.

We spent the rest of the journey apologising for the Mr Bean-like car capers, worsening our reputation when we realised that the petrol gauge looked awfully low and I started stressing about which of the five petrol stations on the island we could make it to without running out. I think we came across as a bit car calamitous but knowing how tin pot it is, you worry that the slightest thing will cause it to fall apart. Like Tom and Jerry – the cartoon begins with a dripping tap and ends amidst the floating debris of what was once a house.

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Mechanical genius

It’s a blatant overstatement but in contrast to what came before, the other one has indeed hit the giddy heights  (of that which is he capable) of mechanical genius. After dropping round for a cup of tea, a couple of the newbies went for a walk and some time later called to say that their battery was dead (see it’s not just us). Unfortunately, we and none of our neighbours had jump leads but like a faithful St Bernard, off the other one scampered to see if he could help. A half hour later I get an exultant call from the other one-he’d fixed the car! He’d lifted the bonnet, had a poke about the battery, messed about with its connectors and got it working! Amazing, this from a man who once when his tyre was flat ended up getting it changed by two women on their way to a dinner party.

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A word about the nice mechanic

It seems while the cars cannot be relied upon, so far, touch wood, people can be. The mechanic turned up to look at the car within twenty minutes of our call. He got the car started and advised where we could buy the battery connectors. He then said to come by any time to his garage the next day and he would fit them properly. Admittedly, it’s probably a job that budding minor mechanics could do but it took him ten minutes and cost us about 60 rupees – £4. Kwik Fit would do well to take note – you can get better…

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Battery farm

I don’t even know where I am up to with car troubles. You would be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu given that Daihatsu Charade and battery problems are involved but be assured this is new and it’ll be brief. Car after work, not turning over at all. No lights left on. No rain. No feasible explanation. Number of local mechanic procured (and immediately saved to phone). Problem found to be battery connection – a fiddle or two later and the car started. Next day new connectors were purchased and put in by the nice mechanic. Job done. Breath on hold.

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