Yesterday I visited my mechanic.
I was bloody angry, I'd managed to hit a lump of concrete with the underneath of the Compact Royce, and she was making a very nasty growling noise.
Monsieur B told me to come at 9.30 am; I arrived at 9.00. With his Heath-Robinson ageing contraption he lifted her into the air, and together we looked at the spot which was causing the trouble. Where the manifold meets the exhaust system, it had been severely bashed and come slightly apart.
He dismantled the two pipes, and made his prognosis. He would have to heat it, and bash it. We pulled the oxy/acetylene kit into position beneath the engine, and lit up. Once the piece of bent metal was red hot, I held the flaming torch as he bashed the offending joint with a hammer until it was roughly back to its original shape, put it all back together again, and Voila; the growl had gone.
Mechanics like Monsieur B are fast disappearing, in fact he is officially retired. He still does bits for me because we are old friends. Had I gone to a pukka Peugeot garage, they would have sold me a whole new expensive manifold system, at a very hefty price. As it was I crossed Monsieur B's palm with €30, and stayed-on for an extra half hour's chat.
Whilst there he told me that he had bought a Peugeot like mine, and was converting it to run on Ethanol (I think). With a cheap (€250) adaptor, he would then run the car for half the price of petrol. I said I'd pop in to see him in a month's time to see how it was going.
Young car owners of the future will never know the likes of Monsieur B; a dying breed.
Lucky to have a mechanic like that. There used to be a good one at the Peugeot garage in Fumel until he retired.ReplyDelete
He's one of those old fashioned mechanics. Covered in oil, dirty overalls, bits everywhere; just as I like them to be.Delete
Monsieur B is a treasure. We have a Kyrios S with similar talent. K and S have long fishing discussions while poking under the bonnet.ReplyDelete
I remember once when my car failed its biannual road worthiness test (because of sloppy handbrake), Monsieur B just lifted the bonnet, moved a hook from one hole to another, and said 'Done'.Delete
And you were allowed to help!ReplyDelete
It's one of the romances of the past - young men looking under the bonnets of their cars on Sundays, middle-aged men and young boys washing and polishing, soap suds running along the gutter.
Electrics / computers in cars have done for the former . . . and I haven't seen anyone washing a car in ages yet they sparkle. Self-cleaning paint or pop-up car valets?
I didn't exactly wield a spanner; I just held a dangerous angry flame gun whilst he was bashing away. I should have taken my camera.Delete
I do clean my own car; once in Spring, and again in early Winter. The dirt holds it all together.
Reminded me of the days when mechanics actually diagnosed faults then dismantled and and repaired the offending part, as you say dressed in dirty overalls, greasy hands and amongst what looks like clutter to the uninitiated.ReplyDelete
Todays auto technician wears pristine overalls, usually with the company logo and often his name emblazoned on the chest, does his diagnostics with a computer and dons throw-away gloves before changing the offending part. The owner is not allowed anywhere the operating site and receives a hefty bill.
That's exactly how he is. His workshop is a cobweb strewn old barn, and there are semi-dismantled mowers, tractors, etc, all over the place. His little office is a mirror image of my studio!Delete
I think most of us oldies know a Monsieur B or can remember one. Apart from anything else, these days even the dashboard is so complicated that you need a degree in computer studies tocheck on it.ReplyDelete
My present car is the first I've had with electric windows, no cleanable spark plugs, and no easily accessible distributor. I don't really like all the electronics.Delete
Everyone stopped repairing exhausts about 40 years ago in this country.ReplyDelete
The exhaust itself was OK, it was damaged where the manifold meets the exhaust, and the bump was on the manifold side. A new one would have cost me about €400.Delete
Kwik Fit will fit one even if you only went in for a front tyre.ReplyDelete
That sounds like some surgeons I've heard about.Delete
Oh, how I hate those car repair bills. The newer cars need less maintenance and fixing but when accidents occur, the costs are always high. Years ago, my Retired Man fixed our cars. As a teenager he loved to work on them and could rebuild them. Now, cars are computer marvels (and safer) and other than adding fluid, the average person dare not fool around with them. My Retired Man used to love to spend his weekends washing his baby and two or three times a year he would wax it. Now he goes to a car wash when needed. Thankfully, he also takes care of mine.ReplyDelete
Now they are designed by computers, and are no less than computers on wheels. I preferred the old ones that you could fix with a piece of wire.Delete
Worth his weight in gold.ReplyDelete
And he's a tubby little chap too!Delete
Auto journals here talk of pilots and cockpits. The French had those jolly little cars you could take the seats out and use them for a picnic and carry chickens around and bales of straw and onions and if anything broke there'd be a mr b in the next village waiting with a big spanner and a can of oil.ReplyDelete
Yes, we had one of those. Ours was blue. One of the most fun cars I've ever owned.Delete
Our local garage man - we've been going for 16 years - has abruptly closed down. The rumour machine varies from fiddling the books, depression since Madame left him (who knew, we didn't) and selling cheap knock-off parts as pukka Peugeot. I'm very sorry whatever the reason as he was great - always a big smile, debate about the problem, always attempted second-hand bits before ordering new, and often no-charge for tiddly jobs. Now, we have to go to the bigger, more expensive anonymous garage in town. And we still don't know what happened to him.ReplyDelete
What a shame. Sounds like it was something serious. If he was flogging fake parts, that's naughty; otherwise....Delete
Monsieur B perhaps does not have the modern diagnostic equipment to find car faults and in a world of remove and replace, his skills would probably not be appreciated. It is a shame, but that is how it is.ReplyDelete
I had similar happiness getting two appliances fixed - Andrew at the local repair place butchered a blender base to fix mine and replaced the switch on my steamer with a much gruntier one. I love that these two things were fixed because he has skills beyond ordering parts,and actually cared that I got my stuff back up and running. It cost me a fair chunk f change, but worth it!ReplyDelete