11 June 2011

la bobbina

Not too long ago I wrote that I was grateful for my reliable car. I am still very grateful for it, but since I wrote that comment I have had to replace the battery, the brake pads, and the "spark plug thingies that they have in modern cars", the bobbina. My car, for whatever reason, has only three of them.

The first one let me down in Tuscany, on hilltop ridges, when travelling with three visitors. The second one let me down one Sunday in Cassino, when not a garage was open. Yesterday I had the third bobbina replaced rather than wait for it to self-destruct on a hillside somewhere.

Interesting, it has been.

In Tuscany, a tourist in need, I fully expected to pay OTT and I did, almost gratefully at the time, just to get my guests safely back home. Tuscany was a mixed bag. The young man with a broken arm who tried to assist me when I rolled the wounded beast into the tiny town late one evening was quite wonderful. He did his best, gave of his time, and refused any compensation for his efforts. He diagnosed the problem but didn't have access to the part I needed. He phoned around, even though it was closing time on a Friday evening, and finally programmed an address into my GPS to get me to VW assistance without driving on the toll roads (where a real break-down would be terribly costly). I made it to another VW service centre a little closer than the one he knew, and paid the price willingly to have the car fixed. Come back in an hour, they said, and charged me accordingly for that privilege.

The second bobbina went only a week later, and the friend of a friend, sensing an opportunity for a new client, looked after me well. He arrived to assist the next day, took the car, then delivered it to my home the following day. He advised getting the third bobbina replaced. (So why didn't he call me and discuss that before he returned the car to me?) He charged a little less than Tuscany, but was well paid for his assistance.

This week I took the car to my trusted garage here. No problem, we will get the part in, they said with a smile. Come back tomorrow morning. I returned the next day to have it replaced and the young man looked under the bonnet and wrote down the part number. Of course I could come back in the afternoon. I did... and it was that lovely smile again and come back in an hour please, the part hasn't arrived yet. No surprise there. I returned two hours later. The charming son of the quietly gentle garage owner popped in the new bobbina right before my eyes. It took him all of 40 seconds, or was it a whole minute? I waited for his dad to disengage himself from another job so I could pay the bill.

No prizes for guessing it right. Exactly half the second bill, and two fifths of the price of the Tuscany repair. Gotta love it, really! I am well looked after in my little hillside village. It's no wonder I don't venture far from it.

Today I am grateful for local living.


Nicola said...

Sigh. Cars. And vans. money suckers...

Sarah said...

Well..yeah...but if you ventured you would be local everywhere and the entire worrrrrrrrrrrrld would be freeeeeeeeeee!