Friday, April 17, 2009

The (head) Light that Failed (sorry Rudyard!)

Well, the Grand Gasguzzler has been playing up again - it's just like a naughty child. It waits until your back is turned then does something wicked.

In the past year we've probably spent more than double the value of the car on repairs to the braking system. Nothing important then! Each time I take it in, I get the combined forces of Monsieur L senior and Monsieur L junior telling me that 'Madame, it is really time to get a new car'. Of course I know that, but with british TV seemingly happy to show unlimited re-runs and commission nothing new and with the US money for films practically dried up, and, on top of it all, the ****** people who were supposed to be renting our house pulling out at the 11th hour, costing us thousands of euros, we are a bit 'fauche' to say the least.

"I can do you a nice family car", said Monsieur L junior, "and if it's a case of credit, I can give you a little bit".

"So how much are we talking about?" I enquired

"12-14,000 euros will get you something nice and it will pay for itself in a year with the amount you spend on petrol"

I blanched slightly. They might as well ask for the moon.

"When Monsieur goes back to work I'll have a look at it but in the meantime the Grand Gasguzzler is juddering when you brake and......" damn, what's the French for 'misfiring'? A visual display will have to do.

"I'll take it out for a spin and have a look" said Monsieur L junior.

We hopped in and set off in true French style, not quite burning rubber - it's an automatic after all - but I don't think it's ever been through all 5 gears so quickly!

"Ooh la, that's les disques" he announced. What? Again? We only had new disks last year.

"It's a design fault. It's very hilly here and I've been to LA, it's very flat. This car isn't designed for hilly terrain"

I didn't want to point out that LA isn't America, any more than Paris is France. When I last checked there were a good few hills.

So far the engine was running smoothly. Just my luck that it wouldn't play up with a mechanic at the wheel.

"It's worse going uphill" I said weakly.

"We'll find a hill then" and sure enough, it started to misfire.

"That's les bougies causing that"

The headlights? Oh come on, do I look like I just got off the last boat? How can the headlights be making it misfire?

I smiled politely and made a mental note to find a new mechanic.

So, he took the car in, replaced the disks, replaced all the headlight bulbs.... and do you think it solved the problem?.......... yes, it certainly did.

But my amazement was short lived when it was actually pointed out to me that I had misunderstood the word 'bougies', my addled brain had taken the word for 'candles' and transposed it into 'headlight bulbs'. In actual fact bougies are spark plugs. DOH!!!

It bloody did! 10,000 Frenchman can't be wrong and this little one certainly wasn't!


Galli said...

American! darn,darn,darn.

Why didn't ya all say:in the first place missie?

Get yerself a good OLD Merc...jus so happins...goin cheep.

Your obidient servant Sir Galli.

dND said...

Console yourself, you're not going mad, bougies are spark plugs (and preheaters if you have a diesel) as well as candles :-)

Deborah x

Ksam said...

"Les bougies" are actually "spark plugs" in English, not the headlights (les phares), which would make more sense with the misfiring. But your idea of them changing the headlights and that solving the problem sure did bring a smile to my face on this rainy day - thanks!

(Very) Lost in France said...

Well that explains it (not to mention giving me a good laugh at myself!) The only bougies I know in French car-speak are the headlight bulbs. Thank you all for enlightening me :)) VLiF xx

Shakespeare's Housekeeper said...

Great story,VLiF- as always!
You really should put it all in a book you know...

Phidelm said...
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(Very) Lost in France said...

Hi PhiDelm, funny you should say Somerset as we've actually found a house on the Somerset/Wiltshire border. All we need is someone to either rent or buy our house after the 'last lot' pulled out at the 11th hour. The less said about them the better. I shall, perhaps blog the story one day but currently feel too hateful toward them. VLiF

Phidelm said...
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Phidelm said...
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(Very) Lost in France said...

Phidelm, we are truly of one mind. I've used several of the AngloInfo sites and they've all yielded good results to fingers crossed. I will have a look at Exmoor Jane's blog, I think there's a link from your blog. And thanks for the good vibes... keep em coming! VLiF x

Phidelm said...
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