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The Kennel Kernel

Romanians at the Front Gates...

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My partner came back over from doing the 1st wave of the dogs outside to tell me there were 2 foreigners at our front gates. So I lurched off out, uncombed hair, unwashed, having used my T shirt to clean off the BBQ last night, stubble from Friday & half a lit tab dangling from my lips. Wouldn’t be wanting to cut a posh look with potential trouble on a damp Sunday morning just after 7am would we?

These two 20 male somethings with an amazingly poor command of either spoken or comprehended English seem to have their car in a layby on the A1, which is a stone’s throw over the other side of our road’s treeline. It has a flat tyre. They have also discovered their Renault’s jack is broken & that the spare tyre has all of 13 psi in it.. So I find them one of my old French jacks at the back of the garage & a footpump & hand it over. Thinking a little further about it all & feeling a bit sorry (shit car solidarity & they were really polite & had kind eyes) I wander over to see if they’ve managed to get the wheel off. Last time I did this kind of thing I needed my 5 foot long length of tubular steel to crack their wheelnuts off but I can’t immediately find this so I’ve taken my ciggy lighter electric compressor instead. Turns out that matey1 hasn’t been hanging around-wheel is at the kerb & he already lining up the spare. And then we hit issue 1-the spare is an inch bigger than what is fitted & the holes are out of registration..and a over hopeful application of the compressor to the flat reveals a circular hole in it.” Bugger”, we all chorus in Romanian & English. BTW their jack looks like it's been mullered by a psychotic welder. Fuck knows who did what to it-used it to lift a lorry, ran over it with a tank & finally nuked it?

So I go back to the garage to find some superglue, a small but sharp knife, a cork in the bottom of the bin from last night, pack a placcy bag with a 2 litre bottle of fizzy water, some cheese, packet of crisps a bar of chocolate & a cold tin of stella. Seems to cover most eventualities. This pair have been camped out in the layby all night-no one has even stopped-not even the filthy lorry drivers who CBA to drive 3 more miles to a proper & secure truck stop with all facilities, inc a bathroom…, known in the Western World. Actually whilst it doesn’t look too good on our village’s crime stats, I have more than a small ‘thank you’ to the diesel thieves who puncture & pilfer from lazy laid up lorries overnight in that layby. You won’t be parking there again, will you- you scabby filthy & at 2am, refrigerated lorry noisy fuckers? cuddly wuddly beary beary boos to a man. The Clangers might have musical trees with leaves of notes. Ours have placcy bags full of, well you can guess what. I fucking hope it cost you all something rotten in dosh & especially lost time getting your now empty & holed fuel tanks fixed. Especially time-doubt any of you own your own rigs, but no drivey no payey. Good-now fuck off & don’t return.

Here was the plan-bit like I saw the nice man from the AA do with my motorbike’s rear tyre, I’m going to completely deflate it, cut a sliver of cork & glue it into the hole. Whilst I’m waiting for it to set I’ve looked at the tyre pressures on all the other corners. Seems standard Eastern European pressures are in excess of 60psi. And also seems that as long as there is still rubber over the casement & banding that all is considered fine-despite all 3 of them being as smooth as baby’s bum. Now there is no way I am going to inflate my bodged tyre to that-30 is as far as I’m willing to push it, so I’ve taken them down a bit-esp the one on the other side of the axle. Wait, gently inflate in several goes. Oh fuck-what’s that hissing noise? Turns out coming from the valve stem. Matey looks to the skies & rolls his eyes. ‘No getting to Braintree today then,’ he says. ‘Job in Braintree in Essex, girl was there too. Girl now gone, looks like job also gone. Maybe I just go back home.’ Right, we’re not beaten yet. Back to the garage again to collect valve tool & a latex glove in case further bodging is recquired. Which it isn’t-half a turn on the valve & it’s shut. Inflate back to 30 & matey has the wheel back on before I’ve folded up the compressor’s cable. ‘How much’ he asks? ‘No-not today’ I say. ‘Reckon you deserve a better week ahead mate.’ He hugs me & so does his mate, & then gestures to the oversized spare. ‘You take-has really good tyre. No good for us now.’ There is a car battery alongside it on the verge, which he clocks me looking at.’eees ours too but no good. Battery dead. Leave here-no good.’ So I pack my compressor & footpump into the well of the tyre, wave them goodbye & carry it back to the garage. Now that battery was a proper one-non sealed job & looks quite new. So I’ve gone back for it, lugged it home & unscrewed the seals. Oooh, that all looks a bit dry, so topped it up & stuck it onto my poxy low output dumb charger in the living room. Guess what-it’s charging!

So I’ve a boatload of karma, one new wheel for the 406 which imminently needs 4 new tyres (not Romanian smooth but enough for 3 points on all corners aka instant license loser)..) & a spare battery for the lawn tractor. Not a bad score all before 10am! With a bit of luck matey1 might find that his girl has returned to Braintree, or perhaps the arrival of a new & rather more forgiving one. And best we all get our tyres renewed tomorrow morning...

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Updated 28-06-15 at 18:42 by Editor



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