Thursday, May 26, 2005

Car problems again

On Tuesday Richard and Daniel went to Nicosia, the capital city of Cyprus, which is about 50 minutes' drive away. Richard tried (unsuccessfully) to open a bank account with a bank that - he had been told - would make transfers to and from the UK easier. Daniel wanted to buy some tools for his clarinet repair, and managed to find exactly what he needed, so at least the trip wasn't wasted.

But on the way there, apparently the car was overheating. By the time they found somewhere to park in Nicosia the indicator was showing it to be dangerously hot. We've had radiator problems with other cars so Richard just assumed the water level must have got low. So when they returned to the car, by which time the engine had cooled down totally, he checked the level. But it was full.

So they came back, only to find that as they slowed down from the motorway, the indicator again showed the car to be dangerously hot. Then it started making awful graunching noises, and when the finally got it in the driveway, it shuddered and juddered for a couple of minutes.

Richard has many skills, but car maintenance is not one of them. He was worried that he might have destroyed the engine completely - it certainly sounded bad enough. He was busy that afternoon, but phoned his car mechanic in the morning. This mechanic is fairly young - in his late twenties - but is one of those rare and wonderful people who really cares about his craft. He loves cars. He has a special relationship with ours because he fully reconditioned the engine a few years ago.

This mechanic said he would come out to look at the car, and came this morning about 9am on his motorbike. He poured water in, and listened to it, and said it needed a new radiator hose. He said he could get it towed to his garage, but it was easier and cheaper for him to come back later with the hose and repair it in our driveway.

He came back later, asked for more water, and fixed the hose. Richard came back from the office to talk to him, and asked how much it cost. We thought it would be about £20 at least for coming out here twice, plus the part. Or maybe more. So imagine our astonishment when the mechanic said, 'No charge!' He said that Richard is his customer, so he has to look after him. And then he drove off.

Of course we do usually pay promptly when picking up the car, which is fairly unusual in this country, so I suppose he considers us not just customers, but good customers. But even so - it was a very nice ending to the incident.

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