Friday, February 20, 2009


Yesterday was full of enough hassles - a full schedule that required some skilful time and motion management. It was with great relief that, tasks and obligations fulfilled, we all headed home. Now, Thursday night is chocolate treat night, so we parked up and leapt out of the car at the Co-op. I pressed the remote locking fob and...just as we were walking into the shop, a car alarm started up. weeeyooo weeeyooo weeeyooo! I had to do a double-take: surely that couldn't be mine? I pressed the unlock/disarm button and it stopped. Oh well. relocked and turned to go back into the shop when......weeeyooo weeeyooo weeeyooo! Bollocks: what's wrong with it? Try again. Unlock, disarm, relock. Run into shop to buy chocolate. Come out and....weeeyooo weeeyooo weeeyooo! Only this time it won't disarm: the car unlocks, but the alarm won't stop. I get that nasty cold chill of panic at the base of my neck. Perhaps if I dock the key fob? Open the car door and PARP! PARP! PARP! The horn component , the armed and uncancelled motion detector attracts the attention of the two Community Support Officers lounging and chatting in the adjacent Chinese takeaway. I bundle the kids into the car and shove the key fob into the ignition. Fortunately the horn stops, but the shrill alarm fails to be mollified. We drive off, observed by two laughing plastic policemen, who've come out of the takeaway to gawp at closer quarters. They don't seem to think that we're effecting a vehicle theft, or if they do, they're not that bothered. We drive home with the alarm going off. Very embarrassing. With the car finally at home I run to get the spare keyfob, hoping (without any real hope) that it's just a fob battery problem. But of course it isn't. The problem is not solved. So I get the owners' manual and search through for any available help. Nope: a good description of how to operate it , but nothing about troubleshooting. Okay, okay...what to do? Inspiration strikes: remove the fuse that serves the alarm. Locate page; find appropriate fuse on diagram; locate fuse box within car (under the passenger glove box - very awkward); locate fuse; remember that spade fuses are really difficult to remove; run into house; locate needle-nosed pliers; get the boy to hold the torch STEADY PLEASE!!!; tug vainly at fuse, chavelling it about until it comes out. Result! Only now, of course, the remote locking won't work, so I have to; locate page in owners' manual telling you how to lock your car when the remote won't work; find the door that has the manual lock (not the driver's, surprisingly!); remove the lock-cover with the unsheathed keyblade from the remote fob; work out which way it goes into the rather primitive-looking lock; turn it and.......phew! Job done.
I phoned the garage this morning first thing and was told the nearest appointment was for a week's time. Booked it in anyway. I asked whether it was safe to drive the car without the offending fuse in place. After a mumbled off-stage conversation, the very pleasant-sounding receptionist told me that 'they can't say'. As is, they are unable to, or they will not? Covering their backs, I suppose. Gingerly, I replace it in the fuse rack. Nothing. Softly, I lock it with the remote fob and....creep.....quietly.....away.....

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