Saturday, September 24, 2016
Savour the moment.
The little Skoda is cleaned before being traded in. The front seats still carry the remains of the insulating foam that Angus inadvertently sprayed through the front window. 'The Font' notices that at some stage someone has joined up two 'splats' with a smiley face.
At the garage Angus is offered a coffee. Bob is given a bowl of water. '' You're on your own ? " asks the dealer surprised that 'The Font' isn't here to savour the moment. '' Sadly " I reply without alluding to the fact that cars don't rank high on 'The Fonts' to do list.
Passport checked, utility bills photocopied, we are ushered into the ' Delivery Room '. At one end four overalled mechanics are standing in a line alongside two secretaries in micro skirts. The young ladies pointedly ignore the mechanics. All try, with varying degrees of success, to hide their boredom. The lady from the reception desk arrives. She's wearing black leggings that stop below the knee, improbably high red high heels and what appears to be a heavily accessorized pink nylon fur jacket. There is a gold chain round her left ankle. '' I'm late " she says unapologetically to no one in particular. The manager claps his hands and makes a little speech. '' As the only Volkswagen dealership in the department we view all our customers as family. We applaud your excellent choice in becoming the owner of a beautiful Volkswagen Sportsvan Loonj ". At the word '' Loonj " the youngest mechanic whips off the tarpaulin to reveal the ever so slightly dented vehicle beneath.
There was a time when the salesman would hand you the keys and off you'd go. Those days are gone. Now the proud new owner is expected to say something to affirm their lifestyle choice. '' How lovely " says Angus. The receptionist totters forward, opens the passenger door, waves her arm with a theatrical flourish and points inside. A routine she's clearly done many times before. Angus feels duty bound to look at the interior. The inside of the Loonj is primarily black plastic with seats in a grey and white plaid with what appear to be lightning flashes running across them. The ambience is decidedly unlounge like. Maybe the Germans do have a sense of humour.
'' What luxury " adds Angus with what he hopes is a convincing tone of voice. This implausible observation seems to satisfy everyone. Bob leaps in the back. A run through of the various knobs and dials and we're on our way home. Except we're not. Angus turns the key in the ignition, the dashboard lights up and an annoying bell chimes. The car goes into the service bay for an hour and a half to sort out a problem with the 'Park Assist'. '' These things happen " says the dealer with a Gallic shrug of the shoulders. Angus makes it very clear they don't. While we wait Bob gets his revenge by christening three Golfs on the forecourt. The 'Loonj' needs a replacement part they don't have in stock. After a 'discussion' we get a demonstrator to take us home. We'll return on Monday. When we come to turn on the demonstrators ignition a sign comes on saying the battery is flat. Another, third, car is hastily supplied. What are the chances of that ? Bad luck or a sign that our relationship with the dealer is going to be a frosty one ?
Am I alone in thinking the world gets odder ? Is this another sign I've turned into my father ?
Sophie spends an hour and a half in the garden. We wait for some movement, any movement, but are disappointed.
Bob stands on his stump seat. He watches the demonic eight year old tike heading back home from the school bus. The demonic tike is clearly not enjoying being back at school. He drags his satchel along the tarmac behind him.
Soft gentle sun. Sophie spends her afternoon getting some warmth on those little limbs. Leaves fall from the plane trees and drift gently down. She finds this intriguing.
Big brother guards. Angus has a glass of wine to lower his blood pressure. Sophie 'moves'. Everyone is happy.
So passes another day in deepest, deepest France profonde. Things too unimportant for a diary but too important to go completely unrecorded.