26 june 2018






school photos







           All original writing

           2014, 2015, 2016, 2017,            2018        Ian McLauchlin



What do you need to do if your car gets a stone chip?  Stop the weather getting to the steel and causing it to rust, that's what. So when I change car I always get  some matching touch-up paint. Always. Except last time I didn't. It wasn't for want of trying I can tell you.

"Ah, that's a new colour Sir." They always call me Sir, don't know why. "It might be difficult to get hold of.  OK I'll order one, and pay for it. Am I too trusting?  It's called 'Iced Coffee' in case you're interested. They'll probably start producing it soon. (Thinks - so any body repairs sit with grey primed metal till the manufacturers can get round to producing the top coat? I don't think so.)

Every few months I remembered that I still didn't have that touch-up paint. So I'd phone the dealer, who was engaged, busy, looking for touch-up paint or something. Anything really to avoid supplying me with what they'd taken my money for.

Latest response: "Ah, they've changed the name of the colour, Sir. It isn't called 'Iced Coffee' any more."

But it's still the same colour? Get me some of that then.

"Sorry, we don't know what it's called." Surely you can find out, or do you want me to do your job, as well as paying for phone calls that you should be making, and wiping your nose?

Visited the Dealer a while later for another reason. "Oh, hello, Sir. You've just reminded me that I was going to chase that paint for you."  (I have a diary at home. I write things in it that I need to do on the day I need to do them. It's not rocket science . . . )

A few more months slipped by and I was starting to scuff the tyres swerving to avoid flying stones. Other road users kept their distance, even though they were probably the proud owners of touch-up paint.

Would you believe it, it was time to take the car in for a service. I'd avoided stones for a Whole Year! I know, I'll phone up before the visit to remind them to get the paint in for me to collect. "Yes we can get that in for you, Sir." Still 'Sir' after a year of close familiarity. Started to get excited. Don't often get the chance. Lay awake the night before thinking of the joy of finally holding that touch-up paint in my hand. It was a feeling you get only once or twice in a lifetime and I was determined to savour it to the full.

Arrived at the Dealers on time, having to set off early so as to avoid any last minute stone chips on that day of all days. "Anything else we can do for you, Sir?" Where's your Parts Department?

"Could you tell me why you want to know, Sir?"  (They call me Sir as they discern that I won’t be fobbed off. Well not after a year of being fobbed off.)

Well they said they would have the touch-up paint ready for me this morning. "OK, I can get that for you, Sir."

By this time I could feel the blood pumping through the veins, which I hoped weren't standing out on my forehead. After too long a time, she re-appeared, looking less than fulfilled. "We need to arrange who will pay for it with the Sales Manager, Sir."  “I'VE ALREADY PAID FOR IT, A YEAR AGO!” I whispered, hoping not to disturb other customers too much. “HERE'S THE INVOICE”, which I'd fortunately remembered to bring with me . . .

Finally, even though they were reluctant to part with it, having cuddled it, fed it and generally cared for its welfare over many months, they delivered it into my shaking hands. Ecstatic, I enquired what it's new name was. "Cashmere Brown, Sir." Was it worth the name change I wondered idly. On the way out I bumped into the Sales Person who sold me the car. I've finally got it, I exclaimed! The touch-up paint  "Yes I know!" he said. "When you (note YOU) found that the colour was finally available, I ordered one for another customer with the same coloured car as you. He's just traded it in. (sad face). Still, I can give the paint stick to the new owner when I sell it! (happier face)!!"

Tell you what, says I, keep it for a year, then give it to 'em.