I had to go for my NCT test yesterday.
For those of you who don’t know what the NCT is, it’s the National Car Test that has to be done every couple of years to make sure your car is roadworthy and standards compliant. It is stringent and the failure rate is nearly 50%.
Normally I’d get the car checked by a mechanic first, but this year I didn’t bother. I didn’t feel like it. As The Accidental Terrorist would say – I couldn’t be arsed. I did clean out the rubbish from inside the car though – all the old parking stickers, the half ton of gravel and the general crap that ends up on the car floor. I even emptied the ash tray.
I arrived at the centre and clocked in. I enjoyed a pipefull in the sun while I waited for my tester.
He came marching over, got into my car, and shot out again as if he had just met the ghost of his great grandfather in the passenger seat.
I wandered over.
“Is something wrong?” says I, innocently.
“Ze car – she is filthy.” Another frigging foreigner!!
There were a lot of hairs on the seats of the car. It’s not Sandy’s fault. She just likes to moult in the car for some reason.
“Just a few dog hairs” says I. That wasn’t strictly true. There are more hairs there than on the dog herself, but they are impossible to clean off. They stick like limpets to car seats.
“I could fail you ze test for zis” says he.
“I could kick you in the nuts” says I.
Well, no I didn’t say that. I felt like it though. What I actually said was
“Car owners are requested to have their cars reasonably clean. You surely can’t fail me for a few dog hairs?” [Few? Heh!].
He gave me a filthy look, got into the car and drove into the hangar where they do the tests. I groaned. He was in foul mood and was obviously not going to do me any favours.
I had a long wait. Others came and went. I had visions of my car reduced to its constituent parts, and my foreign friend x-raying every individual nut and bold looking for metal fatigue.
Eventually my name was called so I left the waiting room and went to the office. There was my friend with a face like a thunder cloud. If he was in a bad mood before, he was in a foul mood now.
“There” says he, as he slammed my certificate and keys on the counter. He stormed off before I could say anything.
I checked the certificate and report. I had passed. Every figure was bang in the centre of the green zone. It was as if the car had just left the showroom. I almost felt sorry for the tester. He would have been happier if even one of the figures had been a little off, because then he could have had something to berate me for.
I felt very sorry for the next victim.
As a footnote to the above, when I was leaving the centre, I saw a woman getting into my car. I thought it was my car, because I was looking at the registration plates. I looked again and laughed.
The woman gave me that strange look that I am so used to.
“Is something the matter?” says she.
“No” says I and pointed at the registration plates.
She came around to have a look. She laughed.
The two cars were side by side. Four years after being registered, the cars were back together again. The numbers were identical except that her number ended in 5, my number ended in 3.
What are the odds on that?