Sunday, September 13, 2009

Off? Ah, you can't re-fuse

The other evening Beloved Wife and I were heading home after discovering that Geeekfest 2.0 had been postponed to October. While rummaging in the dark trying to plug in the phone charger, a coke can ring-pull fell into the socket and shorted the circuit with a briefly thrilling flash and a fuse blew.

We stopped at a petrol station to avail ourselves of the available light, I dug out the owner’s manual and found the fuse box. The task was not made any easier when Beloved Wife recovered her emergency wind-up torch from the boot and discovered that it was FUBAR. Neither was the job facilitated by the blue 15A fuse, as per the manual, mysteriously not being blown. It turned out that the relevant fuse as fitted by some German mechanic back in 2007 was a yellow 20A fuse. So much for Volkswagen’s dire injunctions against fitting fuses with different ratings from those stated in the manual. And the petrol station shop hadn’t got any blade fuses anyway. Loads of cuddly toys and phone accessories, but no automotive fuses. In a petrol station. Is there no limit to mercantile idiocy? Just as well the burned-out fuse only affected the fag lighter. If it’d been on the headlight circuit that night, there might have been more of a problem.

The following day it took four further attempts to buy a replacement fuse before I finally succeeded. Three car accessories shops, whose stock includes flashing lights, radios, spotlights, replacement lenses and any other related electric paraphernalia, didn’t stock automotive fuses. So they all fit aftermarket electrical accessories without any fuse protection, eh? And we wonder why in this country there seem to be so many cases of cars spontaneously combusting. I eventually found a tiny hardware shop where the man had a cut-down Masafi bottle full of 20A yellow blade fuses. He charged me a dirham, and then guiltily gave me a handful rather than just two. (One to use and one to lose.)

Anyway, back to the previous evening. I was fuming by the time we got home. Why? Well, Beloved Wife’s wind-up torch has never been used in anger. It has lived in a bag in the boot along with some jump leads for two years. And this evening the winding mechanism had mysteriously become broken. Come to that, the yellow case had also magically become battered and bruised.

What I suspect is that some unknown person who owned an old and broken wind-up torch swapped his with the decent one that he found lying around in someone’s car. It appears this could only have been the Volkswagen mechanics at Al Naboodah or the car valets at Yellow Hat. Except at the car wash where we stand over the cleaners, no-one else has had access to the boot, as far as either Beloved Wife or I can ascertain.

It isn’t the cost of the torch that I’m whingeing about. They’re cheap, and yes I can easily afford a new one. Unfortunately, when you need to use a torch, it’s dark, probably in the middle of nowhere and likely throwing down with rain too. And the inconvenience of changing a wheel by Braille easily outweighs the monetary value of the torch.

I guess this sort of petty theft goes with nicking small change: a perk, a tax on rich idiots who are careless enough to leave anything in the car that’s not bolted down.



the real nick said...

bit off-topic, but I was impressed with the Citroen C4 I was renting this summer in Europe: the light in the boot was actually a torch that could be removed if needed but otherwise just sat there in its little nook, charging itself and glowing with a Gallic shrug....
There was also a fold-up shopping trolley made to fit snugly into a side recess of the boot. It makes me want to move back to Europe, just to drive French cars.

nzm said...

I'd buy the Citroen C4 just for those 2 features, alone!

Back in the old days when I was a lad-y, (snort!) we used to be able to resuscitate blown fuses by wrapping them in cigarette foil. Does this still work?

the real nick said...

that's exactly what I thought - "can I get the C4 in Dubai?"...

I guess what you are describing is essentially bypassing the fuse? This might be a kind of short term solution before the entire electrics go up in flames.

Madame Cholet said...

Had my Entertainer book nicked after valet parking at a well-known hotel.

Hubs also had pages removed from his Entertainer book when it was in for a service. He rescued it and discovered vouchers for pizzas/sarnies etc all missing.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the problem of fuse availability is specific to countries which still have removable ring pulls.

All those bits of loose aluminium must be bad for goats.

Keep smiling,

The Doha Boater.

alexander... said...

Sorry, sorry, sorry Mr Goat!

We updated the revised arrangements via Twitter - never thought about the blog until too late - & I thought your comment was a gag!

My bad. Sorry for wasted trip! Beer on me.

Auto Club said...

Best Roadside offers the very best in emergency roadside assistance available from an auto club. Our services cover vehicles and motorcycles

Gnomad said...

How much confidence can one have in Best Roadside, when according to Auto Club's post, Best Roadside regards "vehicles and motorcycles" to be different and separate things? Since when was a motor cycle not a vehicle?


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