Well I have been very busy the last week or so, my trusty old Ford Escort
has started to have a mid life crisis. So I suppose that, in conjunction with my servicing philosophy (don’t fix it until it breaks)
it has served me well.
I don’t really get attached or possessive towards my possessions, after all it is just stuff. I would also like to think that if I needed to borrow
something from one of my neighbours that the favour would be reciprocated. This does not appear to be the view shared by some of my neighbours, and
perhaps some of them think me a little naive or just an easy touch. So until recently if someone wanted to borrow my car and I didn’t need it I had no
problem letting them carry on as long as it came back with fuel in it.
That was until last week when I went to use my car and found a large pool of diesel underneath the engine, and none of the lenders knew anything about it.
I located the source of the problem being the seal on the fuel pump. After a little search on the internet, I realised that this would not be a cheap and
quick fix and a new pump could set me back £500 before it is even fitted.
As with most problems that I need help fixing I find the best way to a solution is to share these problems in the ‘kruchma’ to see what their advice is.
I was not to be disappointed. Hikmet my good friend, barmen, electrician, and all round good egg of Samodiva provided information on where to locate
a good mechanic. I was fully prepped to get my car there, but was in no rush.
The very next morning I get a knock at the door, it is Chernol, Hikmets younger brother who is back from working in Belgium for a month holiday and is
at a bit of a loose end.
‘Kolla, Ramont, Siga! Ela’
(Car, Repair, Now! Come).
My village has learnt to communicate in my version of Bulgarian to make sure I understand.
Never to look a gift horse in the mouth we set off. Chernol in the lead in his ‘Kolla’, me following behind getting 3 miles to the gallon.
We get to the mechanic, I open up the bonnet point at the fuel pump and gesture ‘ Ne roboti’ (No work). Much nodding of the head side to side, which
has a different meaning here I pass him the key and he confers with Chernol over price and timing.
The outcome of which I later learn is 250 Lev (£100), he will strip down the fuel pump replace all seals and fix whatever the problem is and phone Chernol
when it is ready to pick up. Winner, being from the UK I am used to paying this much just to get a mechanic look under the bonnet.
2 days later Hikmet is at my door, Chernol is away visiting people but has had a phone call from our mechanic to say that my car is ready to be collected.
No problem I tell him, I will phone a taxi and go and get it. He tells me that I will not be getting a taxi and his son Bekihir will be driving me to the
garage ‘Siga (Now)’
The mechanic is in the local town of Kardjali some 35 kms away, and all offers of fuel money are sternly rejected.
In true mechanic fashion on arrival I was told of other problems that have been identified whilst fixing the fuel pump, I have a new fan belt and the
air filter also needed replacing.
I ask how much this is, and am quite amazed that the quote is being honoured, he was just telling me that he had done the other work as it needed
doing. UK mechanics take note. Bekhir, did not leave my side during the transaction, I got the impression he was sent along to ensure that I was not
So will I be letting my car be borrowed again. Maybe. But I was told this in the pub the following night:
Bulgarian Philosophy on Wives and Cars. As told me by my next door neighbour.
‘Dominic, a car to a Bulgarian man has the same respect as his wife, you don’t let other people use it’
‘Kolla e Djenna, drougata hora ne mojay!’