Friday 5 November 2010


Took the car to my favourite tyre shop this morning -
a father and son outfit
with a fund of interesting car-related 
and road-rage stories.
I struck lucky, there was another customer
waiting by his Skoda,
and I was able to listen in on some Blokeish.

'Wossit got ven,
fur'ee, fur'ee two?'

' Fur'ee four that side
Fur'ee free this side.'

'Izat awight?'
'Wossit sposed ter be?'

Small side step shuffle while scrutinising the oily concrete.
Deep frown.
Thrust hands deeper in pockets.

'Me mae said it was ve wishbone.
Ain wo cobble roun lars time.'

Now he's lost me.

Inscrutable pause.
Pace round the car.
Bounce the car expertly one side.
Bounce the car expertly the other side.

'Where you go then?'


Wo? Sarf east?

Aw rahnd.'

Look up at sky.
Look alertly around at passing cars.
Glance uncertainly at me.
Look away quickly.
Take a phone call on hands-free mobile
plugged alien-stylie into ear.
Repeat most of the above
but louder, pacing in small circles.
Meanwhile my flat tyre has been removed
and inspected.

'Oh dear is it a nail?'

'It's not the naail.
It's where it's wearin' on the rim
with it being down.
Can't do anything with this I'm afraid.
Arl check the others.
Back one's legal.
This one's awight.
This one - s'awight bu..
Sympathetic grimace.
Close, not got long.
How rich are you feelin'?

And then I curious thing happens.
I realise that I have started to speak Blokeish too.

'Woss the damage?'
I've go' a drive tomorrow.'

Frown at car.
Look anxiously at bloke.
Suck teeth? No perhaps not.

'Change 'em both I would.' 
(Did he say mate? 
That would be the complete seal of approval.)

'Can I leave it wiv you?
I've gotta go down the dry cleaners.'

'Come far?'

'No jus' the top of the road.'

'Givus the key then.
And it'll be all done and dusted when you come back.'

'Cheers. I'll be back in thirty.'

It's not fluent, but it's not bad.
They say immersion is the best way to learn a foreign language.


As I paid up he said ruminatively,

'I look at those tyres and wonder
how many miles they will travel.
They tried to take a Mondeo round the world
without using any ferries.
They took it through a service tunnel 
when the Channel tunnel was being dug
but it got stuck on the ice at the Baring Straits.
They left the engine running all night
but the exhaust pipe still froze and they had to tow it away.'

Gotta dash.


  1. Hilarious, hilARious! What a tonic of a post.

  2. I'd go the whole hog next time . Sucking the teeth is an essential part of the assessment/bargaining process . Here in Friesland the shuffling of wooden clogs denotes a serious consideration of probity and financial matters in general .
    And enjoy yer trip t'morrah !

  3. Ah wonderful I enjoyed this, a great start to my day! My husband just took our car down to a small family run tyre shop and got two new tyres...I wonder what conversation went on then.

  4. Absolutely LOVED this post, found myself "speaking" the words in my head as I read............ The sucking of the teeth is such and integral part of these kind of exchanges, isn't it? :O)))))))