Day 294(a): One lousy dayWhat I didn't mention yesterday, was that today Exile #2 and I were supposed to be taking our driving tests in this car. The morning was spent phoning garages ("A diesel sedan? Oh, I wouldn't really be knowing about that sir") then the dealership ("Yes we'll look at if you can get it here") then the towing company ("That'll be $108"). Then waiting for the towing company to turn up, dashing across town to meet them at the dealership, rushing home to get some practice manoeuvring the van (the test includes a parallel park and a 3-point turn).
After that we dashed home to get some food for E5N1 and some costumes for the other kids. While we were there the garage called to say that the car might very well be terminal ("60-70% chance you need a new motor") - he meant engine, but it makes little practical difference. At this point we barely had time to get something to eat before our tests ("There's a ten minute wait for those"). Pulling up the the first junction of the test-route I managed to cut up another vehicle and then hit the curb/kerb. Nice work!
Day 294(b): A pretty good dayThe day started with waiting for the school bus. My latest piles of leaves were put to good use. After that I was able to find someone willing to look at the car and someone able to get it to them.
We found an excellent place in the town park to practise our parallel parking in peace. The minivan is quite manoeuverable for its size and Exile #2 is much more used to driving it. After that we got some lunch and arrived at the testing location in plenty of time for Exile #2's test. I was not on best of form following negative news about the car, but at least the mistakes I made as we drove past the queue of cars waiting for tests were not witnessed by the examiner!
Both our tests went absolutely fine - the examiner was much more interested in talking to us than looking for excuses to fail us. I suppose a British couple make a change from local 16 and 17 year olds. So, with our receipt-style temporary licenses in our hands, we returned to see how Exile #4 was getting on. The answer was very well. Thanks to Albaniana who brought her home from school and looked after her in the afternoon. After we had a very welcome cup of tea the rest of both clans arrived and 3 out of 4 of walking age came out for a seven-house trick-or-treat tour. Fairly painless for the adults and lots of fun (and plenty productive enough) for the kids.
The car looks bad, but it seems likely to have been a random event that no amount of pre-inspection or servicing could have prevented, and there's still hope that it will be (reasonably) repairable - there are many worse surprises we could have had.