The other day I got caught in a hailstorm while driving cautiously along the A61 towards Sheffield.
It became obvious that my windscreen wipers were no longer clearing water off the screen, but instead were smearing opaque stripes of mud, obscuring my field of view.
No problem – I could replace them in seconds with a spare pair from the boot, which I had fortuitously bought from a quid shop some months earlier.
I parked up, congratulating myself smugly that through incredible prescience, I had avoided paying over £20 through the nose, to some bloke at a garage to fit them. A saving of 2,000%!
Unfazed by the pouring rain, I unclipped the existing blades and retrieved the replacements from their cardboard pack.
But on examining the fittings, I realised that they bore no relationship to the ones I had taken off. Instead there were about six different flimsy plastic “universal” sleeves, with a variety of obscure fixtures and swivelling fittings, none of which appeared to correspond to mine.
I stood in the drizzle, poking levers with a biro, snapping off chunks of plastic and swapping them back and forth. For 45 minutes, I wrestled with every conceivable premutation and angle, until two plugs agreed to click into position. They were now on upside down. I switched them over, breaking the sleeve off one of them and gouged my finger.
A few days later, as I drove home from work, it started raining. On engaging the wipers, I realised that some nerk had slipped an advertising leaflet underneath one of them. Its flimsy monkey- metal frame promptly ejected itself and flailed erratically, making a piercing screeching sound on the window.
An older and wiser man, I went to Halfords and the assistant fitted me some proper ones. I think they cost £20.