Casefile 1: Big Jim’s Breaker’s Yard Bourton-on-the Water
When looking for a scrapyard in the beautiful Cotswolds, you are spoiled for choice. Every honey-stoned picture postcard village seems to have a traditional metal reclamation yard nestling amongst its streets of charmingly quaint thatched cottages. However one establishment that I would hesitate to recommend to anyone is Big Jim’s Breaker’s Yard 1010 miles outside Bourton-on-the Water.
I checked in just before lunchtime, having previously phoned up to reserve a windscreen wiper motor from a 1978 Peugeot 504. But when I got to reception, which was housed in an old caravan that had clearly seen better days, the surly manager informed me that my par t wasn’t ready.
The manager explained that he’d had a lot of trouble with people ringing his yard and asking him to remove car partspar ts and then not turning up to collect them. I couldn’t help noticing that his hands were filthy and his oily overalls looked like that hadn’t been washed for a couple of days at least. Not a good first impression.
He told me that it would take him about half an hour to get the motor, and I could wait in reception. Or, he suggested, I
ALEX’S STAR RATING:
was welcome to head out into the yard and get it myself. He would even lend me a socket set. Needless to say I declined his offer.
I sat down in the rudimentary waiting area, on what appeared to be the front seat of a Vauxhall Victor that had been crudely mounted on a Handy Angle frame. The facilities were spartan to say the least: no wi-fi,no table service and no coffee-making facilities. The only things to read were a couple of trade magazines and an airgun catalogue, all of which were dog-eared and covered in oily fingerprints.
After about forty minutes, the manager returned with my car part, which he plonked down unceremoniously on the counter. Presentation clearly doesn’t take much priority at Big Jim’s. The wiper motor was covered in a layer of thick black dirt and flecked with rust. The power cables had been crudely nipped, leaving bare copper wire visible.
The manager brusquely informed me he wanted twenty pounds for it, but as I’d been quoted fifteen pounds on the phone I queried the bill. He explained that it had been a bastard to get out and showed me an oily gash on his thumb where he’d cut it open on the Peugeot’s bulkhead. I reluctantly handed over the cash, which he folded up and stuffed into his overalls pocket.
When I asked if someone could order me a taxi, the manager mumbled something inaudible and wandered off into the back room. I checked out and waited fruitlessly outside the reception area for nearly forty-five forty-fiveminutes.minutes. In the end I was forced to set off on foot for the nearest town.