Our First Car Problem.

Twisting through the rolling countryside of Tuscany we’re all enjoying a rare moment of silence staring out the window when the car.gets.loud.  Look, the Defender isn’t a quiet ride by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I remember turning the engine over the first morning in London and wondering who was going to address the elephant in the room.  After a few seconds of looking at the dash and pressing a couple of buttons “just to see” Tyler looked at me and said “it’s quite loud.”

But this time it gets real loud; so loud I want to get out of the car.  “What IS that?” Tyler shouts?  “Eeeeeeeehhhhhh” Henry whines.  “It’s coming from there,” I yell, pointing toward the floor mat of the front passenger seat.

We motor along back to Montaione and when we get to our parking spot Tyler hops out, walks around the car, slides beneath it, and then says a word I shan’t repeat here knowing my grandfather might read this.  It starts with the sixth letter of the alphabet.

He shows me a photo of the exhaust pipe having completely rusted through.  Huh.


“We could ask Francesco if he knows anyone that can fix it,” I suggest.  Francesco is a 22 year old pizzeria owner, whose shop is directly across from our parking spot.  He is also one of only two people in the village that speak English so I am hopeful he has a mechanic-friend recommendation.

Entering the pizzeria, the conversation goes something like this:

Tyler: Hey, Francesco, any chance you know someone who owns a Defender?
Francesco: Yes.  (Long pause.)  You own a Defender.
Tyler: Right, but anyone else?  This is our exhaust pipe (shows picture)…do you know anyone who could fix it?
Francesco: Yes, he could fix it. (Points to Grandfather sitting beside him.)

Lots of Italian talking then happens.  Finally, Grandpa agrees to come look at the Defender.  He says he can’t fix it now (Sunday at 7 pm, so fair enough) but if we came to the shop Monday at 9 am if it was raining or 2 pm if it was sunny (?) he would fix it.

This doesn’t represent the same work Gertrude (Henry’s named our Landy) received from Bespoke Off-Road, the Land Rover Defender specialist in Oxford we used, but it got the job done.

Thanks Francesco’s Grampa!

J xo