There has been some progress with the car incident. I was instructed to take the vehicle to an insurance-approved garage where they would assess the damage and produce an estimate for repair for the insurer.
Now this is a vehicle that has more than 140,000 miles on the clock, and although we have maintained the mechanical workings in top condition, the bodywork has not received the same level of care and attention. If I were not comprehensively insured, then I might rub down and touch up a tiny area of damage over the wheel arch, but otherwise it's perfectly fine to drive for another 140,000. The worst case scenario would have been if the damage had been sufficient to make it undriveable and uneconomic to repair, because its value to me as a truly reliable runner would not be reflected in the insurer's book value.
Anyway, I had a most enjoyable time at the garage, watching the process of estimating the damage. First of all, the assessor showed off his encyclopedic knowledge of cars, as might be expected from one who has chosen this particular career path. He pointed out creases and dents that I hadn't even seen, and then marked the side of the car where all the damage was and took lots of photos, while I took photos of him. Then he got out a plain grid that showed any distortion when reflected by the car panel. Seeing my interest, he asked if I'd like a copy of the report which would contain all of the best pictures - well, I jumped at the chance. After it was all done, he cleaned off all the markings, and politely declined my invitation to clean the rest of the car.
The emailed report makes interesting reading too. It lists and estimates the time required to address around 40 separate operations, and estimates the whole job at just under £1500. I won't pay any of it, because the insurance company has accepted that I wasn't at fault and will claim it all back from the other driver's insurance. Still, this seems to me to be an enormous amount for a car that isn't new, and quite frankly doesn't really need all this attention, given that it's perfectly sound mechanically. The trouble is that once you're in the system, it's difficult to dictate what does and doesn't get fixed. It's this type of job that must raise all our insurance premiums.
Anyway, I always like to see how things work, whether it's painting a house or dealing with insured car repairs or servicing the boiler. I like to see inside other people's lives, which is one reason why I enjoyed some of my previous jobs, and why I look forward to poking about in patient's diets when I eventually qualify as a dietitian.