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Save on MOT Bills

in Motoring
221 replies 152.9K views


  • MajorMajor Forumite
    33 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    Stand by your beds! I have looked for the nearest Testing Station to Reading, but as normal came up blank, can anyone out there help?

    Great Thread,

    The Major 8)
    What is this life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare.
  • alaredalared Forumite
    4K Posts


    Aha, another term from that inexhaustible store of rude British slang expressions (though it is also well-known in Australia). It means that the person addressed is contemptible or worthless, a scrounger. Though it can be a relatively mild insult among friends, you should avoid saying it to strangers unless you want a smack in the mush or a punch up the bracket.
    The original form—in the nineteenth century—was toe rag. It referred to the strips of cloth that convicts or tramps wrapped around their feet as an inadequate substitute for socks. The first recorded use is by J F Mortlock in his Experiences of a Convict of 1864: “Stockings being unknown, some luxurious men wrapped round their feet a piece of old shirting, called, in language more expressive than elegant, a ‘toe-rag’ ”. It didn’t take long to become a term of abuse—in 1875 a book on British circus life said that “Toe rags is another expression of contempt ... used ... chiefly by the lower grades of circus men, and the acrobats who stroll about the country, performing at fairs”.
    It seems to have come to wider British knowledge and use from the 1970s on, largely because it was aired in the ITV police series The Sweeney about the London mobile detective force called the flying squad (rhyming slang: flying squad = Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street), a programme that delighted in using London slang.
    The tow-rag spelling is sometimes seen because people have lost the link to the original sense, long since obsolete.
  • FranFran Forumite
    11.3K Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I had a "bad MOT day" about 5 years ago. I took my car to a garage and failed on bearings and light bulb. I took car to another garage who said the bearings didn't need doing! Took car back to original garage (having had no work done on the bearings), who passed the car through MOT!! I should have reported them but didn't. I'll be looking in to other places having read this thread.....
    Torgwen.......... :) ...........
  • Lewis_GerolemouLewis_Gerolemou Forumite
    136 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    That's interesting Alared, I somehow imagined it was a useless rag tied to a tow-rope probably because I was in car mode. I haven't looked yet but I've probably got the definition in my dictionary of slang. Here's one for you; what are the origins on "grass" as in to tell tales on a person?

    Lewis Gerolemou.
  • kilo_2kilo_2 Forumite
    36 Posts
    One thing to be wary of though is that if your car does fail the MOT somewhere where you can't get it repaired, then you can't just keep driving it around until you get round to getting it fixed. I believe you can drive it home (unless the inspector declares it too dangerous to do so), but thereafter you can only drive it to a garage or an MOT test station, and it's possibly as restrictive as you having to have an appointment booked at the place you're driving it to.

    If you do continue driving a car with a failed MOT your insurance may not be valid.

    The belief that an invalid MOT or TAX disc invalidates your insurance is almost a myth.

    To qoute an article in the driving section of the Times...last yr, the answer to the 'myth':

    "Almost always wrong. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says that insurance policies will still pay out in full on any third party claims and in the case of damage to or theft of your own vehicle, payouts may be reduced to reflect the lower market value of a car without an MoT.

    There are very few policies that insist in the small print that an MoT must be in force otherwise they will refuse to pay. These, however, are extremely rare, but it is worth checking the wording just in case.

    If the car has no road tax, the ABI says insurers are still obliged under the Road Traffic Act to pay out for both third party and comprehensive claims. The fact that you are commmitting an offence by not having tax is irrelevant."
  • alaredalared Forumite
    4K Posts

    Grass: To grass on someone means to inform some higher authority about possible misdemeanours. The origin here is far from clear but I have found two possibilities.
    The first relates to the fact that this type of informing is often done in a whisper. In the 1940s the singing group the "Ink Spots" had a world wide hit with the song "Whispering Grass". By extension whispering became known as grassing.
    The other explanation relates to London slang starting with to shop someone, derived from the concept of the Coppers' shop. Someone who habitually informed to the police became a shopper and rhyming slang produced a grasshopper which was then shortened to grass. You can take your choice.

    Here`s one for you:
    To take the gilt off the gingerbread
    as in to show something up as worth far less than first thought.
  • I've seen several explanations of grass but your suggestion is new to me.

    Grass might come from "Grass in the park" which is (allegedly) rhyming slang for nark which in turn might come from Romany ("naak" for nose) but has nothing to do with the American "narc".

    Grass might also come from rhyming slang as you say from "grasshopper" for copper (or possibly "shopper" but this more Austrailian than Cockney)

    Grass might also be from "snake in the grass".

    I think the term "grass" turns up in print from about the 1930s onwards so "Whispering Grass" is probably not right. It also tends to rule out snake in the grass since it would have shown up much earlier had that been the root. "Grashopper" occurs from the 1890s which also lends weight to that explanation.


    Gilding the gingerbread was when a fake gilt was used to decorate gingerbread (possibly as early as the 15th century). "Taking the gilt off the gingerbread" means to remove your fantasies, to rob you of your illusions and leave the dull reality behind.
  • Lewis_GerolemouLewis_Gerolemou Forumite
    136 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I think Alared is right, 17th century slang for a prison was the shop, if you informed on someone they went to prison you were a shopper, rhymes with grass hopper, shortened to grass. Gingerbread was 18thC slang for money, modern slang - bread = money .

    Lewis Gerolemou
  • SystemSystem Forumite, Community Admin
    177.9K Posts
    10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I,ve just read with intrest about the council doing MOT,s i live in swindon so does any one know where to go for advice
  • Hi Paul...Theres nothing on the Swindon BC web site but when I lived in Swindon a few years ago I believe the Ambulance Station near the Magic Roundabout undertook MOTs. Worth a general enquiry anyway.
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