One of my great ideas which never got anywhere was to set up a register where scrapyards could post information on cars they were breaking. Anyway, some things like it have now been done, of course.
The Shed was in need of a parcel shelf with a working tonneau to cover the luggage area of an M-reg Nissan X-Trail, so we asked to get us quotes.
A1 Jap Spares of Failsworth, Manchester, came back first, but was quoting £120, including VAT and delivery, which sounded a lot for a bit of trim for an M-reg car.
Then Nis-Spec 1st of Welshpool offered one for £64.50 all-in, which sounded reasonable. We rang and a fella said he would look at the part to make sure it was in good order and call back. He didn’t call back and when we got hold of him again, he said the part had been no good.
Then tried
They got no responses at first but got back in touch inviting us to resubmit the specs and eventually we got a quote for £63.67 all-in, from GT 4×4 of Basildon. They were honest enough to mention, however, that the clips which should hold the shelf to the back seats were missing. That was one of the problems which eventually led to the dumping of the old shelf, so we said Thanks but No Thanks. Anyway, for the Filofacts …
and there is a list of similar sites at
Also possibly useful, from Car Clinic in Sunday Times …
Replace or get parts for electronic car keys at

* Ever broken the glass off a bulb and had to remove the stub from the lampholder with pliers?
John D, a Hampshire-based contributor to , has, and his better idea was recently drawn to the attention of The Shed …
“Turn off the power, get a fresh carrot out of the fridge, cut the end off, push the stump into the broken bulb base. Push, twist, pull.”
Looks like a site worth bookmarking …

* The head broke off one of the bolts holding the back on The Shed’s 1950s Ercol bench-style settee – technically known as a studio couch, apparently.
A superglue repair failed. A weld might have done the job but The Shed committee pointed out that if one bolt had broken, we could do with a spare at the ready.
A helpful lady at Ercol said: “Thank you for your email regarding your Ercol studio couch. I’m afraid we no longer have supplies of the old bolts for the couch. The studio couch we produce today doesn’t have these bolts at all.
“Your best bet is to Google the part. The description you’ll need is Mushroom head bolt, Whitworth thread, 4 ½” x 5/16”.
Rather easier said than done. Whitworth’s is an old British standard for the angle and spacing of the turns in a thread and 5/16ths is an old British standard diameter, neither of them exactly matched by international metric standards, and although there are still producers and stockists of the old stuff, it took three or four tries to find one who could more or less meet the Ercol specs. Eventually, a helpful chap at, of Wigan, offered an equivalent which would probably do – stock code RC05072E-M.
He had a minimum order requirement of £10, which would have bought a dozen. We offered £10 for three, postage included, and got them for £12 including VAT.
The bolts have a hexagonal rather than a mushroom head and they are only threaded for the bottom two inches, which gave me a pause for concern. But one of them did the job and the spares are now filed in The Shed.
Filofacts entry …
BOLTS, Wigan, 01942 520261


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