The reason for the title is that everyone (outside this circle) I tell this tale to will reply 'told you so, shouldn't have bought an Alfa'.
However my first big bill is not down to any issues with the design or build of my GT but thanks to come cack handed operative (I don't think they deserve the designation mechanic) who was allowed to work on the car by its previous owner.
I was never sure if the aircon was working properly on my car - it seemed pretty weak when I got it and gradually got worse to the point of being ineffective. I suspected a slow leak and finally got it checked out today.
Thanks to Chick at CM Garage I've now discovered that the system was indeed leaking but not in any of the usual places. The cause was that on some previous occasion someone had been working around the gear linkage cables and unclipped them from their mountings but failed to put them back (there's no way they could have worked themselves loose) and the linkage has been rubbing against the aircon pipework at the back of the engine and chafed a hole in it.
Cost of new pipework alone is £137
So, with 2 hours labour to fit (a conservative estimate but that's what Chick has quoted) plus the time to diagnose and then the standard charge for a re-gas I'm not going to get much change out of £400.
I was thinking of getting some new wheels, but that idea is kicked into the long grass now....