Friday, October 30, 2015

I say goodbye to an old friend, one with whom I have seen good times and bad. But I do have a new cap. Well!

Well, there’s a pretty state! It has been several week now since I put digits to keyboard and blathered on here, but it’s not as though my life has been without incident. Not once, not twice, but three times I’ve been to the shops for my stepmother and forgot to get the milk my wife asked me to get! Then the other day I took the dog for a walk — and only forgot my cap! You can imagine how much I regretted that omission when within ten minutes it began to drizzle a little. But, you know, ‘turn that frown upside down’ as they say and it’s not as though life has been all misery — at lunch today my wife announced that for a change we will use the good spoons for our soup at supper. Well!

Long-time readers of this blog might remember the glory days when I recalled all the marvellous, marvellous motor cars I have been proud enough to have owned: well, there’s further news on that front. For these past eight years I have been driving — as in driving into the ground — a 16-year-old Rover 45 and it seems that car will soon be driving its last mile. (NB Cars aren’t ‘she’ and ‘her’ but ‘it’ — you must be thinking of boats and ships and rafts and ferries and that kind of thing.)

My Rover, surely one of the very few cars on the still active on Her Majesty’s highways painted ‘British racing green’, is slowly dying on its wheels and showing its age. But it has done me good service — there were 82,000 miles on the clock when I bought her for £800 from Davidstow Garage (a landmark in these here parts — there must be at least 40 cars in various states of disrepair on what passes for Rob Gibbons’s forecourt) and now there are 211,000. Furthermore, I must have spent at least five times the sum I paid for it since then on MoTs and repairs.

Once, I had to have the whole front of the car repaired after I went into the back of some stupid woman’s 4x4 on Wentfordbridge. She had braked suddenly so as not to run over a sodding weasel that had suddenly scampered over road. Then I had to have the head gasket replaced — and it’s not cheap to have that done, I can tell you — when the radiator fan died of old age just at the end of the M4 outside London and I overheated. (I am in the RAC and my membership entitles me and my car to be repatriated from anywhere in Britain. As it turned out and because of RAC logistics the opted to take the car back to Cornwall on a low-loader over a matter of days and pay for me to get a hire car. It was a top-of-the-range new 1.6l Vauxhall Astra with so many dials, knobs and gadgets I didn’t know where to look).

On another occasion I again ran into the back of a car in the rush hour driving out of London one night, and stoved in the left-hand side of the car, though it wasn’t as badly damaged as in the previous collision. Getting that done wasn’t cheap, either. Most recently, the windscreen wipers packed up — twice. First the link on one went wiper, bringing both to a halt. Then once that had been sorted out, the other went. On that occasion I had just set out on my 240-mile drive home in pouring rain and it carried on raining for the next two hours (but then it stopped). And I can assure everyone that negotiating commuter traffic on the M25 in heavy rain at 7pm at on a weekday night is no picnic.

But what has decided me to give the piece of junk a coup de grace is that the cooling system has sprung a leak and I now have to top it up substantially before every weekly schlepp to London, then again before I set off home again four days later.

So why, I can hear everyone reading this ask, has this moron not junked the sodding car years ago. Well, I promise you there was and is method in my apparent madness. I can’t really go into details. All I can say is that I was able to park quite legitimately in the streets around where I work in West

London without incurring heavy hourly parking charges. The time has now come to make other arrangements, so my dear, dear Rover 45 is off to the knacker’s yard.

The odd thing is that although I know it’s a wreck and a true piece of junk, I am finding the parting quite hard. So people get attached their spouse, family and friends. I am apt to get attached to my cars. Now, forgive me a moment while I go off and shed a quiet tear. There, that’s better.

The good news is that courtesy of a very generous brother I am not obliged to buy another car because I already have one. When a gay friend of my father’s died a few years ago, he left his flat and his car to my brother. And as my brother had no use for the car, he gave it to me. I have to say it is not in its first flush of youth — it was first registered in June 1999 — but as the old codger had bought it more or less new and hardly ever used it, there were only 38,000 miles on the clock when I took it over about four years ago, and I have hardly used it since.

As I say, I might have neglected this blog for a few weeks, but my life has most certainly not been dull or without incident. Oh, and I have bought a new flat cap, a ‘newsboy’ style one in subdued red tartan. But surely news of that and other pieces of headgear I am proud to proclaim myself owner-user must wait for a subsequent entry. But here’s a pic of it.

Unbelievingly, breaktakingly smart or what?

. . .

Just to reinforce the point I made in my last entry: depression, or at least the variation, I am apt to suffer from every so often, has fuck-all to do with ‘being unhappy’ and ‘being sad’. I really would like to make that clear. Yes, you — I — can get to feel low, but that is only because of the physical symptoms, of which, unfortunately, you are too aware your every waking minute. But it’s getting better now, and thanks for asking. I think it must be the smart new tartan flat cap.

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