Friday, 1 July 2016

The Ministry

In the year of Our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty, Ernest Marples, the then Transport Minister, took it upon himself to unilaterally introduce a new law upon the nation…

It didst go something like this: ‘If you, as a member of the great unwashed, dare to drive your second or third hand heap of crap car on the Queen’s highway, at least the bloody trafficators should work. And you should yearly pay at least £2 for the privilege.’

Of course, I’m talking about the MOT test. The test which causes annual panic attacks in saner men than me.  The Dandymobile went in for her ‘Yearlies’ last Saturday and she failed miserably.  Well, I say miserably, there were lots of silly little things wrong with her that I’d been living with for the prior six months with no real problems.  Things like none of the brakes working (Including the handbrake) one headlight pointing directly upwards and the other backwards. And as it turns out, it’s also an automatic fail if your bonnet if welded shut – who knew? (It stops the pixies scampering off with all my Horse-Powers, don’t judge me.)

Anywho, it seems there weren’t enough grease monkeys available to re-align my flanges on the day, so I had to reconvene on the following Wednesday to have my tyres rotated (Which I thought was kind of the whole ‘raison d’etre’ with tyres – But I’m not an automotive professional.)  The day came, I delivered the Dandymobile to the garage and gave strict instructions to the owner about the care and maintenance of the currently incumbent boot-panther (And not to poke him with sticks, I’ve found that Wilberforce doesn’t like it when you poke him with sticks)

As an aside, many people have recently asked me how I initially came across the MKII Dandymobile. Firstly, I thank them for downloading my video from PornHub, then I relate the snatches of story that I can remember… All I shall say here is that it involved a heated game of full-contact Spillikins, with a Nepalese gentleman called ‘H’rum’ and a scar to my inner thigh in the shape of a seven place setting Chinoiserie dinner service, which I still have to this day (the scar, not the dinner service). It itches loudly during meteor showers.

But back to our story, I had dropped off the Dandymobile, and had been offered my choice of courtesy cars. My choice was simple – Amongst the plethora of Porsches and BMWs and the single beige Humber Scepter, there stood, glistening in the early morning sun, my Nemesis, my High-archdeacon of hell, my own personal Eleanor… The Audi Quattro.

This is her, look upon her and tremble

I’ve driven cars that would curdle a nun’s milk, I’ve driven cars that would make a strong man see in black and white, I’ve driven cars that would make popular BBC Radio2 DJ and alleged Top Gear presenter Chris Evans vomit in excitement – And they’ve never affected me.  But the Quattro, the Quattro shook itself like a wet Alsatian as I walked up to it.  The handle of the driver’s door was unusually warm, and the windscreen wiper arms seemed to pulse with an unearthly vigour all their own. As I mounted it, and performed the complicated series of button pushes and lever… erm… lever… whatever it is that the current participle action of levers is, I felt the slightly too snug seat below me constrict, as if readying itself to bind me steadily as it propelled me forward with the voracity of a rabid SCUD missile.  I’d be a liar if I said that I didn’t seriously consider walking the 60 miles to work.

The Quattro however, had other ideas.  It was four miles from the garage to the petrol station, I arrived there some nine seconds after initially leaving the garage. I regained consciousness lying on the back seat in a pool of my own tears with my trousers around my ankles. £20 worth of petrol was all I was willing to give to the beast as tribute. It turned out that that single amount was only just sufficient for the round trip that day.  The Quattro showed her displeasure on the way home by making me do seventeen circuits of the dual-carriageway island near my house, faster and faster we drove, until finally the back end of the car broke traction and we left the road, plummeting into a nearby hedgerow and viciously squashing a family of crested newts.

The message on the answering machine from the garage saying that the work on the Dandymobile would take another day filled me with panic. I freely admitted that I cried like a natural soprano on the verge of becoming a castrato. Down on the gravel drive, the Quattro belched loudly as it spat out a broken flurry of peacock feathers.

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