All entries for Tuesday 13 December 2005

December 13, 2005

Oh, the sweet smell of antifreeze in the morning!

Or How the Car Was Won and The Hubcap Was Lost

I have a new baby. By many happy coincidences, involving Australia, the AA and a backpacker brother, I have inherited a new companion. Her name is Coco the Clio, and she's small and white and positively purrs in fourth gear. And even though, alas, she lacks power steering, she does have a very cute bum.

Anyway, Coco and I are now firm friends. After three hours together on a motorway for the first time, we decided we were meant to be, and now are seldom apart. She accompanies me to campus, and the supermarket, and sulks reproachfully when I walk into town and leave her behind. It seems as if there was never a time when we two were not together. She is also beloved of my housemates, and we all co-exist in a peaceful two-door'd concord.

So imagine my feelings of maternal angst to return to her after a night on Radford Road and find her defiled. Yes, my darling was bereft of one of her precious hubcaps. There was nothing to do on the morrow but shake my chilly fist, scrape away her frosty tears and set off to Halfords with all possible haste (but keeping to 30mph, of course).

To cheer our weary spirits, I put on the radio, and serenaded her with Best Of You. Things were beginning to look brighter, and the mist was clearing from her windscreen, until we hit the industrial estate, and possibly the most confusing network of mini roundabouts I have ever seen.

For the record, I loathe mini roundabouts. They're so small that many people either don't appear to realise they're there, or think that lane priorities don't actually apply any more, because, hell, you're not on them for more than thirty seconds. If you'd like a detailed guide to How To Avoid All The Sodding Mini Roundabouts In Leamington Spa please send me an SAE and a big fat cheque. (Well, I do need petrol money to continue to fund this valuable public service). Other titles in the series include Routes With Only Left Turns, and Ways to Get Around Having To Trail A Bloody Pink Bus* All The Way To The A-Road.

Anyway, the other, more pertinent, reason I hate mini roundabouts is they are devoid of any logical signposting, particularly on the industrial estate where this adventure takes place. I found Halfords fairly quickly. Well, that is to say I could see its big pointless square tower designed to act as a beacon for all those who wish to improve their driving experience. So I took a turning off the mini roundabout in that general direction, only to find myself on another one of the things that didn't seem to go anywhere useful at all. I went round that one and picked a turning at random, only to find myself on my third mini roundabout of the day, with the Halfords sign taunting me from the middle distance, looming out of the morning mist. To make matters worse, the radio had stopped playing the Foos and had started blasting out Madonna bastardising Abba, and I had neither a free hand or free eye to remedy the situation. Hell is Madonna** on a mini roundabout system.

And of course, by then, I'd lost all sense of direction, and that's something that doesn't usually happen to me. The only other thing that will do that to me is being in Boots on a Saturday, when all I want is some cotton buds, and end up having to wander the aisles in no logical order through hair colours and tampax and plasters and face cream and hair colours again to just find them, and then repeat the whole process to get to the cash desk.

To cut a long story short, somehow I found myself outside Halfords, gagged Madonna, got some new hubcaps, and went once more into the breach, and when the mist had cleared, found myself driving along Tachbrook Road as if the whole adventure had never happened.

I still have the hubcaps though. However, seeing as I managed to gather a fairly big audience of South Leamites just by washing my car, I think the sight of me changing a hubcap might just excite them too much, and so I will leave the next stage of the hubcap adventure to be conducted in the driveway at home.

———————————

*But woo public transport… etc. It is a Good Thing, and I still value the pink monstrosities in term-time. My car is for safe late night transport, visits home, and bulk buying groceries.

**Late Madonna. Some of her early stuff is actually quite fun.


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