All 3 entries tagged Coco

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February 17, 2006

The Mercedes Mystery

And the prophets foretold that in the far distant future a Shining Silver Machine would appear, overnight, a gleaming thing of Joy and Wonder among the murky coloured micras and the grubby white vans, and the Street would truly be transformed by its glorious Presence, and all would look upon the Miracle with thankful eyes…

…apart from the person whose parking space it had taken as it fell from the heavens.

All right, strictly, I suppose, it's not actually my parking space, apart from the fact that it is the spot that is directly outside my house. And also I consider it my right, as a driver without power steering, to have priority to this particular space, as it's directly next to a driveway so I don't have to wrench my arms out of their sockets and attempt a parallel park with an interested audience twitching their curtains. I can also gaze upon this hallowed spot from the spare room window, and give Coco a little wink every so often so she doesn't get too lonely out there. It's nice for a little car to feel appreciated, after all. The poor girl hasn't really got that much going for her otherwise.

And for a while, this worked. Coco sat happily outside the window, for the most part. Occasionally, she and I would find somebody else had coasted into our spot, and there were a few times when she ended up nose to nose with an entirely undesirable van, but these are after all, formative life experiences, and she doesn't seem to have suffered unduly from them.

But that was all back in the halcyon days of Before Merc. Literally overnight, this silver beast dropped from the skies, and we woke one morn about five weeks ago to find it twinkling outside our house. And it has not moved since.

At first, it was a bit of local interest. It added a bit of glamour and speculation to our humdrum lives. I mean, it's not everyone who has a whacking great Mercedes Benz appear outside their house now, is it? However, gradually, the charm wore off. Every morning now, we wake to feel its presence looming outside our closed curtains, and have to look away from its scrutiny as we lock the door every night. It is immovable, unchanging in wind and weather, and we are powerless against it. Coco and I even have to respectfully change down a gear as we pass its presence in case we graze its silver sheen, and the two of us remain in perpetual fear of overstepping the boundaries of courtesy as we try to parallel park near its large shiny body.

What we are desperate to know, but do not dare to ask, is when will it leave? When can we return to our cheerful pursuit of carelessly dodging round little two door metros and fiestas without its eternally threatening presence? When, in fact, can we cease to live in fear? It's been sitting there for over a bloody month now, and hasn't moved once. It doesn't appear to belong to anybody. More importantly, it's hogging my parking space, in the way a car with no claim to the house it sits beside and probably power power power steering has no right to do. Besides, it makes Coco feel inadequate. Look, I tell her, it's got nothing on you. You are beloved of an honest woman, and although you may have only a teeny engine and battered white paintwork, you are so valued that all that ceases to be important.

So, you see, having a nice shiny mystery vehicle brightening up the street is all very well, but now it's just plain annoying, for many reasons. I'm just waiting for the second Miracle to occur – the one where it disappears as mysteriously as it came. (And although we never hear of it, it's found by the police three nights later, burnt out and dumped at the bottom of the Sydenham Industrial Estate.)

But all that Coco and I care about is that it never flashes its glossy chasse in our parking spot again.


December 20, 2005

Things That Get My Goat: Fitt the First

It's nine o'clock tonight, the roads are getting a bit icy, visibility's a little poor and my tyre treads and my demisters on my dear little Clio are not exactly what you'd call state of the art. And I'm on a university campus 20mph road, with the odd pedestrian/bicycle that will suddenly loom out at you, and flashing lights everywhere telling you to go slow.

So what speed am I doing? Just ticking over 20 nicely thanks, Mr Arrogant Tosser Backing Up My Arse Honking His Horn Every Thirty Seconds.

Listen, if you want to play it risky, then just overtake me already. I'm not going to break the law because I'm not confident that if somebody did walk out in front of me in these conditions, I could stop in time, and just because you want to act like a bloody boy racer lording it round campus in your little souped up mini, there's no reason why I should have to endanger people too. You want to play it oh so fucking cool, you swing out round me and take your chances, and if you're not man (and please please don't fail to note the poisonous sarcasm in my voice here) enough to do it, then just stop honking your little horn and get over it.


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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