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1 AN OLD LAND ROVER
AN OLD LANDROVER
In the beginning, there was an old Land rover, a vehicle much loved and cherished by myself and thought of by my peers to be a “tidy little motor”. “Tidy” meaning many things to different people, to my wife it is ensuring that any blasting grit from the last face scouring is removed, and lipstick when painted, (I do mean painted,) with a four inch brush is on, well, reasonably straight. Which given that one of her eyes is slightly higher than the other is no mean feat. My son’s idea of tidiness is zero. He has NO ideas, he is as blank as a piece of anaglypta wallpaper. The concept of tidiness, manners, respect etc has, as in most kids not taken root within his media 'Call of Duty' filled brain.
An old Land Rovers “tidiness” is down to its patina. It has to look as if it fits into the era it was created in, and designed for. It should have an air of purpose. With this motor the purpose was mud, lots and lots of it, both inside and out with copious amounts of baler twine and cow droppings behind, on, and in the seats. It was 25 years old, and leaked like a sieve. The heater did not work therefore one got frost bite in the most peculiar places on winter mornings. Should you attain the dizzy speed of fifty miles per hour the door tops would bow out as the wind caught them, the condensation on the inside created its own microclimate and things, (nasty creepy things), grew and abided in the darker nooks and crannies. (A bit like my wife’s under arms and other creasy places).
On a visit to the local garage to feed the thirsty beast, (I talk here of the Land Rover not the wife). We decided to look at the shining cars on the forecourt. We were served by a flash salesman with slick Brilcreemed hair, and a line of patter that would charm the grease out of a very fat lorry driver’s bigger value three for the price of one mega breakfast with extra lard. (Brilcreem is something the younger reader may not have come across. It is the equivalent of men’s hair gel but much thinner and greasier. If you can imagine putting a lb, (or kg in modern money) of low melting point grease on your hair, rubbing it well in, dragging with the aid of your best friend a reinforced comb through it, and creating a quiff of the most manly proportions, that is Brilcreem. On dance floors of the time special cleansing teams were on hand to mop up the drippings, as these caused a severe health risk. Also St Johns ambulance men beloved of football teams of that era, would attend any who happened to get flying gobs of it in their eyes, and revive those knocked unconscious by quaffs on heads rotated in manic fashion, as the dancers boogied away).
My wife had fallen in love with a little Ford Focus. Now there is nothing wrong with this motor it is indeed a fine little “thing”. It’s dry, warm, and draught free with an airtight cabin. The problem I have is that this sealed 'airtight cabin', coupled with my wife’s “open pore” problem and associated odours is a bad place to be, a very bad place. Not for her, my wife as most people are oblivious to the obnoxiousness of their own smells, and treat them as friendly blankets to be wrapped in. To anyone unlucky enough to be sealed in with her life gets a little fetid, and as she cannot drive I am normally the person cocooned in this atmosphere.
My wife has taken twenty driving tests, (See story 28 Selling a highway code) all spectacularly failed in one way or another. She only gave up when her driving instructors either retired through ill health or had near death heart attacks, bought on by tension, stress, and the fast rising insurance premiums due to the many mishaps my wife had whilst learning.
We now have a new and surprisingly much under priced car. What came over the sales man I will never know but his primordial urge to sell, in his words “A lurve machine” (Yes he was selling a Ford Focus), overcame any natural instincts he may have had for self preservation. He actually tried to chat up the wife, (bad, very bad), He started by sitting on the corner of the desk looking sincerely into my beloveds eye (singular). You cannot look into both my wife’s eyes in one steady gaze. This is due to them being out of line, and so widely spaced that to gaze into both at the same time would require a set of precisely angled mirrors, to focus the image into one point. After trying the steady gaze routine and failing miserably he decided to talk to the left eye, bad, very bad as this was her scrying eye, the all seeing rune reading take it out and put it in a glass of water at night eye. The patter started off by the cliché “A car is like a woman” Now I have never seen anything on wheels that faintly resembles my wife, Something on four sturdy legs with the trunk at the front not the back, maybe, and a steam roller would be more synonymous as a “lurve machine”. My wife oblivious to his words but warmed by his attentions decided to give him one of her smiles. My wife smiling is something not normally seen by mortal man. The only time I get one is when my beloved hands me her false teeth to put in the Steradent after a hard days nagging, steam rising as they cool off. The salesperson thinking he had a quick sale, lemming like, moved closer and placed a hand on her knee. I knew what was coming, sadly he did not. My wife’s response to his touch was a quick jab with her knee to his groin followed by a Glasgow kiss, (head butt). This is her standard reflex action to any contact and one I have spent many hours training myself to avoid. Despite this slight set back he courageously levered himself painfully back onto the desk, and tried to carry on as though nothing had happened. He may have just thought my wife was indulging in a bit of fore play but we will never know. As his head appeared above the desk my wife gave him a Miss Piggy chop to the throat that stopped all speech, and sent him back to the floor. What was impressive though, was that through all of this as with the best American actors, his larded quiff never lost its “just combed” look.
We left the sales representative sitting in his executive swivel chair, massaging his sore throat with the horrified expression of a man who has seen the gates of hell opening, and has felt the chill hand of the reaper upon his shoulder. A quivering stammering wreck swimming in a pool of perspiration, but who; as a gesture of we presume goodwill, let us have the car at half price so that he; in his croaking whisper could, “facilitate a quick sale”.
Not wishing to be a two-car family and attract the attentions of the poor neighbours. Also to ease the parking problem on the front, the old Land rover had to go. It was first advertised in the local press, but being well known in the area the only response was a brick through the window with a message tied to it, asking us to vacate the premises. Oh and the usual angry mob of local parishioners who turn up most weekends armed with pitchforks and burning fire brands. Chanting “burn burn burn”, apart from one dyslexic who chants “nrub brun bunr”. We were used to this and took little notice, although the brick annoyed me somewhat as it was one of the very few left holding up the corner of the house, the others were on the lounge floor.
Therefore, the only option was to sell the Land Rover on Ebay.
edited 08 2010