Looking back over the miles I’ve covered in the last few weeks, I’m counting my blessings. There we were a couple of weeks ago, Lou and I, careening over the Dales with a full load of china, rain lashing and wind howling. All that time just a few inches below us the whole of the exhaust was fixed onto the chassis with a pair of bulldog clips.
The guy at Kwik Fit looks at them as if they had tongues and had insulted him. “You’ll never get this through the MOT,” he tells me. To his credit, he could be changing the bald tyres and charging me a few bob, but – well he’s not. MOT is in a month. He tries to change the headlight bulb and he can’t. Neither can his colleague. “What the hell is it with these micras?” The drivers side dip bulb is dead and will continue to be dead. There’s a slow puncture in the front right tyre. The heat shield is falling off. Occasionally I hear a clip go *bing*. There’s a hole in the exhaust. There’s a slow puncture in the front right tyre. And now the spring on the left makes a loud bang when you move the tyres beyond a few degrees. Some time soon it’ll ping off. Hopefully it won’t happen at speed. Hopefully it won’t happen before October when the thing has to pass an MOT ha ha ha.
Looks like it’s time to move on. After all, MOT stands for Moving-On Time. I must have owned about 12 cars so far and I can count the number of times I’ve taken one to MOT on the fingers of one hand. It’s never worth it for a £300 car. Go to a big brand garage and you get a list as long as your arm and a price to match. Go to a little one and they don’t want to do the work and try to persuade you to scrap it. I usually just anticipate that now, save the cost of a failed MOT and get a quote for scrap.
It’s a luxury having a car, but it makes my very unpredictable life viable. I always get a huge amount of use out of cars when I have one. I wish I could just have a good one one full time. They make it much much easier to drop everything and go somewhere in a world where train fares get larger at short notice. You can take your stuff and avoid public transport, which is even more relevant in these days of self important rage and zealous terror.
Soon now I’ll get something that won’t die on me, and I won’t teach early drivers clutch control in the thing, or rag it through rainstorms in Yorkshire, or fill it with tonnes of heavy plates and drive for a few days with them in the back. I will be that guy who pats it like it’s a fucking horse, and polishes the chrome.
Right now I’m in Barnes and I’ve taken a box of teacups and saucers with me so I can try to pair them up and work out if they’re any good on eBay. I couldn’t have done that and taken the dog and the clothes and been mobile without wheels.
I took two passengers and all their stuff with me to Medicine Festival. I can easily swing to Hampstead to see Hex. I’ve been down and up to Brighton and Yorkshire and back and forth and round and round, sorting things out and moving things round and improving my life and breaking areas of stagnation.