Hard shoulder

“You’re not gonna get much change from a grand.”

I had suspected as much. Not what I wanted to hear. But… what I expected to hear. The universe has a way of working out when you’re feeling flush and stealing that feeling.

I was driving back from Stratford. “Something is going weird with Bergman,” I remarked as the rev count occasionally went nuts and that old familiar engine rubber smell came in. “I might have hit one of the buttons?” There’s this stupid cruise control thing on the steering wheel that’s easy to hit. It caps the speed at like sixty. I might have hit it while accelerating at 80 and caused the clutch to burn out. Either way, something went bang as I was going into the hard shoulder, with enough force to knock a plastic panel out onto my knees. We ground to a halt. No resistance from the clutch. Poor Bergman, all of a sudden a hunk of useless metal.

The guy who made the prognosis at the top – he’s the RAC rescue guy. His name is “Cider”. He has it written above his cab. Lou spots it. “Is that because you go out with your mates and they all have beer but you have cider?” “Yep,” he replies. This gets Lou into singing The Wurzels. Her dad is a cider drinker. There’s a song about being one. She knows it from her dad. He knows it too. “That’s the Wurzels,” he acknowledges. I’ll be off to see them next week in Tewkesbury. Saw them last week too.” Lou and I have hit on something here. As poor Bergman is towed to Cowley, we discover that The Wurzels became famous in 1976 with “I’ve got a brand new combine harvester”. They are still going, but only two from the original lineup are still alive after the drummer – formerly the oldest drummer in popular music at 86 – died of Covid.

Cider spins us into the garage and I drop Bergie off. He then drops us near the Banbury road and we get a bus into Oxford. Thankfully I’ve got history with expedient travel from Oxford to London so we end up in the Oxford Tube. I’ll have up wait and hear about Bergman. I’ll be on set in costume and made up at 8am tomorrow, talking. I won’t want to think about mechanics.

The car to pick me up and take me in will show at half six. It’s half ten right now, I’m wound down and happy. I’m gonna crash imminently. I can’t worry about poor Bergman. But considering he’s the most expensive car I’ve ever bought he might be about to teach me an important lesson about how you might as well just keep getting old donkeys… I’ve been ragging him, the poor sod. But … this is a surprise… Something bad has happened to the big bugger. I’ll find out soon if I can afford to solve it. For now though I’m gonna think about the shoot.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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