KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON
Stupid, stupid, stupid. All I said to Mrs C on Saturday, as we drove Jethro away from the garage where he’d been for weeks having work done on his brakes and fuel system, was how nice it was to have the old boy back.
I went on to suggest that, hopefully, we’d have at least a couple of trips without him breaking down.
So expecting to complete the modest run from Christow to Bovey Tracey for a bit of shopping didn’t seem unreasonable, and in truth we made it there and back – after a fashion.
As I reversed into a spot on the high street the first thing to catch my eye was the smoke rising worringly from the dashboard. Then I noticed yet more billowing out from underneath the bonnet.
Having been trapped as a teenager in a crashed car whose cockpit was filling with smoke I rather curtly, inelegantly even, suggested that Mrs C get herself and the dog out pronto before we all went up in a ball of flames.
As it turned out the emergency was no more than an inconvenience. The smoke inside the car was coming from a faulty indicator switch and that in the engine bay was actually steam. Water had gushed everywhere although what had given up the ghost was not immediately obvious.
With no option other than to let things cool down we went about our business, unhindered by the town’s lack of a supermarket I might add, and then began the search for water.
Happily we’d broken down outside a cafe owned by a nice chap called Doug, himself a former Minor owner, who topped us up and provided supplies for the journey home too.
That little jaunt was made using good old fashioned hand signals – which absolutely no one seemed to recognise – and in a constant state of alert should anything go pear-shape. And yes, it did.
If the cooling and electrical problems weren’t enough to deal with, Jethro then began to miss the odd beat, then quite a few more.
Small hills were becoming major obstacles and the last few yards back to Canham Towers were completed kangaroo fashion and, naturally, in a cloud of steam.
As my neighbour John cheerfully observed: ‘Well that’s what you bought it for wasn’t it, so you could do a spot of tinkering?’
Well, yes John, but a bit of driving wouldn’t go amiss either.