Thursday, 10 February 2011


Me and my little blue car have been bombing around on the same ten pounds worth of petrol the dealer put in it before I took collection two weeks ago.

'This is good,' I've been thinking. 'Twenty pounds a year car tax and seems to go forever on a tenner of fuel.' So far, so good.

Now, when I collected the car, the salesman said, 'I'll just show you how the petrol cap works. It's a There's a knack.'

Oh blimey, but I hate it when techno-stuff requires the acquisition of a 'knack' in order to work it. Unless the 'knack' involves the use of a hammer in a 'give-it-a-sharp-whack' kind of way I'm a dab hand at that kind of knack. Anyway, I watched carefully as the salesman demonstrated the petrol cap knack which involved something like a firm inward turn to the left, a not so firm flick back to the right and then a generous twiddle until the thing comes off in your hand (as the actress said to the bishop).
'But it's got a quarter tank of fuel in it, which'll give you plenty of time to practice before you need to fill up,' laughed the salesman. Good, I thought, because the one thing guaranteed to freak me out is getting stranded on a garage forecourt wrestling with a petrol cap whilst dozens of motorists queue up behind me beeping their hooters, sighing and raising their eyebrows in a 'bloomin' women drivers' kind of way.

So when I got home I twiddled around with the petrol cap which spun around on its axis and refused, resolutely, to budge.

'Ah well,' I thought. 'Plenty of time before I need to fill up.'

So the petrol gauge stayed at a quarter tank full for days and days. And then, this morning, on my way to work, I went around the sharp corner by the park and the petrol gauge plunged in one fell swoop from quarter to empty and the car started beeping at me.

'What? Why? Stop beeping!!' I said.
And then I thought, 'Buggery, I'm going to run out of petrol.'
And then I thought, 'Stop being so silly. Beeping is merely a warning that there's probably a good 10 or 20 miles left before I grind to a complete and embarrassing halt. I know, I'll check the instruction manual when I get to work.'
And when I got to work I thought, 'Double buggery, the instruction manual is at home.'

Anyway, I thought that after work I'd have to go to the nearest petrol station and fill up my little blue car. And then I thought, the petrol station will be full of cars on the school run. And then, because I am plagued with irrational thoughts at the moment, I had imaginings (vivid ones) of being unable to get the petrol cap off because I had forgotten the 'knack' and I would cause a petrol station pile up, and end up looking pink and flustered.

Luckily, one of my tutees didn't show up today. Conveniently, it was the session before lunch which gave me nearly an hour and half to nip out in the middle of the day, thus avoiding school run traffic, find a petrol station, and fiddle about on the forecourt until my heart's content or the petrol cap came off.

And that's what I did!

And do you know what? The petrol cap came off easily, without delay or aggravation or violent employment of a hammer, and no social embarrassment ensued, and I scooted back to school in the blink of an eye.

I am beginning to think I am losing my marble. But at least I have the 'knack'!

No comments: