By pandammonium


After sailing through his MOT last month, Henry decided not to start today. He went ‘rrr’ and flickered his needles, then nothing. I tried a few times, trying to catch it on the ‘rrr’, then he went ‘RRRRRROAAAAAAAR!’ with his rev counter at 40 x some multiple. Not good.

I repeated the whole procedure with the same results (what is it they say about insanity being expecting something different to happen when you try the same thing over and over?).

What to do? Mr Perkins doesn’t go to Scampers himself!

I opened the bonnet, gave the things under there a good hard stare for a few minutes, wondering what I was looking at. I closed the bonnet and tried again. He started normally.

The garage isn’t far, so I drove there and parked outside. I went in and told the man I needed advice. I told him the tale, including sound effects, much to the amusement of another customer (‘Did you give it “the look”?’ ‘Yes, I did!’), and the man came and had a look. Henry was on best behaviour.

The man said lots of complicated things about car things that amounted to there being gunk in the fuel thing. He gave me a bottle of red alcopop fuel additive and said to use it when I next filled up. Luckily, I was planning on filling up at Tesco after Scampers.

At Scampers, Henry was good – phew. I went to Tesco; Henry was bad. I managed to coax him into starting, dreading the roar with all the people around in the otherwise quiet car park, but it was fine.

At the petrol station, I tried to remember how long it had been since I last filled up. This year, before lockdown is as specific as I can be. After adding the additive and filling up, I hoped Henry would start nicely, especially as there was a car behind me that seemed to be waiting for me to leave – it must have been too wide to fit through the gap between me and the car at the opposite pump; I never have any bother. Henry did start, and he started normally; I was relieved I didn’t have to call the AA.

The garage man had asked if I was in the AA. I couldn’t help but laugh: you don’t have a car as old as mine without some form of plan B (or plan AA in this case).

The silhouette in the photo is one of the masks my auntie made for me. She made some for some of my cousins, too. I wore it today, and washed it and hung it up to dry, then forgot to bring it in till it was dark.

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