Full of bonhomie, post lunch, I ambled back to the car where, without warning, my eyes fell on a most traumatic sight. A shock to any card-carrying Dep-O-iste…
The rare three-door, my long-suffering, ever-faithful Focus with nigh-on 110,000 Earth miles, had been violated by a hit ’n’ runner. A callous vandal who had committed that most heinous of stealth car crimes: scrape.
A glance at the windscreen confirmed that there wasn’t a note containing a grovelling apology, an address, car registration, insurance details and an appointment for me to horse whip the bounder, so it took all of my self control not to sink to my knees and howl with pain in the middle of the road.
Poor old Focus, she’d only been left alone for a couple of hours at most, and there in plain view, she had been tainted by burglary.
Mental swearing exhausted, what followed was a rapid-fire schedule of unpleasant deeds I would inflict on the rogue who had so assaulted my trusty four-wheeled chum. Pelting them with rotten eggs. Flogging. Castration with rusty secateurs. Or, shiver of shivers, force them to attend the entire Liberal Democrat conference pumped full of black coffee and with their eyes wired open à la Malcolm McDowell. No, nothing was too dark or terrible to inflict on this cowardly swine, this cad, this ne’er-do-well who had clawed and scarred the old girl’s shapely bottom.
After spending a good 10 minutes rubbing away the excess essence of the scrapist’s vehicle (it had to be white didn’t it) from my poor three-door’s Sapphire Blue rump – hoping in vain that my fingers would magically cure the scars and gouges – lucid thought returned.
Every single mark, scratch and scrape on my Focus has happened in my absence. Whether it’s been parked outside my house, somewhere in town, on a photo shoot or undergoing work at a garage. I’ve babied this car, but despite my obsessive efforts, this valiant hatch is starting to look like Mr Magoo’s minicab.
Just what is the point of owning a car in which you take pride, when the roads are polluted with hit ’n’ runners, door bastards and serial scrapists? I’ve proven conclusively that it doesn’t matter how far you go to look after your daily motor car, there’s always some spineless vagabond waiting to take the sheen off your pride and joy.
How to stop this happening? Er… All I can come up with is: A) start living in it, clutching a shotgun and playing the waiting game. Although I suspect the resultant whiffy fug of curry, flatulence and l’odeur de corps would eventually give my game away. B) ban all non car people from driving, because we don’t subject our own kind to such snivelling cowardice. We understand how wrong scrape is.
In pure pecuniary terms the Focus just isn’t worth repairing. Rust has started to nibble on her underwear and in the engine bay. Its predetermined Ford lifespan is now more or less up. Minor trim is ageing, breaking or cracking, the front suspension needs a partial rebuild and it’s starting to get that unmistakable baggy Dagenham dustbin vibe. It’s almost as if Carrousel is beckoning and the time for renewal will soon be upon it.
All of which has really upset my plans to replace the Focus, because clearly, the only way to avoid this happening again would be to buy something which looks good battered with scrapes and dents. In other words, a light tank or an ex-MoD Land Rover, both of which are a bit limiting.
Unless, we make brutalising another chap’s motor some sort of crime punishable by death, I can see the Bangernomics gospel according to St James of Ruppert being the only way ahead. In other words, buy something cheap and carefree – although I doubt it’s possible for me not to care about my wheels, no matter how tired and disheveled.
So whoever has recently clobbered my somewhat unusually tidy and rare MkI Focus three-door – whatever the reason, poor hand-eye co-ordination, depth perception or just a lack of opposable thumbs – and a literate friend is now reading this to them, let me say this.
I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what you were thinking. I can tell you that I don’t have money to fix this, but what I do have is a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. I will look for