River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Notes from a newcomer

May 2006

Marion looks at the complexity of the car for ladies without alpha males

They say that the best way to stay youthful and ward off Alzheimer's is to keep your brain active by learning new things. Well, that's good news for me because it seems I am fated to spend my latter years learning new things about cars. This is likely to be a lifelong learning curve because I started from the point of knowing nothing at all. Where cars were concerned, my mind was a contented blank.

Call me a quaint, old-fashioned thing (and I don't mind if you do) but I belong to a generation of women who believed that the care and maintenance of the family vehicle was one of the few things that could be confidently left

entirely in the hands of the alpha male.

But now that I have carelessly managed to find myself without such a male to hand, I have reluctantly been forced to take on the task myself. Here, in no particular order, are a few things that I have learned the hard way about cars.

If anything goes wrong with your car, it will always be just after the warranty has expired.

You must never wash cars in Fairy liquid because it strips off the polish, leaving them looking like a piece of distressed furniture in an antique shop.

Some cars have what is known as alloy wheels. For some unfathomable reason, these are rather trendy but are NOT known as aluminium wheels, as I once mistakenly boasted.

Black cars are impossible to keep clean and even when you have just washed them twice over with proper car shampoo (not Fairy liquid), still reveal hidden muddy patches.

Putting air in car tyres is a black art.

Testing the oil level in the engine is not rocket science, but comes pretty close.

Putting water in the windscreen washer is relatively easy. I am proud of this skill and do it regularly just to show I can.

If you have the radio on very loud as you are driving along, you will not hear that sinister noise the engine is making before it seizes up.

Electronics are a feature of modern cars. They may sound like a good thing but they are not because when a little light appears on your dashboard you have to take it back to the dealer who is the sole guardian of the computer needed to diagnose why the light has come on. If the light has gone out by the time you get the car to the dealer, he is unable to test it, anyway. This is (a) frustrating and (b) expensive.

AA men are wonderful. Every time I have to call one out, I fall I love with him. I hope that someday one of them will marry me, out of pity. Then the only thing I will ever have to do with the darn car again is drive around in it -

with the radio on as loud as I want.

Marion Clarke

Copyright remains with independent content providers where specified, including but not limited to Village Pump contributors. All rights reserved.