Saturday, 29 August 2009
An Exceptionally Blonde Moment...
I am ashamed to admit that I really maxed out on the blonde scale. Think of all the dumb blonde jokes you've ever heard, and then some, and you won't even be close to how blonde I was yesterday.
Most of my blonde moments have been car-related: I love driving, but am not, in any way, shape or form, what you might describe as mechanically minded. A flavour of some of my more impressively blonde moments:
For example, my very first car, an Austin Metro, refused to start on the first morning I tried to drive it on my own. I called out the AA, and they sent a man round. He looked at the car, looked at me, and, with manifold pity in his expression, uttered the words, "I guess you've not seen a manual choke before, then?"
A week later, in the same car, I ground to a halt at some traffic lights. Again, the AA came to the rescue. This time, the man in question was grinning: "You're meant to push the choke back in... you've flooded the engine..."
And, until yesterday, I think my most spectacularly blonde moment occurred after a brief foray into my local supermarket. On returning to the car (a relatively new Nissan Micra), I found it wouldn't start. I had arrived at the car park without mishap, but now not a peep could be heard from the engine. I phoned the RAC. Just as the man parked the breakdown vehicle next to mine, I happened to glance down at the gear stick. Yes, I had left my automatic transmission car in "drive." I moved it into "park" and turned the key... and the engine started immediately.
I have had all sorts of similar experiences. Yesterday, though, trumped the lot.
I've had my car for three and a half years, or thereabouts. It's a little Hyundai Atoz. I am very fond of this model of car, having "crash-tested" it, and survived to tell the tale. Lately, I have noticed a tendency for the car engine to get a little warm: nowhere near red on the indicator, just warmer than usual. Having learned (through bitter experience) about cars needing engine oil and water as well as petrol, I have been checking the levels of oil and water regularly.
Yesterday morning, on my way to Mass, the car engine heated up quite a bit more than usual. I opened the windows, put the heater on full, and watched the temperature fall again. After Mass, I checked the oil: absolutely fine. The water was, however, on the low side, so I topped it up. I then drove to the station to collect a friend... and was surprised to see the temperature again edging upwards rapidly.
So, I drove to a local garage, and explained that the car engine was getting rather warm. The mechanic listened, and then started talking about blown gaskets and broken fans. I stood there, looking blonde. He said he'd have a look, but that it didn't sound promising...
He checked the oil, which was fine. He then said that the water was extremely low, but, as I'd told him I had only just topped it up, he thought that there might be a major problem. He went in to get a large watering can. Next, he started unscrewing something...
"What's that?" I asked him. He looked at me with a puzzled expression. "It's the radiator cap," he said, and started pouring water in... rather a lot of it... "I thought you said you'd topped up the water...?" he added.
I pointed at the white plastic box with a plastic cap, which had a tube coming out of it. "Ummmm... I've been putting it in there," I told him.
Apparently I have been carefully adding water to the overflow compartment for the past three years...