Talking Motors: Trip to the shops results in a long and expensive list
While is was throwing it down last Friday and it was freezing, I decided to take the Midget on a run to Sainsbury's.
Admittedly there were a few sideways glances from other motorists as I sat shivering at traffic lights in the orange beast, but there were a few reasons why I took a convertible out on perhaps the most inappropriate day of the year up to then.
I had offered to cook, and having decided to make an effort – hence going to Saino’s and not ASDA – needed to buy ingredients after consulting with a Mary Berry book on the best course of action.
And being at home on my own for the afternoon, the more modern and suitable-for-wet-weather transport was out with the boss.
Another reason for needing to go out was the fact the car hadn’t been run since Christmas, far too long between trips, and I wanted to test a repair to a recent leak.
Turnover was sluggish, as was to be expected after a Christmas rest – I was the same at the gym this week.
But after a couple of goes we were started with that familiar scent of exhaust muck filling the garage (I wish they’d make that into a fragrance or novelty e-liquid flavour but that’s for another column).
The good news was my leak, which turned out to be a cracked fuel line and not oil as I had originally thought, was fine. But a shopping list quite different to the one full off foodstuffs I’d scrawled on the back of a duff lottery ticket soon emerged. A more financially damaging one too.
Firstly, my choke cable has been on the way out for a while. I don’t mind holding it out with a clothes peg, it’s one of my car’s endearing quirks, but we’re getting to the point where we need a fairly generous squeeze on the gas to get started.
First item on the new list: £11 and a Saturday morning in the garage.
Once on the road, it became clear my temperature gauge is also not working.
Not a huge problem as far as the running of the car is concerned, but not something I want to be without if I’m to do any meaningful driving over summer.
I wouldn’t want to be stuck on the way back from the Lakes thanks to overheating. Temperature gauge sensor: £6 and a longer Saturday morning in the garage.
A bit further down the road and, as usual in the rain, my right hand side is wet from my leaky hood. For a car not taken out in the wet overly often, this isn’t really an issue, but when the summer months come and the Midget is pressed back into daily use there’s an incentive to get the job done.
New hood with zip out window at the back: £400 and whatever a professional charges to fit it. I’m not risking getting that job wrong.
With an MOT due in April, which I want to see the Midget pass, as well as ironing out any advisories, it looks like starting that piggy bank for an E-type will have to wait. But there were good things to come from the shopping trip.
All the shopping fitted in the boot without a problem, so as far as I’m concerned, practicality isn’t an issue.
And the drive home was great, and reminded me why I put up with a car fraught with niggles.
But as for the cooking, I won’t be awarded a Michelin Star any time soon.