men and motors

“Oh no! We dunt ave one a them!” the neighbour yelled over to Dad’s request for a special tool.

We needed it to try and fix a worrying new problem which Dad had uncovered on my car.

Rather than simply kick tyres and suggest more air, he insisted on checking under the bonnet and taking each wheel off in turn, almost as if desperate to find something to tut at, which would justify the thorough investigation and his superior engineering knowledge.  Not that this was even arguable.  Of course he knew more.  But if he was this bothered, he could’ve got off his arse and helped me find a better motor, rather than literally picking holes in the one I’d plumped for, which up to then I’d believed was reasonable enough.

Don’t be an idiot and inflate this, there’s no banal father-son power struggle here.  He’s just trying to help you out.

“Let’s ave a look though,” the neighbour said and hitched his short frame up and over the garden fence, planting one food unsteadily on a pile of logs our side.  The dumpy fellow cantered over the grass and sank down onto his knees for a closer look under the vehicle.

I stood behind them, bewitched by the three tones of this man’s hair.  Dark brown, grey, then blonde tinted highlights.  Hrmm, I nodded at whatever it was they were talking about.

A couple more passing villagers arrived to breathe through their teeth at my dodgy wheelnuts, a parochial version of the A-Team.  Except nobody had a welding kit, chainsaw or brutal sense of purpose.   Instead, men more wisened than me in the ways of cars inspected wheelnut threads, grimaced and shook their heads.

All agreed that this was indeed rare, someone in a garage somewhere had at some point forced it back in: a consensus that was neither reassuring or helpful.

It really did appear to be fucked then, would be a serious operation, would cost me lots of money and could leave me stranded in the village for a few days.  To be grateful for fatherly mechanical fastidiousness which may have saved lives, or to be bleakly sulky that he’d cost me as yet untold expense?

Despite the grave faces, all wasn’t lost.  Dad loves a mission and set off for a seemingly random walk around the village to houses of likely candidates who might own said obscure tool which may solve our problem.

An elderly gentleman came to the rescue.  The unexpected source had leaned out of his car window to say hello while Dad was in conversation with another neighbour.  Yes, he had one, he’d drop it by in half hour or so.

This man was a gem, a sharp-minded old gent with whom I’d enjoyed a couple of fascinating discussions at the local pub – always memorable, fascinating discussions at the local pub.  They’re not common.  Now I had new reason to love him.

More peering over men’s shoulders, nodding sagely and feeling impotent was on the cards, but for now at least, significant expenditure was postponed.

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