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Driven to distraction

Up until Monday morning I only had two driving stories with which to regale my friends.

The first involved a trip to Xtravision which ended up costing me £306.50 - the price of two new DVD releases and a repair bill for an invisible blue mini that I reversed into. The second involved me thinking I’d got faulty brake pads only to discover the sound which had prompted concern was coming from the disembodied head of Darth Vader in my boot.

As a consequence of my lack of motorised escapades, if the topic of conversation at a dinner party turned to driving, I was out of ammo before the plates were cleared from the starters.

Little did I know help was soon to be at hand. On the way to work on Monday I was a central protagonist in a third driving anecdote which now makes me ‘Jackanory of Motoring’ and top of the guest list for any subsequent soirees where driving is likely to be discussed.

This is my new driving story...

I was approaching the roundabout which leads to Junction 6 of the M1 when the lights changed from green to red. Alistair (The Boss) doesn’t like it when I refer to motorway junctions by their numbers rather than their location. Before I go on, I’d just like to point out that I am 100% correct in referring to junctions by their numbers.

If a Martian were to come down from Outer Space and ask me for directions as to how to come off the motorway and get to Lurgan, he would easily be able to follow my directions and either exit at Junction 10 or exit at Junction 9 and follow the A3, both of which would be clearly signposted. If Alistair were to direct the same alien using his flawed method of naming places only locals would know the little green man would end up lost, or worse still, in Portadown.

All this, of course, is presuming that aliens are more willing to stop and ask for directions than human males.

Anyway, back to my driving story. Where was I? That’s right, the roundabout leading to Junction 6, a roundabout some have been known to call the Saintfield Road roundabout. Somewhere close to me a horn beeped. I looked behind me but there was no one there. Then I saw a man in a car to my left gesturing for me to wind the window down. I hit the button to lower the window while the man in the car opposite took a more novel approach, reaching his hand between a three-inch gap at the top of his window and pulling it down manually. His hands were like shovels and he was wearing a woolly hat. I’m guessing he was from the country.

“What do you think of the FSI Golf?” he asked enthusiastically.

I was baffled, I’d never been asked to review a car before and the last situation in which I’d expected to be given such an assignment was by a man in a car adjacent to me while waiting for the lights to change at a roundabout.

I am not a lover of motorised vehicles. For me a car is simply a way of getting from home to work and back again in time to give Lucy a bath and put her to bed. That’s why it took a while for it to dawn on me that the FSI Golf he was referring to was in fact my car. I have no idea what the FSI stands for.

I told him I thought the car was great without adding that I had no idea what the FSI stood for.

He went on to say that he was having an awful time with his car, which on closer inspection was the same as mine except in a different colour.

“I’ve only had it a month and it’s been back to the dealers five or six times,” he commented.

The amazing thing about this encounter was the fact it had to have been premeditated. Whether he’d planned to open his electric window by hand to add credence to his tale of woe was unclear, either way it was a nice piece of improvisation.

I told him my Golf was dead on and that I’d had it for ages. I couldn’t help but think an Internet forum would have been a better place to have this discussion.

The lights usually change quite quickly at this particular roundabout, but it felt like an eternity as I waiting for the ‘go’ signal. What I feared was that he would asking me something about suspension or torque or start referring to the car as ‘her’.

Finally the lights changed and I slowly made my escape. There was no need to try and outrace this nutter. Given what he’d told me his car was likely to break down before the next set of lights.

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser is: 7 cows, 21 pigs and 72 hens.

Here’s this week’s teaser: A black dog was walking down Union Street during a total blackout affecting the entire town. Not a single streetlight had been on for hours. As the dog crossed the road an FSI Golf with two broken headlights sped towards it, but managed to swerve out of the way just in time. How could the driver see the dog to swerve in time?