A car service

This isn’t about car servicing. Rather it’s about a handful of notable thoughts prompted by my car’s annual service, which I combine with the MOT, and a small number of saved-up jobs. This pattern along with the fact that we don’t use it a great deal (the 1998 Nissan Primera recently reached 100,000 miles), plus its seeming indestructibility – means that the car service is keystone event that marks the passing of another year.

Even though it’s an annual event, there’s a certain routine in dropping the car off, and running through the jobs. But this time a new element was thrown in: as well as leaving the key, I was asked to leave some other key-like object. Er what ? Something in the glovebox ? Did I catch the word ‘ratchet’ ? I think it was something to with a security device that means your wheels can’t just be unscrewed and walked off with. You learn something new every day… I even tried looking it up in the manual, to assist with this post, but could find no mention.

My lift into town swung by the Prison. Yes the Prison. I knew one existed of course but had never given it much thought. I think it was the first time I’d ever seen an actual prison. It was modern, with not a great deal to actually see, but I was fleetingly aware of a different world in existence behind those forbidding walls. Actually they weren’t forbidding at all – that was the point. And then I was driven away and normality resumed: dissertation, business case, and the hard work of holiday preparation…

The lift back was memorable for a song on the radio. It’s a real favourite of mine from 1974, but I can’t remember when I last heard Elton John’s version of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Back in the 70s I’d not heard the Beatles’ original and only found it was a cover much later. I’ve always preferred the cover to the original and am not about to change my mind now. The youtube clip has some colourful animation, can definitely do with an airing having had only just over 200 views (!), and strangely features the Beatles’ version at the end which cuts out after ~40 seconds.

In brief googling I came to learn of an earlier, 1968, cover by none other than – er – William Shatner ! It’s on an album, which may rank among the 50 worst of all time. Here’s the link, if you want to learn more of The Transformed Man.

I am not remotely into cars but I do have a sort-of emotional attachment to my Nissan Primera. I suppose it’s in the winning combination of desperately unfashionable with quietly brilliant. The great thing about this service was the car got its air conditioning back, after a gap that had been too long. Such excitement ! And just perfect for a run to Portsmouth on the hottest weekend of the year !


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