I changed the spark plugs on my car last week. Changed each one. Took out the old one, examined it, looking for soot deposits or too thick a coating of oil that I had learned to do back in seventy eight which was the last time I had changed a spark plug.
Back in seventy eight it was on an old mark three Ford Cortina. A rust bucket that wouldn’t be allowed on the road these days, but back then no one seemed to mind what condition a car was in so long as you never knocked anyone down and even then it was debatable whether the car was a contributory factor. You could push your finger right through the wings, which seemed held together with the paint I had lovingly applied in my zeal as a first time car owner. The windscreen washer was worked with a foot operated pump that you had to press with your left foot, which could be confusing in wet weather when having to brake. Many was the time I was stunned too see blue jets of water hitting the screen but the car still sailing gracefully towards the tight right hand bend and the solid brick wall that bounded the other side of the pavement. Turning the fan heater on had me having to duck to avoid the dried oak leaf that spewed forth from somewhere deep in the bowels of the front of the car. I never knew where the leaf came from and it became a joke with my then girlfriend, each of us shouting ‘DUCK’ as I switched on the fan, so that we could avoid being peppered with particles of dry leaf. In the rear was a large bench seat where we would retire to, having found some tree covered pull in, usually a field, and then we would get to messing around having not quite got to where we both wanted to be, or maybe it was just me that wanted to be there. I don’t know. Anyway, we would have some fun and then sit in the front and watch the sun going down over the fields whilst smoking a Benson and Hedges. Then we would find something, somewhere to eat, then I would drive her home and go home myself, back to my parents house. And all this before eleven at night, because that’s when the pubs had shut and what time we had to be in before her dad started pacing up and down in front of the house trying to decide if he should get in his car and go on a search for his daughter.
Somehow, changing the plugs on a two thousand and thirteen Mini just didn’t feel like it should have done.