Saturday 26 September 2009

It wasn't me

Once upon a time, I worked in the car industry. It was glitzy, it was glamorous. Especially as I was a PR man. A master of spin. I'd got in by default - on the milk round, I'd simply wanted a job with a big company who could train me. I ended up at Rover, in the days just after Red Robbo. It was more peaceful than it had been, but there were still strikes, and when there was a strike, and you had to visit one of the other sites, you always make sure you took a company car, as you were likely to have a brick hurled at you. As I was a snotty, just out of university, the world owes me a living graduate, that was probably not unreasonable. Apart from those exciting days, generally the best parts of the job were the motor show and car launches. I moved to Nissan at the time they were building their factory ooop north, so when we had a launch we did it in style. A week in the south of France, staying in a hotel where every room had its own swimming pool; it was frequented by Kings, Queens and Presidents. But even I blushed when I was tasked with finding a laid of he night for our one of our journalist guests. I loved it.

But not as much as I enjoyed the press trips when we were showing off our 4x4s. A couple of days driving through the mud and ruts in an enormous Japanese tank was my idea of heaven. We used Shugborough in Staffordshire - the home of Lord Litchfield if I remember rightly. It's a beautiful place to visit.

After I left the car industry, I carried on with the 4x4 thing driving a hairdresser's car - a white soft top Suzuki Vitara. The car was fabulous. It was a company car, and I didn't much care if it got damaged. My best and worst moment was getting stuck in the middle of a lake when the whole of the underneath got clogged with mud. The AA towed me out, and there was some explaining to do at the office on the Monday. Most of the other people doing it used Land Rovers and always looked down on my pretty little car.

This year with the purchase of the Tonka Toy, and with the enthusiastic support of the boy, we decided to go to an event and christen the car...another friend with a big 4x4 decided to come too. An off road event near Abingdon, which promised thrills and spills on a 'non-damaging' course. But as the date neared, the boy's commitments at school increased, and for some reason my enthusiasm lessened. It was going to be difficult to fit it in, so I decided that we would give it a miss. Perhaps it was the thought of expensive potential garage bills. So what was planned to be a weekend of camping and mud crawling (and as it turns out, in perfect conditions), has ended up with me watching the boy play rugby, and him rehearsing for the school drama competition. We could have just about squeezed in a trip to the event - a dash round the M25 and along the M40, but we didn't. Perhaps it wouldn't have been wise to have tackled the mud under pressure, but truth is I think I wimped out. So I'm a little annoyed and disappointed with myself. The boy is a little disappointed too. My friend still went and he texted the picture above. He had a brilliant time. Today is a glass half-empty day. Damn it Janet.

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