washing down

jackdaws_1I should really be quite tall, but something went wrong with genetic transfer at the time of conception and in due time I emerged with short legs. Thus my feet believe they’re supporting a frame of over 6’ tall while my head tries to tell me I’m just 5’ 6”. That six inches disparity has defined my entire life.

This is never more obvious than when I need to do something with motor homes. Everything is always just out of reach. I bought a pair of aluminium step ladders but although they give me extra height, I can never seem to position them close enough to access the places I want to be. Unfortunately, my arms mimic my legs and are too short as well. They constantly remind me of the importance of those missing 6 inches. If my legs were the correct length, and my arms matched, I’d effectively gain an extra foot’s reach. “Think how clumsy you’d be with an extra foot to cope with” said Mrs Subbuteo. I think she was employing a play on words with reference to my dancing skills, but I can never be sure with her.

The main problem is the profiling above the cab, my van’s forehead so to speak. During the summer, it acts like sticky flypaper. Bugs and flies can avoid a rolled copy of the Times with astounding agility but the motor home’s forehead defeats millions of them. They slap against the fibreglass, adhering resolutely like sequins on a dancer’s bolero. Get to them quickly and a sluice of water will easily remove the mess. But allow blood to dry in the sun, and the splattered bodies to bake like currents in a bun, and you’ll have the devil’s own job to return a grimy forehead to a pristine bug-free gleam again.

My van has a roof ladder attached at the back but I suffer from vertigo. I can summon the courage to clamber onto the roof, but become defeated by the perils of negotiating a path through an obstacle course of vents, aerials, solar panels and little pokey-up bits of uncertain function. And my head starts to go giddy at just the thought of leaning forward over the precipice to reach down towards the windscreen.

So I have three mops on sticks. One is for applying detergent; the second for rinsing with fresh water; the third for rubbing a little harder and perhaps polishing. But long poles are never a good substitute for a damned good scrub. I’ll spend an hour on the forehead alone and still the blood is glued messily to the van’s skin. So the poor old girl never gets the full rehabilitation she deserves, especially as I have a bad back.

Now I’ve discovered the East Europeans. They have a car wash site a few miles south of Fakenham on the main King’s Lynn road. The first time I drove in they all grinned sheepishly at each other, but quoted me £15 for the job. And they set to with such energy I couldn’t help be impressed. Happiness is a flame-haired feminine beauty spread-eagled over the bonnet while she washes the windscreen on a sultry day. After about 15 minutes we drove away shining like a brass button, ‘van forehead completely fly-free and Mrs Subbuteo grinning the words “You wish!” I like to visit them whenever we are passing. I always pay with a £20 note, and if the young man reaches into his pocket for change, I’ll leave him a £5 tip. If he doesn’t, I’ll pay only the quoted £15. I don’t like being taken for granted.

What annoys me is that before we’ve reached the Hardwick roundabout, the bugs are back. I’m now working on some form of streamlining for the cab bonnet which will divert airflows and automatically waft to one side any bugs coming within my ballistic range. I’m not sure how to fit it, though. I can’t reach.


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