On a high
Hooray! My car leaks no more, I can dispense with Wellingtons and wetsuit!
My three year old Nissan, to be fair to it, did start to let water while in its first year and still under warranty. “No problem” said the dealership garage “It was a faulty door seal, installed badly. We have replaced it”. I was puzzled, as I thought that anything Japanese-made would be perfect. After all, I have seen how a nondescript purchase in a shop in Japan is wrapped with precision and attention to detail.
However, as time went by I had noticed an occasional sponginess under my feet when driving, but hoped it would go away. It usually did. Until the recent autumn monsoon.
I got to the car one morning, only to discover that there was definitely standing water in the driver’s foot well. (“Well” is a very good noun for that area!) I went to the village garage, took the mat out, held it – the water running from it – by the corner and wailed “Rodney – help” All I got was chuckles as I dripped across the forecourt.
Later on in the day they assured me all was well (that word again!) Drainage holes had become blocked by autumn leaves and had been unblocked. I waited for the next rain to test it ….and waited…and waited. Three weeks of clear skies and frosts. Then came a good rain storm. And along came the pond in the foot well.
Rodney sucked in a breath with that time-honoured hiss of all workmen thinking.
“ We shall need it all day” he concluded “You can have the courtesy car, even if you come back late James will still be here” He nodded over at one of the mechanics.
“Yes” agreed James “if the lights are on in the workshop, I will be here”. I muttered a seasonal comment about Santa’s elves being busy till midnight, but regretted it instantly. James is six foot with facial piercings, and anything less like an elf would be hard to come by. He gave me a very stern look.
That evening the lights were indeed still on, and I tiptoed into alien territory. The garage workshop. Full of objects women are only just beginning to find out about – strange machinery and tools, greasy rags, that sort of thing. Anxious about the outcome, but wanting to appear nonchalant, I tried a quizzical look at James (I didn’t trust my voice to stay steady).
“Its fine” he grunted.
“What was it?” I managed, wanting to know what fault had been discovered.
“Errr, a seam?”
“Yes, cars have seams” he sighed, knowing that more than a grunt would be needed here. I had visions of industrial sewing machines on a grand scale, with serried ranks of Japanese elves bending metal sheets in a darkened hangar.
He continued “And the seams are covered with a line of sealant to keep the water out. But this line had a gap. No sealant. And the water came in. We have filled the gap, but the car may smell a bit inside. The sealant.”
Greatly relieved that the floor of the car would not rust away and drop me out onto the road, I got in and drove away. Indeed the fumes were overpowering. Through a haze, I began to have a vision. Was it a clairvoyant moment? I could see myself being stopped by the Christmas traffic police patrol and being questioned. “No, Ociffer. I don’t drink. Solvent abuse? Never! Its all the fault of a Japanese elf, you see…..no really, I can explain…….”