Yesterday, driving back from Swindon, I heard a strange noise from under the bonnet. I found myself saying aloud, "Something's wrong with this car."
Strange how you can say something completely spontaneously, with no reflection, and realise you've expressed a visceral truth.
This morning I had rationalistic doubts: do I really know what a car engine is meant to sound like? At the garage, I admired the wet and dripping scenery outside while the mechanic disassembled the plastic overlay and the pulley cables.
"Do you live local?" he asked.He smiled grimly,
"Yes, about a mile away," I replied.
"This car is off the road, it can't be driven."He drew my attention to the six inch diameter water pump attached to the left end of the engine block. I use the word 'attached' advisedly, as it was desperately wobbling under his hand.
"Bearings are gone."The guys did a good job. For £150 it's been fixed this afternoon and I've just collected it. The car, a Toyota Auris, is eight years old and I don't know whether this is normal wear-and-tear, whether we got a 'Friday car' or whether this is a symptom of Toyota's notorious lapse in quality a few years back.
In moments of self-indulgent fantasy, I sometimes imagine a time of solitude where I could create A Major Piece of Work. A villa in Tuscany is a familiar cliché; I'm told monasteries also offer facilities for the Intense Writing Experience.
Now, courtesy Marginal Revolution, I have a new option - cruising on a cargo ship.