Dear Mr. Plant

Re: Trampled Underfoot

Spotting the T-Shirt of a long haired youth on Old Christchurch Road yesterday, I was delighted to learn of such a traditionally English sounding new artist. Sadly it transpired that the print design was so large that it disappeared under each armpit and there is in fact no such act as 'Ron Maid'.

My beloved 1.8 Vtec Accord has served me better than any ‘run around’ since my Toledo and the Rover. During its annual service this morning, therefore, I was saddened to be informed by my trusted mechanic, Mr. Keightley (another pony-tailed but perfectly polite ‘headbanger’), at The Nuffield Industrial Estate, that so much ‘needs doing to it’ that it would be nobody's fault but mine if I refused his advice and found myself saddled with exorbitant repair bills in the not too distant future. I allowed him to 'ramble on' about cracked drive shafts, power steering column replacement, wearing and tearing and such-like, and have in conclusion been advised that I want to 'part ex' that while I can, ‘’Mr. P.’’, that's what I want to do.

Leaving the forecourt preoccupied as to why Classic FM had been reprogrammed to a local ‘Hard Rock’ station and which new make to consider, what else should fortuitously come on but your 'raw white funk work-out', in which you enthuse about your own recent acquisition, which appears to have been purchased as a gift for your mama.

As well as reassurance pertaining to the lubrication and streamlining of its engine, which you tunefully wail to be ‘greased and slicked down fine’, I was particularly drawn to several cosmetic features, most notably the ‘groovy leather trim’, which Honda only offered as an optional extra when I bought mine. Unfortunately, as my wife Jean and I were planning a trip to Alcatraz and The Golden Gate Bridge that year and going to California was proving costly, I was a little strapped for cash and had no alternative at the time other than to compromise with the standard PVC upholstery, much to Jean’s temporary chagrin.

That you like the way it holds the road and that it is not a sin is also encouraging confirmation that the tyres all stay firmly on the tarmac and comply with legal limits, and, given that my former work colleague Willy ‘Won’t He’ Wallace resides in a private cul-de-sac littered with pot-holes, the Featherlight suspension also appealed.

Finally, personal inclination towards a model built for comfort and style in the specialist tradition over many of today’s cramped ‘bubble cars’ was a deciding factor in warranting further investigation
I was initially non-plussed with regard to the title of your ‘disco anticipating blues crossover’ until you powerfully yelped that the model ‘comes in any size’ (an especially attractive selling point if living near width restrictions). I then recalled that, before the days of his youth, my grandson knocked one of my neighbour Wilf Turnbull’s Matchbox Yesterday Collectibles off of his sideboard while dancing a little too excitedly to Lift Off With Ayshea, and the 1:64 scale Green Tonneau Bentley suffered a similar fate.

I do however harbour some not inconsiderable reservations pertaining to your selection. Observing that the gauge is on the on red on the freeway should not be cause for ‘grooving’, Mr. Plant. Lights and dashboard signifiers of this colour are more often than not warnings of, amongst other things, overheating, or a critically low or leaking fuel or oil tank. I see no grounds for care-free conviviality in the event of any of these discoveries, especially whilst driving in an uninhindered traffic flow.

It would also appear that the ‘Factory Air Conditioning’ is faulty, as, when switched on, ’heat begins to rise’. To the best of my understanding, such systems are designed to cool and not accelerate calefaction in the occupants.

Furthermore, Mr. Keightley has always informed me that, so long as the oil and water are checked and topped up regularly, it is perfectly reasonable to ‘put my car in’ no less than every 12,000 miles or when the spanner starts flashing on the mileage display. Your suggestion therefore that you should be approached for a service every hundred miles in order that points may be checked and an overdrive fixed, is most unreassuring, implying, as it does, inferior componentry and/or workmanship. To say nothing of the expense involved, Jean and I often make trips to visit family in Middlesex 67 miles away, which, applying your recommendations, would require us to stop off at a garage just east of Shackleford on the way back, where we have none.

This is unacceptable.

It is also in direct contravention to your proclamation that the vehicle is guaranteed to run for hours, and, after the first one or two return journey interruptions and bills, I am inclined to wonder ''How Many More Times’’ Jean is likely to tolerate such an inconvenience.

Moreover, if you will excuse my mild impertinence, I considerably doubt that I would entrust my new 'set of wheels' to yourself rather than an Authorised Dealer. Not only would a non-approved stamp on it’s ‘Big Log’ Book (an unavoidable by-product of multiple maintenances) likely invalidate any extended warranty, but I am dubious towards your professional qualifications as a mechanic, Mr. Plant. To believe that one has the perfect tools before commencement of work appears to betray a hesitancy not usually inherent in the confident technician, and your boast of the ability to work all night does seem to imply that the task could be lengthened by a lack of expertise. Most alarming however is your claim that trouble-free transmission helps your oils flow. Even I, a retired printer, know that controlled distribution of power, dependable or not, has no bearing whatsoever on such circulation. One can only hope that, if ever ineptly fiddling with certain General Motors products, you are sufficiently indemnified or insured when the Chevy breaks

On the understanding therefore that Mr. Keightley would remain my primary choice, I wonder if you would have a brochure detailing the vehicle’s full specifications that you could pop round at the weekend, as he says that the defects as above-outlined may be able to be modified. Jean and I would be happy to provide refreshments by way of a ‘Thank You’, in the form of the Wonton soup that you named your song after, but as we have just had new carpet put down, we would prefer you please to resist any temptation to squeeze the lemongrass until the juice runs down your leg.

We look forward to hearing from you either this week or on the day.




Derek Philpott



©2009-2014 Dawson-Rice | Website designed with the splendid help of Oast One.