City to County:

James gets a wig­ging from the con­stab­u­lary and some words of ad­vice on car clean­li­ness

EDP Norfolk - - INSIDE - James Matthews

James comes clean on his grubby car af­ter a brush with the law

Iwas pulled over last week­end – at the age of 35, my first brush with The Law. I won’t shame my­self with de­tails of the en­counter, but I was on my way again a cou­ple of min­utes later with a friendly warn­ing and some ad­di­tional part­ing ad­vice. “Oh, you should also clean your car. Your num­ber plate is al­most un­read­able.”

The of­fi­cer was right. Four win­ter months of dirt and grime had built up on my num­ber plates to the point where I would al­most cer­tainly arouse sus­pi­cion if I found my­self parked di­rectly out­side a bank.

I re­ceived lit­tle sym­pa­thy when I told my wife about my con­fronta­tion with The Law and the com­ments I’d re­ceived about the state of our ve­hi­cle, “I told you the car needed clean­ing ages ago”.

But I’ve al­ways had one big prob­lem with wash­ing cars, es­pe­cially at this time of year – and it’s not lazi­ness as my wife would have you be­lieve. Cars just get dirty again. Plus, it never seems to be the right time to drop into a car wash and week­ends are too pre­cious and short for me to spend an hour get­ting wet in the cold. Scrap that, life is too short.

We have a mod­est 4x4 we swing around the muddy coun­try lanes of Nor­folk ev­ery day, so no mat­ter how much time and ef­fort I in­vest in mak­ing it nice and shiny, the sat­is­fac­tion is likely to only last a cou­ple of hours be­fore a spat­ter of mud flies up the side of the car again.

And if you live in a ru­ral area and have a 4x4 (or any ve­hi­cle for that mat­ter) it should be filthy at this time of year. Surely it’s ev­i­dence the ve­hi­cle is ful­fill­ing its pur­pose?

When I lived in cen­tral Lon­don you couldn’t help but no­tice the gleam­ing SUVs crawl­ing around the busy streets at the week­ends. Of­ten cho­sen as a sta­tus sym­bol, it was sad to think that most of those ve­hi­cles would never splash through a muddy pud­dle or tra­verse some chal­leng­ing ter­rain. A steep Chelsea drive­way may well be the clos­est those cars would ever come to show­ing what they could do.

Later the same week­end I rum­maged around in the garage for the bucket and sponge, donned my coat and re­luc­tantly headed out to the drive­way.

But just as I was about to get to work it started to rain. And ev­ery­one knows you don’t wash a car in the rain, es­pe­cially when there’d soon be lots more deep, muddy pud­dles to splash through. I gave the num­ber plates a quick wipe and headed back into the warmth of the house.

The car could wait a lit­tle longer for its clean. Per­haps un­til the sum­mer.

ABOVE:Not of­ten seen in Lon­don – a 4x4 in its nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment

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