This morning, due to COVID incarceration I drove my car for the first time in a fortnight, or possibly even longer. My trusty old Vauxhall Astra, which’s transported me from A to B for a decade now, starting first time and performing its assignment with usual understated reliability.

Admittedly, my Astra’s achievement isn’t as impressive as when a two hundred year old Volkswagen Beetle started first time for Woody Allen in his movie Sleeper…… But, hey it’s all relative!

Footnote – Although flawlessly acquiescent when asked to venture from A to B, on occasion Andy the Astra (as I’ve never called my automobile) can be temperamental when requested to drive from point B back to A. Consequently, I always carry a contingency return bus fare when embarking on outbound car journeys.


With driving this manual transmission motor a two to three week old memory, yours truly was uncharacteristically heavy footed on inaugural clutch engagement. By virtue of the jalopy’s accelerator and clutch pedals seeming a good further foot away from the drivers seat since last I drove, my legs had to fully extend to reach biting point.

This ungainly stretch affecting the level of control I had over Arthur the Astra (as I’ve also never called him). Subsequently, if it hadn’t have been for a lightening quick braking manoeuvre I’d have potentially shot forward through the wall on the driveway’s cusp.

A little shaken from this brief loss of automobile control, I paused a moment to reflect upon the incident. In particular, why did my drivers seat now appear that world’s tallest man Sultan Kosen had, unbeknown to me, been joyriding in it?

Had I shrunk in height during the last few weeks in COVID confinement? My bloody waistline sure as hell hadn’t!……. Or could it be the less likely scenario of my car somehow growing which’d almost resulted in my front wall tumbling like a latter day Jericho?

Although, I wrote off my car gaining size during lockdown as feasible almost immediately, I kept such a notions powder dry. Retaining this idiosyncratic idea in my back pocket should, a month down the line, I wake up one morning to find a limo on my driveway.

Anyhow, no nearer solving the car seat distancing conundrum, I headed over to east Leeds. Destinations the pharmacy, which dispenses my medications, along with calling at yours truly’s marital home.

Not entering either building, I kept a social distancing compliant yardage throughout both stops. Dropping off my Karcher power cleaner in my old home’s dark garage, my wife stood in silhouette in the doorway of the distant door adjoining the kitchen. The only chromatic sight her yellow eyes, beaming menacingly akin to a latter day Maleficent.

It was the first time I’d seen my estranged wife for a few weeks. Making it clear those twenty plus days hadn’t thawed her penchant for rewriting history and seeking out the negative, I didn’t hang around.

To be honest, I’m best keeping well away from the toxicity. As my son Jonathon says “Ignore it!….. She knows which buttons to press and you take the bait every time, dad!

It angers me, though, that someone who I provided for over thirty years and still has all her bills paid, along with access to our joint account for emergencies, feels moved to use lies and half-truths to tarnish my reputation….. Her odious polemics surrounding my leaving of the marital home so convincing I even started sending myself hate mail!!

Anyhow, I’m back home now, returning to my mum’s residence with chiminea/firepit and bags of fuel from my old home. The thought of sitting out on an evening around this fire, along with troughing the curry pre-ordered for supper has perked me up no end.

On driving back to my mum’s, in my rear view mirror, I noticed a goose which had laid a golden egg. It appears I maybe a step closer to solving the car seat distancing conundrum.

Oh damn, it’s started raining!!……. Well, that’s tonight’s plans of sitting around the fire pit shafted!!