Meet Eric


Previously on the hedgehog, snoot has been cocked at the naming of things that are certainly not animal, possibly a bit of vegetable* and quite a bit mineral. However, in the spirit on ongoing hypocrisy, our new family car has been named after the tremendous if deeply flawed movie of the same name. Not because we’re intending to rape and pillage the Kingdom of Mercia, rather the registration plate begins VK which is enough for this resident film geek to baptise the the non-organic chap.

It’s an improvement on naming our Christmas Tree Colin, or directing confused visitors to deposit their rubbish in Derek The Dalek. And we’ve moved on from Rog mainly so I can bring forth my own Dane-Law variant during difficult traffic situations. Predictably the handover was not without a touch of angst triggered firstly by our first sight of ‘our‘ car being driven rapidly away in what looked suspiciously like an opportunistic car-jack.

Our furrowed brows were smoothed when it was explained that the sales fella was merely chucking in enough fuel to make sure we didn’t conk out on his forecourt. On his return, I signed 437 bits of paper without reading any of them. With an almost equal split of draconian penalties for financial misdemeanours and arse covering for the dealer to ensure no chance of successful prosecution for a selling strategy only slightly less dodgy than ‘would Sir like PPI with that’, there seemed little point in making a fuss.

Finally we were directed outside to a car now fully owned by a interesting transaction from an earlier rape and pillage of one of our company accounts, which coughed up a sum of money so large it ran into five digits. With no decimal points. While the kids piled in and began destroying pristine upholstery, I was subjected to a training programme based apparently on an assumption that the concept of a door and a steering wheel would be all exciting and new to me.

However, this did highlight a tiny issue where the operation of the fog lights ended with the entire switch-gear in the salesman’s hands. I felt this was an entirely appropriate juncture to reflect on the outstanding build quality much trumpeted only a few days earlier before we’d handed over the cash. A hurried conference outed Jamie from the workshop who – through a double jointed thumb roll/masonic hand shake – snapped it back in with the airy observation that’ they all do that sir’

Salesman Steve was keen to wave us off in order to lock up the premises and remove any record of our purchase from their systems. I was keen to drive the bloody thing. Carol and the kids were keen for some Viking like sequestration of the local fish and chip shop. Nothing like paying for that new car smell only to mask it with the greasy odour of much vinigared cod.

Off we finally went leaving Steve to spend a couple of days to count the money. Immediately we had a problem, now the old X-Trail – abandoned and unloved as far from the showroom** as possible – was lavishly equipped with sufficient instrumentation to document a reasonable approximation of current speed, and some knocked off switchgear from a 1970s Datsun Cherry randomly lit by clunky switchgear. The Yeti is something else entirely – think NASA wrapped up in airbags.

My friend Mike’s assertion that the world today is nothing more than an informational tornado smacked me right between the eyes when everything started talking to me. The SatNav, the Radio, the CD stack in the boot, the one on the dash, the kids and Carol who was nose down in the manual. “Turn Left at the next junction” intoned a rather well spoken young lady while the middle of the dash and what I’d mistaken for a colour TV bombarded me with graphics, colours and arrows.

Somehow at the same time, a further icon demanded I change gear, another one reminded me that the car was still running on Fumes+, yet another whirled through a dazzling display of fuel consumption, average speed, possible Acts of God and Engine temperature. With all this going on what the FUCK was I meant to do about Engine Temperature. 86 degrees. Is that good? Bad? Is something on fire? Shall I get the family out now because soon the entire shebang will be ablaze?

Carol worked how to turn most of it off while I concentrated on parking within binocular range of the curb, before setting off to the chippy leaving me to play with the stupendously clever electronics that’d discovered my phone, cuddled it in bluetooth before raping*** the memory for contacts and presenting them on the screen. A random button press chirped “Voice Activation On” to which I replied “what the fuck am I supposed to do with that?” / “Calling Bob Pluck” No, No, don’t do that, Cancel, Desist, JUST STOP FOR A SODDING MINUTE WILL YOU.

To be fair the voice recognition is way better than SIRI on the iPhone which is good news in the same was as waking up in hospital after a car accident only to be told “The bad news is you’ve lost both legs and an arm, the good news is your Volvo started first time“. Having turned off the ignition to create an facsimile of calm, I was in no position to do anything but adopt a Munch’s Scream fizog as a battered old people carrier approach at ramming speed with my front bumper clearly in their sights

Missed by a whisker. That’s a pair of pants that are going to need some special cleaning I can tell you. Eventually we arrived home with most things intact other than any remaining composure. Ensconced in my favourite chair, I confidently whisked out the manual to better understand the magic going on between the doors. As a man steeped in technology with twenty+ years behind the rampack, the SatNav instructions held no fear for me. Right until I opened the manual.

No idea. No idea at all. Active Button X to Trigger Flange Z thereby enabling Menu B which is only available in certain countries on a Balmy Wednesday Evening during the month of June. I gently closed the booklet of despair and reverted to my standard strategy of reading nothing, but having a mallet on standby.

It is a nice car. It’s still a nice car even after a fat gentleman with the spacial awareness of a dead stoat slammed his door into it earlier today. I’m not a nice person tho, I’ve hidden his body in the frozen food aisle at our local Morrisons.

Proportional response I’d suggest based on everything I’ve gone through so far this weekend.

* Any parent knows that crossing children with cars creates a unholy union best described as ‘ugh something is growing in the back seat. Might once have been a fruit shoot, now is a leafy fungus

** It was all working. But I have a suspicion that it might not be for too much longer

*** I will get bored of Viking jokes soon, I promise.

20 thoughts on “Meet Eric

  1. Tempting Grahame Baker. White was not my choice Jim, but compromise became the name of the game for reasons of not wishing financial destitution on my family. Anyway soon it’ll be brown and that’s fine with me.

  2. Julian Chappell I am the pope. It’s not a full time occupation and I have the hair for it. Jim Swannack certainly will, has to go in next week to get it fitted. Trying not to put mucky, spikey bikes in the back. Andy Hooper sounds good. Let’s get a date in 🙂

  3. …you’ll never guess what T wants to test drive as it’s a perfect partner for daft labradors, horses, mountain bikes, antiques’ shopping, futon carrying…….

  4. Indeed. And no warranty. And probably a share in a mothballed factory. Don’t try and order a Yeti tho unless you’re a very, very patient person.

  5. Chris

    This is a fun blog, thanks for that.

    It’s “snook”, by the way, rather than “snoot” . . . 🙂

  6. Alex

    Indeed it is. My excuse is that they are close to each other on the keyboard *looks down* okay they are on the SAME keyboard 😉

  7. Chris

    🙂 I’m just passing the time waiting for my Yeti, all the while fending off complaints from my family (wife and 2 grown sons) about buying a Skoda . . .

  8. Alex

    I’ve taken some flak but I love it. And since my recent car history goes X-Trail, Honda Accord, VW passat I feel I’m on an upward curve!

  9. Chris

    🙂 Good pedigree. Mine is Isuzu Trooper (while stationed in Florida), then ML270 10 years later (while stationed in Germany); Yeti is definitely an improvement, unless I allow myself to be diverted to the X1 . . .

  10. Noooo you’ve gone – white.

    You’ve been swayed by the apple machine and have bought an I-yeti without realising it!

    Can you do a 700 miles in photo now, let’s see the mud!!!

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