It is with great sadness that I announce the death of my old friend, Jago, who ‘fell asleep’ in the middle of the road recently as my husband was driving back from Birchington. Just round that dangerous corner near Quex, it was. Distraught, he phoned the emergency services, who arrived an hour and a half later, by which time Jago was no longer asleep, but had completely flatlined.
Arriving on the scene, the knight-of-the-road errant took one look and shook his head in that sorry-for-your-trouble-mate fashion reserved for grieving relatives. ‘Knackered,’ he pronounced after a cursory examination, following it up with ‘Banjaxed,’ in case he had failed to make his diagnosis abundantly clear. ‘How old?’ he asked, head still in sorrowful metronome mode.
‘Er, nineteen,’ my husband confessed, manfully trying to hold back the tears, which resulted in his voice skidding into the girlish register and making him look, and sound, very silly indeed. A bit like Dolly Parton.
‘Yer ‘avin a larf!’ came the response, although it was clear from the machinations of said husband’s face that his funny bone was not at that precise moment tuned to comedy. Belatedly observing this, the knight tried for sensitivity. ‘Hovis!’ he said in a voice sonorous with empathy. ‘Brown bread! You wuz lucky you ‘ad ‘im so long. These days yer lucky if they survive the first frost. I blame China!’
‘Is . . . is there anything . . .’ the husband asked hesitantly?
The knight made so bold as to scratch his head. A long groan issued from between his lips. ‘Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Told ya. Ee’s a gonner. As gone as me granny’s teeth and they went back in nineteen-undred-and-frozen-to-death.’
‘So there’s nothing you can do? Nothing at all?’
‘Do I look like Jesus, mate?’ The knight sighed? ‘Does that sign on me truck read worker of miracles? The best I can do is chuck him up back and drop him off at your friendly local mechanic. ’
Which he did and maybe the mechanic there really was Jesus because, in a few days, Jago had staged a Lazarus-like resurrection and was back on the road again. ‘Timer-belt,’ Jesus aka the mechanic said. ‘Lucky it didn’t knacker the pistons’.
Sadly, our joy didn’t last for long. Jago is due for his MOT next month and there are not enough donor organs in the world to get him through. So, we have taken the decision to retire him to that great scrap yard in the sky or somewhere nearer if we can find one. And, silly though it sounds, my heart is broken because Jago was more than just a car. He was emblematic of great changes in my life. I bought him when I took the decision to move from London to Thanet. He was my first ‘fun’ car, a two-seater rag-top, kept purely for the joy of meandering up and down country-lanes with the roof down. I drove him down to the beach and sat, sun streaming in, roof down, stereo playing gently, whilst I worked on a novel one blissful summer a few years ago. He was with me when I met my husband, a confirmed Jag man. He is now a reformed MX5 man.
So, goodbye my lovely, little, British racing-green friend. Thank you for the good times. And even though I am replacing you with a slightly younger model – yes, exactly like you, only in black – I want you to know I still love you and always will. Toot! Toot!