Took the car to my favourite tyre shop this morning -
a father and son outfit
with a fund of interesting car-related
and road-rage stories.
I struck lucky, there was another customer
waiting by his Skoda,
and I was able to listen in on some Blokeish.
'Wossit got ven,
fur'ee, fur'ee two?'
' Fur'ee four that side
Fur'ee free this side.'
'Wossit sposed ter be?'
Small side step shuffle while scrutinising the oily concrete.
Thrust hands deeper in pockets.
'Me mae said it was ve wishbone.
Ain wo cobble roun lars time.'
Now he's lost me.
Pace round the car.
Bounce the car expertly one side.
Bounce the car expertly the other side.
'Where you go then?'
Wo? Sarf east?
Look up at sky.
Look alertly around at passing cars.
Glance uncertainly at me.
Look away quickly.
Take a phone call on hands-free mobile
plugged alien-stylie into ear.
Repeat most of the above
but louder, pacing in small circles.
Meanwhile my flat tyre has been removed
'Oh dear is it a nail?'
'It's not the naail.
It's where it's wearin' on the rim
with it being down.
Can't do anything with this I'm afraid.
Arl check the others.
Back one's legal.
This one's awight.
This one - s'awight bu..
Close, not got long.
How rich are you feelin'?
And then I curious thing happens.
I realise that I have started to speak Blokeish too.
'Woss the damage?'
I've go' a drive tomorrow.'
Frown at car.
Look anxiously at bloke.
Suck teeth? No perhaps not.
'Change 'em both I would.'
(Did he say mate?
That would be the complete seal of approval.)
'Can I leave it wiv you?
I've gotta go down the dry cleaners.'
'No jus' the top of the road.'
'Givus the key then.
And it'll be all done and dusted when you come back.'
'Cheers. I'll be back in thirty.'
It's not fluent, but it's not bad.
They say immersion is the best way to learn a foreign language.
As I paid up he said ruminatively,
'I look at those tyres and wonder
how many miles they will travel.
They tried to take a Mondeo round the world
without using any ferries.
They took it through a service tunnel
when the Channel tunnel was being dug
but it got stuck on the ice at the Baring Straits.
They left the engine running all night
but the exhaust pipe still froze and they had to tow it away.'