Sunday, March 4, 2007

House Hunting with Brian and His Morris Minor

I went on several trips with a dear old boy called Brian who did, however, try my frustration levels to the max. He was a pentacostalist, whose car key ring says “Pray without ceasing” Having been out in the car with him several times in his Morris Minor, I now understood why and took the advice very seriously.

The chap was an anglophile. His mobile phone tune was Auld Lang Syne and he was always asking me about the Queen. To answer his mobile he simply slowed down to a stop (admittedly quite a speedy process in a Morris Minor going at 10 miles an hour) in the left lane and answered the phone with traffic beeping and careering around us, with him seemingly blissfully oblivious to the carnage of swerving buses and irate tuk-tuks,

After our 1st trip out, in a “normal” car, he told me all about his Morris Minor, he is in the Morris club and proudly announced that they make the spare parts in Sr Lanka and export them to Britain. ( I didn’t disabuse him of the notion that we all drive around in Morris Minors or that there is a national shortage of Morris Minor parts) I guess I showed more than polite interest because the next time he turned up in his Moggy. It had doors that only he was allowed to open and shut (very carefully) so the relief at finally arriving at one’s destination was quenched by the frustration of sitting perspiring in the car whilst he walked round and painstakingly levered the door open. Not a good experience for Type As.)

He had installed air con and asked every time “is the air con enough?” I of course said yes even though I could see it was on maximum and felt like the proverbial Turkish bath. Oh and the car didn’t go over 22 miles per hour. This was not that much of a problem in most of Colombo’s traffic, except that there are no rules of the road so two lanes are invariably 4 abreast and tuktuks will nip in the smallest gap. The Moggy was so slow to accelerate that the tiny gap that opened up as Brian struggled to double declutch and pull away, was immediately filled by about 5 tuk tuks. So progress was, let’s say, slow. It took an hour to do 5 miles on one occasion. I have to say it was an even more frustrating, and a considerably more sweaty experience than playing pictionary with M’s granny (and that nearly resulted in a peptic ulcer)

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