It seems these days that my perspective is frequently measured by what happened in the past rather than the present. Does that seem logical? One cannot dwell on the past, but a measure against what we previously took for granted cannot be all bad?
I lay awake the other night and the thought that came into my mind was of some of the cars I’ve had.
One in particular, an old Mini. Not the steroid packed versions that are sold now, but the shoe box on wheels that used to zip along less crowded roads. Even then it was old, and my maintenance expertise grew as it displayed its many idiosyncrasies. Central to this, because I had much less income then, were scrap yards.
These to me, we’re places of great beauty. One in particular, had, as its office, an old sea container. It sat in the middle of perimeter fence and had a door cut in the front. Inside a long counter split the container in half. Behind, shelves were stacked with smaller parts; carburettors of all shapes and sizes, clutch plates stacked like a bizarre tea service.
Behind the counter was another door, which, if you were granted permission, allowed you access to this open-air Aladdin’s Cave of car parts.
Here, cars were stacked three high (no more) and clambering to find the required part always carried a frisson of excitement for me.
Eventually, of course, someone managed to topple a car off a stack and ‘punters’ were no longer allowed ‘backstage’.
Over time, of course, my cars have improved with my income. The Mini departed to new pastures and now have a very nice Porsche.
Do I work on this? No.
Could I work on this? No again.
Like many car owners these days when I open my bonnet I see very little and understand less. We are required only to fill the water. I don’t even need to check my oil – there is no dip stick. Instead, when I turn on the ignition, the car checks the oil level for me before I start the engine.
And alongside this of course, scrap yards as they used to be have also disappeared. Now we see legions of dodgy looking blokes in dodgier looking pick up trucks, laden with old washing machines, bikes, bed frames, being transported to scrap yards that contain merely junk now, rather than fascinating repositories of desirable brake assemblies and hard-to-find half shafts.
Nothing stays the same and the new year constantly reminds me of that.
The past – like old brake linings – fades.