No one told me that driving a car without a fan belt could make it very ill.
I dragged a male colleague out to the car park to have a look. I pulled the lever to open the bonnet and it came away in my hand. A Paddington Bear hard stare and a string of expletives - the sort normally used on drivers who don’t indicate, pull out in front of me, drive more slowly than me and commit other such crimes against commuters - miraculously did the trick and the bonnet opened.
“It’s gone,” said Male Colleague, pointing to where the fan belt used to be.
“But where’s it gone?” I said, peering hopefully into the engine, imagining it was nestled somewhere in the car’s insides and could be retrieved like pennies down the back of a sofa.
“It’ll have fallen out on the road somewhere,” he said, looking at me as if I was stupid.
I felt even more stupid when I couldn’t remember the name of my insurance company, to which I pay lots of money for a breakdown recovery service. I did remember it had been taken over by another company which had something to do with pigs, because they sent me a nice metal piggie keyring at the time. Then I couldn’t remember my car’s registration.
But eventually, Zurich sorted out a nice man from Green Flag. He took rather a long time to put a fan belt on. Every time I looked out of the window, he was elbow deep in engine innards. Apparently none of the fan belts he’d brought fitted and he’d had to go and find another one.
“You should’ve just used a silk stocking,” said Male Colleague, “like the woman on that advert.”
This time, it was my turn to look at him as if he was stupid…