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Having reached an accommodation with the dealership last week about what needed to happen to the brakes on the MX-5, and how much I was going to pay for the work, I took the car over to them this morning – and discovered that they’d booked it in for tomorrow. The receptionist’s suggestion that this was in some way my fault – though very much in keeping with the standard company attitude – didn’t wash at all well, given that whenever I put an appointment into my phone diary I make a point of reading the whole thing back to the person with whom I’m making it, to check that I have it logged correctly.

Several minutes of unfriendly conversation later, I emerged from the garage with a new appointment for next week, to find R waiting to collect me and take me off somewhere nice. He looked at my face, rolled down the window, raised his eyebrows, and waited. I said, “I’m going to thcream and thcream until I’m thick,” and then proceeded to enunciate, at reaching the back of the stalls volume, my opinion of Mazda in general and this iteration of it in particular. There may perhaps have been someone in Coventry who didn’t hear all of this, but only if they were using heavy machinery at the time.

As there’s only one thing to do with Violet Elizabeth Bott if you don’t want her demonstrating projectile vomiting, R removed me to a place of safety and fed me cake, while speaking soothing words of sympathy and agreement. By the time we’d eaten ourselves to a full stop all my feathers were smoothed back in place, and when this swan sailed gracefully under the bridge as we were walking over the river I could only think how very much he reminded me of myself.