Monday, 13 May 2013

Toothsome cars


Here in posh Bath, we have a different class of dentist. I hope their surgery isn't equipped with collectable, vintage chairs and drills too - I still have fond childhood memories of watching a slow drive-belt run round exposed pulley-wheels whilst smelling my own teeth burn.

The departmental store, 'Jolly's' behind the car was Bath's very own, family-run equivalent of Debenhams or Harrods. In the 1970s, the prim, old Mrs Jolly could be found taking tea in the cafe next door every day, occasionally chatting to minor members of the Royal Family. Today it is owned by House of Frazer.

My German dentist friend is also keen on vintage, British cars because he is - inexplicably - a true anglophile. Dentists in Germany cannot command the fees extracted from us by our British ones, through government legislation, so he can only afford old Minis of the type which were built in Oxford before BMW took over. Every time he picks us up from Bremen airport to make the 1 hour trip back to Bremerhaven, I get stuffed into a Mini with my knees smashing against the dashboard when we go over the slightest bump in the road, and H.I. sits crammed in the back getting poisoned by exhaust fumes. At times like these, I wish he admired modern German engineering more than he does.

The Mercedes 2-seater sports I delivered the bride-to-be in yesterday could only take two people - absolutely no further space in the back, even for an umbrella - but this is the sort of car I wish we were picked up in from the airport, but with two extra seats.

I met the owner in town, and he gave me a brief run-through about all the gizmos attached to it, saying that I should not touch one particular button, as it would go fast enough without re-setting the performance configuration anyway. Then he simply said, "Well, what more can I say? It's a car".

So I pulled it out of the parking space, making full use of the bleeping reverse warning signals, then when I approached a junction and stopped by putting my foot on the brake, the engine just cut out. The slight, involuntary feeling of panic when this happened was allayed when it noiselessly re-started itself when my foot came off the brake though. German engineering.

I picked up the blushing bride (hardly) and with a bit of time to spare, we took a little trip to Claverton Down so she could get her blushing under control (hardly).

Going up a steep hill (effortlessly) I pulled to the left to allow a car coming the other way to pass safely, and a different warning bleeper went off in the cockpit. The car was telling me that I was getting quite close to a stone wall. German engineering.

I had originally planned to borrow a different car from this man, but he had sold it by the time the wedding was due, so I had to make do with the Mercedes, especially since the bride had refused to arrive in my unwashed old Volvo 850 estate.

He has been a fast-car fanatic ever since he passed his test and seems to have the resources to indulge himself in his passion. The car I had originally wanted to use was a twin-turbo Bentley of about 600 horse-power.

More German engineering.

14 comments:

  1. The photo of the blue van is that Milsom Street ?

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    1. P.S. Are you the same Druid who was barred from my pub a few years ago?

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    2. No.
      I have not visited Bath since the 1985, in fact I rarely ever visit the UK and when I do it is to the Cotswolds :)

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  2. I was once collected at Frankfort airport, by my oldest son, then driven to Bayreuth at 400 MPH in his gizmo-riddled German car. The wretched car scolded me on several occasions, by bleeping in stentorian voice, whenever I did what it considered unacceptable. Bloody cars!

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    1. I hope it scolded you in English: "I am sinking..."

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  3. When I was in the dental game, I didn't have a car like that, more's the pity ..... but, I am very much into German engineering as I have an Audi TT roadster ( my husband has an Audi too)..... I'm not sure if it's as fast as the Merc but, it is lovely, pulling away from people who are driving in my boot !!!! ( a twin turbo Bentley sounds pretty good but somewhat out of my price range !! ) XXXX

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    1. The Bentley was about 3 years old, and he sold it to his father for £12,000. £120,000 to ten times less in three years, sounds like a bargain for someone.

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  4. The anglophile dentist in Germany must practice English understatement - dentists here are still one of the most high-earning professions (if they have private patients, and most have).

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    1. He tells me that he can only charge 8 Euros for one filling...

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    2. I'm with Frau Brigitta on that one. The only dentists I have ever encountered in Germany where Porsche-driving rich folk.

      The things that happen when you don't check blogland every day! There you went and had yourself a birthday! Happy belated birthday and those are some lovely shoes! Now where is the picture of the wedding underwear?

      My car has plastic parts that vibrate with an annoying humm....... and the tires start to squeal when you drive fast for a long time. All German engineering. But it does feel good when you can speed up quickly and get past a slow-pow who forgot where he was going in the first place

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    3. Thank you, Frau Iris,

      I think my dentist friend must be the poorest in the whole of Germany. He is as bad with money as I am.

      So your underwear has plastic parts which vibrate? German engineering at it's best.

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  5. I think that you read into it a little bit. Not that German engineering would not be capable of it.

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    1. Solar-powered too, I bet. A hat with a panel to go with them.

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