Saturday, 7 January 2012


Not so long ago I took my car for a Gold Valet at a national car-wash chain. Usually I don’t go anywhere near car-washes or anything car-wash related. Whilst I’m not the kind of nutter who imagines that the giant foam brushes will crash through my windscreen or make me feel like I’m in a coffin, oh no no no, I’m still nervous of all those instructions about engaging certain gears, and stopping when certain lights flash, and how, if you’re not following the instructions, you might be KILLED or MAIMED in an unimaginably freakish way. But a valet sounds manageable. Even nice! I went as far as hoping it would mark the start of brand-new more organised me.

Yeah, right.

You see, I didn’t notice the small print, the invisible print, the print that should have been there:    

Do not bring your car for a valet here unless you like ritual humiliation. 

Do not bring your car for a valet here unless you like having shame heaped upon you.

Definitely do not bring your car for a valet here IF criticism triggers inexplicable feelings of rage and frustration, and/or can tip you over The Edge, into an abyss of despair and depression.  Motherfucker.

All I saw was a cheerful blue and yellow sign that said something like:  


I had a bad feeling as soon as I arrived to pick up the car, which was sitting in the middle of an empty, creepy parking lot, in a pool of dark waters. The doors were thrown open and there were weird drying machines everywhere, making the chassis creak and rock. Suddenly, a woman emerged from the car’s interior, like Jack Nicholson sticking his face through the door in ‘The Shining’, her face damp, her eye make-up everywhere, tufts of hair sticking out at deranged angles from her head.  

“Still damp luv. Shoulda told me about it shouldn’t ya?” she said.
“What d’you mean?” I said.   
“Back seat luv. Covered in vomit. Took ages scrubbing it.”
“It’s Frubes” I said. “I don’t think it’s vomit. It’s definitely Frubes.”
“Nope. Definitely vomit luv. Loads of it. Behind the kids seat too. Took me ages. I’ll leave the blowers on another ten minutes, it’s still damp.  Never seen nothing like it.”    

Now I’ll be honest. My car has seen some things. (Although not Dogging. Definitely not Dogging.) A few years ago, after the birth of my son, I didn’t drive for a couple of weeks. When I finally opened the car door, the upholstery seemed to twitch and swell and change colour; a black cloud rose from everywhere at the same time. For a moment, I had no idea what I was looking at. Then I realised. The cloud was an infestation of fruit flies - thousands – all coming at me through the open door, with everyone on the street, staring. But only once has there been an episode of vomiting. Once ever, I’m telling you. And I cleaned it up thoroughly.

Even if there had been vomit, surely it wasn’t the valet’s job to inform me? (Imagine going for a colonic irrigation, and then, halfway through the procedure, the practitioner freaking out like a proper mentalist and yelling about there being shit everywhere.) If nothing else, dear valet,  think of my poor mother. If everyone else goes around undermining the fuck out of me, what’s there left for her to do?

As it happens, my car is once again in need of a good valet. There’s a lollipop fused to the dashboard; it smells like Satan’s lair.  But this time, I’m waiting for one of the kids to throw up. Or better still, all of us.

Then I’m taking it.


  1. Brilliantly written, brilliantly funny and brilliantly true. The trick is never to clean the car. If you do you only get all anal about mud and crumbs coming back in to it. Our Skoda still bears traces of the volcanic ash from two years ago. It's so filthy that even when I left the keys in the driver's door all night noone tried to make off with it. It's so filthy that noone ever accepts the offer of a lift. It's so filthy that none of the scars from my imperfect parking skills show up. By the way, we now have two cats but I still haven't worked out how to floss them.

  2. my car's really dirty, getting to the stage where I can't really see out of the windscreen when the sun's at a particular angle in the sky because the inside of the windscreen is so mucky. Still have an aversion to a car wash too. So won't be washing in the near future, will just take a tissue out of my pocket and like all good mothers everywhere, give it a lick before wiping the inside windscreen with it, that'll do.

  3. I had a similar experience when I had the carpet cleaner in. The raised eyebrows and the shaking of the head. If my carpet had been clean I wouldn't have called him in, patronizing fuckwit!

  4. Ahem, confession ladies. I am indeed booked for another valet tomorrow. In my defence, I found the valet in question extremely pleasing, and I have said once already, I am in dire need of a good valeting. x

  5. Heledd, helo helo! Beth i ti di bod yn gwneud ar y carped na fenyw? Druan ar y carpet cleaner x

  6. How fecking posh are you?? I had to look up what a valet was, I'm so fecking common. And the fruit flies bit made me shiver and sick a bit in my mouth.

    You is v funny, tho, innit.

  7. Fruit flies? I god no - that sounds really gross. What was that silly valet talking about - I think you would know if there was sick everywhere. Anyway this has put me off taking my car for a valet - too unwittingly revealing .... its almost akin to having one's fanny checked by a doctor. Think I'll stick to a car wash ...

  8. Fruit flies. Gross I know. Like being in one of those Bible plagues of yore. I was expecting to find frogs and locusts in the glove compartment.

    motherventing - don't go for a valet before de-spaffing your car. iykwim.

    Older mum - I think a valet is worse than having a front bottom MOT (continuing the car analogy...) I MAKE SURE there are no crumbs, rotten apple cores, or mouldy toys DOWN THERE before visiting the doctor.

  9. Just read through some of your posts and you are HILARIOUS!

    Love your humour and your writing style, so much so that I am now your newest follower.

  10. Thank you so much miss lily. Is that really you in da picture? If it is, I don't mind you being my stalker.

    PS Just visited your blog. Need clarification on what kind of angel gets a good kicking if I don't follow? Fallen angels, the Angel of the Bottomless Pit, or good angels. If it's one of the first two, then they get kicked in the teeth every second of every day for like, millions of years, so they won't give a shit. If it's good angels, then I don't mind them getting a bit of kick in the teeth either, cos they is total suck-ups innit?

  11. The removal men unearth a petrified cat poo from behind some boxes in our old spare room when we moved here. What's a bit of vomit?

  12. I take they had the professionalism not to enquire whether you wanted the petrified cat poo bubble-wrapped and boxed and moved to your new house? This is what the car valet would have done had she been a removals man.

    What's a bit of petrified cat poo!!