Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Iceman Cometh

Today was my first real day of work since finishing for christmas on Fri 23rd.

Back in that week before xmas I'd booked an appointment to see a potential client in Hull, today.

The alarm clock awoke me at 7.30am and I wished I'd made the appointment for next week.

Going outside to the cars I found Suzannes Ford Focus at the end of the drive, blocking me in, both cars were clad in a thick coating of hard ice, mine had two days snow covering it too, the ice on both cars wouldn't shift with a scraper.

Suzannes small but perfectly formed Ford is a doddle to defrost, turn it on, switch on the front and rear windscreen heaters and wait for three minutes, piece of piss it is, the ice just fell off.

My big Nissan was another matter, why don't other manufacturers put heating elements in the front windscreen ?

Four large pans of boiling hot water later and I was getting down through the ice to what I vaguely recognised as my car, realising at the same time that I hadn't actually driven the thing since I came home from work on the 23rd and skipped merrily down the driveway at the start of my xmas holiday.

The diesel started with just a moments hesitation but it took another five minutes for the heat to start coming through the blowers so that the inside of the windscreen could de-ice, all the time clouds of diesel fumes hanging still in the frozen air on the driveway ready to poison the postman when he would eventually get himself out of the warm sorting office and do what we pay him to do, deliver the mail at some random timing during each day.

I know someone who got himself a job as a postman during the summer, he packed the job in after three days citing that the job was "not condusive to his future health, welfare and well being" and that "he couldn't see his role in the company developing in line with his expectations" all of which was bullshit to say that he couldn't be arsed walking the streets delivering mail every day, still he gave us a laugh when he told us that they made him go out finish his round on the day he handed his notice in, I do hope that no-one had any important mail to be delivered that day.

Eventually the Nissan was ready for the 70 mile trip to Hull, it started well enough, the roads are still quiet in the mid xmas and new year holiday week, but the outside temperature gauge was reading -5C when I left home and as it was the first really cold day of the year I had of course forgotten that cold dry days with the winter sun shining straight in your eyes, coupled with frozen windscreen washer jets equals completely opaque windscreen within a few miles.

I drove the M62 motorway for an hour peering through an occasional crack of clear glass that would appear now and again, or giving praise to trucks on the inside lanes throwing up a few splashes of water from the bone dry whitened road surface, why oh why don't vehicle manufacturers invent heated washer jets ?

Despite the freezing fog on a 30 mile stretch of the motorway where the temperature dropped to -7C I arrived in Hull with five minutes to spare, parked the car, got out, it was covered in ice again, looked like I'd just chiseled it out of an iceberg, every bit of moisture that I'd passed through had clung to the car body and frozen where it landed, it looked very artistic actually, heated washer jets would have helped a lot though, as would a heated car body, if the whole car could be heated on days like these then icing and smeary windscreens would be a thing of the past.

I'm going to start work on a prototype straight away.

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