Warning: inconsequential and rambling post. A discussion about warning lights in the previous post has reminded me of an incident when I was a student.
Four of us shared a house out in the middle of Anglesey, and three of us commuted by motorbike (the fourth guy had a minivan, but was in his final year and attended few lectures, so was no use for lifts). We had a friend, a rather ditzy female called Suzanne (not her real name, but damn close). She lived down in the South of England, and her parents had bought her an old split-screen Morris 1000 to get to college and back.
A bit like this one.
She lived in the centre of Bangor, so didn't need the car during term-time. When she turned up in this rather nice motor (black paint, red leather seats) we were well impressed and asked her how she liked it. "Well," she replied, "it's OK, starts first time, but the fuel consumption is terrible." She told us how much she had put in to get here, we consulted a map for the mileage, and basic arithmetic gave us a figure of about 12 mpg. Now I know that the old Moggies weren't the most efficient vehicles, but that was way out of line. We began musing about the cause (more from bravado than mechanical knowledge) and offered to "have a look" for her.
She immediately agreed, and further proposed that if we could fix it, we could borrow it for the rest of the term, until she needed it to go back home. We didn't need asking twice. North-West Wales is a very wet place.
Between the three of us, we "had a look" and could find nothing wrong. We ran a couple of tankfuls of four-star through it and reckoned it was getting around 30 mpg which was about par for the course. So we made full use of it as a taxi/packhorse/party carriage and in due course returned it to her, with the message that there was now (!) nothing wrong with it.
We got a phone call the next day. It had refused to start. Two of us went along to her house, grabbed the keys, and got in. Key in the ignition, turn on, pull choke, press starter, car started on the button.
"What did you do there?" she said, pointing at the choke.
"That's the choke. You pull that out to get it started."
"Oh I see. I didn't know that went in. I've been pulling it out as far as it will go, because that's the only way I can get my handbag to stay on it."
Suzanne also provided an evening of incredible ribald amusement for me. She and I were on the same course, and one night she decided to invite all her friends round for a meal (it was seen as a very sophisticated thing in those days, along with Habitat coffee jars and those paper globe lampshades). Susan was short, and pretty in a quirky sort of way, with long hair like frizzled straw and a pair of disproportionately huge breasts. I'm not a 'tit man', so this didn't bother me one way or the other, but that night she was wearing a cheesecloth smock (this was 1973, remember) with a band under the bodice part. She had managed to get one breast, braless, of course, over the band, as it should have been, and the other one under it. It made her look curiously lopsided, like that thing Eric Morecambe used to do with his spectacles. She sat opposite me all the way through the meal, and once I had spotted her 'wardrobe malfunction' I couldn't take my eyes off it. I tried to keep a straight face, but it was an effort. Was it deliberate or accidental? I would turn to speak to someone else, but then my eyes would always be drawn back to these unbalanced mountains of flesh. If you've ever heard someone fart at a funeral and tried not to laugh, you'll know how I felt. It's an awful feeling, wanting to roar with laughter but be unable to share it with anyone. By the time I got home, I was close to cardiac arrest.
That car, by the way, was the only car I have ever spun through 360°. That's a proper 360, not the 180 facing backwards stuff. A full turn and carry on. It was at this junction, in the wet, on bald crossplies. It taught me a lot.