Counterpoint by Scott Freeman An annual car spring clean is good enough


I drive a practical estate car which is used and abused to transport garden waste to the tip (or should I say civic amenity site?), furniture and even bicycles on the odd occasion The Teenagers decide there is something better to do than play computer games.

Like me, it is getting a bit long in the tooth, needs more maintenance than it did ten years ago and is showing signs of wear. It has badly stuffed upholstery and is looking increasingly threadbare in places.

I have never considered cleaning the car much of a pastime and it generally sports the evidence of whatever was last transported in the back for months at a time. Since autumn it has had a layer of hay – the remnants of a bale required as bedding for the pet rabbits (but that’s another tale).

I generally decide that when there is more gravel inside the car than on the driveway it is time for a spring clean. And, curiously, it happens about once a year.

Out of the blue, last weekend, Mrs F announced that we should clean our cars – inside and out. Now, I’m not easily shocked, but this was a first for me. She is fastidious around the house, but her car contains stuff to scare the stuffing out of Aggie. Half eaten sweets, sticky wrappers, yellowing newspapers and parking tickets dating back to the turn of the century.

A joint enterprise – me with the bucket and sponge, her with the vacuum – and we were done inside half an hour.

I reckon I got off lightly. I used to live next to a bloke who was so fastidious with his ten-year-old Ford that each week he would jack up each corner in turn to remove the wheel enabling him to polish the inside of the rim and clean under the wheel arches. Another family made automotive cleanliness the week’s entertainment. Mum, Dad, and all three children would take it in turns on Sundays to reverse their pride and joy into the driveway for an all-hands-to-the-pump-inside-and-out-spit-and-polish valet.

Mrs F says not cleaning the car is her small attempt at helping the planet. Long may she have that view.