Oh god, the horror.
We’re frightened of all sorts of odd things. Ghosts. Spiders. Moths. I have a friend who’s terrified of birds. Strangely, though, one of our greatest fears is the idea of a mechanic having to work on our car when it’s messy.
I have one hour to clean the car for the MOT. Of course that’s only five minutes with small children around. I press the incompetent parent panic button. I put on a film. There will only be time for the first half. Their rage will be… epic.
The car interior looks like the safe house of a gang of hamster criminals. They’ve conducted a series of successful raids on biscuit factories and celebrated in epic style. Then it appears a gang of rodent squatters from the nearest rubbish dump moved in and had several legendary parties involving raisins, oatcakes, satsumas, bananas, Pom Bears and culminating in some sort of wet wipe explosion.
I clear a bin bag full of rubbish out of the car. I find toys, sippy cups, socks, shoes and at least one packed lunch, all of which went missing some time last year.
I park the car by the side door and bring out the hoover. The sound attracts the children like moths to a flame. They want to help, which is lovely, but their ‘help’ will literally make the job take all day. I close them inside the house and they bang on the toughened glass, their wailing drowned out by the vacuum cleaner. Blessed relief.
I rub frantically at the wiry carpet which seems designed to make crumbs un-vacuumable, then I dig at the un-vacuumable crevices, layered deep with an archaeological record of past snacks. The deeper I go, the stickier it becomes. Oh my lord, children are disgusting.
I battle them into the car, arrive late for the MOT, spend two endless hours hanging around a DIY superstore, nerves shredded by merciless whinging.
Of course the car fails the MOT. The repair costs will, luckily, be exactly the same as the holiday savings.
Wishing now I hadn’t tidied the car.