Think of it as a kitten

From my last post you’ll remember that my beloved brother decided to drive his car to the local hospital whilst having a cerebral bleed. He parked it remarkably well, considering. His first intelligible words when off the ventilator and able to speak were “is my car OK?”
I tracked it down to the hospital. Two hours parking… he certainly got his money’s worth! But what to do with it. Because this is no kitten, it’s a Jaguar.
Obviously it was going to have to be moved. He couldn’t drive it. Even if he’d not been in the hospital, he was going to have to relinquish his driving license for six months because of the seizures. I was insured third party on my own insurance – it was going to be down to me. I decided that I would wait until late in the evening when the roads were clear and drive it up to my workplace where I could park it more securely.

I found it easily enough – there weren’t many Jaguars on the carpark. I knew it was a keyless car, I just had to have the keys in my pocket, so I clicked the button to disable the alarm and climbed in. Great. OK. Adjust the seat and the mirror. Easier said than done – where ON EARTH is the right switch. Fiddle. Fiddle. Fiddle. That’ll do. Quick mental adjustment to the fact it’s an automatic. Fine, ready to start the engine. Don’t worry about the key, Smudgie, just look for the button.

“START”. Good start. I press the button. Wrrrrrrrr… the wing mirrors pop into position. Pinnngggggg … the dashboard lights up into a merry display of fancy gadgets. What doesn’t happen? Well, what doesn’t happen is that the car doesn’t start. Great.

Helpful little LED display on the dashboard informs me that I need to hold the brake pedal down when I press START. Thank you – that I can manage. I know which is the brake pedal. I switch off. Wrrrrrrrrr….. pinggggggg…. darkness. I press down the brake pedal and press the button again. Wrrrrrrrr.. pinggggggg… lights, camera… inaction. Nothing. Not a single purr of an engine.

Maybe it has to be in gear. That might be the answer. OK, where’s the gear lever? OK, so there isn’t a gear lever. There’s just a little circle of metal flush with the armrest which has the gears labelled alongside it. How on earth do you do anything with that? It’s just a circle of metal. It doesn’t press, it doesn’t turn, it doesn’t DO ANYTHING.

I wasn’t panicking, honest I wasn’t.

Now, let’s think about this logically. I’ve now been sitting in this car nearly half an hour. There must be an easy answer, there must. I can’t ring my brother – he’s talking gobbledegook as it is. I was too proud to ring the boy – he’s a teenager and a car geek, I know he’d have known, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe if I rang my brother’s friend, he’d remember what to do. Ah – good plan…. if only I’d remembered to bring my mobile.

In desperation I pressed the start button one more time, holding it down for several seconds while I tried to think what to do. And you’ve guessed it. That did the trick. Wrrrrrrrr…… pinggggggggg…… VROOOOOOOOOOOOM! The Jag leapt into action. The engine started and the unhelpful circle of metal in the armrest magically arose from the depths and turned into a cylindrical knob which turned clockwise, smooth as a button, to put the car into reverse. The satnav blanked out and was replaced with a camera view which showed me precisely what was behind me ready for reversing out, together with an indication of how much space I had to manoevre. This was going to be a doddle.

Hold on… where on EARTH is the handbrake?

Whoever would have designed a car without a proper lever for the handbrake. Somehow just slipping the tip of your index finger under a semi-circular shiny plate of metal in the armrest and flicking the brake off just doesn’t seem right. Had me fooled for a good ten minutes!

Engine on, finger-brake off, and the car just drove me all the way from the hospital to work without me having to do anything.. just sit back and relax and enjoy the drive!

Jaguar? Kitten!

Give me my Kangoo, any day!!!

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