Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Oh Lord won't you buy me...

We need to be careful. For too long we’ve found strange pronunciations of English words amusing. Soon we will be providing similar entertainment to the people of Mostar, only in their language! Nevertheless, an incident we witnessed today means I can’t help thinking of a Swedish person we once heard talking repeatedly about a ‘catastrophe’ – only the pronunciation was consistently ‘cat-a-strof’! Well today we witnessed a minor mechanical cat-a-strof. Perhaps it was an incident of critical failure. We were strolling up the street, with Leah, discussing something, I forget the details, when an aging Mercedes driving towards us uttered the most alarming sound.

My first thought was its exhaust had fallen off but, as every by-stander who bent to check under the car could see, nothing was hanging off. The driver made a valiant attempt to keep driving – this clearly wasn’t engine seizure either – but did opt for the first available parking space when it became obvious the noise wasn’t going to disappear. Mostar is full of older German vehicles because there are, despite this story, durable and reliable, and parts and labour are plentiful and reasonably priced. Cars hold their value more than they do in the UK. But one wonders at some of the growing number of new cars. Like the brand new BMW X6 sat waiting for the old Mercedes to move aside. It’d be a head-turner in SW1, and not entirely out of place there, but here I can’t help feeling it represents conspicuous consumption at its most crass. Perhaps that’s unfair – maybe this latest twist on the Chelsea tractor would be crass anywhere!

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