“I call it the Blue Rat.”
The works car park is frequently a mundane beast. The same people in the same cars, day after day. Occasionally though, a visitor might just drive here in something a little more exotic, expensive or preferably just different.
In the past we’ve had a few Porsche’s, Boxsters and Cayennes though never any form of 911. Once a Mustang was heard burbling through but we believe the driver was lost, for once the exit was pin-pointed, the throttle was floored and the dust disturbed.
There’s even been a Rosso Ferrari 360 and a Rolls Royce Phantom in predictable black when I happened to be gawping out the window within the same week. Sadly on both occasions, on my lunch break neither of the cars were to be seen again. In previous episodes, I’ve mentioned it’s a wealthy area; they probably parked up looking at how much real estate to purchase.
Even the Powers That Be drive pretty ordinary vehicles. Nothing fancy, flash nor loud. So as you can probably understand, when something even slightly different does appear and in this instance requires help in parking, it can make my day.
Outside the unloading bay are seven spaces at a forty five degree angle to the wall. That section of wall has claimed many a wing or bumper, the unforgiving stone containing the scrapings of many differently hued victims. But I am not pointing a finger and laughing at hopeless parking skills, for it is a tricky spot to manoeuvre, in or out at the best of times.
One lunchtime and eager to purchase sustenance after a long morning meeting, I heard the distinctive purr of the V8 around the corner, my view restricted by another wall that delivery lorries often forget to miss.
And there she was, a Mercedes SL in that tricky squeeze between another car and that bloomin’ wall, the driver attempting to see the narrow gap and thread the needle. Now you can see it is most certainly not a pristine example, more well used, hopefully not abused.
Arresting my haste, hand signals became more trusted than a lovers embrace. Luckily, the driver responded to the pinched fingers, the “halt” palm, the directional twirl of the wheel and within a moment or two, we were there; safely parked up – the stone wall annoyed at not claiming another victim.
A quick blip of the loud pedal and engine off, driver out carefully avoiding everything and then a beaming smile and a thank you heading my way. A delicious pinking sound could be heard. Raising my hand as a form of saying ‘no problem’ I began to walk away only to hear the driver ask me something.
Turning to hear him once more, I then realised this chap had the most amazingly deep yet charismatic voice I believe I’ve ever heard, a human V8 if you please. Think Barry White but with mellow intonation; no medallion or flouncy costume in sight. Enquiring if he was in the right place (he was) I then offered, “nice SL.” He fixed me with a quizzical look. “The Mercedes, nice model the R 230, 300 horsepower, use it much?”
“It’s my wife’s car, I call it the Blue Rat.” His warm tones softening my perplexed expression. “It does make a nice sound but isn’t really me. I prefer the BMW with more room.” It was only afterwards that I considered it a black seven series; E38, nothing modern.
My question was “why the Blue Rat?”
“Well look at the thing. That front end has the teeth of a rat that’s found it’s dinner in an Egyptian sewer.” A pause followed by “and the arse end is the Rat heading back for more.” Whilst partially shocked, this fellow’s demeanour and delightfully lilting voice left me simply wanting to hear more but my mumbling about a refined car for touring along with it being a modern classic obviously fell on deaf ears.
“She liked the colour and once the salesman had done his spiel, it was something of a done deal. Naturally I had to pay and it keeps her happy but you can’t get anything like what she needs for holidays in it. Gerry the Yank can get his golf clubs in there but we don’t play golf.” We both glanced at the now gently pinking, Jasper blue seventeen year old Sports Liecht. He nodded, smiled, departing with a farewell then went inside leaving me to ponder my sandwich along with the car in question.
My new friend who drives a Stuttgart-er but prefers one from Bavaria refers to the car as a rat. I’ve never heard such an analogy. What do our readers think?