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Sorry, it’s a ‘vet’s car’

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I just took my car to be cleaned and found myself, once again, being charged an extra fiver on the advertised rates. After much gasping, shaking of head and looks of disgust, I was told the reason for this was because my car was ‘so dirty’.

Usually, I make my excuses by stating that it is a ‘vet’s car’, but since it is five years since I gave up clinical work and 16 since I set foot on a farm I thought I couldn’t really pull that one off. It’s just a really dirty car!

I guess it must be the fault of the kids or the dog; although, in general, the dog only contributes a smattering of hair. He did once get himself into trouble by inexplicably chewing the hand brake on a hire car while on calls with my husband – the naughtiest and most expensive thing he has done. And to be fair, I was using the ‘vet’s car’ excuse long before I had kids, so I guess it is just me (or my inner vet).

I once read an article (Sunday supplement – shouldn’t take it too seriously) that stated that you could tell a person’s class by the state of their car. Working class – grubby, old banger; Middle class – smart, clean and aspirational; Upper class – new and clean; but truly aristocratic people go full circle to scruffy, dirty, old cars, ideally with straw sticking out of the upholstery. I have often wondered, despite the fact that this is a load of nonsense, where vets fit in. Maybe we form our own subset?

I don’t believe myself to be alone in this phenomenon. I remember my first boss having his car refused for service until he had removed all the hypodermic needles which were littering the interior.

My husband’s poor car is much maligned by my family. Our kids refuse to travel in it because it ‘smells of horse medicine’. Also, my mother once asked me out of the blue if he had had another car accident. He hadn’t, but his car was nice and shiny (after a complimentary clean while in for service) and so she assumed he had had another crash. He had a phase where he had more prangs than urges to wash the car and they always sent the car back from the body shop gleaming.

Bucking the trend, a friend of mine bought herself a little sports car. The theory being that you can’t fit a dead dog in the back of an MX5 – this she kept clean!

The worse abuse inflicted on a car of mine happened when I forgot to return the branch practice crate to the hospital. This was used to transfer bits of paperwork, the day’s takings and any small bodies, in traditional yellow bags. In fact, I forgot for several lovely sunny days in a row. I always think it remarkable that no one missed the cashing up for so long. Anyway, my remission only came to light when I opened the boot in the supermarket car park, to be confronted by an army of plump maggots vigorously squelching around my boot. At least the squeamish man at the car wash was not faced with that!

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