Let a little sun in today

THE penultimate day of the summer break saw the Steele family in East Kilbride. Various purchases were made: wife and daughter bought CDs (Eva Cassidy and Geri Halliwell respectively) and son added to his rapidly expanding collection of Secret Seven books.

While this was happening, I could be found on the steps of a deserted industrial unit eating a steak pie from Doris's Snack Bar, an electronic organiser running Scrabble on a Spectrum emulator open on my lap. It was one of those periods of enforced idleness so rare in our job and thus cherished outwith it. I had an hour and a half to kill while the green Felicia estate was being fitted with a new sunroof.

I've had the car for a year now and despite its admirable reliability and Ikea-devouring load capacity, we've never quite bonded. It wasn't the minor bump in a car park in Livingston that got us off to a bad start. That was all my fault. No, it was the water leaks.

The old sunroof (non-Skoda, before any of you start making the sorts of automotive jokes the rest of the thinking world has abandoned) had two tricks. One was to drip water overnight on to the driver's seat, leading to a cold, wet erse or a sweaty journey atop a plastic poke.

The other was to give every sign of integrity, then deposit half a pint of accumulated rainfall on my nadgers the first time I went round a right-hander. Not wishing to walk around school the apparent victim of a bout of incontinence, I habitually donned a lab coat. (Some physicists reading this might argue that accusations of lack of bladder control would be preferable to charges of looking like a chemistry teacher.) But no more. Despite continuing downpours, both the car's interior and my own nether regions have stayed dry. I love my car again and bought it two new tyres to show my appreciation. Well, that is bending the truth a little. The replacement boots were needed for the annual MOT, not to mention basic road safety. Unlike the sunroof, whose shortcomings could be circumvented by a well-placed bin bag.

It reminds me of the work of school health and safety committees. They carry out audits of workplaces and doubtless are effective in making sure that the metaphorical bald tyres are put right pronto. Unfortunately, when it comes to metaphorical (usually) leaky sunroofs, the money to rectify them is less readily available. This is a shame. People should love their surroundings at work at least as much as I love my big green bus.

Gregor Steele has learnt a raft of silly wee two-letter words since he started playing his computer at Scrabble.

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