Coaching Blog 30: Life Lessons from my car mechanic


I’ve been ill and now I’m tired ….. really tired. I’m not sure where the last two weeks have gone. My desk is covered in paper and I have loads to do. I’m also a couple of days behind with this post; I should have written it on Wednesday …. but the day ran away from me.

Which reminds me of Chris, my mechanic. A man who strangely recognises my voice when I (infrequently, I’ve got to say) ’phone his garage. Admittedly he calls me ‘Silver Passat’ (but I find that rather endearing) and he also laughs at me. (Far too much for someone who delivers a service to me.)

The last time I rang him for help, it was (honestly) because  couldn’t get the hood up on my car.

The first time this happened was on the day of the Royal Wedding. I called out the RAC as the oil warning light had come on, but I couldn’t get the hood up to put any in. I sat on the sofa with my daughters, commenting on the guests’ attire (Samantha Cameron ‘… looks like she’s nipping out to the shops’; Tara Palmer-Tomkinson …‘fab … that’s my favourite colour’; Nick Clegg’s wife Miriam …….. ‘ no, no, no, for the love of God, no’ whilst the guy from the RAC spent 90 minutes getting into the engine.

He told me to put oil and water in at that time as ‘once I put this hood down, it’s not coming up again.’ And he also told me to get to a garage, which I agreed to do.

Fast forward a few weeks and I have a flat battery; I call out the RAC … and then remember the bonnet’s stuck. One hundred and twenty minutes later, with the bonnet still shut tight, a remarkably calm emergency car mechanic decides to call it a day when the engine decides to turn over (I think she* was tired) and I tell myself ‘I’ve got to take her into  Chris in the next few days’.

Fast forward a few weeks (yes, I know. I’m too embarrassed to give details of what happened that time) and I finally call Chris and take her in.

Thinking I would be sitting in a cafe for a while, reading Heat magazine while pretending to work on my Masters, I asked Chris how long he would need her for.

’10 minutes, Silver.’

‘What ? Only 10 minutes ?’

‘The thing is’, he said, sighing, ‘you’re supposed to look under the hood occasionally, to make sure everything’s OK, so you can get from A to B. But you don’t do that, do you ? You just drive and then you get stuck.’

He laughed, but this week I fully appreciate what this means. I haven’t looked at my desk properly in a long while. I’ve worked on what I could see, and ignored the rest ….. and it’s come back to bite me.

* Yes, my car’s a girl.

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