At the last election, or was it the one before, the slogan was “Vote Blue, Go Green.” It underlined my party’s commitment to save the planet for future generations. So the Young household takes steps, if that is the right phrase, to minimise its carbon footprint. The garage is packed with bicycles; the kitchen is full of different coloured bins; the deep-freeze is crammed with home-grown fruit and vegetables; the garden has water-butts and a compost box - and the boot of the car is full of empty bottles (from when the children came to stay, you understand) awaiting delivery to the Charlton Recycling Centre.
Sharing the garage with the bicycles is a car which says it does “up to” 70 miles to the gallon. (Not all journeys in a constituency 30 miles by 15 can be done on two wheels.) The car was acquired recently and its previous owner was addicted to popular music. He had pretuned the radio to every channel playing top of the pops. It has been possible to add some extra stations – R*d*os 3 and 4, and C*a*s*c FM – but moving between these three involves going through all the other channels, while one’s eyes are focussed on the A303. Surely, I said, it must be possible to eradicate the preset stations that are surplus to requirements, leaving the small number of ones that are essential to my in-car entertainment, including of course Andover Sound. Not so.
Although it has 576 pages, the hand book sheds no light on how stations can be deleted, only how more can be added. (But it does tell me how to clean the seatbelts.) A quick visit to Google revealed that other owners had encountered the same problem, and been unable to delete from their car’s memory the musical tastes of the last owner. The only way to solve the problem, according to the hand book, was to remove the relevant fuse from the fusebox, and start again.
Pages 436 to 446 of the handbook explain how to do this. There are two fuse boxes in the car. One easily accessible under the bonnet; and one less accessible in the passenger’s footwell. Fuse 29 is in the footwell. The fuse box is not on the side of the footwell, but on the underneath of the dashboard. To access it, you have to lie down, resting your head in the footwell, gazing up with the help of a torch. If you are very small, you might be able curl up in the foetal position in the footwell, and proceed; but if you are of conventional dimensions, you have to get a mattress for the lower half of the body outside the car, while the top half is in the car.
Finding the fuse is not easy. And, having found it, removing it is like a dentist removing the pin that holds in place the crown of a tooth. Except the dentist can do this in comfort sitting on a stool. I reached the last line of the instructions. “Remove the fuse with the pull-out tool.” But nowhere are you told where the pull-out tool lives.
So the journey from R*d*o 3 to C*a*s*c FM remains punctuated by 30 seconds of p*p.