Mildred my poor little Mini is not long for this world. After 299,800 km she has finally decided she has more or less, had enough. The main problem with Mildred is, (apart from the exhaust being held in place with a strong wire) she keeps overheating and throwing huge clouds of steam up in the air., much like an Italian waving their hands in the air. Personally I think Mildred is just attention seeking, because I can drive 60km or further and the car behaves, however sometimes when I stop the car, Mildred vomits her coolant all over the floor and throws clouds of steam into the air.
Mildred is pretty good at choosing the right time to make an exhibition of herself. Last month I stopped at the toll booth on the motorway near Turin, just as I handed the money to the man in his little box… Mildred decided to show off. Plumes and I mean plumes of smoke cascaded from under her bonnet. The guy in the box looked a little worried and quickly raised the barrier. I hit the accelerator and with a scream of the fan belt (wet from the steam) Mildred pulled away. I watched as the temperature gauge slowly dropped back to its normal position.
This month, Mildred saved me from close scrutiny by the Carabinieri (military police), I was on my way home when the Carabinieri stopped me to do a document check. This is quite normal, I get stopped every month or so. If I am in a good mood I give them my Italian ID card, if not, I hand over my UK passport and let them figure out the information. This particular day I was happy, until I saw the men with their red lollypop sticks.
This time it was the Carabinieri (military police) who had decided to stop me I had just handed over my UK passport when Mildred, coughed, farted and vomited her coolant all over the road, followed by the inevitable plumes of steam. The police were understandably concerned, I smiled, accepted my passport back and said “è normale, non preoccuparti” (Its normal don’t be worried) and drove away. Wisely the Carabinieri had decided not to do a full document check.
So unfortunately, MIldred is to be pensioned off, she will probably go to the great car breakers in the sky. A good friend of mine, Miss Cinders, (so named because she has to be home before ten o’clock in the evening, thanks to the Italian Covid regulations) is not impressed that I am giving up on Mildred, she keeps hinting that Mildred is a lovely car and I should keep her. Hmm!
Dear readers, please don’t tell Mildred her days are numbered, or she might decided to barf her coolant out when I am in the middle of nowhere and please don’t tell Miss Cinders I am considering keeping Mildred and restoring her to her former glory, because Miss Cinders might decide I have to spend my summer stripping the engine down, replacing the exhaust, interior head-liner and God knows what else needs changing and to be honest I would much rather be sitting by the pool drinking martini cocktails than working under a car during the summer, no matter how much I love Mildred.