Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Kingswood Car-Washers

The other week The Local Character and I got to talking, I forget by what conversational route, about Bristol Zoo. The Zoo is small but perfectly formed and sits in Clifton, which is the nicest but most expensive area of Bristol. The LC was waxing wistful about Clifton (he and I live in east Bristol, which is less nice but cheaper).

“It’s lovely just to be up there sometimes,” he said, from on top of his horse. “Sometimes Oi wish I’d moved up that way. Oi had the chance I suppose, years ago. Could of bought up there. But Oi didn’t, Oi bought in Kingswood. That’s the way it goes though, you make these decisions in loife.”

“The buildings are so nice in Clifton,” I observed. “You’ve got the college overlooking the zoo there...”

“Yeeeeaaaass, but it’s not just that. Everyone’s more, I don’t know, laid back. It’s not so… Well, you don’t see everyone out washing their bloody cars on a Sunday.”

Contempt, pity, great despair, these were all conveyed by that “washing their bloody cars”, for the two classes of Kingswood car-washer (Mondeo drivers and chav boy racers), and for humanity in general. Sadness and bleak laughter too, at life’s arbitrary twists. This was a new side to the Local Character.

“At least we can always go and visit Clifton,” I said quickly, for I could see him sagging in his saddle.

8 comments:

Gaw said...

Could it be that the Cliftonians are merely richer, and so able to afford to go to the car wash, rather than more bohemian?

I don't think I've ever seen a car being washed in Islington (of any description). But that's because we have teams of Kosovans and Kurds ready on every other street corner to wash and valet your car for you, and for less than a tenner.

malty said...

The nut brown, wizened old man stabled his horse in the half-hipped oak beamed stable, dried it down and patted it's head said goodnight and walked out into the sun drenched evening. He glanced through the open doors of the purpose built garage housing the Enzo and the Robinson helcopter and seeing his wife said, 'you know m'dear, I keep bumping into this young guy in the lanes, nice feller, I'm not sure what he makes of me though,'

Brit said...

Has it been you all along, Malty?

Willard said...

Can you ask him for me: what day of the week he washes his horse?

Sophie King said...

When I was at school in Bristol Clifton was the place to hang out (illicitly, of course)and meet boys. There was a cool record store called Focus which reeked of marijuana and endless hippyish shops selling desirable tat. I haven't been back for many years but I do know that it was certainly the place to live if you could afford it. All the other inner 'burbs - Henleaze, Redland etc. just didn't have the same raffish sophistication and appeal.

malty said...

Brit, if on your next encounter, the codger is lying in the road corpse like will you photograph him for us, we can then indulge in another guess the stiff contest.

David said...

Somehow I get the impression that car washes fill an entirely different hole in American culture.

Brit said...

Gaw - the homeowners are too rich and the renters are too bohemian. And Sophie, the village is very sloaney these days, Montpelier, Bishopston, Horfield is where it's at. If you're cool like me.