It’s that time of year again. No, not Christmas. By today, the mere mention of the word will be making me hyperventilate.
What I mean is, this is the month when my car turns green.
I don’t mean eco-fuel or battery power.
I’m talking about mould, or maybe it’s algae. Never mind the technical terms, basically it’s slime.
It’s what happens when you never clean your car.
Friends are always mystified why someone with a fairly paranoid dislike of dirt is prepared to drive around in something that looks like it’s been dredged up from the bottom of a pond.
I can’t really understand it either.
I don’t scurry round the house pursuing every speck of dust – but when it settles, it bothers me, even if I’m too busy (or lazy) to do anything about it.
When everyone fell about laughing at Thora Hird in Last of the Summer Wine putting down newspaper for her oil-smeared husband to walk on, I was thinking “what a good idea”.
Now every chimney sweep, plumber or electrician venturing through our door will find the floor carpeted in last week’s news to guard against soot, floods, or brick dust.
And I know this is bizarre, but as much as I like watching tennis, I’m put off the French Open because I hate the way the clay leaves red stains on the players’ socks and trainers.
So why am I happy with a car that, inside and out, is a tip?
I sense the disapproval when passengers find themselves up to their knees in old car park tickets thanks to my recycling system – flick the old one off the dashboard and replace it with the new one ... quick, easy and efficient.
I used to feel a bit bad about it. Way back, I would get round to giving the paintwork a rub down with a bucket of water once a year.
But that faded away after I realised leaving it out in the rain had roughly the same effect.
And driving fast through a big puddle is a great way of getting the mud off your wheels.
I have no idea how to operate a car wash. I suppose I could go to one of those places where they do it for you, but can’t really see the point.
Also, I think I know why every other car on the road is now silver ... since I got one, I’ve realised it’s the absolute best colour for not showing the dirt.
But winter is a challenge, even for that.
As the days get shorter, and the air turns dank and cold, the green slime spreads.
My last car even had lichen growing around the windows. It was a little eco-system all of its own.
I half expected it to be declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and was gutted when it got stolen.
This one isn’t quite there yet. But give it a year or so, and the great crested newts could be moving in.
Once I would admit to laziness. But now I go on the offensive.
We’re always told not to waste water – even when we’ve had two months’ rainfall in a day. So not chucking gallons over the car is my way of helping.
Surely it has to be better than the other suggestion of not flushing the loo every time. Now that really is revolting.