For once, this column will contain a piece of genuinely useful advice. I honestly expect to get letters in future from people saying, “Thanks, Eddie – that really helped.” So stay tuned, as we say on the radio.
My story begins, as all good stories do, at the car-rental desk of an airport somewhere in the sunny Med. In my experience, car-rental staff seem sad all the time. Not just a bit down; I mean country-song sad. They’ve shuffled in to work despite their partner running off with their best friend, their dog dying and their TV being locked onto endless repeats of Piers Morgan Tonight. There’s a deadness behind their eyes that puts me in mind of… well, Piers Morgan.
So imagine my delight when my rental-car person deadpanned that I’d been given an upgrade. I never rent anything grander than a class-B car, because I believe all the government advice about it inevitably leading to reliance on class-A cars. On the plus side, I benefit from spending almost nothing on a week’s rental. The downside is, the vehicle is the size of a melon and has a sewing machine for an engine.
“An upgrade? Me?” I trilled, as the rental-car person wept uncontrollably into my paperwork. He scribbled the number of my parking bay on the damp document and handed me the keys bearing the logo of the manufacturer: BMW.
The underground parking garage was gloomier than Jack Dee reading the July weather forecast. It was dark and stiflingly hot, but I found my Beemer, got in the wrong side, then got in the right side and prepared to turn on the air-con and drive off.