In response to a massive outpouring of national concern – well, one email, a letter without a stamp on it and a brick through my window – yes, I did get home safely behind the wheel of my magnificent Rover Sterling. It was, however, a fantastically exciting, though nerve-wracking, experience.
Obviously collecting it from a dealer meant that the fuel gauge glowed red immediately. Luckily I was prepared for that, and brought a carefully topped up can of petrol. Any other problems would face the wrath of the roll of gaffer tape, the bite of my spanners and a poke of my Phillips and flathead screwdrivers.
It always pays to be prepared, even if you would struggle to actually deal with any real emergency. Over the years I’ve come to learn that the drive to the safety and security of the home or garage has always been the longest.
You listen for rattles, creaks, minor explosions and ominous grinding sounds. The Rover did all that and more, but I soon got used to it. In fact, over the years I’ve only had one disaster strewn 48 hours, where fuel pumps and gearboxes conspired to leave me stranded repeatedly in rush hour traffic.
Oh, and then there was the time when Mrs R tailgated an Austin Sprite I was in to stop me being stopped by the police. It didn’t work. The tax disc had slid off of the condensation soaked windscreen and - for the first and last time in my life - I used the ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ excuse. It worked because he was a petrol head and I had a copy of the magazine with my mugshot in it. That distracted him enough that he also failed to spot the snipped wiring.