Driving in a winter wonderland

| 13 Dec 2012

I know winter is properly here because this morning I had to scrape the ice from the inside of the Scimitar’s windscreen as well as the outside.

Easier said than done and the result is a dashtop that looks like it has a very bad case of dandruff until the ice flakes then melt and disappear through the heater vents and into the dash wiring.

Fortunately the GTE has a decent heater. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a decent blower, so unless you are moving fast enough to utilise the macho-named RAM AIR function, you are faced with an impossible task: trying to defrost/demist the windscreen with a quantity of air-flow that could easily be outdone by trying to exhale through your ears.

I’ve never tried that and it’s probably impossible, but I have a feeling that it would generate more huff than the Scimitar blower does.

Then there’s the rear 'screen that, fortunately, has an electric demister. Unfortunately it doesn’t work, but that’s okay – if I open one of the side windows then the resultant air flow will clear the rear ‘screen… in about 35 minutes.

Of course, being minus five degrees though, I couldn’t get the electric windows to operate, so that theory was useless. All this of course only occurred once I’d spent several minutes crouched down by the side of the car, ‘huffing’ on the door lock and trying to de-ice it through the power of breath.

Of course then I had to try and actually start the car. I should probably go and buy another battery – one with better cold cranking power, or replace/add even more earth leads to give it a fighting chance, but the GTE is always rubbish at spinning over unless it’s shorts and flip-flops weather.

I have a jump pack of course and that will get it going a bit quicker, but once it’s running it will just stall the moment I take my foot off the throttle so I can’t go and disconnect the power pack and get on my way because the damn auto-choke won’t actually help me out until the car is warmed up by which time I’ve woken the rest of the house up and created a smog blanket that extends over the whole estate.

And by estate, I don’t mean the ‘lower field, duck pond and gate house’ type of place. I’m not that posh, or posh at all. I went to a state school, don’t have a brother called Tarquin and I have a Mum rather than a Mama.

So, push pedal to reset the choke. Pump, pump, pump, pump. Turn key. Chug chug chug chug. Pause. Chug chug chug chug. Pause. Pump, pump. Chug chug, splutter. It’s going to go. Chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug. Pause. Chug, fire. Stall. Chug, chug, fire. Success. Reverse out of drive, realise I’m about to hit the van parked on the road because I can’t see out of my iced up rear window, hit the brakes and the engine dies again. Swear profusely and profanely.

Of course, 15 minutes down the road I’m going fast enough to use RAM AIR (which has to be said in some superhero movie voice) and the front windscreen is almost clear and the heat is definitely reaching my toes. Success. By the time I’ve completed the 50-odd miles and am pulling into the office car park, nearly all of the glass is clear and I’ve actually had to open a window slightly to let some of that hot air out.

Compare this to the bloke next door. Gets into his new Volvo estate. Turns it on. It starts straight away. Like a pilot preparing for take off he flicks an array of switches: front demist, rear demist, heated wing mirrors, seat warmer, and in the time it’s taken him to peruse his appointments diary, he’s clear to pull out of the driveway and be on his way.

Coffee in the cup holder and blanket in the boot just in case the weather turns worse. Of course, he’s slightly earlier than he’s supposed to be, but some git in a 38-year-old car woke him up trying to get it started at 6.30am.

And would I change any of this? You must be joking. Wouldn’t life be boring?