That unmistakable old car smell, if I could bottle that scent and spray it over everything I own I would. That mix of petrol, oil, leather and a hint of old man all in one. If I haven’t driven her for a while, sometimes I just stand in the shed, throw my head back and suck in that beautiful sweet smell, like a creepo with a fresh pair of knickers. Our garage is connected to the house, after a long drive the smell seeps into the corridor. Knowing visitors often comment ‘mmmmm, ya can smell ya car’ yeah…they get it.
The petrol smell is predominant. Most likely because there’s a slow leak in the fuel tank which I haven’t got around to fixing yet, yes I’m a procrastinator from way back. It reminds me of when mum used to let us fill up her car at the petrol station. I secretly loved the smell of my petrol stained hands afterwards. I would rub them on my clothes like a dog rolling in ten dead things, it would linger on me for the rest of the day. When I was 12, I took mum’s handkerchief from the glove box and drizzled the dregs of the petrol on it, so I could take the smell to school with me. Perhaps I would have done better academically had I not killed so many brain cells sniffing toxic chemicals throughout grade six.
The oil reminds me of when dad would come home from work – pre teenage angst years – when I would run and hug him ‘Dad’s home!’ His overalls smelt like tangy metal and hard labour.
The old man smell, what would a Valiant be without a hint of that? I’m not talking about old man shit the bed kinda thing, I mean classic Grandpa smell. Old Spice, lanolin, wood fire and fresh combed in brill cream.
That Valiant smell, it’s the Hiroshima bomb of nostalgia.
Another bomb went off in my life recently….the ‘V word’ bomb. Dare I say it…the Vegan bomb. If I could of ran from it, I would have…but it was inevitable, I was always going to be at ground zero. What started off as a ‘eating less red meat’ health journey, ended with me becoming fully vegan. I’ll save the in’s and out’s of that journey for another time.
So, where does this leave me and the Valiant? What…a vegan driving a Valiant!? Outrageous! Such a contradiction…it uses more petrol and oil, is bad for the environment and has leather seats!!!!! Calm down darling’s, there’s a lot that’s conflicting for me now, even big contradictions I battle with, like feeding my cat meat. I think about everything now with a whole new perspective, yes… even including the leather seats. I’m no hippie, I was raised hunting, killing and eating meat. I once shot a bird out of pure boredom because I couldn’t find anything else to kill. I’ve gutted hundreds of rabbits and fish. I’ve felt nothing while watching foxes trying to gnaw off their own paws to get out of a rabbit trap. Thank god I educated myself, I promise you, I’m a different person now.
How things have changed…now I’m a vegan, now I think about shit like ‘is this animal skin I’m sitting on?’ or ‘cute shoes I wonder what they’re made of?’ and don’t even get me started on food. It shits me sometimes, but once you make that connection, once you open your eyes, once the penny has dropped, you can’t turn it off, even if you want to. I was pretty miserable at the start of my big change, I felt like I had to hide and even deleted my social media. It’s a big thing to take on considering what I used to be like. But now, fuck it, I’m embracing the change and am so happy and passionate to share it with everyone!
So, onwards with this Vegan life! I’ve said goodbye to meat, dairy, eggs and all animal products….but I’ll never give up my 67 Valiant, Ruby. From stories of my past to new ventures with Ruby, join me as I delve into this lifestyle.