Rose Royce

Every now and then I get the notion to wash my car by hand. However as it doesn’t happen very often that equates to taking it to one of those DIY car washes with the high pressure hose and soapy brush (ohhh I do like a soapy brush!) option.

So that was how I found myself, a couple of Sundays ago, pulling into a local garage forecourt with just such a machine. My pockets were heavy with old pound coins as I aligned the car, got out and wandered round to the machine. It’s pretty straightforward, a slot for the coins and various buttons to choose but I knew what I wanted! A nice soapy brush before a damn good high pressure hosing.

OK, that sounds a little overtly sexual. It’s really not. Honest. It’s more that I find any kind of manual labour quite satisfying in that weird way that those of us who spend their day at a desk working on a computer tend to, right? Right?? Anyway, I digress.

I plonked a couple of coins in the machine and pushed the soapy brush option and spent a few minutes scrubbing away. Despite not seeing much water coming through (a blockage perhaps?) I could easily see the dirt shifting and figured I’d blast it all off with the high pressure hose anyway, that’s the fun bit!

Beep beep beep, went the machine.

I put the rather disappointingly flaccid brush back in its holder, pushed some more coins in the slot and firmly grabbed the ridged handled of the high pressure hose. It struck me that perhaps I was projecting a little as I waved it around at crotch height and, given that I was in public, maybe I should grow up and finish washing my car…

So chastened, I started to hose the car down and watched as the soap that the brush must’ve deposited on the car started to foam up. By the time the machine beeped again the car was still covered in foam, so I popped another couple of quid into the machine so I could rinse the car off properly and get that wonderful sense of satisfaction as the sun catches on freshly scrubbed rims.

Back round the car I went with the high pressure hose, but to my bemusement, the foam was not abating! What the what?!

Beep beep beep, went the machine.


I looked at the car, watched the foam drip off the wing mirrors and slide down the windscreen. I cursed the brush for its inefficiency. It didn’t reply. I cursed myself for not just taking the car through a Car Wash. I cursed the foam as it dripped onto my shoe. I did reply but only in my head.

Reaching into my pocket I pulled out the last two pound coins, popped them in the machine and reached over to push the high pressure hose button one last time.

It was only then I spotted that there were two buttons with the little high pressure hose symbol next to them, differentiated with a little symbol next to each. One was of water, the other of bubbles…