Man who mends cars.


Sometime in the 1970s, a design engineer had the idea of putting a computer in a car. At that instant, an entire breed was sentenced to death and we can expect Man Who Mends Cars to be virtually extinct in the western world by about 2015AD. Then, there will remain only a few isolated individuals within whom will reside the last shreds of knowledge about how to repair cars rather than psychoanalyse them and reconstitute them with plug-in components.

By then, except in Famagusta and at Classic Car rallies, you will never see a Ford Cortina nor any kind of Austin, Morris, Triumph or Hillman. All old-style VW Beetles will have been squashed flat. No Citroen Deux Chevaux will be worth flogging. People will think the Fiat 500 is the Italian share index.

There will be no cars left without fuel-injected air-conditioned sports warranties and three-year ABS alloy airbags. Every car will bong at you to say that you have left the door open, the handbrake is on and you haven’t fastened your belt yet. Equally newsworthily, every car will tell you that it’s cold outside and there are roadworks on the M6. Every car will have more buttons on its radio/CD dooberry than were once considered necessary for the entire dashboards of twenty MG-TCs.

Meanwhile, Man Who Mends Cars looks out onto the road and sees a never changing stream of vehicles which are incomprehensibly complex inside and whose outsides cannot be told one from another. Eventually, the only task within his capabilities will be changing a tyre.

Today, if you want to spot Man Who Mends Cars, you will need to go to a small country town (non-commutable) or the back streets of a poor area of the city. Look for a rusty sign saying National Benzole or Pratt’s Motor Spirit. There, inside a dark cavern with a rectangular hole in the floor, will be a stove burning sump waste. You will see some motor cycles (BSA C15, Ariel Square

Four, Triumph Tiger Cub, Norton Dominator), the bonnet and wheels of a Riley Elf and several wiring harnesses on a hook. In the chaotic area designated ‘office’, there will be a picture of a Jowett Javelin, some horrible items to do with making tea, and a girlie calendar for 1972 provided by RW Grimbagg & Sons (Abrasives) Ltd.

The man himself, in a dark blue over-all, will be sitting on a bentwood chair eating a king prawn jalfraisi, part-payment for a job he did last year on the Taj Mahal owner’s daughter’s Mini Moke.

Related species and varieties

There is also Man Who Helps Man Who Mends Cars.

Several members of this migratory group attach themselves to each specimen of the main variety. They take it in turns to stand around watching while drinking tea.

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Golden words by Gordon Thorburn

Some copies of the book still available but why buy it when you can see it right here in tasty bite sized chunks.

Proper Doctor


Isolated examples may survive in remote parts of Scotland.

One of the strangest varieties of all, Proper Doctor only existed in one sex and did not have adolescent stages (vide Goat Woman). Proper Doctor simply appeared as an adult male aged 45 with his Gladstone bag already battered. In daylight, he would often wear plus-fours and a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches (vide Schoolmaster). If he came to see you at night, he would be dressed in black tie and dinner jacket.

Proper Doctor’s role was one of reassurance and confidence building. He was not familiar with the panoply of new drugs and tended to believe that illness should be carefully watched but allowed to run its course, with a little doctoral steering and an aspirin. He looked after his own health with Player’s Navy Cut (ready rubbed) and regular doses of Highland Park, or Laphroig if he was feeling coldy.

When he went to the shop in the morning for his newspaper, mints and matches, any locals in front of him would step aside deferentially. At the lodge and the golf club he was well liked and referred to as Doc.

At the age of 65 he would retire to a country cottage, having rarely interfered drastically with anyone’s life although he would have been greatly appreciated at the beginnings and the ends.

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Some missing persons…


I did a book. It took some time.
I did not write it myself, in fact I wrote none of the golden words therein.
They are all hand crafted by writer Gordon Thorburn

I had a hand in the idea, and I did all the drawings.

I’m going to let you take a look at it from these pages over the next few weeks and,like a lot of drawings , they sometimes work better with words.
In this particular case they look lost without them.

Mr Thorburn is responsible for a lot of words over the years, including a book about sheds.
Men and Sheds was a great success and is available still on Amazon, or good local bookshops.

Our book is about people, people who we think have gone astray, or are now simply extinct.
We remember them with some fondness.

If you want a copy of the book there are 30 left from the print run and am happy to part with them for a  mere £10-00 plus massive postal and packing charges.

Read on!



Who’s next for extinction?

The types of people you saw every day only thirty years ago, are going missing. Due to aggressive, often imported competitors, cultural and material changes to habitats, shrinking feeding grounds and breaks in the reproductive chain, their fate is sealed.

Some may continue to eke out a secret existence in pathetically reduced circumstances. Some may stoutly resist and rebel, but in vain.

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The ghastly truth and whose fault is it?

Our book describes those types of homo sapiens which flourished in the Age of Common Sense, when bottles of milk had cream on the top.

In those golden days, the term Marketing meant going daily to the butcher’s, the baker’s and the greengrocer’s; Accountancy meant keeping the score; Political Correctness meant voting for the Conservative Party; and Technology was a fountain pen which didn’t leak when you flew in a Vickers Viscount.

Since these four Forces of the Apocalypse have taken over, the world has gone mad and the casualties have become unsustainable.

Secondly, in case you, gentle reader, may yourself belong to a threatened strand of humanity, our book suggests ways of Coping Today, in the Age of Nonsense where inferior substitutes cost more than the real thing and the Second Division is called the Championship. Our pointers and parables will bolster your struggle against absorption.

So, brace up. You don’t have to wear a baseball cap. You need never get Digital VD. You can eat butter. You can have funerals rather than Cremation and Interment Solutions. But for how long? Alas and lack a day, it is already too late for some.




Look out for our first missing person next week.

Leaf blower man returns…

leafblowerWe live in a town which is blessed by many trees, many large trees with lots of leaves.

They are starting to drop and collect in the road. The local council will be clearing these leaves and have recently started to do so, first with the advance ‘guard’ of leaf blower man.Fully kitted out with what appears to be and sounds like a small motorbike on his back, he advances down the road blowing the leaves from his manufactured wind, into the road. Off the pavement and into the road. This is so that he can be followed by leaf collector man in his fancy leaf collecting truck complete with round brushes and large capacity to hold the offending detritus.

But there’s a gap.

Leaf collecting truck follows leaf blower man only after an interval of a few days. This means that natural wind sends the leaves back onto the pavement away from leaf collecting truck.

It also means that the leaves in the road get ‘moshed’ ( technical term meaning: broken up into quite fine particles of leaves )

This ‘mosh’ jams leaf collecting truck at regular intervals, leaving leaf collecting man not knowing quite what to do.

In days of yore, when these trees did the same.The council sent around a gang of men with brushes, who would sweep the leaves up, put them into the back of a truck to be taken away for composting. They spent no money on small motorbike-like attachments, and no money on fancy leaf collecting trucks with round brushes that jam at the sight of ‘mosh’.

It was quieter and better.


Hanging pictures and a great day out.


All the effort of the past months that my wife, Elisabeth Le Vierge has put into creating some really super paintings has come to fruition in an exhibition with other talented artists at the Garron Centre in beautiful Herefordshire.

The centre is taking part in h-Art and Elisabeth is one of the guest artists.She’s been working on these for quite a while and it was great to travel to such a lovely part of the country to hang them in this brilliant venue.She’s exhibiting with quite a number of other artists at the centre and it’s on until this coming Sunday. It’s a great mix of talents and the work is varied and ( unlike my cartoons! ) colourful.


I’ve had visits to this site in the past few weeks from Canada, the USA and a number of South American countries. Now some of you people out there might never ever have heard of Herefordshire, but believe me it is, when the sun shines and at this time of the year, one of the most beautiful places in the UK.

The exhibition on at the Garron Centre is actually attached to a small church in the middle of this rural hamlet which is spread out over quite a few miles. One would be forgiven for thinking that no-one would come to see art in an area like this, but the reverse is true.The people of Herefordshire seem to like their art and flock into the centre.


Take a look at her website for more info on her work.