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You've moved abroad, taken the plunge and unless you're as nimble on your feet as Mo Farah you're going to need a car to get around - but be careful what you buy.  I wasn't and my car hates me.

I know, I know, that sounds a little dramatic and yes, I've seen them as well, the images on TV of happy smiling drivers having perfect slow motion relationships with their cars on cloudless days - picnicking in the countryside or laughing with glasses of Merlot a the race track with their sparkling four wheeled companion - but that's not me, that's not us.  Not me and Sven.

​Car Trouble

That might have been the beginning of it, the day I started calling him Sven.  He immediately and quite obviously took offence. He’s German you see, all tight lines and firm coils.  I believe he thinks that Sven is, well, too Scandinavian for him.  He hates being associated with those oh, so liberal Swedes and Norwegian types.  I found some scribbles of his a couple of weekends ago and I can tell you there were some none too complimentary notes like “SAAB = Something An Ass Buys” (only written in German).  His attitude is getting worse.  Now he’s writing scathing comments about me on the garage wall and then paints over them before I can show them to any of my friends.  That’s passive-aggressive behavior if you ask me.

He’s always trying to make me look bad – it’s because he thinks I’m his inferior.  Of course, he looks down his nose at everyone – you should hear his sneering Germanic tones as he mocks the lawn mower and the snow blower.  Something about two-stroke engines, German precision engineering and the Third Reich.  That last bit is worrying us all.  And he’s so boring with it – I tell you, I no longer take him out to dinner or garden parties.  I’ve also stopped doing that because he has a drinking problem. Every time I get pulled over for his over-indulgence (I’m so sick of hearing him say “von for za road, yah”) he acts all innocent and says things under his breath to the policeman like “Don’t be fooled by za mint breath, yah” or “zere is eina severed head in za trunk yah.”

Recently his behavior has taken a serious turn for the worse.  He now believes he is a reincarnation of Himmler or Mengele or Himgele as he calls himself.  When I called him on it and, in no uncertain terms, told him how unacceptable his antics were he started a dirty protest whereby every morning I’d find he’d smeared his own excrement on the garage walls and yes, you’ve guessed it, washed it off and painted again before I could get the neighborhood watch representative to come over and take a look.

​I’m seriously concerned that he’s going to blitzkrieg the Schmagels at number 72 and I know a couple of days ago he invaded the garage next door and tried to make the Renault set up a Vichy government.  Luckily the Renault rallied the support of the local Range Rover and Chevrolet and they forced Sven home again.  He’s also taken to repainting himself as a brownshirt and I’ve distinctly heard his old gramaphone playing the massed Gestapo choir’s rendition of Silent Night and although I’m not sure where he got the fabric, I do know that his home-made swastika flag flying on my front porch did startle the paper boy. Am I being paranoid?  I don’t think so.  I know for a fact, but can’t prove it, that he’s held secret meetings with the Alfa Romeo down the street, but I’ve heard that Alfa isn’t sure what side to join.

​I don’t think I have any real choice but to sell him.  God knows I’ve warned him enough times.  There should be honesty in advertising so a couple of days ago I put a sign up on the garage that said “Crap smearing, Nazi-loving, foul-mouthed, arrogant  drunk for sale.”

​The neighborhood watch man called and said he’d like to talk to me.  It can’t be about my sign because that’s long since been painted over.