The misfuelling prevention device

It’s not the three hours lost while the misfuel is sorted

It’s not the three hours lost while the misfuel is sorted

It’s missing the ferry to France for our holiday!

He reckoned that his car was not up to the trip to France so he visited a car hire operator and hired an estate car that could hold the four of us in comfort and all our luggage. It was pointed out to him at the time that it was a diesel vehicle and he claimed that would be easy to remember as there is a diesel sticker on the inside of the fuel flap.

“Let’s drive to the south of France,” he said. “It will be an experience for the children,” he said. At the time, that seemed like a great idea. We’ve been to Britanny before and driven in the family car, which takes petrol. Having said that, it is a saloon and this diesel estate car is much more practical.

Now, however the experience is turning into a nightmare rather than an experience and we haven’t even left Britain. I can’t believe he didn’t remember that the hire car is a diesel vehicle! His excuse for putting in petrol by mistake, a ‘misfuel’ he calls it, is pathetic. Worrying about driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. He’s done it before. although not as far and in our car rather than a hire car. He should have thought of that, however, before deciding to drive to the Cote D’Azur.

I’d have been happy camping in Cornwall, a ‘staycation’ it’s called, supporting Britain and the economy and lots of clotted cream teas. We would not have had to drive so far. He would not have hired a diesel car and, instead of being stuck at the docks we would be barrelling our way down the A30 in our family car.

Now, the children are fractious, my holiday hair-do has been ruined by the wind and rain and the hire car has been taken away so that some chaps can drain the tank and we have to hang about and hope to board another ferry. Three hours those chaps said. I’ll believe that when they turn up. Then there’s the money we have to pay them, and that’ll come out of our holiday fund.

Did he really not notice the ‘Diesel’ sticker when he opened the fuel flap and removed the filler cap? I mean, there was a sticker there. Maybe it should have been bigger and then he would not have misfuelled. Having said that, the man at the car hire place said something like “no petrol, only diesel”, said it as if it was a slogan. I’ve never heard the phrase misfuel before. He used the word as if he was familiar with it. [Tow Truck...] That being so, he must know people who also use it and that suggests they have misfuelled too. I wonder how misfuel is spelt? Also, misfuelling must be a common practice, being as those guys didn’t seem surprised by what had happened. In fact, they were all prepared to drain the petrol – I wonder what they will do with it? I also wonder how wonder what will happen to the contents of the car as it has been towed away with its front end in the air. The children’s sweets and games will have gone everywhere!

I give up, I really do. And if he thinks I’m going to map read when, eventually, we do get across the Channel, he’s got another thing coming. Why is it taking so long for him to find out about the next available ferry? It will be getting dark by the time we’ve got the diesel estate back and sailed to France. He’ll want to get a few miles under his belt when we land before stopping for the night. And, given how he drives on those French motorways, I wonder how long it will be before we have to fill up again. I had better stand with him at the fuel pump to make sure that he uses the right nozzle and doesn’t put petrol in the diesel tank again. Actually, I don’t know the French word for diesel, which makes me pretty sure that he doesn’t know the French word for diesel either. Tom, Tom, stop arguing with your brother. You do French at school, so please tell me, what’s the French for diesel? What do you mean, you don’t know? We’re supposedly sending you to a good school. Oh that’s helpful to know, Monsieur Bertillon has a white dog, thanks for that, great.

Ah, here he comes. At least it looks as if he’s bought some coffees, I am dying for a drink. It’s how long until we can get another ferry? Not until tomorrow morning? Why can’t we sail on the one in two hours? Oh, because we won’t have the diesel back by then. You know, it’s not the three hours while the fuel is sorted that I find really annoying. It’s you being so calm about the whole misfuelling incident. It’s costing us a lot of money and you said one of the benefits of a diesel car was that we would save money because of the fuel economy.

Also, we’re missing the ferry to France for our holiday. Look they’re preparing to set sail. If we don’t make the crossing until tomorrow we’ve effectively lost a day in France. Incidentally, who do you know who has put petrol into a diesel car? I’m asking because you used the word ‘misfuel’ which makes it seem as if you know about it. I’ve not heard the term before, so tell me. What, you remembered it from reading about it in a motoring article in August 2005? Why have you not used it since? OK, fair enough, we haven’t had a diesel car for you to misfuel. Pity you didn’t remember that the car was diesel as readily as you remembered the word misfuel. That reminds me, do you know the French for diesel? Oh right, gazole.