Tuesday, 12 February 2013

More Bumbly Clergy - it's the wrong fuel Grommit

Having transferred into a new (Army) regiment I was quite surprised at the number of people who thought I'd find it funny to be teased about the difference between petrol and diesel. I kept getting asked which fuel my car ran on and whether I got the people in the garage to fill it for me, perhaps it was the wife who did it and other (not that) funny comments.

This came to a head when I decided to use a firm's vehicle to pop down to Salisbury Plain to visit some of the guys training out in the area.

Now I am used to the many comments about officers and map-reading (and usually point out that rank comes with the officer's uniform whereas, as a Padre, I have had to work for mine and with that comes the ability to read a map and call down fire from on high!) but I have to be honest, when I visited the MT Officer (AKA Mickey Moto) I was just tiring a little regarding POL (Petrol, Oil and Lubricants) and my lecture on the difference. So finally I asked what it was all about and found it had become a standing joke that clerics, especially those in the army, were notoriously bad at putting the wrong stuff in the vehicles.

And then they told me the tale:

"The year before I transferred in to the regiment the unit's Padre had been issued a fleet (hire) car so that he could join the regiment out on an exercise. All went well at the start for the vehicle was delivered to his door with a full tank. The problem came when he decided to stop for a brew on route and fill the vehicle up. The reason for this being that even though the hire company had provided a black fuel cap and kindly printed the word 'DIESEL' below the filler hole, our cleric inserted a green nozzle into the hole and pumped it full of unleaded!

Realising his error (having filled the thing) he contacted the MT guys who called the fleet hire company who called a 'wrong fuel recovery'; man who'd come and emptied the tank and then filled it with diesel. Suitably chastened our hero continues on his way and, having reached his destination, he complies with the regulations that say all vehicles should be left fully filled once the destination is reached. 

And of course he fills it with stuff from the green nozzle again!

This time the local MT staff contact the fleet hire firm who advise them that they need to use the AA (or something like them) to assist this time as the vehicle (being in a non-English setting) is outside of the area the 'wrong fuel recovery' people cover. And so this is what they do and it's not long before the situation is remedied (and the Queen is a few quid lighter in her exchequer).

At the end of the training our heroic Padre jumps into his vehicle and heads for home, stopping at some stage to have another brew and fill the care with unleaded! WHAT - AGAIN? I hear you say.

And the answer is 'Yes indeedy folks' he's manage to make it the wrong fuel for the third time (perhaps he was Trinitarian) and once again, being back in range, the 'wrong fuel recovery' man comes and visits him and remedies the problem.

And the next time he wanted a car they still gave him one, along with a fair amount of stick, and a driver ;-)

As for me - I ended up using my Land Rover in the end as it meant I didn't need a driver once I hit the training area - told you I could read maps :-)

1 comment:

UKViewer said...

Padre's can inadvertently be the cause of mirth, one particular Padre on joining his unit, went on exercise with them to Germany.

Driving his own Landie, he had a good time, apart from the occasion when arriving at a German Barracks asked for directions to the Officers Mess.

Straight on Padre and turn left at the top of the road were the directions given. Being fairly obedient, he did 'exactly' that.

Only to turn left and drive straight down a set of steps to the Officers Mess garden.

The following year, going on exercise, I was detailed to share driving with him. We had a great two weeks debating God he from the perspective of the 'saved' and I at that time from the perspective of an agnostic.

In retrospect, I can mark that time as a seminal one for my journey back to faith - he sparked an interest, so that when the Road to Damascus moment arrived, I was receptive and too was saved.

And, of course, now, some 12 years later I still chuckle over the episode of the landie and the steps.