You been a good ole wagon…but you done broke down

July 6, 2013 at 1:01 am (engineering, jazz, Jim D, song, The blues, tragedy)

My old Ford Focus served me well for about ten years, and if I’m honest I have to say I gave it quite a thrashing one way and the other. A couple of weeks ago it finally expired with much juddering, wheezing and agonized whining. Something called the cam belt, so I’m told. It buggers up your valves: nasty. And expensive. It would have cost more to repair than the car was worth.

Happily (or so I thought), just at that moment my employer was offering a 2007 Mondeo diesel estate for sale at what seemed a very reasonable price, so I snapped it up. Just one week after buying it, the bloody thing has broken down and I had to be towed home in ignominy late on Thursday night . It’s something called the EGR valve and it’ll cost me over £200 to put right.

Bessie Smith, back in 1925, seems to have had similar troubles with an old vehicle: “You Been a Good Ole Wagon … but You Done Broke Down” she sang, presumably about a much loved but knackered Model T. Why this automotive song should be illustrated by a female backside (albeit shapely), I’ve absolutely no idea:


  1. Rosie said,

    £200 for a repair? That would buy you a whole vehicle, as recommended by “one of the world’s 100 most influential scientists and thinkers.”- (according to Time).

    Steven Pinker on Desert Island Discs choosing his luxury:-

    “A carbon-fibre bicycle. Not only would it get me round the island, but bicycles are a triumph of engineering. You’ve got combined the bio-mechanical efficiency of muscle which has been honed by a billion years of evolution with the one thing evolution could not produce, namely a wheel.”

    He and his wife ride a tandem for togetherness.

    (I don’t think you’d get a carbon-fibre, but you would get a reasonably serviceable second hand cycle at that price.)

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Rosie: I already have a bike (‘inherited’ from my son) and am presently using it.

    Pinker was good, wasn’t he?

  3. Rosie said,

    Yeah, he was good. I must get round to reading one of his (many) books. The one on irregular verbs he speaked about sounds interesting.

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