The very worst thing about hiring cars is that these days you are supposed to magically know how everything works. No nice friendly manuals in the glove box any more. Why?
The man at Hertz said it was because people stole them.
`How am I supposed to know how to open the boot?' I ventured to ask.
He looked surprised, `You just....you know....open it.'
But it wasn't quite that easy and we wrestled with the problem for twenty minutes before stowing our suitcases onto the back seat instead. However, the teenager at the filling station helpfully told me that it was simple - two taps the right of the chrome button then depress to the left.
I felt very foolish that I didn't think of that myself.
I wondered how long it would have taken me to work through all the various flick and press options before I came up with the answer.
The next car hire company were no better. Europcar at Heathrow.
`My car doesn't have a hand brake and there's no manual in the glove box,' I complained.
`Just ask any of the lads wearing a yellow jacket,' I was advised.
`Couldn't I just have a list of basic instructions?' I pleaded, `If people are stealing the manuals couldn't they be replaced with brochures?'
He smiled cheerfully, `You will find Madam that the lads wearing yellow jackets are walking, talking brochures - ask any one of them and they will tell you all you need to know.'
Brian in yellow was indeed a mine of information and it was only when we had successfully navigated our way out of the hire complex and onto the M25 that I realised I should have asked where the windscreen wipers were now located because they sure were not where you would expect them to be. Luckily the shower was brief.