Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 05.02.05
Quebec City


In which Our Hero spring-cleans his car after a long winter

Ah spring, a time of renewal. A time for shaking off the fading grip of winter, for airing out the house. A time for cleaning the car.

I don't know about you but I don't get around to cleaning out the inside of the car much when the temperature falls below zero.

So for about four months the accumulated detritus of a frozen existence piles up on the floor around me.

To cap it off I smoke a pipe which means between December and April my windows gradually become opaque.

So this week I trundled out to the parking lot armed with a pail of soapy water, a bottle of Windex, two rolls of paper towels, a stiff brush, and a container of Armour All wiper cloths.

I started on the floor.

It never ceases to amaze me, no matter how careful I am, how the salt designed to free our roads of ice ends up on the floor of my car.

Here it converts from a dampish mixture of sodium chloride and sand to cement.

I'm sure there are adobe cottages in New Mexico of a softer texture.

I tried vacuuming first.

This proved to be about as useful as attempting to clean the Great Pyramid at Giza with a Swiffer duster.

Next came the soapy water.

By the time the level of the water had reached my ankles the salt had spread nicely, giving the charcoal-hued mat a new and exciting grey sheen.

It took an entire roll of bounty to sop up the excess dampness and, despite the advertisements to the contrary, they do shred.

Back to the vacuum.

On the plus side, while crawling around on my hands and knees I found two golf tees, an empty sandwich bag, a bottle cap, twelve cents in change and what looked to be a button that went missing In early February.

I also realized - once again - that automobiles are not designed to be cleaned. At least not by anyone of normal height.

To get at the corners, where everything seems to collect, I had to assume the same position the guy in the Cercle du soleil takes when he stuffs himself Into the two foot square Plexiglas box.

The windows were another matter.

The sides were easy. All It took was a full bottle of Windex and two more rolls of paper towels.

The front window, on the other hand, took another circus move.

By sprawling backwards across the driver's seat and rolling precisely forty-five degrees I could just manage to wave my hand sideways enough to smear the Windex into what I may say was a rather artful pattern.

This way, if I tilt my head slightly downward, I now have a relatively clear six-inch patch that doesn't cause too much of a reflection in the morning sun.

The whole thing only took an hour and a half and I must say it was worth the effort.

I'm just glad I don't own a van.