Here in the village of Bilbury, on the rocky edge of the wild and windy North Devon coast, a neighbour told me that he had managed to buy some petrol.
This was good news, indeed, for petrol has become as scarce as mare’s nests, hen’s teeth and other things that are scarce or nigh on impossible to find.
“I drove 30 miles to a garage I’d heard about,” he said. “The proprietor only allowed me to buy 15 litres because of the shortages but it was good to get some petrol in the tank,” he said. “I just made it before I ran out.”
“So, 15 litres is what, three gallons?”
“If you say so,” he said. “I’ve never been good at mathematical stuff.”
“So that was a 60 mile round trip,” I pointed out.
He agreed that it was. “Aye, 30 miles there and 30 miles back.”
“And how many miles to the gallon do you get out of your old Jaguar?”
“Oh, around 20 I reckon.”
I think I’ll perhaps buy him a calculator for Christmas.