Refuelled my Car (5th October 2009)

For the first time ever, I drove my car to a petrol station. I made two rookie errors, nearly got lost on the way and was rather nervous throughout. But my car is now fully refuelled.

Nearly Got Lost

Decided to take a somewhat scenic route and turn right when exiting Fleet Railway Station. Drove to the 2nd roundabout and turned left, onto the long road which winds its way through the labyrinthine Elvatham Heath.

This road has numerous roundabouts. In fact, it feels like the road has unnumerable roundabouts. At some of these, you have to make either a right or left turn rather than going straight on. Therefore I assert a successful navigation through this estate is non-trivial.

Having said that, I did manage to guess my way through the whole lot. So maybe there is some sort of visionary logic. Some sort of subtle affordance which directs one towards the common routes. Maybe the trees in the roundabaout are trained to lean a certain way. Or the side roads have an minutely different width or kerb style to the main road.

Or maybe I just got lucky, of course.

Error 1: Fuel Pump Must be on Left

The rear fuel pump on the left side of the right bank had just become available, so I:

  1. idled up to it;
  2. stopped the car;
  3. turned off the engine;
  4. opened the fuel flap;
  5. got out;
  6. took the pump from its holder;
  7. walked towards the rear of the car;
  8. and quickly realised the opening was on the other side of the car.


So I returned the pump to its holder, got into my car and carefully reversed back to the queue. Whilst feeling very self-concious about how visible all this was.

There was a car pulling away from the front fuel pump on the right side of the left bank. When that car left I rolled forwards to the front set of pumps. This permitted another car to pull in behind me.

Feeling proud of my cleverly courteous correction, I got out and approached the fuel pump with a modicum of confidence. After realising I had to press a button to reset the previous refueller’s activity, the process was quite straightforwards and entirely clean.

Precisely £40 of fuel resulted on my car being completely full. The pump had not cut out. The fuel guage was in the final quarter before this, IIRC.

Error 2: Keys Must Not be Dropped While Paying

Replacing the pump into its holder was a little fiddly as this hose had a strong effect on how the pump moves. After accounting for this I got it in on the 2nd try.

  1. Screwed the fuel pipe lid back on.
  2. Closed and locked the fuel hatch.
  3. Returned to the car and grabbed my wallet.
  4. Locked my car as I walked towards the garage building.
  5. Entered and joined the short queue by the tills.

Whilst retrieving my card from the reader, I dropped my keys. Being unfamiliar with the payment process I’d be entering, I left them there several seconds whilst waiting for the receipt to finish printing.

In retrospect, picking them up was probably a higher priority and more efficient than this. Keeping hold of them in the first would have been optimal, of course!

Exit Right

Returned to my car and made sure to exit swiftly, having remembered a stand-up comedy routine which complained about people dithering about during this final phase of the activity.

Whilst stopped at junctions and then on the driveway at home, I could hear the fuel sloshing around the tank. Hadn’t noticed this sound for many years, possibly in a Ford Escort of my dad’s.

Mission Complete!

All in all, another rite of passage passed quite satisfactorily first time. Yay me!