MY friend Don was telling me how his daughter, Julie, and her family had recently spent a few days in their old (but until now reliable) camper van at Scarborough.

On the final day of their stay they couldn't get the van to start. After making sure they had petrol and had no obvious faults they contacted the recovery services.

The repair man duly arrived and after his inspection said it wasn't possible to repair it at that time and the best he could offer was to arrange a tow to York with an expected cost of £150.

They phoned the old-time mechanic who maintains the vehicle and explained their predicament and he immediately offered a possible answer to the problem.

Directing them over the phone they gave one of the parts a sharp knock with a blunt instrument. Surprise, surprise, the van started first time and ran all the way back to York with no problem.

With all this reliance we put on modern diagnostics in cars and every day items nowadays, it's nice that old-fashioned knowledge and experience can still come tops.

D M Deamer Penley's Grove Street, Monkgate, York.