Fortunately, one of the chaps who came along for the demonstration spotted my Puma nestling forlornly beneath the trees in the car park, complete with bird-sourced garnish. Taking in the brake dust, the withered-looking window seals and said bird-doings, and muttering disappointed noises as he felt with his hand the frankly crappy nature of the paintwork, he solemnly handed me a packet of bird-dropping wipes. "These'll do for a start, but perhaps you'd like to bring your car over to us at some point, and we can show you what the full range can do."
Now, being a chap who likes the effect of a thoroughly clean car, but not the effort apparently involved, it was all I could do not to bite the poor fellow's hand off.
Now for the science bit
These are a car cleaning fetishist's wet dream, with a 'wet bay' replete with super high-pressure jet wash and a 'dry bay' with an example of every single product line Autoglym makes. And it was in these two bays that I saw Barney (kind of a Yoda figure for apprentice car valeters, only not a wizened, fictional alien) work something akin to magic on the Puma, without much in the way of visible effort.
Other titbits? If you're going to use a clay bar on your car, pop your fingers in the cellophane wrapping of a cigarette packet and run them over the paintwork of the car before and after - the plastic accentuates your sensitivity to the lumps and bumps on the paintwork that the clay removes, and the before-and-after feeling is so much more satisfying.
But, courtesy of Barney's sage advice, I now know I needn't put in too much effort, and since then the Puma has received a quick wash every weekend, followed by either a polish, a quick liquid wax, or a 'high-definition' wax.
Why so much effort on a shed?
All of this might seem borderline obsessive, especially on a car worth - at its absolute best - a grand. But if you're reading this then you don't need me to tell you that, for the likes of us, car ownership is not about logic or pragmatism.
But the ACF-50 corrosion blocker I wrote about in my last report seems to have prevented the rusting arches from significant deterioration over the winter, and I keep telling myself I'll sort out the suspension soon.
In the meantime I can keep myself distracted from the truly pressing issues by keeping AX51 GGA nice and shiny...
Car: 2001 Ford Puma
Run by: Matt Rigby
Bought: June 2011
Purchase price: 1,000
Last month at a glance: Time to get AX51 GGA spruced up with a spring clean - potential suspension issues brushed under carpet