I like driving in my car…

My new one, that is.

Myold car, however, had other ideas. A couple of years ago, I had the good fortune to pick up this car for a very good price. Second hand, but it could do 50mg easily, road tax was £30pa and the insurance was in the £900pa region. I know – fantastic, right? And it was, flitting me from Brum to Coventry and back on a daily basis for a year without so much as a hiccup.

Well, not till near the end of that year, when I put it in for a pre-MOT service and MOT in a nearby garage. To my good luck, the guy who worked on it was a member of the church I attended. He noticed a bit of oil leakage when he went to do the service – a crucial giblet had come loose and vanished. Apparently I was lucky to have got as far as the garage without the car dying on me. Note, the car was running perfectly: no alarm bells, warning lights, unexplained clankings, etc. On recounting the tale to others, I got the stink-eye and comments that the garage – and my friend – were trying to diddle me, but given that they replace the part and the missing oil for around a tenner, they would make very poor con artists indeed.

After this, the car began acting up big time. Warning lights blinked on for no apparent reason. I was out money for checks on these warnings, computer resets, and two replacements of the whole warning light system. In addition, it started going through oil like nobody’s business, but – get this – the oil warning light never flickered. It was the ONLY light that didn’t. I got used to driving with a Christmas display winking and flashing on the dashboard, and throwing oil in every couple of weeks. The driving was still okay, reliable and whatnot. Just the lights and the oil.

When I moved back to the wilds of Ireland, the drive began to suck. Sudden episodes of no power when I’d try to overtake (essential here in Tractorville) and occasional scary crunching in the gear changes no matter how much oil I put in it. Then on the way to its next MOT, the car died out at a crossroads and refused to start. The engine had blown. Got a new engine, problems all solved, continued the oil applications, then a couple of weeks ago there were a few wheezy moments on the lane, and the following morning she wouldn’t start and the Christmas display was back. I’m pretty sure it’s the battery, but can’t get anyone to come and confirm it. My mechanic is predicting doom and gloom, and another engine.

At this point the superior economy of the beast is being eaten away by the massive repair costs. Last week, my lovely brothers, the Axe Murderer and the Rock God, got on the case. They tracked down and bought me a new (to me) car. Aren’t they lovely boys? It’s a XUV (hatchback that thinks it’s a 4×4), supposedly extremely reliable, 12 years old but gently used. The insurance is £400, it needs the full £135 road tax, and the mpg is 40 at best, but if it lives up to its bulletproof reputation I can deal with it. And it’s sufficiently unusual – and RED! – that I will be less likely to lose it in the supermarket carpark. Which, ye know, happens. And just did, last time I was there.

And it’s red! my favourite colour! With a sunroof, which will be SO useful. The wheelbase is high enough that I can see over hedges (life skill here), and the steering is considerably lighter, which is easier on my arm. The only downside is that the driver side window won’t open, so I can’t go cruisin’ with my elbow out, admiring all the … scenery…

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