For most people, the seriousness of a Life Decision is about as welcome as an irreparable crack to a car windscreen when your insurance is only Third Party. In our household, debating whether to use the coffee percolator or the espresso machine constitutes a Life Decision (I know. Who do we think we are?), which means Husband and I make them often and everywhere. Some examples:
Should we go vegetarian? Again.
Answer: Yes. Until Husband eats chicken at work and his carnivorous ways return faster than a lion eats a wildebeast. Again.
Location: Sainsbury’s vegetable aisle, every week
What should I draw this time – a rhino or a chimpanzee?
Answer: First one, then the other.
Location: table in our house, each time I finish a drawing.
Should Husband use the Ralgex on his knee even thought it’s 7 months out of date?
Answer: Yes. So far he’s fine.
Location: bathroom, most nights after football.
On the sofa with no tunes playing isn’t usual. Nor is speaking in tones similar to those used to answer the phone pre-90s when no one had mobiles. These were pretty serious circumstances by our standards. It seems discussing Car Ownership does that.
If our piece-of-shit 2002 Ford Focus were an animal, it would be taken on a one-way trip to the vet and given the gift of mercy. Y’know that unwelcome cracked windscreen I mentioned earlier? Well, I should more accurately have referred to it as a £650 repair. Which we are not undertaking.
Flying road debris was responsible, just hours before our MoT expired. Given that last year we had to get the car welded together in order for it to pass, Lord only knows what fresh hell this year’s would guarantee. Certainly a replacement windscreen. And headlamp. And new alternator diodes (we have to charge the battery each week). And one of the tyres (which has been slowly releasing air for longer than I’ve been breathing). And the stereo has a faulty connection so cuts out when driving on cobbles (our street is cobbled).
So why has this kaleidoscope of mechanical misery been allowed to limp through the streets of our great nation’s capital for the last 4 years?
That’s exactly what we were asking ourselves. My love of driving alas was no longer reason enough, and being held to ransom by our motorised shopping-trolley must no longer be the status quo. The end of the road was nigh. There are no stock car grounds near our gaff, and since Husband vetoed my suggestion that we ditch it on a housing estate and watch the vandals go wild with Buckfast and a gas cannister, the scrap merchant it is.
This isn’t the first time we’ve called in the modern-day Steptoe. Our first car was a blue Rover 200 “affectionately” known as The Rambler, and given to us by Husband’s late granny. This thing perished when its gasket blew on the motorway in the middle of the night, and I was forced to coax it home at 15 miles per hour whilst it screamed its head off and woke most of the city. Two days later some dodgers from the scrap yard came to ours, gave us 60 quid in used bank notes (they were robbed!) and carried The Rambler to Valhalla (Carhalla? Sorry.) on the back of their flat-bed truck.
The End for the Focus will be no different, though happily we’re being paid a 3-figure sum, so that’ll take the edge off feeling guilty for not being sad.
In fact, it’s the start of a beautiful thing. The environment won’t have to deal with our exhaust fumes. Winnie won’t have to deal with her rage at being locked in a cat box whilst Blue gets run of the
death trap motor. Blue won’t have the extra pressure of being my co-pilot whilst avoiding police detection (I’ve deliberately never looked into the legality of having a cat running around in the car whilst driving). Husband won’t have to deal with his blood pressure every time the car develops (yet another) ailment. And the citizens of this fair isle won’t have to deal with my intimidating and aggressive confident and assertive driving style. Plus, the car’s departure will see house prices in the area sky-rocket.
So next week I’ll be considering what, if anything, I’ll be Registered Keeper of next. Something with no windscreen or MoT requirement. A horse perhaps, or a tank. Or maybe just a membership to City Car Club.