One of our cars has died. That sounds really grand doesn’t it (‘one of our cars’)? But it’s vital to have a car each, I wish it were different, but if you can’t drive in Mallorca you are well and truly stuck. The public transport is just not up to it, particularly when you live in a little village. It wasn’t even our car to be honest, we’d borrowed it (sorry Tony). But now we are back to being a one car family, and everything seems much further away.
We’re not short of offers of other cars, but they all share similar characteristics: either they are wrecks, and about to break down, or they’re too dear and we can’t afford them. Both scenarios involve large chunks of cash up front. Rock and hard place. What to do?
Ollie has toyed with the idea of getting a scooter, but that’s no good for school runs or transporting photography equipment, or two hairy dogs around in the rain. There’s also my romantic ‘owning a convertible’ dream to work through. How wonderful, driving in the sunshine with the hood down, something funky on the stereo, arm leaning on the wound-down window, taking in the view of the mountains whilst driving to a secluded restaurant for a spot of lunch. Well, I did say it was a dream.
In our real world my ideal (and actual) car is a kind of ‘grown up’ van: easy to clean, more or less indestructible and with enough capacity to take all the gear: work and kid stuff, that I need to function on a daily basis. Thankfully, the mummy mobile, the Kangoo, fulfils those needs. But Ollie (Formula One fan and wannabe boy racer) has other ideas, but has never had a chance to get a car he would really like to drive.
I’ve got to admit, I don’t know much about cars. I know how to drive one, but despite appreciating clever car commercials on the TV (primary coloured paint splashing on a car – remember the ad, no clue what the car is), I couldn’t recognise one brand from the other: I am an ad man’s nightmare. ‘We could get a new one’, I suggest to Ollie, ‘perhaps on a finance deal?’ A light appears in his eyes, and all of a sudden Jeremy Clarkson’s columns are being consulted for ‘best performing small car’. Many conversations are held with other boys about torque and something called ‘down force’. But even Ollie is a realist in the end, and there’s a trip planned this week to see what the dealers have in Palma. All I can offer is my opinion on the colour and whether the radio is easy to operate, and how far the housekeeping money is going to stretch… let’s hope it’s far enough for my Jenson Button to get what he deserves.
(first published 1.9.10)