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We have bought a car

August 8, 2013

We have a new car. It’s blue and it’s a Saab, and that’s about as much as I know. My husband and his brother spent the better part of an hour yesterday texting each other with the various specifications of their cars, and betting who would win in a race. Rather worryingly for two white men hovering at the brink of 40, they were trash-talking each other into which particular sections of the A1 around Peterborough would see the one whipping the other’s ass. (“For pinks.”)

Hmm, watching a BMW estate (with kiddie seats in the back) and an eight year old Saab doing doughnuts around the various industrial sites of the Fens does not sound like my idea of a good night out – Thunder Road this most definitely is not.

Ben has been pestering for a new car for approximately a year. True, the old car’s front windows no longer worked, and the sunroof needed a particularly energetic thump to whir it into action. True, we’ve had the hottest and most prolonged heatwave in seven years this summer. Granted, filling up the radiator from a two-litre coke Zero bottle isn’t the most entertaining activity one could be doing at 6.30 every morning– but the car was FREE, for heaven’s sake (from a  very nice man in France), and the savings we’ve been steadily stacking up this year were originally earmarked on a very detailed spreadsheet I take out and look at longingly every few days under the tab ‘Holiday to India’, a trip we were supposed to take last March when Ben hit his 40th birthday. It’s meant to be spent on tuk-tuks and aloo gobi, not tax and AA roadside recovery.

Yet a car is what we have bought, after many long and detailed discussions about the merits of automatic versus manual gearboxes, and the benefit of diesel over petrol. We have ended up with a diesel, which strikes fear and anxiety into my heart as (should I ever get occasion to drive the car, which is frankly unlikely for the next six months at least), I just KNOW I’ll be the one to inadvertently destroy the engine by filling it half full of unleaded when I absent-mindedly choose the wrong pump. I’ve never had a diesel. Never used the black pump. Don’t understand the difference. Don’t want to.

Nor do I understand why I must put the car in reverse before I can take the key out. This seems to me particularly stupid, especially as it makes the importance of knowing how long the car is (by at least the nearest foot) doubly necessary, as I will of course start the engine in gear and thus charge into walls, possibly small children, or more likely the cat.

The cat hasn’t quite understood we have a new car yet. He has always been in the habit of greeting us when we get home, winding his way around our legs in the carpark, sniffing whatever we’re carrying in the unlikely event it might be a treat for him.  I can only assume he is able to do this by listening out for the sound of our car as we return – unless he does actually just loiter around the carpark for hours on end whilst we are gone, which makes me feel a bit guilty. He doesn’t recognise the sound of the Saab yet, and is still listening out for the rhythmic thump of the Honda’s knackered suspension, and the tell-tale squawk of the passenger doors as we fling them open upon arrival to gasp for air. Instead we catch him unawares on the roof of the boat, busy licking his ‘nads, with absolutely no idea we’ve arrived. He misses the backfiring. So do I, a bit.

The cream leather upholstery is lovely, although the in-laws’ dog and Ben’s white-van-man predilection for empty Mars bottles and crisp packets will soon put paid to that, and it even has a cup holder. Just one, but that’s an improvement on the Honda. It has air conditioning, heated seats (I like to put them both on at the same time to get that ‘peed your pants in a wind tunnel’ feeling), and a Bluetooth device that means we can listen to Dr Hook and Elkie Brooks, in stereo, direct from Ben’s phone through the car’s impressive sound system – instead of just from Ben’s phone. I must put some CDs in the car.

If I ever get the chance to drive the vehicle, I will tell you all about it – its handling, its torque, its BHP and MPG and OMG – but for now I shall happily remain a passenger, taking pleasure in the whimsical smile on my husband’s face as he fiddles with the cruise control, and sets new records for the human body’s ability to withstand sub-zero air conditioning temperatures – because he can, to make up for all the sweltering breezeless days of the past. My ‘Holiday to India’ fund will start anew (I have been promised the proceeds from the Honda can go towards that), and for now we’ll content ourselves with the fact we can at least go out for a curry without the very real possibility that we’ll be bump-starting the car on the way home, or regretting our choice of cuisine the next day when the breeze from the back windows fails to circulate the air sufficiently.

Anyone want to buy a Honda?

From → Blog

One Comment
  1. Sue Davies permalink

    Made me laugh.

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