Pud and I are delighted to announce that we have finally agreed on a new car! After three painful weekly pilgrimages to the Available Car showroom some twenty odd miles away, we have finally decided on a car that we both like, meets most of my exacting requirements and was almost within budget. Now, I’m not telling you this to brag; I’m really not that interested in cars and up until two weeks ago I had been driving the same fifteen year old Ford Focus around which we bought way back in 2004 when Molly was just a nipper….
….however, a recent unfortunate turn of events involving said car catching fire rather dramatically and very publicly in Beaumont Leys shopping centre car park on a Friday afternoon and subsequently being written off, necessitated the need to start looking for a new one. I won’t bore you with ALL the details of my ill-fated ‘quick trip’ to the shopping centre (those who know me well have already lived through every moment of it so vividly that they have almost suffered from smoke inhalation and post-traumatic stress disorder themselves ) but in summary I will say this:
- Being greeted by the sight of your car with its bonnet crow-barred off and the windscreen smashed so that the firemen can contain the fire, when you’d just popped into the card shop for five minutes can have quite an unexpected effect on a person. Be warned, you might find yourself repeatedly murmuring ‘Jesus Christ, that’s my car’, whilst fretting about what the firemen will think of your spots as you haven’t put any make up on for this quick trip
- If anyone ever offers you hot, sweet tea in the event of an emergency, snap their hand off. I can’t stand the stuff normally but it really does have a calming affect when your mind and body are doing things that you have no control over
- If you ever witness such an unfortunate incident as a car catching fire, may I suggest that you don’t take pictures or film events unfolding for the purposes of ramping up your social media status? Perhaps take that time to see how the victim who is standing there watching you brandishing your phone is doing instead?
- Finally, do get your priorities right – mine was to retrieve Eddy’s Olly Murs cd from the player (I was learning the words for his upcoming show, don’t judge), along with all of my other cds from the glove compartment before the car was towed away (alas, Olly didn’t make it but the rest of my cds did – although they had suffered a liberal dousing and took two days to dry off)
Anyway back to the original story! So, we started looking for a new car. The Available Car website boasts that there are over five thousand cars on-site and I feel like I have looked at every single one thrice over. Now, I don’t see how difficult it can be to select a small, five-door car with a decent sized boot, good visibility, a nice looking dashboard, cheap road tax, biggish glove compartment (for my cds), with an attractive colour and that isn’t shaped liked a space rocket but it turns out I was being a little too selective in my requirements.
Our first trip wasn’t too bad – we took the kids and viewed it more as Sunday afternoon trip out. The kids had a whale of a time sitting in cars, pretending they were driving them but already I was getting the vibes that Pud and I were going to clash over the final decision.
Our second trip was slightly more fraught. Only Pud and I went this time and after wandering around in the pissing down rain for what seemed like an eternity, Pud decided on one that he really liked but I didn’t like it. I chickened out of test driving anything (well, what’s wrong with asking your husband to test drive a car that you will be driving the majority of the time, I say?), telling Pud that he should just go ahead and get the car he wanted. We drove home in silence.
And so we came to our third visit, bringing with it a fair amount of unspoken pressure. We could not return from this trip empty handed – I was sick of searching on-line for cars, I was fed up with skulking around car parks checking cars off against my list of requirements and even the luxury Molten Brown hand products in the showroom toilets were starting to lose their appeal. We were on a mission this time!
This time we almost pounced upon the first car we both liked, quickly dashed up and down the twenty million other rows to eliminate any other cars from our enquiries (there weren’t any, I knew every location of every car and its registration by this point) and before I knew it, I was shitting a brick about test driving this smart new car.
I’ve never test driven a car before. How bad is that? And how silly to be nervous….but I really didn’t want to be that customer that revs the car around the roads in second gear because they can’t get it into any other gear, or worse still, crashes into a shop front because the brakes are so much different to what they’ve been used to previously. And of course I didn’t do any of this. But it did bring back memories of my driving test – I’m just glad I wasn’t asked to do an emergency stop – you never get over that nervous anticipation of waiting for the examiner to slap the dashboard with their exam paper.
And so we finally have a new car (or at least we will have, when we make one last journey to pick it up next week) and hopefully normal service will be resumed in the Pud residence.
Now all I have to worry about is not scratching it when I park it……