Life Chez Dee Episode #1: Little Car
My little car didn’t want to start this morning. A funny clicking when I turned the key in the ignition. Was it the starter motor? Was it the battery?
Why is my husband always working away when anything goes wrong with the car or the house? Why is that?
I can’t really complain about my little car. Its been my friend for many years. Its 19 years old; older than William; and has only caused me trouble once before. Exactly the same trouble in fact. I think it’s a flat battery, but it turns out to be the starter motor. Causing a bit of trouble once every 10 years is pretty good I’d say.
How long will it keep going I wonder?
So many people wish I would get rid of it; get a new one. Commenting, implying how we should get a new one. But why should I change the car when I’m not really hung up on new cars. Having a second car is a godsend, particularly when J is away so that I have independence, and convenience. I need a second car, but does it need to be new? and do I need to change something that works perfectly fine? …. Yes there is an irony about writing this post on the day the car won’t start … but I doubt it’s a major issue. The fact remains that it’s reliable, it’s low cost, and it doesn’t do much mileage. It trips around on local errands, to school, to cubs, to music lessons, to the swimming pool … it’s good enough for that.
To be honest I think it will keep going until its body gives up. It’s showing its age. The paintwork isn’t what it used to be. There’s rust in lots of places; it’s been patched up with welding … sometimes two or three days’ worth of welding! to get it through its MOTs. Living near the sea is not good for the bodywork of a car, and it will be the sea air which sends my little car to an early grave I fear.
My Dad has always loved cars. For as long back as I can remember he’s always changed his car frequently … more often than many. Always, trying to get a deal, maybe getting an ex demo, getting all the gadgets. Always a new, or new(ish) car. Always reading the car mags. Always looking around the dealerships. Dealing with the dealers. It probably makes him wince that I still drive around in this little car. Always telling me of various deals which are around; which cars would be good buys; helping my sister when she wants a change of vehicle ….. but we’re not singing from the same hymn sheet about cars … I don’t want a new car … not for those reasons …. I’m satisfied to drive my little, old, battered, familiar, trustworthy (apart from these two occasions) car.
William doesn’t like the car either. No street cred I suppose. But we’re lucky I say. Your Dad has a car from work, and I can drive that too, and we have a second car for when he’s away working. Some people aren’t so lucky; they don’t have two cars; some don’t even have one car. If we didn’t have this, you’d be on shanks’ pony every day for school, come rain or shine I say. And you wouldn’t be able to do all the out of school clubs that you do … the swimming, the music, the scouting, the jazz, the getting lifts home from school when the weather’s not great.
It’s old. It doesn’t have even the standard stuff you’d expect on a new car. We don’t even have three seatbelts in the back. That caused a bit of hassle as the kids were growing up. Giving lifts to friends. Faffing in the back getting the lap belt to fit. Me always insisting that William or Edward sat in the middle and used that seatbelt …. Always making sure that the child we gave the lift to had the proper seatbelt.
Of course other gadgets are missing. There’s no digital radio. There’s no sat nav. There’s not even a cup holder in the front of the car.
The boot doesn’t stay open. The kids hold the boot open for me for fear of it crashing down and knocking me sideways …… yes its happened on numerous occasions. The air con no longer works. Not particularly an issue. It would be useful on those horrid winter wet days when the car has steamed up, but apart from that odd occasion, I haven’t really missed it. We open the windows in summer. Yep, that’s the next thing that the kids don’t like … we don’t have electric windows in the back of the car …. Takes effort winding the window down!!
But it goes (apart from the aforementioned couple of occasions). And it doesn’t cost us much. And its not really doing much mileage.
Its great when its icy … the tyres are thinner than on the company car, and I feel more in control. It feels more trust if I have to pull out of a junction fairly quickly .. I don’t have that worry that the car will be a bit sluggish … but that’s probably more to do with it being a petrol engine rather than a diesel. And its great when I’ve got to negotiate small spaces … like multi story car parks!!
It’s actually really nice to drive. To be honest, I’ve had this little car so long, I feel quite attached to it.
And because it’s been there forever – I’ve relied on it forever – I feel very lost now. Having to call in favours, beg lifts, sort the logistics of taxiing the kids all over the show. It makes me realise the amount of stuff the kids do, and how much we take for granted that little car to ferry us from place to place.
So we will fix you little car … and it’s only a little fixing job that’s needed. And you’ll carry on taking us on all our little journeys and little errands for at least another 10 years …. if your old worn out body will let you.