Snow joke

January 24, 2007

Minibishes with snowmanI’d taken a day’s leave from work today to go with BishWife and look for a new car, so of course for the first time in years it snowed overnight. This made for a delightful morning, as the MiniBishes were out building a snowman before breakfast, and the walk to school was full of snowball fights. I can’t remember the last time we were able to do that, and indeed so unusual was it that the school let the children out straight after the register was taken to make the most of it before it thawed. Useful for MiniBish2 as her topic this term is “Fire and Ice”.

Be that as it may, I can tell you that such conditions are far from ideal for trudging around used car dealers, since they all seem to hold their stock out in the open. In the event, we only test drove one car (a Renault Scenic) and that deluged me with freezing water from the roof every time we took a left hand bend. We didn’t buy that one and predictably ended the day with no real idea of what we actually want. It’s either an MPV (Vauxhall Zafira?), a mini-MPV (Renault Scenic/Citroen Xsara), a hatchback (Ford Mondeo?), and estate (Volvo V40?) or maybe a smaller car (Ford Focus?). Upshot was that we’ve booked the trusty Primera in for an MOT test as it looks like we won’t be changing it by the end of the month.

And why is it that I feel so insecure buying a car? I suppose it’s such a big purchase and we do it so rarely that it is always an anxious time. And with all the folklore about unscrupulous dealers and cut ‘n’ shut cars I feel that they are all laying in wait for me with a forecourt full of overpriced lemons, secretly sneering as I bumble about failing to spot the one good car in amongst the dross. I’m soft too, and they know it. Here’s a place we are meant to haggle over every penny of the price, get mats thrown in, a new radio, part-exchange, new tyres; outstare the dealer and shame him into giving it away. I’m totally useless at that game and I’m always going to feel afterwards that I could and should have got a better deal. Do I worry too much?

Anyway, we spent a good amount of time standing in freezing puddles and I suppose we’re a little bit further forward, but I do long for those carefree younger days when I would cheerfully just go out and buy a car and not worry about being a mug. Speaking of which…

I’m sure one can tell a great deal about something or other from the car history of a person, so here’s mine. Please note the pictures are all links to external sites and I can’t vouch for their safety, but hover over the link and you should (eventually) get a little preview.

  • TVR 3000M: Mad first car. 3-litre sports coupe in silver: kill or cure. Overturned it eventually on the A272 near Cowfold, doing quite a modest speed. I still have the owners manual somewhere as a souvenir. Shouldn’t have been allowed. It terrifies me to think of the MiniBishes wanting such a thing as their first car. Pictures here.
  • Ford Granada Estate: At this time I was running a mobile disco with a couple of friends and we needed the carrying capacity. 2.8-litre battleship with automatic transmission. Dark metallic blue. My boss at the time, Stuart Box, said of it that it was big enough to have a game of snooker in the back and slow enough not to disturb the players. Picture here.
  • Citroen Visa: BishWife’s parents gave us this one when they replaced their own. Idiosyncratic little thing, tiny engine, styled like a skip, bright red with grey plastic lumps fore and aft. Eventually died of a broken spline drive (whatever that is). Great pictures and riveting text here.
  • Citroen AX: 1.1-litre two-door hatchback. Nice little runabout, about the size and shape of a roller skate. Black (Nightlife special edition. Oh yes.) We were happy together in a an ego-less kind of way, but MiniBish1 had turned up and MiniBish2 was on the way. Two doors wouldn’t cut it. Pictures here.
  • Nissan Primera: 2-litre SLX hatchback, bright red, with a spoiler on the boot lid. Phew. Cavernous boot, boundless reliability, effortless power, damp carpets. Nearly twenty years old now though and bits are starting to fall off. Needs more TLC than I have time to give it. Shame. Pictures of something like it here.

So what does that tell you about me and my life story? And what’s your own list?


One Response to “Snow joke”

  1. […] 24th, 2007 In pursuit of the replacement car, we last week test drove a Skoda Fabia Estate from the garage round the corner. It must be in with […]

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