Let’s get one thing clear from the get-go. I’m not really a car person. I don’t have long held dreams of driving a red MG or a Porsche. For year cars to me were all about practicality … which pretty much explains why I’ve spent the majority of the past 17 years in a range of somewhat ordinary never-new, always-second-hand vehicles.
My first car was a zippy little second-hand hatchback. I loved that car. Sure it had no air-con. Sure it had no power steering but it had a cassette deck (perfect for my Bananarama tapes!). That car caused me no problems other than the disappointed faces of primary school kids who (because I am an author) always seemed to expect me to drive up in a Rolls Royce for some reason.
My next car was a 12-year-old, second-hand sedan. I hated that car. It had no decent stereo. No CD player. And a busted air-con unit. Plus it was incredibly high maintenance. Seriously, it was one level up from something Fred Flintstone would drive. Put it this way, I took to calling that car “Meg Ryan” since they ended up having the same amount of work done to them.
And then – just a few years ago – I bought my first new car. A new car! Trust me, if you’ve never had a new car before it’s a big deal. We ordered it just a month before our first baby was born. So it was obvious what our priorities would be: air con and power steering, air bags and excellent safety standards (obviously), a big boot to fit our luggage for those spontaneous trips away we planned to take with our car-loving (sleeps-through-the-night, incredibly attractive) baby; a bike-rack (the fact we didn’t have bikes was irrelevant … I could see us being one of those cute Scandinavian looking families riding along a path near a river on bikes with a baby seat. And a basket. And thin thighs). What else? An iPod thingy, tinted windows, and handy compartments for sunnies, change, CDs and maps (to show me where all those bike paths near rivers were actually located).
And then our baby arrived. And my car became a rusk graveyard. Three years on and it looks as though it has been overtaken by a horde of angry toddler squatters (who have a penchant for Wiggles tunes).