A change is as good as a rest they say and with this in mind, we have now changed the racy 2-door blue Alfa Romeo for a reliable red 4 door Volvo (with child seat in rear). It is as it says on the tin. Solid, dependable, Swedish and starts with one of those funny block things. The Alfa was none of those. It was an Italian car, and so was built for the wide open Italian roads, where the sun shines down, and the breeze gently blows and where it bowls along at speed with Volare by Dean Martin on the sound system. What it got instead was rain, snow, slush and potholes you could go caving in.
The Alfa used to express its dissatisfaction by continually going wrong, and informing us in no uncertain terms of how it felt. Every time we set off, a series of crisis alerts came up on the dashboard: Rear left sidelight not working, we were informed. Motor control system failure, we were told. Front headlight not working. And so on and so on. And that was on top of the Possible ice on the road and other potential weather hazards that it felt it had to warn us about. Why it couldn't just come straight out with it and say: I hate this sodding country, I never knew, but over the years we had it, its discontent cost us enough to keep a small African township in food for a year.
The other way the car let us know it was unhappy was via the parking sensor. Every time BH backed it into a parking space, or up the drive, a small squat evil Italian Mama clad in black waved her gnarled finger and shouted: No.. No..NONONONO! Or at least that's what it sounded like. My friend Elissa has a similar problem. Her car is one of those people carriers (she has 3 kids and a dog) and it has parking sensors on all sides. Parking it is like being attacked by a trio of smurf castrati.
A further problem with Elissa's car is the colour: it is metallic silver, like practically every car on the road nowadays which means whenever we go out, we almost always lose it in some multi-storey car park. The time we have wasted going from floor to floor, suddenly locating it, but then realizing at the last minute that it is not hers. We have even resorted to walking up and down pressing the key fob in the vain hope that it will beep and let us know where it is hiding - because honestly, that is what it feels like at times. The conspiracy of cars. I'm sure it exists.
My car on the other hand, is French and so it couldn't give a damn. You can kerb it, or park it askew, or scrape it along something, it just shrugs and goes tant pis. It also has this habit of taking on other cars, especially the 'baby on board' black land cruisers driven (badly) by the blonde yummy mummies who live in my town. I call them Harpies (a portmanteau word for Harpenden Mummies).
These behemoths are completely unsuitable for the narrowish streets that surround my house and my 2CV hates them. Seriously. Whenever we get into a confrontation on a bridge or up a hill, it simply refuses to go into reverse. Just waits, sneering with Gallic insouciance, until the other car is forced to back down. Or up. Nothing I can do, honest.
We are thinking of putting my car up as a candidate in next May's local Town Council elections, on the basis that it has no political affiliations, no loyalties to anybody, knows no developers, you can't bribe it and it does relatively little deliberate harm. Has to be an improvement on what we've currently got. And after all, if Caligula could make his horse a consul, I don't see why my car couldn't be a councillor, do you?
If you'd like to read a sample of my novel Diamonds&Dust A Victorian Murder Mystery, you can do so HERE. US readers can do so HERE
Lovely how we can anthropomorphise cars!!ReplyDelete
When I was in Cambodia I met a tuk tuk driver who did the same with his vehicle - but it was his cow! The story - he'd been a refugee and UNHCR made sure everyone went home with somewhere to live and a cow. Instead of a cow he asked for a tuk tuk, and called it his tuk tuk-cow!
And there's another driver in Varanasi who whirls his arms - trying to get custom by suggesting his tuk tuk is a helicopter.
Tuk tuks in Harpenden ... now there's a thought ...
Oh you take this to a whole new dimension, travelling friend!! I am very impressed!Delete
Carol, you've missed your vocation. You should have been a carmedian!! I've laughed so much over this post! It's just brilliant. I love your 2CV and now feel I don't just want one - I need one. If I can't have gallic insouciance myself, I should definitely have the car that has it. Wonderful. And I know what you mean about Alfas. I had two in SA. They loved it, both of them - until we had a couple of unusually hard winters. The one sat down and never got up again (suspension collapsed) and the other just refused to go at all (engine siezed - oil froze!). I had great fun with them until then, though.ReplyDelete
BH is getting used to the Volvo. I haven't driven it yet, as I don't trust anything that doesn't start with a big ignition key and a lot of revving the accelerator!Delete
I've named every car we've ever had and when we've moved on to a different car, I've shed more tears over the old one's departure than I ever have over any relationship I've discarded! Infact, I don't recall ever crying over the latter...*shrugs*...ReplyDelete
Anyway, cars are far less hassle than people and a lot more accommodating....
Another good post Hedges...
I fail to understand why you do this, seeing as you are the ONLY adult on the planet who does not drive!!! HahahaDelete
It's amazing what we remember about cars. My mother's first car was DKG784, and yet I can't renmember my current car's registration detaiuls. I went out with a girl many, many moons ago who had a car called Pudding. I never dared ask her why!ReplyDelete
Good luck with the male Volvo.
I think BH still hankers after being ''Alfa '' male!!Delete
I am one of those people who fervently believe that all inanimate objects have souls, or at the very least the ability to interact with us, and never in a good way. Some days they have me convinced that whatever is going wrong has to be all my fault!ReplyDelete
My car ( & the Alfa) deffo had souls..... mine still does..... and they HATE most other cars on the road with a passion. The Volvo is more phlegmatic.... so far... though it did have a tiny run in with an idiot on a roundabout this morning.Delete
Well done for getting a Volvo, Carol. My 1988 Volvo 740 estate has never let me down and (so far) passes the MOT. A passing mechanic once raved about that model, said of all the cars he'd handled the old style Volvo was the best ever.ReplyDelete
we only got it coz of the new baby. Daughter said you couldn't get a car seat in the back of a 2 door car..... BH has gone from Alfa male to Volvo man!!! He's still thinking about it!Delete
Don't even MENTION yummy mummies. There's a whole fleet of enormous 4x4's where I live driven by pretty young things (well I assume they're pretty but I can't actually see there heads over the dashboard!) Driving past our local school's a nightmare, littered with metal for well over a mile - and most mums only live 1/2 mile away! Sure fire way to save money at the gym - START WALKING or your kids will get fat as well!ReplyDelete
Exactly the same here. Nightmare. They must clone them....Delete
Love your car. It has my vote!ReplyDelete
I live in the land of yummy mummies! And forget land cruisers, try Hummers! Ridiculous. I'm a Mini driver myself, but have longed for a 2CV since my first trip to Europe in the 80s. They're incredibly rare in Canada and the U.S., although I do see a beaten up red and black one in my neighborhood from time to time. I absolutely love yours. First, Town Council, then, the EU Parliament!ReplyDelete
Thanks. It is rather special. And it knows it! Welcome to the blog! Drop by again.Delete
I am posting as Sis is sobbing with laughter. Her 2CV was Henri and a spiteful old beast who loved HER. Nobody else could drive. Henri would fold his arms and sneer as only an ancient Frenchman can. Even when his engine caught fire, he very considerately did it where she was safe and even made sure she had a picnic blanket in the back to beat out the flames. All our cars have names and the current ex-La Poste van is "Custard" and a real trooper. Love you, Carol.ReplyDelete
you can't beat an obstinate 2CVDelete