(or giggly Monday, exhilarating Tuesday)
Be warned. This post will let you in on some of my darkest secrets; my dark side. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
- When I was younger I was a boy racer. I slowed up and starting thinking slightly more carefully about my driving around the time I became pregnant with Child no. 1. I even did my Advanced Test. But perhaps it’s a case of once a boy racer always, at heart, a boy racer.
- I’m a closet white van or truck driver. As Rebecka at Enterprise said yesterday when I picked up a Jeep, that feeling of being higher up and of ‘my car will squash yours’ is rather a good one… I think the feeling is even better in something more stable and sturdy than a white van (or minibus – I’ve driven both), as I like performance and style as well as being higher up and bigger.
- I am dying to try out off-roading. I always fancied being a rally driver.
- I’ve fallen in love again. It happened yesterday.
I thought my boy racer days were over. I thought I was far more bothered about fuel economy and carrying my children and lots of clutter around than what a car looked like, or drove like. But I’ve never quite got over the fact that I like the feeling of acceleration and of power, and I like a car with good road-holding. I was incredibly proud of the fact that when I did a race day at Castle Coombe circuit, the instructor wrote ‘egscellent’ on my assessment form (he was a racing driver, not a literary genius).
My first dream car was my Peugeot 205 GTi. When I had some spare money and a secure job and decent salary, I didn’t buy a flat: I bought my dream car. I sold it 4 years later after a lot of fun and when I decided to chuck in the secure job and decent salary to go abroad to work as a holiday rep. where I drove all sorts of things – including a minibus into a snow drift.
Eventually, having come back home, I climbed – or perhaps jumped would be more accurate – up the career ladder, springing from job to job: without wanting to sound big-headed, it felt at times as if I only needed to apply for a more senior job to get it. I ended up at British Waterways, where I got a company car: and chose a Golf TDi. We weren’t allowed the GT TDi, but I loved my TDi. It was the perfect car for a (then) free and single triathlete – it had plenty of get up and go and also room for my bike in the boot.
As a holiday rep. I drove minibuses and that iconic first ever (?) people carrier, the Renault Espace, carting client’s luggage all over France. I raced a friend up and down a winding mountain road in the south of France, both of us quite often bare-footed and overtaking more nervous drivers who were probably new to the area, or only visited once a year. When my sister came to stay she shut her eyes and prayed while I went zooming up and down mountain roads, a sheer drop to one side or the other.
I have always loved trying out different cars; I still have a yen to be a presenter on a car TV programme such as Top Gear (I could be the ‘mature mother’ who assesses cars for safety, sturdiness and child-carrying capabilities…).
But perhaps the vehicle I have enjoyed driving the most in recent months is a friend’s Isuzu Trooper. It’s that being high up and feeling powerful thing again. So imagine how I felt when, having had my Volvo towed away for repairs yesterday, I was picked up in a Vauxhall Corsa by Enterprise rent-a-car.
It had been an increasingly Giggly Monday. Having yelled at Alex as he almost missed the school bus, the day got better. I went to see the waves crashing against the harbour wall at lunchtime; chatted to Adriana on the train; found I had the same friendly breakdown guy to pick up the car as I had before Christmas when it broke down; and then had a great chat with Rebecka, a Geordie girl who works at Enterprise.
She promised me the Corsa wasn’t the car I was getting but that I’d definitely get an estate car. As I was only due a hire car for a few days while mine was being repaired I wasn’t too fussed – all I needed was something to get me to Whitehaven for work, or at the very least the railway station.
When I got a Jeep Renegade any thoughts of getting the train to work in the morning vanished. For a few days I was going to have my own jeep! Immediately my brain spun into overdrive… could I drive cross country all the way to Whitehaven in the morning? Where could I take it off road? Could I perhaps not go to work at all but just spend all day driving around on off road routes?
I did of course go to work. On the way there’s a field where some work is being carried out – I nearly drove up to the workmen to ask if I could try the Renegade out there. Then I suddenly noticed that the bypass between Distington and Whitehaven has nothing to stop you driving on the verge… could I slam the jeep into 4WD mode and just try out the verge? I didn’t quite dare but I have the vehicle for a couple more days yet (please, let my car need LOTS of work done to it…) so I haven’t given up hope of finding an off-roading opportunity. Or perhaps it might snow…
I love the big wing mirrors and the wide windscreen. I like the fact that it tells me which direction I’m heading in; the 6 gears; the fact that it doesn’t bleep madly at me when I’m reversing. I’m looking forward to discovering all its (apparently) thoughtful storage compartments. I’m not sure about the parking brake; and I’m not fussed about SatNat, which is for idiots who are too stupid to read maps – though having said that I would love a SatNat system which got really upset when you didn’t go where it told you to. And I don’t like the fact that there’s no CD player. But otherwise I’m well on the way to having a bit of a crush on this car – or at least on the idea of having a small SUV. I’ve even started looking up reviews, fuel consumption, prices…
So, do I go for a vehicle which is sensible and practical with good fuel consumption which will last a long time… or something rather more exciting… well, life’s short isn’t it… and the Jeep Renegade advertisement is tempting:
|We’ve all got a renegade within us. A maverick spark, a bit of us that wants to cross the line, not toe it.|
David’s the calm, sensible parent – so I don’t have to be. I remember years ago a friend saying, about a guy I was in love with at the time, that despite his seeming to be a ‘bad boy’, I was the one who was probably going to lead the children astray more… but perhaps that’s to flatter myself too much. I’m really quite normal and sensible…