TheUrbanDaddy family has finally acquired a car.
Great Grandma Jane, MsUrbanDaddy’s octogenarian grandmother, has decided that traffic jams and parking restrictions aren’t as much fun as they used to be, and given up her car. Good for her. Not bad for us, either!
So now there’s a 10 year-old Vauxhall Astra sitting outside our flat and for the first time in my life, I’m partly responsible for a car. It’s taking a little getting used to – I’ll walk past the homogenous queue of vehicles parked on our street and suddenly remember that one of them belongs to us, and I should at least check to make sure some drunkard hasn’t keyed it.
It’s pretty easy to live where we live without a car. Contrary to received wisdom, London’s public transport is fantastic, and Londoners who moan about it (there are many) should spend five or ten minutes outside the city walls in places like Milton Keynes, where a lump of coal can be transformed into a diamond in the time it takes for a bus to show up – but I digress.
I’ve realised a couple of things about having a car:
* It’s not as much fun as it is in the movies
At least, not in the movie that used to play in my naïve mind. That screenplay has been re-written: words like ‘sleek’ and ‘torque’ are out, replaced by the slightly more expedient ‘big boot’ and ‘cheap-to-run’. But that’s okay, because –
* I quite like this little movie
Who needs sleek? Okay, a bit of torque would be nice – there’s just enough petrol in my head for matras like ‘accelerate out of trouble’ to hold some sway. Still, if hospital admissions teach us anything, it’s that I’m far more likely to accelerate into trouble than out of it. And with MsUrbanDaddy sat next to me, and the kids strapped in behind, that just ain’t on.
Lucky then, Great Grandma Jane’s little Astra isn’t overburdened with poke. We’ve given it a few tests with drives to the Grandparents – so far so good. Off to the South of France in it next month. Let’s hope that’s a good movie.