When you know every AA patrolman in north Lancashire by name then it’s probably time to scrap your old banger and buy a new car.
To be fair, our knackered old (make and model of car redacted in anticipation of costly legal action) has broken down in some very picturesque spots over the past few weeks, allowing us half an hour or so to appreciate the natural beauty of our countryside until the very nice man in a big yellow truck got us going again.
But the bloody thing has also flatly refused to start in some God forsaken places as well, and the last straw came in a supermarket car park last week as a big bag of frozen food thawed rapidly in the boot.
Like every AA patrolman I’ve ever met (and I’ve met quite a few in the last few weeks) he was the model of professionalism and courtesy. But he’s not a miracle worker and even though he got it started, the car cut out twice on the way home and that, I’m afraid, was that.
My kids think I’m Basil Fawlty anyway, but I just about managed to control the urge to give it a damn good thrashing with a branch.
So, new car then. Some people like buying them. Personally I find the whole process about as uncomfortable and invasive as a prostate examination (insert your own joke about having your pants pulled down and getting shafted). Like most of us, I know as much about cold fusion reactors as I do about cars. Fill it up with petrol, turn the key and go. That’s all you need to know, right?
In my mind’s eye, whenever I walk into a dealership I imagine car salesmen saying “Thank you, God”. They could tell me anything and I’d believe it. “Yeah, runs on fairy dust mate. Owned by a nun from new who thought driving was a sin so she only ever drove it here six times a year to get serviced, etc.”
Anyway, after trawling around a few garages and pootling around in a few motors on test drives one just spoke to me, and the boss who’d come along for moral support. Come on fellas, any purchase over a certain amount needs your wife’s stamp of approval and you know it.
Don’t believe me? Try bringing home a pair of £1,000 loudspeakers and let me know how long you’ll be sleeping in the spare room.