This week, Mr. Waffle has needed the car to go to a training course in a distant suburb.Â He comes home every night with personality tests for me.Â You will, I am sure, be fascinated to hear that I am an outgoing consensus seeker who thinks inside the box.
The upshot of this (the absence of car, not the personality) is that the Princess and I have been travelling a lot by public transport this week and she adores it.Â People smile, wave and chat to her.Â There’s the excitement of people getting on and off at every stop. She can’t get enough of it.Â It is a little tiring for me though and it takes us a lot longer to get anywhere, so I think next week it’ll be back to the car.
The car is a 1.4 litre ford focus. Nothing wrong with that really.Â Though it is an American car and we should, I suppose, be supporting the sluggish European economy, although I would point out that the original Mr. Ford was a Cork man (or at least his parents were) but I’m not sure that that counts.
Really, I hanker after a Fiat. Before we got our family car we had a lovely 1.6 litre Bravo and it was full of vim and energy and used to sprint away at traffic lights.Â True, it was not as full of vim and energy as D’s VW Beetle which had a 2.0 litre engine but in my heart of hearts I believed it was nippier.Â When we left for Belgium we sold the Bravo to R; when we were in Ireland last week we visited him and it was a little odd to go round to our house (we lived in his house while he was away trying to bring peace to the Balkans) and see our car parked outside.Â It appeared to have a dent.Â Poor Bravo.
I love Fiats even though my parents always had Fiats when they were a byword for unreliability. My father had a theory that you should keep your car for as long as possible; if you sold it after a year or two then the price dropped hugely vis a vis a new car but only very slowly after that.Â I think we must have had one car for 9 years.Â It would never start in the cold and we had to push it down the hill to start it and, if it didn’t start, we had to phone the AA. I think everyone was grateful when the AA introduced home start and we could just leave the car in the driveway when it wouldn’t start and wait for the nice man to come round and fix it.
Once we had our ancient Fiat in France tugging round a trailor, a tent, 2 adults and 3 children and it sulked and refused to go any further as we were heading for the ferry home. Immense panic. The French sister organisation of the AA came to inspect.Â No joy, the gear box was dead. The car could not do first, it could only be started in second.Â My intrepid mother had them start it and she drove to the ferry stopping nowhere while the rest of us sat numb with fear with our hands over our eyes.Â When we got to the ferryport she stopped at the top of a small hill. We looked at the steeply inclined ramp cars were chugging up to get on the ferry.Â A first gear job.Â We were foiled.Â My mother is never foiled.Â To our intense mortification and grudging admiration, she approached one of the men loading cars.Â She explained our predicament.Â They cleared the gangway and surrounding areas.Â The rest of us pushed the car with the trailor attached and my mother got going and zoomed down the hill and up the ramp at 50kms an hour.
And still I hanker after a Fiat. And if we did get one, it would have to be a people mover, I suppose. And, alas, the Fiat people mover, the Multipla is the only ugly car that Fiat has ever made.Â It’s all tragic really.
on 13 June 2004 at 22:51
Har di har.