When we moved back from France I sent my beloved Grand Gasguzzler to new life in the sunny climes of Spain where hopefully the slightly less hilly terrain would alleviate the need for a new set of brake pads every six months and with no need for the weekly St Amans dash to catch the school bus, he could enjoy a slower pace of life. This left us without a car. My sister-in-law is disabled and was about to get a new car through the Motability scheme and so she offered to give us her old one, a less than beautiful Renault 19 (Biarritz no less, the posh version) which will shortly celebrate it’s 16th birthday. Thinking that we’d be able to buy something a bit more classy within a few months we accepted her offer. 18 months later the by now renamed Crapmobile is still in residence.
Now, the Crapmobile is not a thing of beauty, having a liberal sprinkling of rust spots, a bit of missing trim and a dent in the passenger door but she is (notice this one is a she) quite honestly, the most reliable car I’ve ever owned. Through the coldest weather she starts on first turn of the key, has never broken down except on the two occasions I’ve left the headlights on but more of that later and the time that the brake pads disintegrated in the middle of the town. While the much newer Discovery pays regular visits to the
, the Crapmobile defies the odds and in the words (almost) of the Spencer Davis Group just keeps on running. She even sailed through her MOT with just a small outlay for a bit of perished piping. Landrover Hospital
She has her foibles. The alarm that alerts you of the fact that you’ve left the headlights on may or may not work. The interior light may or may no illuminate when you open the door. The central locking may or may not lock all the doors, often leaving one rear passenger door unlocked just for good measure. The boot lid may or may not stay up as you load your shopping necessitating either chucking your bags through the rapidly diminishing gap or wearing a crash helmet. Frustrating to some but it sure keeps you on your toes! The heater works eventually but never quite gets hot enough for you to discard the hat, gloves and scarf that are more or less essential wear in the winter months and I’m sure there are plenty of other people who have to use de-icer on the inside of the windscreen (No? Just me then!). As testament to the general…. well…. crappiness of The Crapmobile, The Husband left it parked outside the house with the keys dangling from the driver’s door all weekend and no-one tried to steal it!
The Crapmobile is a constant source of embarrassment to The Boy. He refuses to let me drop him off at school or at parties in The Crapmobile and the look of sheer horror when I hooted and waved at him with his new girlfriend the other day said it all. He actually told her that it must have been a case of mistaken identity because he had NO idea who that strange woman in the old banger was. Whenever he needs picking up he always requests that I bring the Landrover which, despite being not the newest model apparently has more cachet and is socially acceptable.
The Crapmobile’s piece de resistance is undoubtedly the cassette/radio. I like a bit of background music in the car as I drive to work but in common with many if not most of us 21st century earthlings I don’t own a single cassette. Does anybody these days? The local charity shops, usually the source of all those hard to find items like a navel fluff remover or 1970s fondue set complete with different coloured forks, could only offer Matt Munro and Showaddywaddy, neither of which appealed. (Which reminds me. Did I ever tell you about the time I danced on stage with Showaddywaddy? Not my greatest moment!) So that just leaves the radio for my in-car entertainment, unless I bought one of those Ipod thingummyjigs to plug into the cigarette lighter, but then I don’t think it works.
The radio only picks up Radio 1 and BBC Radio Wales – in Welsh – a fact not helped by the fact that The Husband accidentally broke off the aerial when he was washing it. To be fair, every time we wash it another bit falls off. Of the two radio stations, I almost prefer Radio Wales and feel sure I could now converse reasonably well with Blodwen Jones and her sister Myfanwy from llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch on the subject of microwave dinners. Did you know that the colloquial word for microwave, especially in
North Wales is ‘popty ping’? Isn’t that the most wonderful onomatopoeia?
However, my companion on my drive to work is usually Chris Moyles, who is to my day what salt is to open wounds and Vlad was to sharp implements. A smugger, more self-absorbed and quite frankly boring individual I would be hard pressed to find. How is this man worth £600,000 a year and how on earth did he not make it onto my list of slebs I’d like to punch (along with the uber-perky right-on Fearne Cotton)? He broadcasts from a studio somewhere in the bowels of Broadcasting House surrounded by a bunch of sycophantic acolytes. His breakfast show is like eavesdropping on the conversation of a particularly tedious bunch of adolescents and by the time I reach work my voice is usually hoarse from shouting insults at him and my shoulders are so tense that I need a deep tissue massage. I often wonder why I put myself through it but then when the only other option is ‘Da bore chan BBC Radio Cymru’ my options are limited.
I got into the car the other day and reached for the radio. It wouldn’t turn on. Yet another vital part of the Crapmobile bites the dust. I tried again and the plastic surround fell off. It was then that I noticed telltale gouges in the dashboard around the radio and the metal housing into which it is screwed was sporting some fetching crinkly edges. Clearly someone had attempted to steal the radio. Poor, poor buggers!I haven’t laughed so much since my cousin, at the time an undischarged bankrupt, had his identity stolen. It’s so nice to get one up on the casual thief. I’m almost sorry they didn’t steal it. It would be so nice to imagine them fitting it to their own pimped up, spoiler bedecked, gold wheeled, super-dooper sub-woofered 1985 BMW only to discover they’d wasted their time stealing a completely dud radio – unless of course they had an interest in learning the Welsh language.
“Well at least they didn’t steal my new toothbrush” said The Daughter cheerily pointing to it still sitting on the back seat.
To be honest, it was probably more valuable and far more use!
Sadly, our love/hate affair with The Crapmobile is soon to come to an end. The Husband, as part of my birthday present, has bought me an Audi A6 estate, not new but a veritable toddler compared to The Crapmobile. I was due to collect it on Friday but just before we arrived some dingbat reversed into the side of it so it sits awaiting the insurance assessor’s decision on new door or panel beating and the Crapmobile lives to drive another day.
|And here's a far nicer one that ours!|