Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Back when I was a lad and it was all fields around here, I was a died-in-the-wool petrolhead. Although most of my weekly adrenaline fix was delivered by lairy motorbikes, I also had a penchant for ‘entertaining’ cars too. My garage ran, at various points, from classic convertibles to battered landrovers to the ubiquitous hot hatches of the 80s & 90s. I even owned a Second World War tank recovery truck for a few hours at one point. They were all hugely impractical, often dangerous (at least in my hands), and immensely fun.
As time moved on and baggy jeans & hightops were replaced by business suits and briefcases, my rides became less fun. MPG became more important than MPH, insurance groups more important than power-to-weight ratios and a succession of cars were bought more for reasons of practicality and economic prudence than entertainment value. The advent of The Boy Wonder meant that Cubic Metres in the load area outranked Cubic Centimetres in the engine. All this culminated in my first (and probably only) company car being a Volvo V70. It shifted small children and large children and boxes of safety boots and me and Mrs A all over the shop in great comfort, but it would never be described as ‘exciting’.
All that changed earlier in the year when I decided to get a job that just needed me to transport myself and a briefcase to the office most days. Encouraged by Mrs A*, back in the spring I bought a car that would have had my teenage self hopping from foot to foot with delight. I bought a 2 seater convertible.
It’s been a hoot through spring, summer and autumn. My 40 mile round trip to the office has been brilliant, careening through the backroads of Leicestershire with the roof down on a warm summer evening is just ace. It even has a ‘Sport’ button on the dashboard, the main function of which appears to be the scaring of shite out of the driver, passenger and oncoming traffic. Lovely.
Yesterday morning however, it snowed.
As I pulled off the drive to go to work and headed down to the main road things were looking bad. Every time I went anywhere near the accelerator, the dashboard would light up like a demented Christmas tree as the car’s various electronic nannies tried to stop it from wheelspinning straight into the nearest lamppost. Once upon a time I'd have thought that such electronic trickery was for wusses, switched it all off and pirouetted my way to work with merry abandon. However, with the benefit of experience and the reaction times of a 42 year old man to work with, I decided to leave everything switched on and approach the accelerator pedal in much the same way as one would approach an unexploded bomb.
Once onto the main roads, things were a lot easier, my journey to work was uneventful and I arrived in one piece at the office carpark, just me and my briefcase. Only my briefcase (complete with laptop) wasn't in the car. Being honest, I was convinced the car would end up in a ditch long before getting to work and I’d been so intent on putting my hiking gear in the boot that I'd forgotten to put my bloody briefcase in too.
There’s a lesson here for us all, kids. The lesson is this:
When you have an inappropriate car, all journeys are entertaining.
* - Although I’m not sure she thought I would actually be daft enough to actually buy the thing.