Well, there’s exciting.
One of my cousins was trading up her car and, for reasons that I will get to shortly, the old one had no resale value. So she offered it to me for free. Obviously I had to pay to tax and insure it, and I had to go up to London to collect it, but aside from that no cost.
So this is Effie. She’s a Fiat Punto, and she’s 12 years old, which is almost as old in car years as I am in human years, so I guess we go well together.
Effie has some rather unpleasant scratches down her left-hand side. They are not my fault. They are, however, the reason I got her for free. She’s perfectly OK on the road, but she’s not saleable without a lot of expensive touch-up work. I got lucky.
Of course she’s Italian, which means we have disagreements about motorsport. I have promised not to mention Lewis Hamilton if she promises not to mention Sebastien Vettel. We are happy to support Kimi Raikkonen together. And of course Susie Wolff.
The other notable thing about her is that she has manual transmission. I had not driven a manual in almost 20 years. (I still had my Polo when I was at Worldcon in Glasgow in 1995). I was very out of practice. Thankfully I managed to get her safely home, despite having to spend a ridiculous amount of time on London’s infamous orbital parking lot, the M25.
I wish I had stopped for lunch at London Gateway services on the M1. Twenty-odd miles to the next services doesn’t seem too far when you are barreling along at 70mph, but it is an awful long way when you are crawling in first gear and thinking that it might have been quicker to walk.
On the subject of lunch journeys, I put the radio on, because Effie has… wait for it… a tape deck!
I don’t think I have used a cassette tape this century. I certainly don’t have the means to make tapes. I rather suspect that if charity shops get them donated they just throw them out. I shall have to investigate alternatives.
Anyway, now I need to get some driving practice. I don’t think that will include braving the Bristol traffic for quite a while, though. I might be daft, but I’m not completely stupid.