Just over ten years ago we bought a car which thought it was a van. Or maybe it was a van which thought it was a car. It was a good
car van. It was functional, utterly practical and so, so roomy inside. It was a silver Peugeot Partner, almost identical to the Citroen Berlingo and the good points about it (in no particular order) were:
- sliding doors for the back seats which made it easier to unload/load young children in car parks without them opening car doors on to neighbouring cars;
- you could stand a Phil&Ted’s double buggy in the boot without folding it down;
- you can fit a lot of luggage, children, dog, presents for Christmas all inside the vehicle without needing a roof box;
- the number plate included the letters LE……GO which I always thought was fabulous;
- it had a CD player (meaning we often had dozens of CDs in the car – even some for the adult travellers);
- it was so tall we could always find it in car parks;
- it was so ugly no one ever tried stealing it;
- you could tell where the front of the car was for parking because you could see the headlamp bars (not sure it needed them, but they did help in that regard);
- most of the doors worked most of the time;
- it was not a car I needed to be precious about with children in, so it was allowed to get untidy and there was so much capacity in the foot wells we could get a full load of shopping in there (much easier than opening the boot);
- I have transported all kinds of large furniture in it (beds, mattresses, book cases and even a dresser);
- the boot was big enough for eating fish and chips in;
- pretty good visibility and a high driving position;
- a glove box which held together really well with gaffer tape;
- storage everywhere – practically a caravan in fact – I loaded it to the roof when I helped my mum empty her parents’ house – and we could fit all the guinea pig stuff (including the hutch) in the boot.
It was a car we took to France. A car we took our children around the UK to meet family and friends, take holidays, eat picnics. The car we brought the dog home in.
We replaced the front windscreen (several times). The battery. The starter motor. The boot door. The tyres. The cam belt. The rear bumper. The wiper blades. Various bulbs. I learned how to take a wheel off by myself on this car. It was pranged one Christmas but was very forgiving. Yes, it was noisy, bulky and boxy, but it was a car we grew very attached to. Our son would lock himself in it when he was not in the mood to leave it and go indoors. Our daughter would insist on putting the music on, even at (no, perhaps especially at) junctions when we were concentrating on traffic. We gave lifts and sang badly. Well, I did. We tried to fit a roof top box – even bought the special spanner – and then realised it wasn’t going to happen. The necessary bits had rusted through.
It was a workhorse of a car, and the only one we’ve had for several years now, but it was getting more unreliable, and besides, we wanted to move on from diesel.
So, in the usual way with these things, we spent the past few years assessing what our next car should be, and settled on a Golf SV. We then made a longer shortlist. A long list. Shortened it. Consulted the children. Consulted the dog. Reduced the list. Settled on a Golf SV again. It is not a trendy car. Jeremy Clarkson has nothing nice to say about it. This stands in its favour in my opinion. When one came up which met our specification, we went and saw it last weekend, and part exchanged yesterday.
Our boxy brute of a car is sold.
Ready for auction (well, aside from the glove box, the dodgy door and the necessary deep clean). It may have enough life in it for someone to make good use of it for a while – I hope so. And I hope they have use of the official dog guard, which we won’t be needing any more as it doesn’t fit the Golf.
I do love the new car though. All the doors open. It has many buttons, and I already know what some of them do. I finally found the CD player – in the glove box. Which opens. It has a sun-roof (the car, not the glove box, as far as I know), which was high on my list for years. It has enough cup holders for a sports team. We bought it from a dealership in Essex, it has a Suffolk number plate and now lives in Cambridgeshire. Who knows how long we’ll have it? Perhaps it will also take us on many adventures.
New year, new car. But, to move forward, we have had to let go. It’s a lesson I think my old car had been trying to teach me for some time.
Or, maybe it wanted to go to a car wash, to let go of the winter muck.
Or, maybe it wanted a part in Frozen. And just couldn’t let it go.
Or, it wanted to drive to Le Tango in Venice.
I will miss my big silver
van car. I’m very grateful for all the memories. Now it’s time to make new ones. And to find a home for the 64 CDs which won’t fit in the new car…