My car died last week.
It was not an unexpected death if I’m honest. She’d been on her last legs for some time and I knew that when I took her in for her MOT she wasn’t going to come home. Well, for a few days maybe, as a kindness to me, before she got shunted off to the great scrap heap in the sky.
To be fair, she’s had more resurrections than Lazarus, that old girl. So many times in the last few years she has looked like a goner and then pulled off a last minute miracle that saw her safely back on the drive, but this time, even I could tell it was terminal.
Those of you who have been with me all the way through my blogging life will remember the terrible driving lesson years, where I tantrummed, sweated and vomited my way through driving lessons, battling my phobia. You will remember that I was absolutely beside myself with grief when I passed and had to actually drive an actual car, every day. You will know that this car was the one that saw me through the last months of lessons and every day since.
It’s been eleven years. Eleven years of me riding the clutch, driving about in the wrong gear, wandering into the path of lorries, reversing into walls and breaking down in a variety of thrilling locations.
She and I have travelled thousands and thousands of miles together. She has been my sword and my shield, and with her, I have gradually conquered my fear – for the most part.
I still dislike driving, but if I have to do it, I’m glad to do it with her and her crappy old stereo, with CDs sliding about the floor as I sing my way to Liverpool, through London, on mystery tours of Yorkshire, to the far reaches of Kent and the poshnesses of Surrey. Round Bristol, through Wales and through every highway and byway of Leicestershire. We have adventured together for over a decade.
I might not like driving. I definitely don’t love it, but I love that car. I love her with all my heart. She’s filthy and noisy and starts rattling when you hit seventy. By the time you hit eighty you’re losing fillings. She corners like a hippo in a mud wallow and is as ugly as sin, and I shall miss her so much. I am genuinely tearful at letting her go.
Jason, who is a lovely man, has spent all weekend trying to find a replacement for her, and finally bought me a newer, shinier version of my lovely old work horse, so that I will at least feel some family connection.
He has been very patient. He likes super shiny, super fast cars and treats buying a new car as a thrilling pleasure. I have, with my sentimentality and Luddite ways, managed to suck all that pleasure out of the process for him. He has bent over backwards to try and make this as painless as possible for me whilst buying me a car he wouldn’t choose in a million years. I am grateful. I wish I could be happy, but grateful is all I have right now.
So, my new car arrives towards the end of this week, and then it’s time to say goodbye to my old dear for good. I have asked my friend Matt to come and take a photo of me clinging to her roof so that I can express in pictorial form how I feel about losing her.
I always said I would keep her until I died, and have myself buried in a Viking funeral kind of way, me bundled up on her back seat in a sleeping bag. Lots of petrol and a match and push her (and my) flaming remains down a hill into the sea. It would have been the best way to go.
Goodbye Granny McGoo my best companion. You were loyal and true. You put up with a lot. I love you.