If you should spot me lurking around a car lot, or garage forecourt, you have my permission to forcibly move me on, as it seems that I might have to buy another car soon and to be honest, I don’t really want to. My present vehicle is starting to play up a little, just as if it wants to retire and seems to resent me wanting to start-it-up of a morning and so it occasionally refuses to do so.
However, when it’s in the mood, it can go like the clappers; but alas, because of its age and a number of fairly obvious scrapes down its flanks, it is not as handsome as it once was - in effect, a bit like its owner really - I suppose. Nevertheless, my mate with the oily rag and the permanently pursed lips, tells me that it will probably last longer than me.
So, why do it? The thing is we are looking to downsize to just one car between us, but every time we have experimented in using just one car we immediately seem to clash as to who needs to use the car the most on any particular day; this is what’s commonly known as a ‘first world’ problem. If this wasn’t bad enough, I also have two other problems to negotiate when looking to buy another car.
As we live up a country lane that twists and turns its way up part of the Tramuntana’s - over the years I reckon that I have been Pirelli’s best customer as I shred my car tyres on a regular basis. Indeed, so called ‘low-profile’ tyres are not best suited for negotiating random roadside rocks.
While I’m at it, can I also comment upon the fact that when parking almost anywhere on this island, one’s wing mirrors (even if tucked in) have a habit of being permanently separated from your car - as they are left hanging limply after yet another badly driven and oversized vehicle has ripped one of them off yet again.
Indeed, am I the only person on the island who has had a wing mirror disintegrate whilst in a car wash - and do you realise just how much it costs to replace and fit a new one? Okay, it’s an obsession of mine!
Anyway, what I would really like, is something small yet sexy, a sort of motorised version of Richard Hammond to give me some sort of his blokeish integrity. Perhaps something exciting and Italian? However, my son had one of that nations uber-stylish cars once and although he claimed that young women tore at their outer clothing at the merest glimpse of it, he did tell me that the only thing that actually worked properly was the front passenger seats vanity mirror.
Maybe something surly and French with a touch of Va-Va-Vroom might do the trick? Almost certainly not I’m afraid. Nevertheless, I have to say, even if I were very rich, I would never, ever, buy anything big, brassy, or brand new - not with the way people park on this island anyway.
Can you imagine buying a brand new top of the range Mercedes and parking in Palma and have some madman playing pinball with your bumpers and bodywork? No, I will always go for the more modest option of a shed on wheels, with few pretensions and even fewer hubcaps.
Indeed, I can honestly say with hand-on-heart that almost every single bump and scrape on my car(s) since arriving on the island have been inflicted when I wasn’t even in the vehicle. Which, when I think about, is bit like the person who claims that they have never been involved in an accident, but - surprisingly perhaps, they have witnessed quite a few!
Time was - when men were gathered together in a bar, conversation would drift to the subject of cars, as in - “What ‘wheels’ are you driving at the moment?” As always, I had the most undesirable ‘wheels’ of anyone I knew. I would excuse myself and pretend to go to the toilet, usually only staying long enough to read the extremely instructive graffiti on the french letter machine.
On my return, there were smirks all round, as my current set of ‘wheels’ - was an ancient Ford Fiesta with gaffer tape wrapped around the wing mirrors (I had the same problem even then!) so as to keep them in place.
So, as you can see, I have never suffered from any motor-vehicle envy, or any understanding of what actually occurs under the bonnet. But, that is a completely different subject to allowing yourself to drive around in a so-called ‘hairdressers’ car - which is quite hard to define but easily recognisable when you see one out and about - i.e. think pastel shades and the word cabriolet.
To complicate our final choice of ‘wheels’ even more, I have to be careful as to the size of any car we might purchase. Indeed, just before we escaped here from the UK, my then neighbour Bernard, invited by me to a spin in his snazzy, low-slung, Mazda RX5. That foolish manoeuvre, is probably the reason why my lower-back still gives me so much gyp twenty years on.
If I were entirely honest, what I would really like to buy is a second-hand ‘Roadster’ of any marque, but with a gritty reliability and a full-throated exhaust sound that would ensure you heard me coming 5 kilometres away.
Driving with the top-off would be a poser’s paradise for me and it wouldn’t be long before I drove around Portals, endlessly looking for women of a certain age to impress - others do it, so why not me? On thinking about this, perhaps I should pretend I’m having a (very late!) mid-life crisis and buy a large motorbike instead. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.