In 2009 we were “between cars”. We had a 1997 Renault Laguna that was scrapped. My wife Tasha stopped on the outside lane of the dual carageway of the A34 Newcastle Road, to let some children with bicycles cross the road. The inevitable happened and she got shunted from the back by a young lady driver in a little Fiat. For some reason the Laguna came off worst. It was an old car and the other drivers insurance company decided to pay us rather than fix it. Tasha’s mum and dad had promised that we could buy their 2004-reg Peugeot 206 off of them, for a good price. But not for another twelve months or so. So we needed a cheap car to get us around for a year. I bought a 1994 Renault Clio.
The Renault Clio was actually quite a nice little car. It was a pretty blue colour and had been bought new by the neighbour of the people that I bought it off, in Leeds. They had put it on Ebay. The original owner had passed away. He just used it locally for shopping and it had done only about 16,000 miles. It had a few minor dents and scratches. as he had trouble parking it in his old age. It had never had a service. That was my first job with it.
One day I had to take my daughter Pippa, who was six, off to some activity or other and she was playing up no end. Getting my hair-off a bit I reversed out of my drive a a bit too sharpish. It just happened to be when there was a prospective buyer for the house across the road from us. I reversed into the back of a van that was parked there, that I hadn’t sen and didn’t anticipate being there. I had a quick look in the rear view mirror and there was no obvious damage to the van. I caught the eye of Mr Prospective house buyer, who was frowning at me as if to say ‘Is that the sort of neighbour I would be getting?’. I just threw my hands up, as if to say “I don’t care, what of it!” I drove off anyway as we were late in any case, which was probably another reason for my bad mood. Yeah, I probably lost the sale of the house on that one. Sorry Karen!
When I had the chance I checked the back of my car for damage and, sure enough, I’d smashed the left hand side rear light. It still worked but I needed a replacement. So I looked on Ebay, as you do. From what I could see I could buy one rear lamp for six pounds or a pair for ten pounds. I thought I’d buy the pair. Changing the light over was tremendously quick. It just had one little plastic wing-nut and the electrical connection. No tools required and it took around 3-minutes. End of problem.
A couple of months later Tasha was driving the car and she managed to reverse into something somewhere. Well, I hadn’t said a word to Tasha about my little accident. I just bought the repalacement rear lights and repaired the car without saying a word. Tasha, on the other hand, when talking about her little mishap, was all apologies and saying that she didn’t understand how it had happened and how much was it going to cost? etc. Anyway she said that she’d broken a rear light too, not knowing that I had done exactly the same thing previously. So the first thing I asked her was ‘which rear light was it that was broken?’ ‘The right side one’. I relaxed then as I knew I had one already waiting in the attic. But, being a horrible man I said ‘So you crashed this car too? Goodness me, you already wrote off the Laguna! Why can’t you concentrate more? etc etc’. I didn’t keep this up for long as I couldn’t keep a straight face. So I told her about my little accident with the neighbour’s van (and the other neighbours house 😳 ). Then I fixed the other rear light straight away. Again, end of problem.
The joys of budget motoring 🙂
Later, we did get Tasha’s mum and dads Peuget 206 for the princely sum of £2,000. That only had 30,000 mile on and we kept it until the transmission gear box packed in at around 80,000 miles. And we sold the Clio again on Ebay. Pitty, in a way, as it was still a low mileage nice little car when we sold it.