Well it’s been a sad week for me as my unreliable little car has finally gone to ground. I knew things were beginning to get a bit dire when along with not being able to hold a charge in the battery it started to drip oil and guzzle water. These failings became quite clear at the Royal Cornwall Show. We set off late on Saturday, just before lunch and we took our normal route via Burlawn, however we had never travelled so late before and I found myself stuck in the tiny lanes in a stationery queue of traffic. It seemed that the lower car parks had filled up and so we were having to travel past the showground over the A39 and into the top fields. It seemed daft for us all to be sat in traffic so Steve and the boys hopped out and walked the few hundred yards up to the entrance. As I sat there I noticed that the temperature gauge seemed to be climbing, now I’d topped up the radiator before I left so I wasn’t too concerned, 10 minutes later though, having only moved a few metres the gauge was heading towards red and I was now getting alarmed. The lane I was sat in was one car wide; if I broke down I would be the most unpopular person in all of Cornwall. So I decided we weren’t going anywhere quickly and turned the engine off to give the radiator a chance to cool down. A few minutes later and the traffic started to move again. I turned the key and heard the horrifying sound of my car feebly attempting to turn the engine over and then giving up. In the field next to me a couple were eating their lunch in the car park; we looked at each other in horror and then looked back down the line of traffic. I can only say that what she mouthed to me pretty much mirrored what I had just said to myself. Incredibly, where the car had broken down there was a tiny widening of the road, enough for me to be pushed out of the way. Embarrassed I got out asking for help from the car behind me and it was one of those lovely moments when out jumped 3 blokes from their 4X4. They pushed the car to one side and then gave the battery a jump! Grateful, I struggled on, and by the time I got to the top car park the radiator was in the red and all the warning lights were on and flashing “stop”.
From here on the car was on borrowed time. Did I go to the expense of replacing the battery and fixing the oil and water leak? I couldn’t help but feel we had passed the point of diminishing returns. Then one morning on the drive to school something gave a large metallic twang from underneath, the car jolted and shuddered a bit and then drove on normally. It did it three more times on the drive home and I was a nervous wreck by the time I had parked up. At 20 years old and with 2000000 miles on the clock I figured that it had probably come to the end of its life. Despite the car’s recent issues it has been a terrific powerhouse. It’s had to endure Harry moulting everywhere, fish defrosting in the foot well, pheasants bleeding in the boot and more sand than can be found on Par beach. It stank, was permanently dirty and looked dreadful, the body work looked as though someone had taken a blow torch to it and stripped off all the paint. Probably for all the wrong reasons I was always recognized out on the road, no other car could quite match my 205 for sheer awfulness. But it kept on going and cost very little to run and I was always very protective of my decaying little heap. Soon I will have something shiny, neither fish nor foul will be allowed to decompose, Harry will be banished to the boot and the boys will clean their feet before getting in. I’ll miss the old car but it will be nice to get in a car that doesn’t smell like an abattoir in summer and doesn’t break down at the drop of a hat.