Tuesday, 15 January 2008

A bit of a tight squeeze...

So, there we were, me and the children, heading back home on the school run. We rounded a corner on the first narrow bit and the other side were two vehicles. Touching.

They were not crashed, but had tried to squeeze past each other rather than one backing up for the other. They hadn't made it and now they were stuck together, side by side.

Luckily both were quite good humoured about it. One was a Toyota Landcruiser, the other was a Vauxhall Astra. They obviously thought they were slimmer than they were and perhaps attempting to squeeze through side by side on a single track road with no verges and a high bank on either side was a triumph of hope over experience.

I put on my handbrake and waited while the drivers sorted out the physics of the problem. The Toyota driver leaned down and folded the wing mirror of the Astra inwards, which seemed a good move. Then, no doubt having engaged four wheel drive, he carefully backed up, and the cars parted. The Astra then reversed to a gateway and waved happily goodbye to the Toyota, me and the two other cars which had also joined the queue.

I then followed the Toyota and yes, we met other cars. Each time, he just pulled of onto soft verges and roared along damaging the verges in the process and asking other non-4x4s to pull off too. My blood was boiling by this point.

"How dare he!" I exclaimed. "Look at the way he's carving up the verges."

"Yes, Mummy," said Hannah in the back. The Toyota disappeared out of sight. Silence fell.

"Mummy?" said Hannah.

"Yes?" I replied.

"Can we have one of those?"

That's my big problem with 4x4s. Absolute unadulterated green-eyed envy. Hannah wants one. I want one.

I learned to drive in a Land Rover at the age of 13. This one, in fact.

Now it doesn't go anywhere. Something to do with the fact that the top part is no longer connected to the bottom part and the bit under the bonnet doesn't make that big growly noise it used to. And it's got some time of major vehicular asthma, coughs loads and disappears in clouds of black smoke if you do get it started.
I've done miles in that Land Rover. It took me to countless pony shows. I even took it to university once and towed a trailer full of windsurfers to Bala lake. One time I was driving it the mileometer said 999,999, then 000,000, which was quite a moment.
But what Hannah wants (after seeing a picture in a car magazine) is one of these...

... and after this morning's trip into school where we were confronted by a raging torrent and had to turn back in our Ford Focus estate, I can only agree! Not environmentally-friendly perhaps, but entirely practical for the school run.


  1. I absolutely, totally and utterly love my Land Rover and when it's ready for changing (which could be this year) I will go straight to the Land Rover Dealer and get another, newer model and preferably with more beef in it than my current one has.

    They are a *ugger to park, I admit and the wheel lock is something to be improved, plus miles to the gallon is completely naff not to mention mine leaks whenever it rains (as I am sure they all do) but I really wouldn't be without it. It's currently being fixed after a few electrical problems as you know and I'm missing it to bits!

    Happy motoring.
    Crystal xx

  2. At least you would have a reason to use one. I live in a very narrow lane and every morning scores of clean posh 4x4s drive past my house on the way to the public school down the bottom of the road. Each car has one child and a well dressed, suited parent. The local farmers kids all walk, to the village school.

  3. My children want a landy like your with the sheep that they can do up, I have to admit I do the morning run in the Isuzu pickup as you get a bit more respect than in a Fiesta, I would like a Focus estate though, The Festa is great to park I don't relish taking the Isuzu to the supermarket

  4. hides in embarassment here ...we have two of the 4x4 critturs ...his and hers but we do live rather high up and on unmade roads and he has to tow the trailer for the sheep and we dont drive on verges and ...and ...and..

  5. If you need one they are a must!! loved my old jeep and used to terrify the bejesus out of my passengers by suddenly going of road and make them bang there heads on the ceiling! ! But these clean namby pamby drivers who don't see a speck of mud shouldnt be allowed!! SO THERE xxoo

  6. We've got a Suburu 4x4 and like sbs we really do need it up here. I am sure you need one too looking at your pictures!


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