After nineteen years of sterling service getting me through London rush hours and traffic jams on the M25, the Ford Focus very unceremoniously ended it’s days in a French scrap yard. 149k miles and right hand drive was not going to cut the mustard on any French sales forum and to be honest we worried about comeback if the engine blew up!
I felt sad, I felt like a comfy well loved friend was emigrating, I felt I was burying my past. Lots of emotions. This car had taken me on many life journies. Relationships I shouldn’t of had, jobs I loved and hated in equal measure, fun days out, and tired commutes late in the evening. I looked after my heliotrope blue car well. But France needed a more off road affair, something more robust to deal with the French drivers, the ability to perhaps throw oneself into a ditch rather than be struck by a native hell bent on their ability to get home for lunch in five minutes whilst using a mobile and smoking!
So off to UK to buy a Peugeot Rifter. A van with bling. A big enough box to chuck all my life in plus some comfort. Modern accessories like Sat nav, MP3 player, electric adjustable everything, big wheels and a panoramic roof. Sounds great.Reality after a few hair raising drives down to Crocq and to Aubusson in the rain was a vehicle renamed Drifter. Yes it didn’t hold the road in the wet. The sensors to keep you on a straight trajectory actually pushed you towards oncoming traffic. The electric Handbreak didn’t hold and often it reversed even when in first gear. Basically I had been downgraded from driver, in control and decision maker, to merely passenger and button presser!
Those lovely French country roads became a source of stress. With the French tail gating and my speeds heading up to fifty miles per hours just to get some space between us, the sensors went into overdrive on every bend. My little racing stearing wheel (standard, not my choice), got tighter and it was like taking a bull into a bucking bronko ring. Over fifty mph the manual says the off road, dessert and mud options are overwritten and sensors will try to steer. Great. With bends, hoards of tractors, ditches, wide combine harvesters and hegehogs to miss, I arrived at my destination in a complete mess. The adverts even show a Rifter with a canoe on the roof. Give me a break! Is that for when I end up in the river?
So with Brexit looming, we drove the nasty thing back to Blighty. Good riddance. My pulse rate lowered. My heartburn cooled. The dealer feigned surprise at my hatred levels but secretly I think they knew the vehicle was a problem. They paid me almost what I paid. That result would stop me going social network to have a moan. Sorry guys but I like to Blog!So what to drive instead? New criteria…manual everything. Absolutely not letting my life depend on a fancy button. One of my ex bosses got trapped in his BMW for five hours in beltingly hot weather one year due to an electric malfunction. It was funny at the time as he was a miserable guy but it could have been worse.
I always wanted a campervan. I Have stuff. Bike, photography paraphernalia, I like a mid afternoon nap and soon to have dogs. I drive my husband’s Boxer van and I love it. White van power. No one cuts you up. No one queries why you hog two parking spaces. No one can say they did not see you.
I go one better. I find a big BLUE Renault in a small dealership and the right price, engine and size. Perfect. Collect in a week. The word on the street is a girl in the blue van heading your way. Better not be driving a Rifter !