As soon as I turned 17 I started to learn how to drive. Passing my driving test 5 months before my 18th birthday, in April 1994.
I bought my first car, a few weeks after passing my test. A clapped out orange (yikes!) 1980, W reg, Ford Fiesta 950, for £500. I loved that car, used to drive to school (6th form) in it, go out all the time with my friends in it, slept in it after a night of clubbing on my 18th birthday, and loved the independence it gave me as a young adult. Then I crashed the thing, 6 months later (my fault, went into the back of a Capri, and wrote off my car). I learned my lesson after that, as I’d probably got a bit too cocky, driving a bit too fast, and certainly not keeping my distance. I was traumatised, not only because of the accident (my car was an absolute wreck), but also because it meant going to school on the bus again, whilst my several of my friends had cars. It was painful! Especially as we lived a good 15 miles away from my school (we had moved during my GCSEs, but I stayed at the same school).
I didn’t own another car until I left school and was around 20 years old. My auntie sold me her silver, 1983, A reg, Nissan Cherry. She’d had it from new, and had looked after it well. It cost me £100 – bargain! I loved that car too. I drove to Butlins in it for my 21st birthday weekend in 1997, drove to work, when I was a temp office worker, ferried my stuff from home when I moved into my first flat, and drove me and John (Liam’s dad) around when we were dating. The car clapped out on me when I was pregnant with Liam. John and I couldn’t afford to get it fixed, so we lived without a car.
When John and I split up in 2003, my [ex] sister-in-law’s boyfriend very kindly gave me a car, as it was just sitting in his garage gathering dust. I loved that car. It was a maroon, 1991, J Reg Vauxhall Cavalier. The drivers side window didn’t open, but it didn’t matter to me! As a newly single mum, having a car again brought so much independence. It meant I could take Liam on days out further afield, could go shopping without having to rely on cabs, visit my parents who lived 10 miles away (and not having to rely on dad to bring me home). Its huge boot, also meant that I could do car boot sales with my sisters now and then, (they were a lot of fun – and a chance to earn some extra cash!) Eventually it gave up the ghost, and I couldn’t afford to get it fixed. I passed it onto a friend of mine who was a mechanic. He fixed it up eventually and used it as a run around, but by now, I’d bought another car.
A friend of my parent’s knew of a car going cheap – £150. I loved that car as well! It was a white, 1993, L Reg, Ford Escort – so Essex!! It wasn’t as big as the Cavalier, but I still did car boot sales with my sisters, still took Liam out and about, drove him to school – which he had started by now, drove up to Leeds to visit my best mate who had moved up there from London. It was whilst owning this car that I met, my now husband, Steve. Steve owned a from new, blue, 2004, 54 reg, Peugeot 206. Having always owned clapped out old run-arounds, a shiny new car was impressive to me! Especially as he had bought it from brand new, with just a few miles on the clock. We met in 2005, and it took around 6 months before I persuaded him to let me drive his car (you know, men and their cars!) It was so awesome to drive such a new car! I still had mine, as we were not living together at this point. However, the Escort started to need work doing to it – eventually costing a lot more than what I paid, so it was time to give it up, and share the Peugeot with Steve. Guess what? I loved that car too!
Our car, has taken us on so many journeys over the years: the drive to the hospital with my sister in labour, Leeds to see friends, Dorset for family holidays, weekends away in Brighton, drives out into the country. I was involved in an accident in this car too – not my fault this time. Some idiot driver cut me up (on purpose) on a roundabout and the front panel needed replacing. Another time, whilst the car was parked outside our house (not the one in the pic above I might mention!) someone decided to crash into it. Fortunately, he actually knocked on the door and claimed responsibility, which was a good thing as another panel needed replacing! Last year, after Steve owning the car for nearly 10 years, we knew it was time to start looking for another car. We were finding that we were having to pay more and more each year for it to pass its MOT or during a service, and all that money being put into that car, could be put into a new one.
So we started looking at new cars. I had one condition – it had to be an automatic. After 20 years of driving, I was sick of switching gears in traffic, plus I’d fallen in love with automatic cars that we drove in the USA on holiday. After looking at several makes and models, we settled on a silver, 2013, 13 Reg Ford BMax. We bought it second hand from the dealership, but as an ex-mobility car, it had done just 1000 miles, and was immaculate. I am the one who bought it, and for me it signifies how far I’ve come in life, from a teenager, to a single mum, to a self-employed business woman. I LOVE my car! It’s roomy, it’s automatic, it sits up a little bit higher off the road, and it’s taken us on lots of adventures in just a year! Like Camp Bestival, and weekends away. I even drove all the way to Devon recently to go to River Cottage HQ in it. And what a lovely drive that was!
The main reason I love my car, is the independence which it provides. I also love driving, so that helps! One thing I’ve never, ever done is name my car. Although, my best mate and I nick-named the Fiesta, The Orange Mobile! I’ve got friends and family that do though. One had a car called Gloria, another was called Boo, and another was Dolly. I don’t know what I would call my car, so yay for the Name Your Ride tool from Co-Operative Insurance! Just answer a few quick questions, and you’re presented with its name. I decided that my car is not a female, but a male – maybe because I’m the one that likes to be in control (or something!) According to the tool, my car should be called Eddie. He doesn’t look like an Eddie to me though, I think he looks more like a George!