Saturday, August 01, 2009

Of cars and children

Seven years ago, when I was much nearer fifty than sixty and my youthful forties were quite a recent memory, we bought a Ford Mondeo. With three children still in full-time education we weren’t flush with cash, so it was 2 years old, not brand new. But it went quite well and has served us as a family car ever since.

We do also have a smaller car, cheaper to insure for the “children” to drive - currently the red Peugeot that you see behind the Mondeo.

But this week the Mondeo, which seemed fairly healthy, sat its MOT (the annual test to prove that cars are safe to drive) – and it failed.

The garage estimated that it would cost £750 plus tax at 15% to fix it up enough to pass.

The Mondeo is worth about £500 for insurance purposes. But unfortunately no one stole it yesterday.

So that was that. This morning we drove it to a scrap yard. The scrap yard lady handed us £80, we handed her the paperwork, she gave us a Certificate of Destruction and we left. Feeling like traitors.

Cue violins, preferably playing the Dead March from Saul (Da, da-di-da, da da da da da da da).

Seven years ago our children were nearly 18, just 21 and nearly 23. Son was about to go to university, just a few weeks away from meeting the love of his life but at this point still our boy entirely. Daughter 2 had finished the third year of her first degree and was still going out with the brilliant but rather strange young man who was going to decide that though he would always love her, he wanted to look around him for a new romance (at which point we wanted to throw rotten fruit at him). Daughter 1 was – is this right? one gets confused - about to go to the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford to do her first Master’s degree while her husband-to-be tried to decide what he wanted to do with his life.

These seem like happy days from the rosy distance of 2009, though I suppose they must have had their worries (eg the rather strange young man, who I never thought was right for her). Now two of our beloved offspring have left home and the third, our lovely lovely Daughter 2, has just had her offer to buy a flat accepted and will soon follow her sister and brother out of the nest as an independent person.

Ah well. We don't really need two cars any more and at least Mr Life and I aren’t headed for the scrap yard ourselves quite yet. But we will miss Daughter 2, as we miss all of them, so much. Fortunately we do still have the cats.


  1. Anonymous2:06 am

    A certificate for destruction is a very final. There's no coming back from that!

  2. Oh how sad never mind there are better days to come my grannie used to say and you know she was right.
    Hugs Mary.

  3. Ack! That car seemed so ... well, just perfectly fine! We don't have such tests here -- you can drive a car until it doesn't drive anymore and things are falling off of it, if you'd like. And no certificates of destruction -- if whoever buys your beloved car for a pittance intends to send if off to the junkyard, they're usually kind enough not to say and break your heart! Good Luck to DD2 -- at least she'll be still in the same city. In the meantime, when her room is vacated, could I interest you in an unemployed chemistry major?

  4. I hope you miss the children more than the, but at least they will come back periodically.

    I hope your second car enjoys its promotion and caters for your needs for many years.

  5. I hate to anthropomorphize, but the destruction of a car which served you well and which ferried you to adventures seems a bit sad.

    I will echo Thimbleanna's comment about DD2, except that I don't have an unemployed chemistry major to offer up.

  6. I have a mental image of you and Mr Life, tearfully leaving your Mondeo to be euthanised while a kindly but firm scrappie owner pats you on the shoulder and murmurs "You're doing the right thing. It's for the best. He won't feel a thing...."

  7. Congratulations to Daughter 2 on becoming a property owner!

    It's not right I know, but I always get slightly emotionally attached to my car!

  8. I think it is a bit sad to be sharing a car, simply because it means there are no more little birds in the nest... time flies by so quickly, eh?

  9. I can't believe your government tells you when to get rid of your car!!! That's awful! What a shocking waste of resources. We have roadworthy tests here, but only when the police see one's car on the road and decide it looks a bit suss, so they insist on a roadworthy within a set timeframe. We also have to supply a roadworthy certificate when we sell our cars to another person. Otherwise, we happily drive them for 20+ years until they fall to bits (in my case), or want to trade up to the newest model (I don't have enough money to do that).
    Either way, it is our choice.
    "Certificate of Destruction"...I'm still shaking my head. I wonder how much influence the car industry had on making that law?