Volkswagen's in disguise

>> Monday, 14 January 2008

A couple of posts back I mentioned our car. Those of you paying attention to the comments that followed will have noticed that I owned up to driving a Skoda. Yep, say it loud and proud, I drive a Skoda. And not just any Skoda, oh no. I drive a PURPLE Skoda.

How did this happen?

Once upon a time, I had a certain style when it came to cars. Nothing flashy, you understand; I started with a VW Golf, moved on through couple of a BMW 3 series, then on to a couple of Saab 93's (not at the same time, obviously), and finally a the updated version of the Alfa Romeo Spider (or something - this was a filler car. Nice to drive but I would never have chosen it). They were bulk-standard company cars, but I liked them. I especially liked the Saab, and would buy one of those again tomorrow. Or so I thought.

But then the dreaded day came when I started working for a company that didn't provide cars. This would previously have been a deal-breaker for me, but it was based slap-bang in the middle of London and there was no earthly reason why I needed one for my job; any client visits were usually an airplane ride away rather than up the motorway. So, no car.

Husband and I thought about and decided that we didn't really need a car. We could use taxis, the tube or train, and if we needed (heaven forbid!) to venture outside the center of the known universe (aka London), we could hire one. This plan worked, give or take the odd taxi disaster, for just over a year. But it only worked because we didn't have children.

Come September 2003, I was working up to the arrival of Boy #1. Going through my checklist shortly before I went on maternity leave (nappies? Check. Sterilising unit? Check. Pantechnicon buggy? Check.) , I suddenly realised that we had the requisite car seat to take our bundle of joy home from in hospital - but no car to put the car seat in. Knowing from friends that every time you set foot outside your home with a small baby or child you need to take virtually all your belongings with you, I began to think this was something of a problem. Days of trekking round one dealership to the next stretched out in front of me; never an idyllic prospect at any time, but at at 9 months pregnant, even less attractive than normal.

I needn't have bothered.

Husband was way ahead of me. He had, he said, found the perfect location for us to find our car. It was a 'car supermarket' on edge of central London, where there were 3000 cars for us to choose from. He had even, he said, looked on their website, and found a couple of hot prospects to us to zoom in on when we visited at the weekend. Would this be my first weekend on maternity leave, I asked? The same one that I had big plans for, spending it relaxing and perhaps doing a final spot of on-line shopping to fill the gaping holes in my hospital bag?

Don't worry, he said masterfully. It's just a short tube ride, and we'll be done in no time.

It's testament to how hormoned up I was that I didn't challenge this - or ask which particular cars he had selected for us to look at - but I didn't.

So, at the tail-end of the hottest summer in the UK since records began, Husband and I set out on our epic trek to the car supermarket. It turned out not to be a short tube ride. It took around 1 1/2 hours, with multiple changes. Plus a 15 minute walk at the end. No joke when your unborn baby is using your pelvis as a trampoline, you're carrying around 2 stone (OK, closer to 3) in extra weight, and it's around 32 degrees celsius. (For those of you not aware of this, our venerable tube system in London is about 100 years old. So, air-conditioning? Pah!). It was a rather hot, sweaty (sorry, 'glowing') and rotund butterball that struggled the last few yards to the car supermarket. My energy was gone, and my resistance was low.

This was the moment that I asked husband exactly which cars we were going to look at. To be fair, I had given the matter some thought, but only so far as; 'It's probably a Ford Focus or a Vauxhall Astra or something. Really, how bad can it be?'


Husband announced we were going to look at a Purple Skoda. Frankly, I was so relieved that I was going to have the chance to sit down in something that I didn't put up much of a fight, so we bought it.

I gave birth 3 weeks early, 2 days later. I still think it was delayed shock. And if I hear my beloved say 'Of course, it's really just a VW with a different badge' one more time...


Kaycie 14 January 2008 at 15:29  

That's hilarious! When I was pregnant with my first, it was decided (not by me) that a new car was in order. So, approximately seven months pregnant, I was dragged to several dealerships and ultimately bought a big family car.

I hate big cars. I hated that car. I drove it as little as humanly possible.

aims 14 January 2008 at 15:36  

OMG! A purple skoda!

I test-drove one of those things once. When I got back to the dealership - I know it's hard to believe we even had a dealership in Canada - I got out and kissed the ground.

What a piece of a tin can that is! And it came with instructions on how to fix it yourself! I just couldn't see it lasting one winter here...LOL!

Mya 14 January 2008 at 18:49  

They used to be known as skips on wheels - but I understand since VW took them over, things have vastly improved. Shame about the colour, though. Nice for knickers, not so good for cars.

You've been tagged - if you have a moment.

Mya x

Potty Mummy 15 January 2008 at 09:56  

Hi Kaycie, what is it about new babies that inspire us to do these things? Mind you, am not saying I wasn't grateful to have A car - I just hadn't planned on it being THAT car...

Aims, I can't believe this but I find myself defending our purple tin can; it's not - and never would be - my choice, but have to say that it has been extremely reliable (recent problems are an exception), and that we have rather knocked it around, which it has withstood. However - not sure it could withstand a Canadian winter, think you are definitely right there!

Mya, I must reluctantly agree that VW have improved them. But purple? Should only be seen on lingerie, you're right.

Thanks for the tag - will visit very shortly to check it out!

Frog in the Field 16 January 2008 at 15:59  

I can say nothing else about your cruel and heartless husband, he planned that so well

Potty Mummy 16 January 2008 at 19:44  

Frog - Machievelli had nothing on my dearest. Must say that I have wised up somewhat over recent years though...

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