The past 5 and a half years has seen many changes in my world. Something else is going to change tomorrow.
My faithful car throughout the period is going away. I’m daft enough to consider that it needs a post all of its own.
Yep, my trusty Jaguar X-Type gets traded back into the company car fleet. It’s indeed a sad day.
From the first time I sat in it (when it was time to trade in my MINI – I only went to look at a Toyota, saw the dealership was opposite the Jaguar dealer and saw the X-Type was on the list, so decided I might as well have a look even if it was but a Mondeo in fancy clothes) I felt comfortable. And that feeling has never left. I didn’t even go to the Toyota dealer. Didn’t have a test drive, either.
Within a month and 1,000 miles of ownership I booked the first trip abroad. 7 of us tore through France, a van with mountainbikes and me with 3 passengers and luggage. 90mph for 500 odd miles to Morzine before a diversion to Alpe-D’Huez for the Megavalanche race (from the top mountain station at 3500m, down the glacier, through the town and on for 26 miles into the neighbouring valley. Incredible!). The car was faultless. As well as being fully run in!
Mundane commuting was interspersed with occasional outings to Wales before a lady called Jog-Blog arrived in my life. The start of a new chapter again saw me sat at the wheel rescuing her from Bristol airport.
In one night.
700 miles over 9 hours again proved it to be as comfortable a place to sit and drive as anything.
Three months later and a Three Peaks challenge was agreed upon. Starting in Scotland. Walking and driving. Another 1300 miles odd over three days with plenty of wet weather was again swallowed without a glitch. JogBlog, who hates cars and driving, was warming to the “Mike Baldwin” car more than I.
A trip to see friends in St Just, Cornwall (the reason her dilemma in Bristol airport came about), became a fixture for two years. Superb with the massive boot for luggage, as it had been on the Three Peaks – there’s something about a saloon boot being completely separate from the cabin when it’s full of filthy, soaking clothes.
Running adventures began to show how capable it is in true adversity.
A trip to the Reading half marathon introduced me to proper running injuries. A badly torn calf (left, clutch leg) made me unable to walk. Traffic away from the race was avoided by eating pizza. The route home involved the North Circular to Walthamstow before the Blackwall Tunnel to Kent. Right foot clutch, brake and accelerator wasn’t the smoothest journey, my teeth ground a fraction smaller on route, but we arrived unscathed. And then drove to a sports physio the next day in a similar manner.
Many trips to see JB in London produced many miles, all of them good. When it came to moving JB from London to Kent (to live with lucky me..yay!) again the boot and rear seats took massive amounts of sundry bits before the van move on the big day. Far more than I could have managed in the MINI, for sure!
A broken leg suffered in the London marathon (right this time – no problem to driving, honest officer. Simply left foot brake and clutch, keep the heel on the throttle!) didn’t result in any time off work despite my journey including 16 miles of true country lanes to work. It’s simply an incredibly easy car to drive.
And so onto the last year and, really, things have settled down. A trip to Wales to break some ribs produced an uncomfortable drive home, but self inflicted so I can’t grumble. I can’t blame the car for the sporty, supportive seats holding me firmly just because I was broken, after all!
Then, 16 weeks ago I was told it’s time to change my car. It’s getting too old to support the company image (even if it does, somehow, still feel fresh and so much better than a fleet of Audi A3′s. I loathe Audis. Especially the A3).
I told JogBlog. She came to look at a few potential replacements with me. I opted for none that we looked at.
I’m currently not sure who’s going to be more sad when it goes. I think I enjoyed the MINI more but this has more memories. More life defining moments involved with it. More of me about it, I guess. JB associates everything we’ve done together with it. From being petrified down the M23 in the snow with no windscreen wipers (they froze solid on the M25) on the way to Naples, through the all adventures right back to Bristol Airport. She even insisted on going on a last trip to the supermarket so she could say goodbye to it.
But tomorrow it disappears back into the fleet. To be sold on to someone who will get to write their own story around it. Hopefully with as much reliability as I’ve experienced and with as many happy memories.
But I seriously doubt that can happen.
New car? Ah, yes. Not quite what might be expected as a company vehicle. It has 4 seats. Is a diesel. Is a family saloon derivative. Photo to follow when I’ve cleaned it at the weekend…before a whole new adventure (hopefully) commences.
PS – I did run today. 4 miles of hills. I’ll blog some more runs presently.
It’s Janathon soon, after all…