The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Good news: Jalopy is home for another year

Photo: M.O.T. certificate

Photo: M.O.T. certificate

Last night I had a message from Mrs Button on my mobile.
“Your Volvo will be ready to collect after 9 am tomorrow.”
I rang her straight back.
“Did she pass the M.O.T.?”
“Yes. But don’t come before nine as they have a few small things to tweak. They had to do some welding.”

The relief swept over me with a great wave of joy. One more year with my old friend. The cost of the service and repairs was very competitive too. Ian Button had done me proud. He was highly recommended as a great mechanic. It turns out that his garage is on the Which list of good garages.

So after breakfast we drove out to his garage on the outskirts of Fordham. There was Jalopy sitting outside the office with the same slightly vacant look of patients waiting to be collected from a hospital reception.

Ian was welcoming and ebullient.
“I reckon that we can keep her going for another year or two.”
Wow. She’d be old enough to vote if she were human.
“By the way, her clutch is on its last legs. Are you a member of the RAC or AA?”
I nodded.
“They will tow her over to me when the time comes.”

As I was planning to visit the organic butcher in Fordham, Danny drove home and left us chatting.
“Let me show you my favourite toy.”
Ian stepped into the office. I was intrigued – what could be so small that it could be stored in such a teeny space?  He reached up and took down a framed photo from the wall and passed it to me.

“What do you think?”
It was a photo of a car. Sleek, red, polished and oozing quality. Ian stared at me intently.
“It’s beautiful. I’m not so good at deluxe car spotting. What is it?”
“A Ferrari. I love Italian cars. My wife has an Alpha Romeo. It’s a bit temperamental but it’s a wonderful car.”

“You’re in the perfect place to indulge your passion for Italian cars.”
“Sometimes I go into my garage and just sit and gaze at my Ferrari.”
I know where he’s coming from. In the past I’ve peeped out of an upstairs window at a ‘new to me car’.
”I’m a lucky man. I love my work. And I work in the heart of the country, just half a mile from home.”
We listened to the birdsong and almost on cue, the clouds parted and the sun shone.

I slipped into Jalopy’s front seat, turned the ignition and held the well worn wheel. As we headed for the main road I realised that I love her very much indeed.

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  1. Yay Jalopy, I knew she could do it. U had a feeling in my bones.

  2. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Toot toot!! Good old Jalopy.

    When I got promoted to Squadron Leader I shamelessly indulged myself by buying my most favourite car – a silver Jaguar XK8 (albeit secondhand).

    It was an utterly, utterly gorgeous car: visually, stunningly elegant; deliciously comfortable & relaxing to drive yet with an incredible turn of speed; & the most wonderful softly-purring engine, which could roar you away effortlessly into the sunset, with the most casual press of the accelerator.

    Tragically I lost faith in this beauty somewhat, when it abruptly turned into an uncontrollable beast: driving along an unkempt ‘A’ road one morning I inadvertently hit a patch of water in it. Most other cars would have cruised their way through – but not the Jaguar.

    I completely lost control as the car aquaplaned; spun; thankfully just missed a tree – but then left the road (facing the wrong way) whilst still spinning wildly; shot over a six-foot drop (still spinning)& landed with a ferocious thump & another half-spin which literally ripped the tyres from the wheels – but fortunately – in a ploughed field. This literally saved my life, which I had been convinced was about to end; as the heavy, wet mud dragged the car to a more gentle halt.

    Thankfully, other than a lump the size of a duck egg where I hit my head on the door pillar, I was able to scramble from the car & walk away; although I did have to subsequently undergo 18 months of radical physiotherapy as the accident twisted my spine in several different directions (& I still walk with a limp if I have to drive any distance as my leg freezes). This little jaunt did £9,000 worth of damage to the car; which took almost six months to repair.

    The irony was, I had been on my way to the Jaguar garage in Cheltenham to sell it; we’d decided to move to Wales by that time & so I needed a more practical vehicle. In the end my Dad bought the car from me….& I bought myself our sturdy Nissan Navara truck – much more appropriate for a budding farmer. The two cars do have something in common, though…both are silver in colour!

    But take it from me, sports cars definitely aren’t meant to be driven off-road…at least my truck can cope!

  3. Absolutely delighted for you – what a relief! x

  4. Yipppeeee! Brilliant Jalopy!

  5. Whahey!!!

  6. Hello Fiona

    Glad to hear that Jalopy has survived and will be tootling round for another year. My first 3 cars were all Renault 5s which were great fun but my favourite vehicle has to be my current car, my Kangoo. It is not in the least stylish but I love its voluminous interior and the smiley “face” on the dashboard. Then of course I get questions from my nephews and niece like, “Do you think that we could get a cello, a tuba, a guitar, a snare drum and a xylophone in the back of your car? And if so, could you give us a lift to school this morning?”. But best of all is that I can almost always spot my car in the car park! Yes, I love my Kangoo.

  7. I know what you mean although I might stop just short of loving my car.

    I sold my first car when I moved abroad but I haven’t sold one since, I just keep them until they die (one of old age, two hit by other cars. grrrh). Current one is ten, been with me or five years and I think she has another ten in her yet. She is perfect. Okay, maybe I love her just a little!

  8. Yay! That’s brilliant news.

  9. Great news Fiona!
    Jalopy is on the road for at least another year you must be really happy.
    Lets hope Jalopy has a few more years left in her yet which sounds likely if she didnt need to have too much done this time around.

  10. michelle sheets

    Congratulations Jalopy! (And you too Fiona!)

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