That is two garages now. A pattern is emerging.

“I really, really wouldn’t bother spending any more money on it,” warns the Garage Man, implying that I have spent some money on it, ever.

I sigh deeply. “How much do I owe you?”

“Just give me a tenner.”

Ten pounds!!! It is eating money. But the financials are the least of my worries. If I have to get another car, then I will have to choose what car to have, and I am not interested in cars, or at least not the sort of cars that I can afford. Plus I am bound to get ripped off, as that is the sort of thing that happens to me. I drive off crossly, loud techno music playing from my steering rack.

“Scrap it in now, and you’d get a new Fiat Punto for four grand,” someone advises. I do not know what a Fiat Punto looks like, but I suspect it is not something that is going to cause me to leap out of bed in the morning, throw my curtains wide and shout to the world ‘four thousand pounds! Four thousand pounds! Why did I not spend this money sooner? Fiat Punto! Fiat Punto! How thou hast transformed my life!” Basically, things will be exactly the same as they are now, just with less money.

I drove a friend’s Daewoo the other day. I could probably afford a Daewoo, although it was a bit basic. I am not saying that it was like a museum inside, but it was the only car that I’ve been in where you have to enter the drivers seat via the gift shop. There was an unusually-shaped dent in at the rear. The hatchback hadn’t shut properly the previous week, so she had given the thin metal a nudge with her hips. I drove down the road in this Ninky-Nonk car that sported a dent shaped exactly like a female arse.

The fact is that I do not want to spend any money on a car. But I need a car, as I need to drive to places. Short Tony is getting a motorbike, which is a good idea, but I am a bit more naturally fallingoffish than he is. So I do not know what to do.

Does anybody have any ideas?

54 thoughts on “My car is condemned.

  1. I like the sound of these female arse-shaped dents and wonder if your friend could, er, come and nudge against my hatchback?

  2. JonnyB says:

    I’ll ask.

    And before anybody says: it was my friend. Not ‘my friend’.

  3. no plot says:

    With the economy being what it is, I bet you could pick up Little Noddy’s car for a song. I can just picture you tootling around Norfolk, going “parp, parp” to announce your arrival at the Village Shop.

  4. If you need more stability with a motorbike, get a sidecar.

  5. Megan says:

    I use a motor scooter for work commute and it is wonderful. No one has any expectations of me, in fact I have had drivers give me a congratulatory smile and wave when I manage to sail to the top of a hill. I spend about $3 (USA’ian rather than Canadian) every week and a half or so to fill the tank and can look pityingly at the idiots driving Hummers every time I do. Best of all, my work place actually does accept as an excuse, ‘It’s raining so I’ll be working from home today.’ Unfortunately I live in a desert so have only managed to try this on once, but it was deeply satisfying I assure you.

  6. Dave says:

    I’m selling a campervan on ebay as we speak. It goes and everything.

    Is it possible to go to the village shop by bicycle? That’s what I do, although we don’t have a village, or a shop.

  7. JonnyB says:

    I like the campervan idea. I could make tea and everything, and it would come in handy if I ever took up dogging. Not so sure about the scooter thing though.

    Hullo No Plot and welcome!!!

  8. Richard B says:

    I can’t see you rolling up to the bowling on a scooter. I mean… no, just no.

    Get yourself onto ebay. You can pick up some old but perfectly reliable car for a couple of hundred quid and if it goes horribly wrong you can just buy a new one.

  9. Damian says:

    You can’t go wrong with a 10-15 year old Mercedes-Benz that’s in good condition. I had a 28 year-old Mercedes Benz and it was the cheapest to maintain of any car I’ve owned. Not only that, it had white leather upphostery, walnut on the dashboard, power windows and sunroof.

    It did only get about four miles to the gallon though. Damn 4.5 litre V8.

    Chose the engine carefully.
    Don’t buy one more than 20 years-old because they start to fall apart at 26.

  10. Damian says:

    Oh, but I forgot that you live in a small village in Norfolk.

    There are some nice Range Rovers on eBay.

  11. Richard says:

    One of those electric bicycles. There are thousands of them here in Crewe, all made by a company called Sakura. I think a man must sell them down the Wednesday boot market or something. They’re ever so quiet so you can arrive unannounced and you don’t need to wear a crash helmet because they only go 15mph. You’ll need to build a wind turbine next to the chickens so you can use nice green electric

  12. JonnyB says:

    The LTLP is going to Crewe on Thursday. I could get her to pick me one up. But I live in Norfolk. The battery would be out before I reached the next settlement.

  13. Josephine says:

    Funniest thing I ever saw was a motorcyclist stopping at some traffic lights, toppling over on his side and then laughing hysterically. When I asked him why it was so funny he said he’d only taken his side car off that morning…

    Not sure a side car is the answer.

  14. chairwoman says:

    Quite seriously, JB, a Punto is quite a cool little car. I don’t have one myself, but we have a Fiat Multipla which is, without doubt, the most bizarre looking car on the road today, but to date has never given a moment’s problem.

    You could also get a small Citroen. I have a C4 Grand Picasso, courtesy of the nice people at Motability, and it’s full of exciting technical stuff. Ask your crony Katy Newton, she drives them both on my behalf.

  15. “Ninky-Nonk”? Honestly – listen to you, Hitler! Is that some sort of code for “Korean”, Jonny? What an unreconstructed racist you are. I rather think you’ve been in Norfolk too long. It’s time you got out on the road and enjoyed a little more of our vibrant multicultural mosaic, instead of riding around in a car like a women’s arse wearing a face like a well-slapped arse.

    Of course, for that you’ll need a car of your own, but it seems you don’t like Italians either, and I dread to think what you’d say to a French car. You can bloody well walk if that’s your attitude…

  16. James says:

    Why not an Ariel Atom? Made in the UK and goes like a motorbike.

  17. sablonneuse says:

    What you need is horse – and cart for taking the family out.

  18. Ric Locke says:

    Here in the US, the vehicle of choice for the, umm, lower income levels is a 10-15 year-old or older high-end model that’s been ragged out by its previous owner(s). Over here such vehicles tend to go for a thousand bucks or less; as I understand it, that’d be five hundred pounds or so.

    The fuel economy sucks, of course, but to balance that, low-income people don’t have to drive much.


  19. funny thing says:

    i would suggest having two sidecars, one on each side. you can take the family out, and probably the chickens, too.

  20. RobGT says:

    All of the above is amusing, but if you are seriously looking for help in buying a cheap used car I’d be happy to try and advise.

    I’m no used car salesman (hides sheepskin coat under couch) but I have owned a lot of cheap cars…

    Feel free to email me if you think I could be of assistance.

  21. Allen says:


    What you need is a Ford Fiesta. It has been tested on Top Gear and is perfect for visits to the village shops and trips to the sea. This is the link to Top Gear’s test:

  22. JonnyB says:

    I like the Zebra head thing…

    Funny Thing!!! I am pleased that you are still around and about.

    OK – well I really like Ric’s idea about a big American banger. I love driving big American cars. Although to be fair I love driving them in America. They would be OK round here though – there is not much traffic.

    So RobGT – would you be able to adjudicate between an old Cadillac or suchlike, and a motorbike with two sidecars (one for the chickens). They are my favourite suggestions so far.

  23. The rule is never buy a car made in a country that won WWII (Britain, France, Russia). Stick with the losers (Germany, Japan). Italy are classed as winners, even though they only changed sides right at the end, unless you are buying a Ferrari (FIAT = Fix It Again, Tony). Sweden were nominally neutral, though helped the Germans a bit, so Volvos and Saabs are probably OK. The only recent exception is the Ford Focus (which is a bit like a Mazda 3 underneath). Typically the Yanks are coming into this a bit late.

  24. Skodas are OK as the whole Sudetenland thing was like being taken over by VW so they count as German.

  25. PS I am using “won” in its loosest possible sense re the French. Maybe “on our side” is a better definition.

  26. JonnyB says:

    Where does the Daewoo thing come in to this? [I am a bit hazy on the history of that part of the world]. [And I don’t even know where a Daewoo comes from.]

    I am guessing that they lost, certainly if Daewoo made their tanks.

  27. Sheppitsgal says:

    You could always just steal one.

    (Note for internet police – JOKE!)

  28. Dave says:

    Going back to the campervan suggestion. It is ideal for making cups of tea or if you need to stop and sleep on the way back from the village shops (tiredness kills remember).

    My wife thinks that for our next campervan we should get one with a porta-potti. I can supply links if you want to know more, or you can look them up yourself using the internet.

  29. JonnyB says:

    Ah. I don’t have the internet. But thank you anyway – that is a good idea.

  30. Provincial Lady says:

    Aaah I have ironically missed all your recent post because I was buried in Norfolk sans Internets… I was promised a week of lounging by the pool in the sunshine, and there was no sunshine and the pool was green and slimy. If I’d known the bowls season was on it would’ve made my holiday! Just think, I could have watched a Real Live Celebrity, playing bowls and tearing his trousers! The most excitement I got was the local headline – “Police arrest scarecrow”. After that we accidentally went to Burnham Market and got palpitation-inducing flashbacks to London days because of the Sloanes, and had to go home for a lie down.

  31. JonnyB says:

    Well congratulations – that means that at least you managed to park your car.

    But basically what you did was go to Disneyland and not seek out Mickey Mouse. [I am not sure that is the best analogy in the world.]

  32. Provincial Lady says:

    Story of my life. But I think that is not a good analogy, mostly because Disney would sue you.

  33. A spacious C3, you can get a million kids in, put the seats down and get a ton of stuff off to the tip. Bloody marvellous.

  34. Greenmatle says:

    So your current car is pratically worthless, yet under the scrappage scheme you could get up to £3k for it, off the price of a shiny new ninky-nonk.

    How about you buy one, then loiter inconspicously outside showroom, and sell it to someone else who was also going in to buy one, but at a handsome discount of, say, £1,500 off the dealer’s price…

    Er,… Then you have a net profit of £1,500 to spend on a decent second hand runabout.

    But, I did fail ‘O’-level Maths though so you might want to check my workings out!

  35. Greenmatle says:

    I also failed the Pitman typing test, Obv.

  36. john malpas says:

    What’s wrong with walking or running?
    I thought you were in training for this sort of thing way back.
    Otherwise a pony trap is nifty.

  37. Maddie Grigg says:

    A bike? Isn’t Norfolk flat (or I am mixing it up with Suffolk? Interchangeable, aren’t they?)
    Or you could for the Plinky-Plonk, which would give you a good view above the hedges.

  38. Pat says:

    Please not a motor bike. I’m getting flash- forwards already.

  39. Simon says:

    Like you Jonny I am not a petrolhead but I do need a car that does what I need it to do. Personally I am a Ford man as you tend to get a decent spec for your buck plus they are cheap to maintain and fix. If you want a car that is going to last forever, maybe check out a Toyota. Good luck.

  40. porthos says:

    to Ivan the terrible

    I would imagine that ninky nonk refers to the childrens programme ‘ in the night garden’ Its a little car with lights on that all the characters use. I am sure that there was no racist reference there. Cbeebies channel 6pm everynight- its even got Derek Jacobi narrating!

  41. guyana gyal says:

    We’ve just finished giving our 20-something year old car a major overhauling. It was EXPENSIVE. Today, the car’s getting a new exhaust pipe. Not cheap.

    But y’know, all in all, it is much much much less expensive than buying another car.

  42. guyana gyal says:

    Take your car to a good West Indian mechanic. We don’t condemn cars, we paste, patch, glue and make ’em work. A good Windies mechanic will know what to do for you car.

  43. Ric Locke says:

    Well, I could do you a nice Lincoln, but I’m afraid the trip across the Pond would eat up the savings. Getting the steering wheel mounted on the right-hand side would be a problem as well.

    I don’t know the rightpondian equivalents. Old Mercedes are good pretty much anywhere, although the ones they import into the US tend to be overladen with optional stuff that breaks with boring regularity. Do you still have Daimlers? My experience suggests that Jaguars are only for those with lots of wrenches/spanners and the knowledge and time to use them.


  44. JonnyB says:

    Well essentially the car that I’ve been most pleased with was my old Reliant, which I guess was the equivalent of the Dodge Charger or the Pontiac Firebird etc etc.

    It would be easy to get an American car however – loads of air bases with people selling American cars.

  45. Blazing says:

    The last range of Rovers all sell for peanuts after the group collapsed, and ironically they represent the best range they ever had in terms of reliability and durability. Depending which one you went for you could end up with a Honda or BMW engine too.

  46. JonnyB says:

    I had a Rover once. I sold it for £25 to the previous Village Shop man. He was happy at the time, but subsequently confided that he felt ripped off.

  47. Thanks for the explanation re the origins of the term Ninky-Nonk, Porthos. I had no idea C-beebies was such a hotbed of racism! That’s the last licence fee they’ll get out of me, the nazi bastards…

  48. JonnyB says:

    Testing to see if comments still work…

  49. Who says they ever worked, Jonny? I’ve been commenting here for years, and yet you still keep posting…

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