Today I had some good news. My ancient car managed, against all odds, to convince some ITV inspector that it is roadworthy. After a terrifying periodic inspection it was given a clean bill of health and the man gave me a sticker to say that the car was fit tor use until the 27th of December 2019.

By way of a celebration I thought I might resurrect an old blog post, almost as ancient as the car, which recognises the affection I have for this battered machine. Here it is:

“I don´t know anything much about cars. Most of the ones we have bought over the years were cheap and second hand and there were some real stinkers among them. This is probably no more than we deserve. When we are on the garage forecourt sizing up a prospective new purchase our examination is pretty cursory. I count the wheels. If there are four I am encouraged. Then there ought to be a steering wheel somewhere. If there is, and it is roughly circular in shape, and positioned in front of the driver´s seat this will pretty much seal the deal as far as I´m concerned. That is, of course, provided the car is pretty cheap. It is usually only some time later that we discover our shiny new car turns out to be a creaking crock of shit.

Thoughts about the shortcomings  of our cars come into particularly sharp focus at this time of the year because October is when my ageing Renault Megane is due its annual technical inspection. It is prodded and poked, has the strength of its headlights monitored, is forced to run on treadmills like a mechanical hamster and even suffers the indignity of having a probe shoved up its exhaust pipe.

In the finest tradition of vehicles in our possession, the car duly failed its technical inspection. The man said that it was not such a good thing for the rear brake lights not to work and told me to go away and sort it out.

Rear brake lights, what a relief! There is such a litany of possible defects in this ancient machine, almost any of which would have cost a fortune to put right, that the “failure” of defective brake lights seems like no real failure at all. If anything, it is a qualified success! After all, given the option at the outset of failing on a fairly minor feature, I would have happily settled for this outcome.

You may think that, given the generally negative way I have portrayed this old car that I do not care for it. But nothing is further from the truth. I love it! I realise it won´t measure up to a modern snazzy car in anybody else´s eyes but it is still a thing of beauty to me. Consider the sound of the engine, she doesn´t purr contentedly like a top of the range car. She sounds, on her good days, like a coffee grinder. The rest of the time she sounds like a cement mixer filled with aggregate rolling down a hill. But to me hers is the music of an orchestra, or at least of the percussion section. That´s love for you.

If the distances of the journeys she has had over the years were combined, they would reach almost to the moon. And she has taken me down some pretty scary winding tracks along mountainsides towards some promising reservoir glistening in morning sunlight. She has guided me safely through the labyrinth of unsealed dirt roads that permeate the tissues of the Guadalhorce river valley like blood capillaries. And she never took me anywhere, no matter how far off the beaten track, that she would not take me back safely from.

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Up ahead are my dogs Chica and Barney on one of the rough tracks near our place. My ancient car may never win any beauty competition, and her value may fluctuate according to how much diesel there is in the tank, but she will get me along tracks like this one!