According to statistics it costs an awful lot of money per year to keep a car in the way it would like to be accustomed. There’s a thing called depreciation which means that as soon as you’ve paid for the wretched thing it is becomes less valuable unlike jewellery made from precious metal or some works of art. It often seems to me that a car causes much more expense, not to mention aggravation, than a puppy or indeed a child.
Cars always need something doing to them. I had a Maestro once that blew a head gasket (0r something) in the middle of the M25. Smoke poured from it and the odd flame bounced out from the bonnet and other drivers hooted me as though I really wanted to be stuck in a vehicle that appeared to be trying to kill me.
Cars need servicing, housing (garage or parking permit), feeding (oil and petrol), (insuring – don’t get me started on the cost of insurance for actresses), taxing and cleaning. Cleaning a car is one of the most pointless jobs in the whole gamut of what is considered to be “grown-upedness.”
I was wondering the other day how it was that since we made the decision to move to Central London we seemed to have more disposable income than what we had living in a village. Then I realised that in one fell swoop, by moving to a flat on five bus routes and within walking distance of two mainline stations and four tube stations, we had become free from the burden of harbouring our own vehicle. Admittedly having a bus pass is a great boon but even so the yearly cost of a local Oyster Card is less than running a vehicle excluding, would you believe, fuel.
When we first moved to London we were too scared to become car-less. We kept my dinky little SmartCar in case an emergency occurred. A few months later the said emergency happened: I was taken ill (much ado about nothing in the end) and the NHS Direct advisor instructed me to go to hospital immediately without hesitation, deviation, passing go nor collecting £200. The husband bundled me into the said SmartCar and zoomed us off to the nearest Casualty only to find that there was nowhere to park. He dumped me on the A&E doorstep, drove back to our on-street parking spot and took a taxi back to the hospital.
Thus dinky little SmartCar was sent to a new home in the countryside and we used the proceeds from this sale to pay for a much-needed bathroom refurbishment.
I am constantly amused at the naive questions so many people ask me about living in London. Of all the things I might miss from rural life – such as lack of garden and retail shopping parks – the one I most certainly miss the least is private transport. Being car-less is freedom for us town-dwellers.
It’s made us fitter and in the next blog I might tell you about the fun one can have running for a bus!