One of the first things that Helen did when we moved in together was to buy a car. On the face of it, this was an odd thing for an almost penniless couple to do as they moved in together, but at the time it seemed like a sensible idea. We were living in Didsbury, she was working in Denton, a seven mile, two bus, trip away.
Buying a car entailed arranging a loan from her bank, then enlisting a work colleague who claimed to know something about cars to take us on a tour of East Manchester’s dodgiest car dealers. She agreed to buy (you will gather that I had very little input into this) a W-suffix Ford Fiesta with about 90,000 miles on the clock. There was then a mad dash back to her bank in Denton to get the cash (the dealer would not accept any other payment, which should have been a warning) before the bank closed. The price? £1950.
Needless to say, the car was rubbish. It frequently refused to start (I learned how to jump start it using the clutch), didn’t run well and was about as reliable as you expect a car bought from a guy who wants payment in cash could be. It died a death on the M6 motorway in Birmingham one rainy Friday night as we drove down to my parents’ house. For Helen’s £1950 investment she got back £35, which went on towing the car off of the motorway. It was, possibly the worst investment ever, including the next terrible car that we bought.