At the start of our time living together, Helen and I somehow managed to go through cars at a rate of roughly one every two months.
The first was a blue Ford Fiesta. I remember going to buy this car on a gloomy (and, let us face it, probably rainy) day in Manchester. We took one of Helen’s work colleagues with us, who claimed to know something about cars. In fact, I suspect that he was in league with the car salesman because the car was a complete heap. The engine never ran smoothly, it often refused to start (I got very good at force-starting it using the clutch) and it was no surprise when it died in a heap of smoke on the M6 near Birmingham one Saturday evening in January.
(Incidentally, in order to buy this car, we had to persude Helen’s bank to stay open later so that we could pick the money up. Would this happen now? I don’t think so)
Fortunately, we had enough money left from buying that car to get a replacement. Somehow, we ended up with a bright yellow Talbot Samba with a penchant for overheating. Other than that, it was pretty well behaved, right up to the point when the head gasket blew, also on the M6. In March.
We did have that car towed back to our house and eventually had the head gasket replaced. I don’t think we ever drove it again, though, and I remember having to push it when we moved house. Fortunately, it was only two streets, but did mean getting it over a hump back bridge and through a set of traffic lights.
After that, it was at least another year before we got a car. Even then, Helen’s father bought it. We just were not the sort of people who should be allowed near car showrooms.