I was walking to get the bus this morning when I saw a cluster of young boys darting around a parked car. My first instinct was one of suspicion, but there didn’t seem to be any of the scowling furtiveness that I’ve encountered with mischievous or downright villainous kids recently.

They were happy in their game, faces bright and cheerful, and then they all got into the car and I heard them chattering away as I passed.

It reminded me of how my grandparents’ car was a centre of play and shared adventure when they came to visit. For many years we didn’t have a car ourselves: too expensive on my father’s wages as an Anglican priest. Our grandparents’ vehicle therefore was a totem of travel and adventure, and we would clamour to be allowed to go play in it while the grown-ups did… whatever it was grown-ups did.

That car was a spaceship, or an escape vehicle on the run from bad guys, or any number of excuses to change seats, flip switches, and listen to the radio for short periods of time so we didn’t run the battery down.

Funny how simple sights bring it all back.

Petrol Head

Lady M manages to surprise people in her workplace on a regular basis. Occasionally its because they didn’t pay attention the first time, especially when its about personal preferences.

One of the perks of her new role has been the option of a company car, and this has been exciting for her on at least two levels. Firstly it’s the first time she’s ever been offered one, so she finally has a sense of having ‘arrived’ career-wise. Secondly, Lady M is a complete petrol head, and has been like a kid in a candy store while working out what she wants.

Her calculations over the last couple of months have furiously juggled payslip deductions, our household regular outgoings and a whole host of arcane considerations that I’ve occasionally understood. I am not a petrol head. I appreciate a good design and a smooth ride, but I can’t get worked up over an Audi R8 versus an Audi TT, an M-class something or other, a Lexus or, for all I can tell, a classic electric milk float.

This week, Lady M got the go ahead to book test drives for her candidate vehicles. A string of calendar invites have appeared in my schedule for the next few weeks, and staff were reportedly bemused to hear giggles and rocking motions in her seat in the office while she set them up.

I don’t know about her coworkers, but I’m a little bit scared…