Our little Ford Fiesta did umpteen years of school and supermarket runs . All three children learnt to drive in it . There were still claw marks on the sides of the passenger seat where I had hung on in terror during sorties onto the dual carriageway. Scrapes on the wing showed where one of the kids found the garden wall before the steering wheel. Dents along one side show where Perran used to rest his bike while preparing for his paper round. Until one morning I got up very early and discovered him doing it.
The Fiesta had even once taken me and three fully grown children on a camping trip all the way to Cornwall. The boot was so full I had to remove the cherry tomatoes from their punnet and insert them individually amongst the other luggage.
Now however Nigel commutes by train. I drive the daddy car as it is more fuel efficient. The Fiesta has faded gradually, moss growing on it, its various mechanical failures totting up.
Why did we go on taxing and MOTing it? Because we thought one of the children might want it. However since they live in Edinburgh and London a car can be more of a liability than an asset and none of them is interested.
Couldn't we buy a paddock and put it out to grass? I ask Nigel.
I am out on the day that the scrap merchant takes it away.*
Sometimes I look at the space on the drive and sigh. I feel somehow I let the Fiesta down. If we'd sold it on sooner it might still be alive now.
Did I just say alive?
But then good news.
Some friends from church are taking the opportunity to work in Australia for a year. Their car needs a foster home. Nigel is mystified as I volunteer our drive enthusiastically.
When the car arrives it looks as if not merely three children but possibly the Waltons or Von Trapps had learnt to drive in it. That's great.
I pat its bonnet each time I pass by to the carriage. It fits right in.
*Nigel tells me it was an end of life vehicle dismantler