Back To The USSR (Well Poland)

For those of you who read my last entry you will know my current position is Wroclaw, Poland. Now surrounded by random pieces of sculpture and back in that Volvo again! As you will know the Volvo and I are very much over our initial dislike for each other and are now friends for life. The Batman and Robin duo of me and her dad, back in our not very sexy Batmobile and ready to embark on the trip home. Another 1500 miles of European motorways awaits and I am looking forward to the adventure. The excited girlfriend we have also collected along with her creations is chatting away in the back, clearly happy to see us and excited to be heading home. As me and her father both suspect, this won’t last long so we nod and smile politely as her batteries fail and before we have even considered the Polish border she is out for the count.


The drive home was incident free and even included a night in a hotel next to the Autobahn which was a welcome stop off. This leads me on to the topic of today’s ramble…..what was without a shadow of doubt the worst purchase of my life and I am sorry to say it had wheels.


Some can claim awful purchases as clothing or holidays but I am ashamed to say mine was a car. Not long after we got home I decided to buy said girlfriend a car. Colossal error as I was young, naive and rushing.


As some of you may relate to, once the idea was in my head it WAS happening. I am an impulse buyer at the best of times and the romance of this gift with it being her first car won my mind over immediately. Sadly, however my mind and my wallet were not in agreement. So, I enrolled the help of a friend and we headed down the road to visit some of the low cost used car dealers. Our remit was typical, a small, efficient hatchback that was cheap and would hopefully be reliable. I got everything right apart from the last part. Upon arriving at our third establishment of ill-repute we found ourselves pawing over a 1994 Peugeot 106 1.0 petrol 3-door. I know! I know! What were we thinking!? I really have no idea. I am ashamed to say I bought a nail of the highest order. I was drawn in by the price and the tidy paintwork. Visually the car looked good and with about 40k miles on the clock, what could go wrong!? Well as you are probably guessing, a lot can go wrong.


Ever heard rumours of sand in oil to quieten a dying engine? I had too, now two days into ownership it became a reality. The car died on day two and after inspection from a mechanic friend of mine he declared it to be deceased. Obviously again the dealer didn’t answer the phone and this was shaping up like something straight out of “The Cook Report” but without any confrontation because it would appear not only am I awful at choosing budget cars but I am a coward too! Oh the shame…..


Thankfully the gift is a surprise so my shame is mine and mine alone. Well, apart from the mechanic friend who is helping me out while trying not to laugh. We find a replacement engine at a local breaker and get it fitted. Now only a week later and the car runs like a dream. Job done? God no….


With the drama feeing like it is now behind me I decide to do some miles in the car and get to know it. This was also an error as ignorance is bliss and it was bloody awful! Four gears, zero power, noisy and the brakes seemed to rely purely on the friction of the tyres to slow the thing. Cornering felt like you were going to scrape your ears on the tarmac and the whole motoring experience left you fearful of all other road users in case they scythed through you as the car was basically a mobile Coke can.


Much like a Radio 2 confession I share this shame in the hope that somehow, somewhere I may be forgiven. My intentions were pure but my methods and funding were found lacking and the results were in sort, shameful. I should add I adorned the car with wheel trims, seat overs and even paw print stickers on the bonnet as I knew she would like that. What was I smoking!?


Looking back now it’s comical but in my defence, it was a long time ago.


None of you will be surprised that not long after her gift was unveiled she broke up with me and left for Australia. It seems my gift was so putrid she had to get on the other side of the planet to be as far away from it and me as possible! I have no idea what became of my Frankenstein-like creation but I am glad to report the young lady and I are friends to this day and my purchasing skills have improved a little since back then.





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