For six years now I’ve been a member of the great unautomobiled masses. It hasn’t been so bad but living on the outskirts of London (as I do) there have always been minor inconveniences: having to plan late nights in London, having to think twice about what to buy in Tescos because I might not be able to carry it home etc.
And then I got a new job.
Which was fine. It was further away but I could commute. The trains in my corner of south-west London are a joy being both punctual and clean.
But as Alan Clark pointed out trains never start from where you want to start and never take you where you want to go.
(Actually, in my case that’s not quite true - at one end of the journey the station is nearer than where I can park but that’s another story.)
The real problem was time. Even with the trains running perfectly my commute would take an hour and a bit. The equivalent car journey would normally take 40 minutes and sometimes as little as 20.
Worse still, there was no train or bus at all that could get me to work on time on a Sunday. I quickly tired of taking taxis.
So, I did some sums and drew up a budget. And then threw it away. Sure it would end up a bit more expensive but (apart from the time-saving) it would give me something else. Call it freedom, call it responsibility - but it would be that whole adventure (even the boring and expensive bits) of owning a car: buying insurance, getting it serviced, deciding for myself when to go, seeing what repairs/modifications I could do myself, going for a drive, getting lost…
So, a car it was.