Friday, November 13, 2009

Saying goodbye to the Vectra

Over the past 12 months some of our most valuable aids have gained identities and personalities of their own. The Vauxhall Vectra that we bought last December when we first arrived in London however, is not one of them. Not sure why.

However, without it, this would have been a very very different
trip. When we bought the car we could have had bought something a little cheaper, but this car really appealed. It had very low mileage for a car that was 6 years old at 53,185 miles. It was smart enough not to attract the attention of police as a dud, but was not so new looking that it would attract car thiefs. It was sound and had a full service record and some remaining road tax and registration, AND most importantly, it was available straight away.

And at
£1,700 it was far far cheaper that renting a car for a year or even with the cost of fuel factored in, probably cheaper still for the two of us on public transport. And the biggest advantage - it gave us our freedom to go where we wanted, when we wanted and via the route we wanted. None of this being tied to scheduled routes or timetables. So we were able to wander the countrysides on the back roads, the mountain roads, the forest roads and the hugging the coast roads. What a trip!!

Today was a very special day back in Germany too. Felix was doing his thesis dissertation presentation to his University professors and anyone else that wanted to attend. We phoned him last night to wish him luck - hope Steph wasn't put out that we didn't talk to her! We are sure that he did well, you don't get that far into a Doctorate and then bum out!

(Michael here) So, today is the day to reconnoitre in search of a buyer for our car - in particular, a dealer. We would have prefered a private buyer, however, none were not forthcoming and time is at a premium. Maria searches the net for local dealerships around the Twickenham and Hayes areas. With this information, MOT and Road Tax documentation I set forth upon the quest for a buyer.

Times must be grim for the motor industry here in England, as the first two dealers weren't interested or not buying at present - "Business is fairly slow." At least the first dealer I approached had provided me with a possible lead located at Hounslow. My second target advised me that their 'valuer' would not be available until 2pm. I then ventured onto my third prospect, with a view to returning to my second prospect should this next visit prove fruitless.

In retrospect, we have been told on a couple of occasions the make of our particular vehicle are well sought after? Times must indeed be tough.... However, undaunted, I proceeded onto Hounslow (it wasn't quite 2pm at that time) towards the next prospect. I arrived, introduced myself and spruiked the vehicle's assets and then waited...waited...waited...until the assessor viewed our car. With a smile on my face, as the assessor delivered his negative response, I exited the building. I must add here, unless you've had the pleasure of negotiating British streets - it's understandable that a route of 20kms should be such a protracted exercise - particularly in the rain.

Retracing my earlier route I returned to the second prospect just after 2pm. Our vehicle was quietly assessed by the valuer: engine bay; boot; interior; exterior; tyres (including spare). He made an offer which was substantially below our purchase price; however, time is at a premium, Sunday we fly out for Oz and the car HAS to be disposed of. The dealership was going to run checks on the vehicles ensuring it is bonafide, and I was requested to phone the following morning at 10am.

Returned to the hotel, and Maria advises me that the dealer phoned and will purchase the Vectra and for me to return tomorrow at 11am!

(Me again) And so I have started to try to consolidate half a hotel room into the two suitcases and our hand luggage. Wasn't too long before it rolled around to dinner time, so back downstairs we venture. Same menu as last night, but different choices -
Garlic flatbread with cheese (Michael)
Baked potato skins with
bacon, spring onion, melted Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, served with sour cream and chive dip (Maria)
Chicken Makhani curry - Chicken breast marinated with yoghurt and spices in tomato and cream curry sauce served with basmati rice and naan bread (Michael)

Smothered chicken - Grilled chicken breast topped with crispy bacon, Cheddar and mozzarella cheeses served with your choice of potato, fresh seasonal vegetables and Hickory sauce (Maria)

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