'There will soon come a time to give up my car'

My little car

My little car - Credit: André Langlois

I've been driving in my car, it's not quite a Jaguar.
I bought it in Primrose Hill from a bloke from Brazil.
(Madness)

I like driving in my car. It’s not a Jaguar, it's a tiny Fiat 500, and I bought it from a man in Exeter.

It's plagued by bird mess, sitting in residents’ parking in the street, awaiting adventure. Maybe 10 times a year I take it out of town to visit friends or occasionally for work.

I like the freedom – being able to get up and go, changing my mind on a dime.

In the past I’ve taken driving holidays. I often think of time spent travelling motel to motel from New Orleans to Washington DC on a musical pilgrimage.


You may also want to watch:


But I know one day I must give up my Fiat.

Last week I was in Norwich for work and encountered the petrol queues first hand. Fortunately I had enough in the tank to get home, so each time I saw the line of cars at the M11's paltry service station provision, I got straight back on the road.

By Saturday the chaos was all over London  – queues everywhere and forecourts closing. By Sunday we had returned to an agrarian lifestyle.

Most Read

I joke, of course, but there is something symbolic about this short, sharp shock as we wrestle with the reality we face of diminishing natural resources (electric cars are progress, but electricity must be generated). 

I'm aware of the privilege of being able to afford a car, and increasingly of using it to travel when I could, in truth, take the train (many, of course need their cars for valid reasons).

But the freedom of the open road and the joy of singing along full volume to David Bowie songs (no one else must hear my Life On Mars) is a lot to give up.

I often refer to the anachronism of "unleaded" petrol when many on the roads don't remember "leaded", and I often wonder whether anyone in London recalls the smell of air polluted by leaded petrol.

Generations to come will never know the smell of our unleaded petrol-addicted streets, I hope. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter