Monday, November 14, 2005

Blue Car Blues

I need to change my car, not that I particularly want to change it, but I must as it is a relic from the heady financial days (comparatively) of my marriage and I can no longer afford to run it.

My Saab Convertible 900 1995 2.3 litres of reconditioned engine at vast expense, mended roof at vast expense and guaranteed sharp intake of breath each time an invoice is generated. Blue it is, too. A few months after acquiring it, the roof broke down and stayed that way for 2 years which did it no good at all and meant that the fabulous convertible capacity of the car was nothing more than a sweet memory. The roof must have been down no more than 20 times in 4.5yrs.

It is a car for pleasure; for a couple who take friends from time to time for a spin. It is no good for transporting bicycles to the beach, or packing up with tent and provisions for 3 for a week's camping or taking not so spry parents for a day out to the Bambouseraie in Anduze. It is simply not practical, which, of course, is part of its appeal.

But I need practicality, ease of repairing, economy and reliability. I'm thinking of buying a Peugeot 406 Break as they call estate cars here. My principal stipulation is that it must have air conditioning as well as being road-worthy (which goes without saying!).

If I bought a diesel model, it seems that I could run it on vegetable oil. French television occasionally throws up a programme worth watching, and 'Capital' on a Sunday evening is definitely one to catch. Last night the subject was alternative energy, mainly, and investigated the truth of the question of using vegetable oil in diesel engines. Apparently it works a treat, although used oil works even better as its structure, having been heated, is more conducive to firing off. So there's a thought!

Brazil is the place to be though, as their cars run on ethanol produced from sugar cane, and all legally. I'm thinking of turning my garden into a sugar plantation, or rather a sugar patch. Don't snigger, we all have to start small!

The spokesman from Renault who was being interviewed by the Capital guy (who has very blue eyes...) was somewhat reticent about all this and would not be drawn on the rather pertinent questions being asked, which comes as no surprise...

Much food for thought on the car front, then, literally.

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