Friday, May 21, 2010

A spooky coinky-dink

I've had Clubbie for the best part of 14 months now, give or take a few days and two weeks when it was in Mini hospital. If you ask me which of the three Minis I've owned is my favourite, 99 percent of the time I'll say Clubbie; it's a distinctive-looking little motor, every bit as enjoyable to own and drive as my previous ones, economical, and *gasp!* reasonably practical for a young chap around town such as myself.

The other one percent is reserved for my two previous Minis because they were awesome cars and I loved them to bits.

Giving up my Cooper S (known affectionately as 'Min' in real life, and often referred to as the Sparky Mobile here) last year was little bit tough, truth be told, although the feeling passed as soon as I sat in Clubbie for the first time as its owner. I'd promised myself that I wouldn't watch the guy who brought Clubbie down from Cheshire drive off up the road on his way back to the Midlands with my Cooper S, but I totally did. I'd had the car over five years - longer than any other car I've owned - and I was sad to see it go after so many years of faithful service.

I consoled myself by saying that because it was heading up north I'd likely never see it again.

And then yesterday morning I got the following text from Sparky Ma:

Number plate photoshopped out to protect the innocent, obviously.

I read it about three times before replying simply "yes!"

"It's parked in Tesco's car park," Sparky Ma fired back.

I was stunned. Surely this couldn't be true? A car I sold over a year ago to a dealership in Cheshire ending up not five minutes away from the very house where it used to live? Sparky Ma must've misread the number plate or something.

And then she sent me this.

And there was no denying it. It was my last car. Apparently it's the automotive equivalent of a homing pigeon.

The artist formerly known as the Sparky Mobile on November 14th, 2003 - the day I took delivery of it.

Seeing it again came as something of a shock. I was always surprised that I'd never seen my first Mini again after trading it in as I had, after all, just taken it back to the local dealer where I'd bought it in the first place. But no, not a hide nor hair in the seven years since I bid it adieu. Here, though, was a car I'd sold to a dealership almost 200 miles away. I couldn't stop staring at the photo, and I'm not ashamed to say that I felt a little bit wistful at the sight of it; not because I regret buying Clubbie - not at all! - but because this was my car; it was built to my spec, I paid for it, I looked forward to owning it from the day I put the deposit down in September 2003 and I loved it right up until the moment I traded it in for Clubbie in 2009. I still have a special place for it in my heart … and here it is again, but now it belongs to somebody else.

Do they treat it well, I wondered? Do they love owning it as much as I did? It looks clean and shiny - that's an indication that they look after it, right? Sparky Ma said that if she hadn't been in a rush she would've hung around for a while to see if she could meet the new owner. I would've loved that. I was content with the idea of never seeing it again, but now I know it's around I want to find out what it's been up to over the last year.

I might start hanging around Tesco's car park in the hope that I can recreate this photo from the day I headed to Cheshire to test drive Clubbie last year.


Inexplicable DeVice said...

And that's how stalking starts. You'll soon be on that slippery slope to Stalkersville.

Not that I have any personal experience, you understand.

Tara said...

That's so great that your mom saw your former car! And so close to it's old home, too!

It sounds weird, but the same thing happened to my mom. We used to own a little Subaru Justy (it was nice and compact and helped me pass my driving test), and she eventually gave it up. About a year later she saw her little car in the lot of the convenient store we used to go to all the time. Some guy adopted it.

I'm going to feel a bit emotional when I eventually have to give up my silver Ford Escort.

CyberPete said...

They'll start thinking that you are one of those creepy men hanging out in car parks looking for action.

Tim said...

Inexplicable Device - As long as I stop short of licking photos of it all will be good.

Tara - It was funny; Mum couldn't believe it and was still talking about it today. She was saying how it was parked right near where she usually parks in Tesco - like it was meant to happen!

Cyberpete - Dear Sir, you're confusing me with IDV!

Ponita in Real Life said...

Funny... over here, the plates stay with the person and you put them on your next car... Obviously over there, they belong to the vehicle.

Cool that you saw Min... would be even cooler if you could park Clubbie beside Min and take a photo. Min looks to be wearing silver lipstick!

CyberPete said...

Good point!

My parents owned a black Toyota Yaris and they loved it. It was a great car. Then they sold it to a dealership much like you, and they too met the car and owner six months later.

They had a lovely chat about it, although a Yaris is less quirky than a Mini. The lady who bought it was so happy with it and she apparently had her son wash it once a fortnight.

Tim said...

Ponita - Yep, that's right; the plates stay with the car, not the owner. And I'll be doing my best to recreate that picture!

Cyberpete - I really want to have a chat like that with Min's new owner. *lurks in car park*

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Hmmm... It seems 'Petra wasn't confusing you with me, after all.


Tim said...

There's a fine line between chatting and dogging!

How is Moom?

CyberPete said...

It's only good if the new owner is as enthusiastic as you. If they are kinda meh, the gears are worn down and it started leaking oil but I really can't be bothered, then it's best not knowing.

Wait, that creepy old man with the dog at the car park the other day. That was IDV and Moom?

Tim said...

Well, Sparky Ma said it looked *really* clean and shiny, which is always a good sign, I think.

Lord knows it wasn't always clean and shiny when I had it!!