Tag Archives: Corsa

Monday Long Termer: 28/04/14′

I think something bad is happening to me. I think I might be falling out of love with the Corsa. There isn’t anything wrong with the car mechanically, in fact it is boosting very well and still drinks diesel like a gnat through a straw. However, ever since the unfortunate key scoring,the Corsa just looks so sorry for itself. I look at it now and can’t help but think it is beyond economical repair.

The damage caused during the reigns of previous users was bad enough- dented front arches, badly gouged side rail, drivers’ side rear door and rear three-quarter panel, severely scuffed wheel covers and abundant dings and minor dents dotted all over the place but the addition of four long, waving, bare metal scratches is just too much for me to handle.

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As my emotional connection begins to detach from the Long Termer, I feel less respectful of it and less complimentary about its abilities. The negative feelings now outweigh the positive. I almost feel like I’m simply tolerating its presence, counting away the days until it is replaced by something shiny and new.

Sounds like the beginning of the end doesn’t it? Almost exactly how it transpires with most failing human relationships, in my experience. That may sound harsh but think about it for a minute.

Anyway, I think about the features and benefits (which all good sales people should focus on) that are missing (which bad salespeople probably focus on) and how their omission from the spec list mars the experience of owning it.

Isn’t it funny that I didn’t worry about these things before the scratches? I think this shows that, psychologically and possibly subconsciously, we predetermine an approximate limit to how many negative aspects we will tolerate before making a decision to terminate whatever arrangement or connection we have with that object, or person.

It seems that my predetermined limit has now been reached, thanks to the handy work of some probable plastic gangster with a penchant for infantile vandalism and general menace.

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Now, in my mind at least, it is time for the Long Termer to be replaced by a newer model. I would take kindly to choosing its successor myself. I would even throw a few quid a month to my employer if they would just let me pick something I’d enjoy driving for the 4-5 year lease period.

It would need to be of much higher specification than my current car. For example, in this day and age, for a man to have to have no iPod connectivity in his only vehicle is an outrage. I spend many hours each week in my company car and I have an unwavering love for music. My iPod holds the key to solving sadness, tiredness, boredom and a whole list of varying emotional and metaphysical states.

Editor’s note: Holy, moly, holy. I’m gonna have to break in, here. That really is some kind of statement. I feel like grabbing ‘old of ‘ol Nathan Green and shaking him shouting ‘THE KEY IS INSIDE OF YOU, THE KEY IS INSIDE OF YOU!’ Then giving ‘im a great big hug. 

As you were…

I’d also like a 3-door, as I much prefer the styling to that of all 5-door hatchbacks. Even when I have a family, I will not buy a 5-door hatchback with my own hard earned cash. I’d rather jump out of the drivers seat every time someone needs to get in the back than own a 5 door- surely it’s preferable to face infrequent and minor physical inconveniences than a endure constant and major aesthetic malaise?

So, the catch. I do not own this car and I have no real say in when it is to be replaced or, most likely, what it will be replaced with. I think it’s going to take some real presentation skills to get the car changed prematurely but, hell, my employer took me on because I can confidently present the features and benefits of the solutions we provide to satisfy our customers’ needs and wants. I don’t recall any clauses in my contract of employment stating I am not allowed to use those skills to persuade the Company to satisfy my needs and wants by putting me in a new Long Termer.

Watch this space.

Before I end this piece I just want to say a huge thank you to every one of you who read, liked and shared my ‘VTEC: The Power of Dreams’ piece last week. Tim and I had a conversation a month or so ago regarding our goal of reaching 1000 views. I honestly thought it was going to take a while as we were ticking over at around 200 readers per piece. However, the VTEC piece has now been read by over 3000 people. Three thousand.

This massive increase, along with the positive remarks offered by almost every person who has read the piece, has really touched my heart. We write these pieces in our spare time and for no financial gain. Our only ‘revenue’ is your feedback and in that sense, I feel very wealthy right now.

I appreciate all of your help, you’ve all been amazing, however I have to give a special shout out to Hannah Geddes who shared the piece far and wide and to all the right people. At one point, thanks to her genius, Autoeclectic was attracting around 100 views every 20 minutes, over a whole evening. That’s 300 readers per hour. Hannah, Autoeclectic salute you and thank you kindly for your efforts. Thank you.

I hope you all enjoy the forthcoming pieces and continue to share them out for others to enjoy. You are helping us achieve our dreams and I can’t put into words how much that means to us.

 

Weekly Mileage- 460

Fuel Cost: £50

Repair cost: £0        

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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Monday Long Termer, Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 Life: 14/04/14′

By Nathan Green

The trusty Corsa continues to serve me perfectly well and has, yet again, couriered me, my belongings (not all of them) and my friends (some of them) around for another seven days without any mechanical or electrical problems.

Unfortunately, sometime in the last few days, an unknown nemesis scored the side of the Long Termer Corsa with, I’d imagine, the key to his or her 1 bed flat above a boarded-up shop on Shit Street in the centre of a local town.

Welcome to Nathan Green's Wonderful World Of Car Parks As Seen Through The Paint Work Of Cars That Have Been Keyed. Better known as NGWWOCPASTTPOCTHBK.

Welcome to Nathan Green’s Wonderful World Of Car Parks As Seen Through The Paint Work Of Cars That Have Been Keyed. Better known as NGWWOCPASTTPOCTHBK. In this edition we have that great Mastodon of the road, the VW Passat.

I’m sorry to stereotype but, seriously, what kind of monumental moron keys a car? It’s a vile act of vandalism, right up there with kicking off wing mirrors, happy slapping and deliberately smashing windows. Am I annoyed? Of course I am. The Corsa may not technically be my car but I drive it every day and do feel some sense of ownership over it.

What will I do about it? Well, part of me wants to dedicate all of my spare time the kind of seek and destroy campaign John Rambo would be proud to plan and undertake, with the desirable outcome involving inflicting severe pain, resulting in some light scarring to the body and heavy psychological trauma to the brain.

Here, you can quite clearly see some foliage.

Here, you can quite clearly see some foliage.

I honestly do not understand why any person would enact revenge in such a cowardly manner. I assume it is an act of revenge because a) I have annoyed many people over the course of my lifetime and b) it is absolutely absurd to think that someone would key a car without any reason whatsoever.

Please tell me I’m not alone in thinking this? What kind of pathetic existence would result in keying cars as a hobby? As if any person on this planet is so lonely and bored that they go out of an evening and run their keys down the side of someone else’s vehicle.

Four times.

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Note how the foliage contrasts with the blue sky.

So, some recommendations to the reprobate who committed this disgusting crime against me: Go and buy an Etch a Sketch and twist the knobs until you’ve drawn something that resembles anything. Or maybe buy a colouring book. May I suggest you start with a ‘paint by numbers’ format so as not to overwhelm your massively under-developed brain? If neither of these work for you I would suggest, as a last resort, handing yourself in to the police. If you tell them about all of the naughty things you have done, they might provide you with a new “room”, complete with your own friend, a television (with the TV Licence actually paid), three square meals a day and a gymnasium where you can let out your inner anger in a productive way.

Anyway, what will I actually do? Not a lot. Probably just add the cost of fixing the damage to the already long list of problems that have previously been quoted for repair. Yes, I have been known to lose my temper and seek out those who commit such crimes but I don’t have the time to be a vigilante.

A man in a blue jumper not, in fact, taking a selfie. And some windows. That completes this weeks edition of NGWWOCPASTTPOCTHBK. See you next week!

A man in a blue jumper not, in fact, taking a selfie. And some windows. That completes this weeks edition of NGWWOCPASTTPOCTHBK. See you next week!

Lord knows I’d be happy to see justice served to this unknown member of our society but, as Martin Luther King once said, “I have decided to love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” Count your blessings my friend and please, try not to sin again. I am happy to allow your fate to be decided by karma however, the next person you inconvenience with your illegal actions may not be so forgiving.

Weekly Mileage- 289

Fuel Cost: £25

Repair cost: £0         Key scratch damage £TBC

Repair costs (2014)- £849

 

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Monday Long Termer, Vauxhall Corsa 1.3 Life: 07/04/14′

By Nathan Green

(Editor’s note: I love Nathan Green, you love Nathan Green. We all love Nathan Green. Unfortunately, today he sent me a piece that compares women to cars. Now, Nathan is a kind and thoughtful human being who respects women as equals. I also believe him to be comfortable with his sexuality.

Anyway’s for shits and gigs I decided it would be better if the piece (‘piece’, heh, heh) compared men to cars. In line with this I’ve changed any mention of women  to men. Mainly because it would make me laugh. But also, ’cause it makes me laugh. Oh, and *it is* odd comparing living breathing, creative, highly developed and often sidelined ‘groups’ to inanimate objects that you can buy with money.) 

Men, if I may, I would like to draw some comparisons. I promise these will be mostly positive and reflect only my own opinions. I promise not to be derogatory, sexist or misanderistic. Probably.

Why do I feel apprehensive about this? Everyone knows that cars are almost always named after men so there is already an existing link. Furthermore, I shouldn’t really be scared of offending anyone because, let’s be honest, there are plenty of less desirable objects to be compared to than a handsome modern Ferrari, a vintage classic Mercedes or even a filthy dirty Vauxhall Corsa.

I, myself have been compared to a variety of things that are much less complimentary. I won’t give examples, I’m sure you won’t have to try too hard to fill in the blanks.

Anyway, as many of you know, up until about 6 months ago, I was a car sales executive, which is an over embellished way of saying I sold cars. During this time, I was in a committed, long-term relationship. In fact, weirdly, my career in car sales started and ended at the same time as my relationship.

As a car salesman, I drove lots of different cars, each with their own personality and individual aesthetic qualities. However, I only had one lady in my life. Nowadays, I only have one car, my darling ‘Long Termer’ Corsa Life and I am free to date whomever I choose. As long as they reciprocate my interest, of course.

Whilst spending time with my friend Natalie, last week, we looked back through my iCloud Photo Stream at some of the cars I drove during the two years I spent selling them. It made me think about how each one of them made me feel, what strengths and weaknesses they showed during my time with them and, most importantly, the best experiences I had when driving them – experiences I can now recall as cherished memories. Let me introduce you to some of my past conquests:

My first sales position was at a Ford dealership in Redditch where I was given a silver Focus Zetec TDCi as a demonstrator. It was a great car. The car that really sticks in my mind, however, from that time was a brand new, bright orange Focus ST that I was lucky enough to drive before it was available to the general public.

A bright orange essex person.

A bright orange essex person.

The ST is the hottest of the new generation Focus and, I hate to be so cliché in my comparison, but it’s a stereotypical Essex boy – overdone exterior accentuation, tight bodywork, bulging bumpers and a large mouth. It looks like fun and it really is. It also has many impressive features, both inside and out. It certainly got lots of attention when I drove it around town.

I took this particular car out only a couple of times but it made more of an impression on me than my daily driver Focus did during the four months I used it. I suppose one could compare my experience with the ST to a few short moments of passion and excitement. I could easily lose myself behind the wheel, and quite possibly my drivers licence. Ultimately it was unsustainable. I’d love to drive an ST again, I just wouldn’t buy one.

Another brief fling I can boast about was with a Vauxhall Corsa VXR, again the hottest derivative of its model type. It was short, good looking, well-proportioned and makes all the right noises (Ed: oh you shouldn’t have.. wait we’re talking about me, right?). It was also completely bonkers. (Yep, talking about me.)

A short handful...

A short handful…

It was probably no faster than the Focus ST but, due to a significant weight deficit, it definitely felt faster, maybe even lunatic quick.

Driving the Corsa VXR quickly through wet country lanes lined by trees and peppered with potholes was comparable to jumping on the back of an angry masculinist after cracking a joke about woman being people too- you’d better hold on tight because if you lose control, he’ll kick your arse!

I remember I used to put the back seats down just to hear more from the sporty exhaust, the sound waves bellowed and amplified in the boot space filling the cabin with a beautiful high pitch resonance, particularly when the turbo came on song.

While the VXR was thoroughly enjoyable to drive, it was actually rather exhausting because it was hard to drive sensibly and driving it with spirit required total focus and a fair bit of effort.

Unfortunately for me, it was also too expensive to run on a long term basis. I guess it was comparable to a very exciting but very high-maintenance man who would only make sense as a weekend luxury. You simply wouldn’t have enough energy or money to keep him completely happy seven days a week.

Another favourite is my friend Matt’s 2007 Honda Civic Type-R which I drove back from Redditch and delivered to him in Stroud. Matt is fully aware that drove it hard because, well, I told him.

A two-timing red-head. In a car lot.

A two-timing red-head. In a car lot.

 

VTEC engines are built to be thrashed, it would have been rude not to oblige. I had merely a quick fling with his Japanese hunk before passing it on to him for something more long term. I am happy to report they are still very much in love.

And so, this brings me on to my trusty Long Termer, the 2007 Vauxhall Corsa Life. As an object, it is not beautiful – it was not styled to impress the eye or indeed excite any of our sensory receptors. It was not designed nor engineered to make your palms sweat with its cornering abilities or provoke a tingling sensation in your loins when accelerating from a standstill.

Plain Joe

Plain Joe.

It was created to be consistently dependable, uneventfully reliable, boringly efficient and pound stretchily frugal. And it is. It is also filthy dirty most of the time.

Despite the seemingly negative slant on this summary of the Corsa, I am actually content driving it every day. It does exactly what I need it to do and does so to the best of its limited abilities. As a mode of transport it is absolutely fine, however if I had a boyfriend with the same attributes I would not be so content, apart from the filthy dirty bit. Perhaps.

Cars and men – comparable in some ways, but luckily, completely different in almost all others.

Weekly Mileage- 324

Fuel Cost: £30

Repair cost: £0

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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Monday Long Termer: 31/03/14′ – Parking Lesson.

By Nathan Green

First, an apology. Many of my loyal readers have been asking why the Long Termer pieces have not come to fruition the past few weeks.

I wish I had a definitive answer. Let me just say my thoughts and energy have been spent overcoming some personal issues. I’m sorry. I hope not to have lost the support that many of you have offered through positive feedback.
Now, with out further ado, let’s resume normal practice.

A couple of weeks ago I spent some time in Worcester as part of the ‘Inspired Learning’ training program provided by my employer. On day one I drove to my destination via the M5 northbound motorway. A distance of 30 miles that is easily covered in around 40 minutes as long as the timing is right and the traffic is minimal.

Upon arriving at my destination it became obvious that parking was not going to be as straightforward as the journey.

With no on-site parking, I, a person who does not know Worcester at all, needed to find a space that was a) free of charge and b) within walking distance. Luckily, I found a cul-de-sac with free parking just behind the building. Unluckily, I had to leave the Corsa parked in a position where the front wheels were just over double yellow lines.

With no time to find another space, I left the car thinking it would be fine. Why would a traffic warden operate on a private residential road and, furthermore, if they were to see my car, surely my parking would not be worthy of a ticket?

I walked the short distance to the training room, parked my arse on a seat and soaked up some knowledge. Lovely ta., thanks for coming.

After bidding farewell to our top-class in-house trainer and fellow students, I walked back to the car. You know where this is going, right? I was greeted by a clear plastic envelope which had been stuck to the windscreen and contained notice of financial dismay and general inconvenience.

Meh.

Meh.

What’s the first thing you say when you are fined or reprimanded for doing something wrong? Well, maybe not the first thing as, if you’re anything like me, that will begin with an F, a B or even a C and, if you’re very unhappy, these words will be accompanied by a violent physical outburst in the form of a slam, stamp or whack.

Anyway, once I had finished swearing and stamping and had overcome the temptation to film myself burning the ticket then uploading the video to YouTube, I told myself I was a victim. However, as is often the case these days, I immediately began to question this.

I knew I could get a ticket when I parked the car there, didn’t I? I know that traffic wardens are awarded bonuses relating to the revenue they provide for their respective employers, in this case Worcester City Council. I knew that even one inch over those yellows lines would doubtless leave me with a fine. So why did I immediately begin to feel like a victim? Why is it we automatically feel like it’s not fair to be reprimanded when we do something wrong?

If you punch someone in the face, you will likely be arrested. If you sleep with someone else’s girlfriend, you’ll probably be punched in the face. If you don’t treat your girlfriend with the respect and the decency she deserves, she will leave you and, if you park on double yellow lines, you will get a ticket.
Recently I have learned that playing the victim only delays inevitable guilt and misfortune, whether it be financial or emotional. If you tackle your problems head on, and, in a timely manner, you have a much better chance of gaining a favourable outcome.

So, I accepted I was at fault, took a knock to my ego (and bank balance) and paid the fine. Doing so within a 14 day period entitled me to 50% off, leaving me with just £35 to pay.

What an absolute bargain life lesson, if only all of them could be solved so quickly and cheaply.

Weekly Mileage- 512

Fuel Cost: £50

Repair cost: £0 Parking ticket: £35

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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Monday Long Termer: 24/02/14′

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By Nathan Green

I am happy to report the Corsa and I both made it through the storms without incident. I am absolutely ecstatic to report that, after a week of quite severe discomfort, my neck is finally fixed. Thankfully, I am now able to move my head independently from the rest of my body, meaning actions required while driving are much easier and much less painful to complete. Also, with looking both ways back in my arsenal of body movements, I can once again nail the Green Cross Code. Winning.

Unfortunately, I also have some not so good news – the front bumper splitter has sort of, um, fallen off. Well, half of it has.

The front splitter is the lowermost part of the front bumper, a relatively small, usually plastic lip that aides aerodynamic stability and is also used to form part of the cars visual identity, making the front end appear closer to the ground by actually making it closer to the ground. Amazing stuff, I know.

Anyway, the Corsa has a two-part splitter which is clipped onto the bottom of the front bumper and is made of two pieces of cheap, unpainted moulded plastic that join in the middle and reflect each other, covering the full lower frontal area of the car. The half of the splitter which was once connected to the passenger side of the bumper (the side which, coincidently, was subject to a vicious battering from the sporadic patches of standing water that existed on almost every road I drove on last week) came unstuck and was dragging along the floor.

I *heart* my Vauxall Corsa Life.

I *heart* my Vauxhall Corsa Life.

I actually have no idea how long it had been hanging there, I can only hope it wasn’t long as it was not a good look. It seemed to draw the attention of many people as I left the gym on Wednesday. I rolled slowly through the car park at Stratford Park, totally ignorant to the plastic appendage hanging, being tortured by a combination of friction and heat, the tarmac grinding away at its edges. I got to the roundabout at the bottom of the car park and gave way to a car coming from my right. The guy driving said car pointed at me then pointed at the floor. I was baffled, thinking I had run over something. Then a lady walked over and told me something was broken on the bumper and whatever it was, was hanging off. A young Polish man even bent down and tried to clip the splitter back on for me but he explained it was broken, in broken English. Top man for trying, though. Would you do that for someone you didn’t know? I appreciated it, that’s for sure.

Broken Clip. Broken heart.

Broken Clip. Broken heart.

With a queue forming behind me I had to drive on and pull over again in a suitable place just a few hundred metres up the road. I tried to clip the splitter back on but I was cold and it was fiddly. With it barely hanging on, it was easier to just remove it (gently of course) and place it neatly in the boot. The front end face created by the headlight eyes, the Vauxhall badge nose and the bumper grill mouth is now missing a front splitter, or a tooth, to follow the facial feature trend. It looks wonky and will need to be fixed as soon as possible. I’ll need to dust off my patient hat and find some suitable tools. Working on a Vauxhall Corsa again. My first car was a Corsa, but that one had a turbo’d Red Top underneath the bonnet. Happy times…

On a different note: Blog editor Tim and I met yesterday, Sunday, to discuss a few things about the blog: current audience (expanding every week, thank you all), what the future holds, plans for expansion and eventual total world domination. But I digress. A valid point was raised about the longevity of this piece due to the fact that all cars have a useable life, a company car probably has a shorter and harder “life” than most, and you, the audience, need to read fresh stuff to keep it all interesting and enjoyable. We will, eventually, need to change the core subject matter of this piece- the Vauxhall Corsa.

I know this will be tinged with sadness, like the passing of a Top Gear ‘Reasonably Priced Car’ but it made me think. I work for a media company. We print car reviews in our newspapers to attract reader interest. I’m writing a weekly review based around my company car which, for some strange reason, is attracting reader interest. Surely giving me a different, brand new, company car every week, or month, their choice (always giving) and letting me write their reviews would be an intelligent business decision? Or is it just an exuberant and delusional fantasy created by someone clearly getting well ahead of their station? Only one way to find out I guess: get the corporate email address book out and find a suitable recipient for my request. What was it I said a few pieces back about not being afraid to ask?

Weekly Mileage- 346

Fuel Cost: £35

Repair cost: £0 (splitter needs fixing, no quotes yet.)

Repair costs (2014)- £849

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Monday Long Termer: 17/02/14

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By Nathan Green

Standing water, fallen trees and landslide debris- just a few of the obstacles I had to contend with last week while navigating the tarmacadam transport network around Stroud and the surrounding areas.

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On Thursday, the Met Office imposed a severe weather warning on our fair town, stating that only the most necessary of journeys should be attempted due an increased risk of injury. Am I the only person who saw this as a challenge?

In my opinion, so-called ‘severe weather’ adds an exciting twist to the normally mundane task of driving an 80 horse-power hatchback. Not only does it offer an opportunity to test the limits of the car  but it can also present a challenge to one’s own abilities.

I believe it is of paramount importance that we regularly challenge ourselves. Indeed it is only when we step outside of our comfort zone that our true potential is revealed. Mother Nature threw down the gauntlet and I, armed only with a Vauxhall Corsa and an insatiable hunger for success, decided to accept.

On Wednesday evening, howling winds and sideways rain relentlessly battered the county. In fact, the winds produced by the weather system rotating above us were so strong that both bridges across the river Severn were closed. Luckily, the adjoining M5 motorway between Stroud and Cheltenham was not.

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Despite an unnerving combination of 70mph winds, poor visibility and extensive road works, my friends and I were able to uphold our date with the diving boards at Cheltenham Leisure Centre.

This is a weekly endeavour which, in my opinion, is a non-negotiable social activity. The consequences of not attending could be a severe- holing up in a local pub and drinking ale until our livers fail. Better to get on the road and brave the adverse weather conditions.

So, challenge accepted, friends collected, Met Office advice rejected.
Driving on the motorway is usually a tiresome and uneventful experience; add standing water and ferocious crosswinds to the mix and a 20 mile journey along a straight road becomes a task in of itself.

The Corsa is only a medium-sized hatchback, however the roofline is much higher than on earlier models, making it more susceptible to rocking and rolling when impacted by rampant gusts of storm-charged air.

Motorway driving normally requires minimal steering input. Not on this journey. As the storm raged around us, I kept two hands on the steering wheel, making constant adjustments to counteract the effects of the invisible external forces trying to disturb my dead ahead bearing. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I enjoyed it, but, strangely, I preferred it to the normal yawn fest of straight line driving.

Standing water was another issue we had to contend with and this can lead to serious, high-speed accidents, especially on the motorway. The Corsa actually dealt with this issue without any complaints or disturbing behaviour. The skinny, budget-brand tyres offer limited grip on even the driest of roads, however, their minimal cross-section is a definite advantage in this weather, enabling the car to chop through puddles of water instead of aquaplaning across them, aiding me in maintaining directional control while my passengers quietly prayed that they would escape death in the Corsa Life.

Still alive, we arrived at the leisure centre where we threw ourselves from the boards in a very unsafe manner until injury and/or lack of energy called an end to our shenanigans. Unfortunately, it was I, the driver, who picked up an injury. I’d torn a muscle in my neck meaning I could no longer move my head independently from my body, an action that is frequently required when driving. The 20 mile journey back to Stroud was definitely a challenge and not one I enjoyed at all. It never rains, but it pours.

Mileage- 402
Fuel cost- £40
Repair cost- £0
Repair cost (2014 total)- £809

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Monday Long Termer: 10/02/14

(Editor’s note – Apologies to both Nathan and his loyal readers. This entry is a day late. I’m working crazy hours at the moment, and, to top it all off, I’m getting ill. Please bear with us. Now, let normal service resume)

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By Nathan Green

Firstly, good news- the Corsa passed her MOT. No advisories. Nailed it.

I’m actually relieved, for some odd reason. I think if she had failed I’d have been a bit, well, disappointed. As some of you may have read in my previous ‘Long Termer’ pieces, it wouldn’t personally cost me anything to make the car roadworthy again, however, I would have lost just a weeny bit of faith in her. When you lose faith in something, you lose confidence. When you lose confidence, you worry and when you worry, you make mistakes.

With the weather we’ve been experiencing this week, worrying about the strength and structural integrity of the components keeping the car on the road and under my control is not something I would welcome. Happily, not one single piece of this electro-mechanical, plastic-and-metallic puzzle is missing or damaged. Vauxhall should be proud. I am.

Unfortunately, the experience of actually having the car MOT’d was not so positive. The convenient, cost-free MOT experience I predicted last week didn’t quite come to fruition. For starters, I had to drop the Corsa at the dealership due to them needing proof that I am legally entitled to drive on UK roads i.e. have a photographic UK drivers licence and the paper counterpart. Check. No problem. I was also supposed to take proof of company car insurance. Not check. Problem.

I had requested a certificate of insurance via email when booking the MOT last week. It was not forthcoming. For whatever reason, my request was overlooked. No insurance means no courtesy car. No courtesy car means sitting in the dealership for hours, drinking machine coffee and reading out-of-date magazines. I did that when I sold cars for Renault, I will not do it again.

I asked the polite Customer Service Advisor lady to set up a one day insurance policy for me at a cost of £20. “Stick it on the bill please m’love.” And that was that, all sorted. Or so I thought.

Having previously worked in various car dealerships, I should have known better than to think everything would go to plan. For a moment, I genuinely expected to jump into another Corsa, maybe an Astra, and be on my merry way to work. Not so lucky.

I know first-hand that supplying courtesy cars can be a nightmare for some dealerships. The parking structure is chaotic and there are never enough cars available to fulfil the number of requests from customers who need to borrow a car while theirs is unavailable. As a salesman, I was regularly asked to lend my demonstrator vehicle to a service customer, so I understand the problem. It took the lovely lady a few minutes to find me a car. The car that she eventually found was a petrol engine Vauxhall Zafira Tourer with seven seats and, you guessed it, no petrol.

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My company fuel card only allows me to refill my cars tank with the lesser-refined commercial fuel, diesel. So I had to pay £10 sterling to top up the Zafira’s tank with unleaded and stop the fuel light from flashing. Not my £10 of course. The lovely lady at the Vauxhall dealership gave it to me. I like her, she’s very lovely.

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The new Zafira has a fantastic 100,000 mile ‘Lifetime Warranty’ and is considered to be an effective mode of transport for a large family. However, it is big and slow. It is completely out of its comfort zone with me at the helm, driving enthusiastically along a wet, 60mph       B-road that snakes through the countryside between Stroud and Uley.

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It would have been a much better choice the night before, though, when I was awoken at 2.30am by a phone call from my dear cousin, Thomas. He needed a lift to the hospital with his partner, Kate, who had gone into labour. Of course, I obliged, Tom is one of my best friends, plus I was to be the Godfather of his yet to be born daughter. Saying no was never an option. I just wish I’d had a larger, more comfortable vehicle to transport us all to the hospital. I swear Kate’s contractions were getting stronger throughout the journey- maybe his daughter had felt an added sense of claustrophobia being in the womb, in the back of a small hatchback. The relentless speed bumps didn’t help much, either.

The Zafira would have been perfect for a labour intensive hospital run, or for transporting the family that Tom has now started. It excels in maximising interior space, it’s comfortable, it has lots of well-placed, family friendly amenities and it has way more techno-gadgetry than the Corsa. I’d also have cared much less if Kate’s waters had broken in the back of the Zafira because I wouldn’t have had to clean it up myself. Luckily we made it through the contractions and over all the speed bumps without incident, arriving safely at the hospital where a new life would soon be delivered into this world.

So, another memory created in the lowly Corsa, a memory that Tom and I will recall for the rest of our lives. His daughter, my Goddaughter, Lilly May Baker, will surely enjoy hearing the story of how she was taken to hospital in a Vauxhall.

With Tom being her dad and me being her Godfather, it’s safe to say she will benefit from a lifetime warranty just like the one Vauxhall offers on its new cars, only without the distance stipulation.

Mileage- 334

Fuel Cost- £33.00

Repair cost- £60 MOT and one day insurance

Repair costs (2014)- £809

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