Big In Japan

Big In Japan, originally uploaded by Alex Leigh.

I’m not really a man’s man when it comes to anything automotive. Much as I’d savour the opportunity to homologate a valve flange deep in the bowls of an oily engine, the reality is that the wielding of proper tools must be left to those comfortable with boiler suits, imperial measurements, and the ability to nod sagely at difficult times.

So I’m not much troubled by cars, aeroplanes, boats and the like as long as they work. I feel that most strongly when engines meet wings and spend much of the journey clutching the arm rest in terror. Once, a kindly older gentlemen – seated next to my twitching and blubbing form – explained that a fear of flying is irrational as air travel was safer than crossing the road. My counter argument, delivered through clenched teeth, was that flying really didn’t scare me at all, it was plunging vertically into the ground while encased in a tumbling fireball that put me off my in-flight sandwich.

You way mistake this for cowardice. But you’d be wrong, I am the only sane voice amongst a bunch of lunatics and, when the World Dictatorship Committee finally sits, anyone not afraid of death by extreme squashing shall be sent to the quacks to have their imagination glands checked for blockages.

And so to my car buying strategy. Because of my entirely reasonable aversion to sales people and assorted hangers on apparently interested in wheeled depreciation, my approach has been Internet research* followed by a swift test drive, some rubbish negotiation and the parting of me from a vast wodge of cash.

This time it’s going to be different. The Mighty Honda asks nothing more than black oil to be pumped in at one end, and a quarterly maintenance regime offered by a man owning nothing more than a soapy bucket. Sure, every year I get to witness the Service Centre practice licensed theft, but they do at least clean it properly. This is akin to having your house broken into, and the burglars doing the washing up on he way out.

My plan was to keep it until the built in obsolesce worried away at that valve flange and then again take up the cudgel of car ownership using nothing more than a browser and a crate of decent beer. The pup has changed all that. It seems we can take the dog, the kids and some luggage in Carol’s car. Just not at the same time. This could make future holidays a bit of a bugger.

Unless we don’t take the kids or spend the price of a Honda service on some rat infested chicken run to board the dog. We tried Murphy in my car but he already occupies an entire footwell, and is not best pleased to be sniffing the children’s feet while occasionally taking a errant size five trainer to the snozzle.

And there’s something else. My 41st birthday has brought on a worrying rural Ferrari fetish. After watching all manner of grunty machinery bringing in the harvest, I feel the time has come to scoot around in something with a ride height similar to a proper tractor. And that my faithful friends is essentially the twisted logic to buy the Tonka toy you see up there.

I did try to shelve my hatred of shiny suits and crowded forecourts, but when the man’s derisory offer for the just-3-hour-cleaned Honda fell well short of the sticker price optimistically displayed on the X-Trail we tried, I reverted to type, typing and beer.

Which is how I ended up in a strange conversation with a bloke in a Portacabin who sells cars that he doesn’t own and never sees. This probably tells us something important about the future of the second hand car industry, but I don’t care as it told me that we could bring the boxy truck home for FOUR GRAND LESS than Mr Checked Trousers promised me was the lowest price on the planet.

Okay it’s missing some toys and is six months older but once he’d answered my question re: does it go when you put diesel in it in the affirmative, I was pretty much sold. The Honda of Never Diminishing Mightiness may end up on eBay which sounds like a properly silly way to sell a car. Failing that, another nice man I’ve never met may well sink into it’s comfortable seats and feel the power of the precision elbow patches.

I have to say though that my life currently feels like it’s a small boat in a big river, and I’m really not in control of the rapidly changing options and decisions. That’s probably quite important too, and to make sure I think about it properly, I’d better go and open the cognitive juice.

* because, of course, hardly ANYONE on the misinformation super rantway is biased, bitter, venting or clinically sane.

6 thoughts on “Big In Japan

  1. Da gnome

    Cool, is there room for the trail mutt and a whole bunch of bikes too, By the way everyone, Al is now doing uplifts up General Wades little ole road.

  2. Alex

    Yep mutt in the boot, bikes on the trailer/roof. For which I’ll need a towbar and roof bars. Somewhat compromises the “cost neutral” deal I was hoping for 😉

  3. dave

    you’re doing a very good job of holding up the economy single handedly y’know.

    have you seen the cost of diesel recently? (i know as i buy this heinous substance). However, it did help when i parked my car in a river…

    yes you heard right a RIVER, ford my arse.. bloody raging torrent more like. Still after being dragged out by a friendly passing 4×4 owner she fired up with a little coaxing and is now running again – did i mentiom she needed 3 days to dry out inside? It’s always a worry when shoes float inside your car. Still at least it had a good bath and it did involve a dukes of hazard style car escape.

    I now only need to go into a licensed robbery centre and find out why there are now a load of lights flashing manically on my dashboard which i’ve never seen before. I’ll be sure to take out an extra mortgage and will not listen to any sniggering from the mechanic when i tell him how it happened.

  4. Alex

    Did you not read the bit about it being cost neutral? 🙂 I intend to steal red diesel from the local farmer or nick some crops to make biofuel. Can’t smell worse than wet dog.

    What were you doing driving through a river? Did you think you were in a boat? Best thing is to disconnect all the fuses for the warning lights.

    Tim, I shall purchase a Ti stepladder!

  5. dave

    cost neutral my arse..

    honest guv, it said it was a ‘ford’ – i’ve never seen a ford that bloomin deep. Also i claim ignorance or something as i was directed to it by a yokel who has 1) driven through it before and 2) never seen it that high before

    well clearly she’s 1) used an amphibious vehicle and 2) has ‘sizing’ issues.

    still i got a fair way across before the motor knocked out. This could have been due to the F***ing huuuuge wave that was trying to wash up the bonnet at the time.

    *HOOOORN* last call for the SS pug, sinking near you soon!

    p.s thanks for the tip i did take a peek at the fuse box but with none blown thought i’d best leave alone, will now go back to wrench the thing apart!

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