After fourteen and a half years of faithful service, it is time to say farewell to Nelly, my seventeen year old Toyota RAV4 car. It was love at first sight for me, when I bought her in 2001. I had been looking for a four-wheel drive but didn’t want a monster truck spewing diesel pollution, and the three-door cherry red petrol RAV4 was perfect for me. When I got her she had 9,000 miles on the clock and was in pristine condition. She leaves me somewhat the worse for wear, with chips out of the bonnet and rust patches on the outside of the wheel arches, and over 180,000 miles on the clock.
Nelly has got me through ice and snow, gale force winds and driving rain, driving hundreds of motorway miles to work and back each day, carrying bootfuls of animal feed and bedding, taking poorly chickens to the local vet and me to the weekly supermarket shop. I think she deserves a rest.
I was very upset when Phil, the ace car mechanic, told me back in February that she would be unlikely to pass another MOT without considerable work being done on her suspension and gear box, and she has been telling me for some months now that it is time to go. I have put it off for as long as possible, but winter will soon be upon us, and I need something I can rely on up here in the wilds.
So today, I hand her over to a garage in part exchange for a Mitsubishi ASX four-wheel drive. It is not exactly what I want – it is diesel (yuch!), it is black, and it is bigger than Nelly. But I need four-wheel drive, and the choice is limited at the smaller end of the market. I intend to keep it only until the next Mitsubishi Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV) is released because that is what I really want. Nelly will be sorely missed, but seventeen is a good age for a car these days.