On Saturday my wife achieved what the racing fraternity would probably call a remarkable autumn double: she pranged both of our cars.
This was accomplished – not on the road, mind, but on our driveway, right in front of the front door – by backing the Range Rover into the BMW. The damage to each vehicle is slight and eminently repairable, but since they are top-end vehicles with ‘prestige’ ratings, the repair bills – or insurance claims – will be eye-watering. I look forward to the apologetic head-shaking assessments from Fred, the body shop manager. These, I predict, will go something like this:
“Well, Mrs. Jessop, the good news is that the repairs are no big deal. Everything can all be fixed easily enough. The bad news is that the parts will be expensive. Nothing we can do about that, I’m afraid. The Range Rover bumper will have to be replaced. How much? The list price is £7000, plus a few ancillary parts, like clips and things. Another £500, say. The BMW will need a new bonnet. Cost? Oh, about £2000, I should think. And then the front near-side lamp will need replacing. That will be about £250. Then of course there’s labour. Here, let me help you to a chair. Can I get you a glass of water?”
The joke on me, I’m guessing, is that my deliberately exaggerated figures turn out to be far too modest.
Disasters, even such minor ones, are said to come in threes. I’m not superstitious but I don’t think I’ll be willingly driving anywhere for the next week. M will have to, though, if only to the supermarket and the dry cleaners. Neither is much more than a mile way, but if you can crash a car on your own driveway, that distance now looms as a potentially hazardous journey, what with all those other vehicles – and mad cyclists – swarming about.
My reputation in family folklore is that of an incompetent, or at least, careless driver, one who is easily distracted by intellectual musings. Only last month I managed, while changing lanes, to clip a white van. No real damage done, although it added to the BMW’s growing collection of unsightly scuff marks. Perhaps I can count that as accident number one, in which case we’re in the clear, having completed our automotive trifecta.
Time, anyway, to replace the BMW, which is now fourteen years old and starting to develop mysterious creaks and groans. M is sentimentally attached to the thing, though, and has resolutely resisted changing it for several years – less so now than before, I should add. Now I have to dread having a spanking new beamer in the drive just waiting for one of us to back into a petrol pump (which I contrived to do a few years back) or to scourge the shiny new doors while easing through one of those barriers erected to stop commercial vehicles going through (which we did last weekend in Cambridge, while she was driving and I was navigating with my head out of the passenger-side window. How did we contrive to do that?)
That little scrape, now that I come to think about it, makes four prangs in the month. Surely, then, we’ve now paid our debt to the Fates of the Road.
My daughter shook her head in disbelief. Four accidents – FOUR! – in as many weeks. What she’s secretly thinking, I’m sure, is that it may be time we started to think about giving up driving altogether. We are both, after all, at an age when people start getting nervous and indecisive when behind a wheel.
The fitting finale to a clueless Saturday was England losing to Wales in the rugby World Cup, condemning the team to leaving it.
Thank God for a damp and dreary Monday, although it may well prove to be a very expensive one.
And if I may add a footnote, as foolish as the whole incident was, we are finally ordering our new BMW which I have been putting off for five years now.
Oh, and John says, we should buy a Fiat!