Time takes it all, whether you want it to, or not.”
Stephen King, The Golden Mile
My daughter Josie and her partner Jackson recently scrapped their car, a blue Ford Mondeo estate which Maureen and I bought brand new in 2000. We handed it across a couple of years ago, after a decade and a half of persistently good service.
Big deal. So what? Well, for me, the scrapping marked the end of an era. The car was totally emblematic of our ‘never-never’ years.
We bought the Mondeo on credit, even though it was clear to me that it would act as a substantial new weight on our monthly expenditure, which was already on the verge of exceeding our income. But it looked robust and powerful, and Maureen loved it. She still recalls the automatic windows. Even as we tipped further into debt over the next few years, at an alarming pace, good old Y56 GWC always started, forever got us from A to B, ferried hordes of kids around before and after school, and had the capacity to haul any amount of crap to the dump, or food from the shops. And it’s 2 litre engine was shit hot from 0-60, never a worry to pull away at a roundabout.
I still grin at how I remembered the registration number. Having been born in March 1957, I tried to see things through my dad’s eyes. Year 56, Good With Cock. Oh the wit of the boy.
The Mondeo underpinned many memories. We took it on the ferry to Noja in northern Spain, where I calmly turned left into a lane where the traffic was heading right. A Spanish driver’s brilliantly executed swerve avoided us all being maimed, or worse. Better recollections involve touring the Peak District, as well as Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and most of East Anglia. In Chelmsford, I sometimes lugged Josie and Rory’s mates around in the boot, enjoying the naughtiness as much as they did. The car took Lauren to and from Cardiff University for three years, and occasionally to Oxford during her PhD studies.
Maureen would make the thing shake and vibrate at traffic lights, by playing the White Stripes and Prodigy at ear-curling noise levels. She said today that she felt more emotional about the Mondeo than any house we have ever lived in. Josie would sit in the front and hang her head out of the window, due to travel sickness. Lauren would always slam the door as she exited. Rory played a Beatles CD over and over one holiday.
Now those days of child-rearing have gone, with Rory now away for large parts of the year at Gloucester University, and Josie and Lauren long flown from the nest. In tandem, the days of credit are also long gone. Not sure that I would pay interest on a loan again without a gun at my ear.
The photo says it all. We are seeing the back of it. There it goes, as the cycle closes. Bye bye old friend. Farewell to mixed times.