IT SEEMS wrong-headed in these times of climate crisis to get sentimental over a car. And yet…Today I got rid of my trusty Mini-Cooper S after 18-years of fault-free motoring.
I shall not be buying another car, ending an adult lifetime of car ownership in London.
I am no petrolhead, but in the past I delighted in owning such vehicles as a Golf GTI convertible, a VW Beetle, a sporty Audi and even (for my sins), a Vauxhall Firenza.
But now my affair with the carburettor is over. There are mixed emotions in this.
I shall miss the romance of a winding open road in the English countryside in a sporty small car. I shall miss, too, the little intimacies of taking my children on the school run. (“Dad, could we turn round, I’ve forgotten my homework.”). I shall miss sneaking this tiny car into tight spots in the West End to go to the cinema or have a pizza.
My little grey Mini was a workhorse, too, transporting me to the office as a Fleet Street journalist who had to serve unsocial hours when no public transport was running.
And I must not overlook the heritage of Alec Issigonis. It was a privilege to drive one of the design classics of modern Britain, of which that great designer was a pioneer,
Yet now the time has come for us to part company. My hand has not been forced by Sadiq Khan and his ULEZ scheme (my car was compliant).
But as I write this, beautiful parts of Hawaii, Greece and Portugal have been ravaged in wildfires because of high temperatures, which scientists say are caused by climate change.
I am in no way a climate activist and I still keep an open mind on what is happening. But I think it is time to do my bit for London’s environment. I’m afraid it is goodbye for us, old Mini.
Where I live in Camden Town borders there is a plenitude of public transport – the Tube, two overground lines and more excellent bus services than you can wave a hand at
So, it’s hello to my new chariot – the No.134 bus from Warren Street to North Finchley (which, unlike my old car, happens to be fully electric, by the way!)