|Harrogate, July 2015|
I got through three different salesmen in the week before taking delivery of my white car. I liked the first chap best, but he suddenly disappeared without trace (they weren't telling me where he went) and I got his manager next. He then delegated to a third salesman, who actually warned me in advance that he was leaving - he said it wasn't my fault when I asked. He told me that before this job he'd played rugby to a pretty high level, so he was moving to a job where he'd only have to work normal hours 5 days a week. Car salesmen work ridiculously long hours.
Cars, then. I'm not really interested in cars, I just want them to start up reliably when I turn the key, drive where I want to go without breaking down, and play my ipod through their speakers. So my total requirements included 5 doors, petrol engine, ipod connection. One reaches a compromise on age, mileage and cost. Fact: new SEAT Ibiza cars come in red unless you pay extra for another colour. Whoever first bought mine paid a premium for it to be white, and added mudflaps. I think the rest is standard.
Despite being standard specification, this car is more technologically advanced than anything I have in my house, including the laptop computer I'm typing on. I needed help to set it up and a lesson in how to use it before I drove it away. I will have to practise using the various features, especially the satnav thingy that also controls the music system and even lets me use my phone handsfree. There is a manual for the car, a manual for the satnav and a manual for the radio. I will be doing some more reading this weekend, except it is a bit boring so it may take a few weeks before I am competent to Bluetooth successfully. Whatever that entails.
The particular surprises I discovered when eventually I was shown 'my' car were not only the fancy shmancy satnav (which I'd been told about), but it also has parking proximity beeping sensors, and cruise control! This is a basic small car - cruise control used to be the domain of the travelling salesman doing 50,000 miles a year on motorways, not commuting up the road or the odd trip to Sainsburys. I have a proper long motorway journey coming up soon, so I'll give it a try then.
Update a few days later: I have now used the satnav thingy in earnest to find the location of my most recent badminton match, and it was rather good, unlike the match which we lost fairly comprehensively. Another good thing is that I have discovered one of the numbers on the fascia display tells me how many miles it will be before my fuel runs out (I don't yet know how accurate it is). More good news: the rear windscreen wiper works and all the interior controls light up with the headlights - these things are good because they are things that the previous car had stopped doing. I wouldn't be surprised if there is a beep if I open the door before I've turned the headlights off - I haven't tried it yet, but the Golf stopped doing that years ago.
A slightly less good thing is that as soon as the car is put in reverse the audio is muted in favour of the beepy parking proximity sensors. This is fine when you're listening to music or the radio, but I don't want to miss bits of my latest audio book just because I'm going backwards, so now I have to stop the ipod before putting the car in reverse gear. But maybe it will stop me hitting things when going backwards. I have never hit anything going backwards before, but you never know.
I very much doubt that in just under a week I have discovered all the things that this miracle of modern engineering can do. In future posts I may be moved to add footnotes of this variety: "You know my new car, well you'll never guess what it did yesterday..."