We have a new ship

…and she am the s3xx0r!

Look:

The new Blue SHip

This morning we set out to look at cars, more to see what sort of thing was locally available and to weigh our options than to seriously Buy A Car. We earmarked two local dealers, as well as a couple out at Stratford, to go and have a look at (we actually happened across a couple of others along the way, too), and set out in the slightly battered Gold Ship fairly early, thinking that we’d check out what was around and head home in time for lunch. No pressure, no spending hours on it, just trying to keep it light and weigh our options.

The forecourt of the first dealer contained nothing that really grabbed us, but as it happened, we found a likely candidate at the second dealer we stopped at: a second hand metallic grey beastie that seemed in fairly good nick; so much so that we cajoled the salesman on duty out of his warm office into the biting cold to let us have a look inside, check the mileage and suchlike. I think our heads were very much ruling our hearts at this stage: not necessarily a bad thing I know, but it was very much a practical option, no frills, and it was weighing on both our minds that we needed a new car fairly quickly, as the car tax on the Gold Ship expires at the end of January. We expressed an interest, and left the dealer practically rubbing his hands with glee to make our next few stops.

The next couple of dealers really had nothing that interested us: in fact we were utterly dismayed at the prices of the cars at our local Ford dealer, almost all of which were a couple of grand or more outside our maximum budget. This was especially sobering as the Gold Ship was a Ford and we had fallen pretty hard for it, and had hoped to go for a Ford again. So we piled back into the Gold Ship and set off for Stratford.

I think we did a complete lap of all the car dealerships on the long road on the way into Stratford: about six dealers in all. We started at the one end, and worked our way down, then back up again, taking photos of anything that was remotely appealing, even if it was a little on the expensive side. And so it was, when we reached the Vauxhall dealer, that we found a sky blue Ford Focus tucked away in one corner.

I think it’s probably fair to say, in retrospect, that we were instantly smitten – but we were so wary of being silly and buying something that we would regret later that we second-guessed ourselves right from the off. Yes, the colour was appealing – very nice indeed, actually, since blue has always been my favourite colour and this was a lovely shade – and yes, it was a Ford… but it was right at the top end of what we could afford, it was two door instead of four door (or three door instead of five door, I can’t be doing with all this “the boot is a door” malarkey), and it was… a convertible.

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. We both thought it too. “A convertible? In England? In the Midlands? Where it is always raining?” And yet, there it was: extraordinarily good-looking, reasonably priced, and waiting for us to take a closer look at it.

So we attracted the attention of one of the staff, and had him pull out the keys and give us the lowdown. It was actually better than we could have hoped for: a mere 20K on the clock, in very good condition other than some very fine scratches on the boot, and full Ford service history. So we asked if we could take her for a spin.

Being still unequipped with that most basic of things, a driving licence (I know – yet another thing which I really must address at some point), I stowed myself in the passenger seat whilst Steen got to grips with the Blue Ship. I can only imagine how weird it must be to drive a different car once you’ve spent 10 years driving very little else than the car parked up at your house, and Steen’s commentary centred very much on the weirdness of it all. But it has to be said, considering that the Blue Ship didn’t possess the Gold Ship’s positively luxurious leather interior, it was a smooth and comfortable ride. It felt very odd getting used to not having a wide metal spar just behind my field of vision, this being a convertible that eschewed such things, and it felt like I was on a train when I turned my head to look out of the window. As Steen figured out the dash and got used to the smaller pedals and entertainingly loud back-up sensor (Steen tried reversing around a corner, only for us both to be startled by the steady bleep of the sensor – something we had no idea was installed and which we’d not had in a car before), I played with the seat adjusters, the stereo (much improved from that which came with the Gold Ship, and possessed of a DAB receiver, which was a nice surprise) and various other doodads and thingamabobs.

We drove back to the dealership in mild alarm. We actually really liked this car. But she was just teasing us thus far. We needed to see her with her top off 😉 .

So we called back the salesman and asked if he could show us how to put the roof down. Whilst the idea of driving around with the top down in those seemingly rare periods of good weather we occasionally enjoy here in the Vale was attractive, we were concerned about the amount of room the roof took up once it folded itself into the boot – for that was where it stored itself. After a little faffing about – the guy had to call out a colleague who was more familiar with Fords – there was a small click, and a quiet whirring, and lo and behold, her top was off 🙂 .  Very nice she looked, too – and best of all, upon looking in the boot, we could see that there was still a pleasing amount of space in the boot left unused. Probably enough for our weekly shop, anyway, plus a few things we tend to leave in the boot (you know the stuff: anoraks, First Aid kit, that sort of thing).

At this point I think our left- and right-brains were arguing with each other. This was not really a *practical* car: only two door, limited space for back seat passengers anyway once our seats were adjusted for comfort, and a convertible to boot… but then there were all the positives: tiny mileage, great working order with full service history, cosmetically gorgeous and with no dents and dings, the price was right, and it was a Ford to boot…

The struggle took maybe five minutes before we looked at each other and said, pretty much in unison, “Yeah. Let’s do it.” So we went inside with the original salesman – who, it turned out, I was at Secondary School with: small world or what – and Steen put down the deposit.

She’s ours 🙂 .

Steen’s going to ring up and sort out the financing tomorrow, but that should all be straightforward enough. Then it’s just a matter of nipping over to Stratford once the paperwork is ready and picking her up 🙂 .  Exciting times, then, but also hasslesome, and then there is a tinge of sadness at seeing the Gold Ship go. We’ve had some great times with “Missy” and it’s a sad reminder that for all things, there is a time.

But the Blue Ship did look great with her top off 😉 .

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