The Mystery Machine

I realise now that yesterday, I let slip something that I have been hiding for months from you. Not entirely deliberately, you understand, but I was a little fearful of your response, I have to admit.

We are not an average two car family. We do not even own a car. We have a minibus, our very own Scooby Doo Mystery Machine, as the family members of my son’s football team affectionately call it.

Two years ago, we had a problem. We had five children, a girl from Albania living with us, friends of the kids going everywhere with us…and a seven-seater mini-people carrier with no boot space. We believe in car-sharing and often ended up giving lifts to others, so our local travel life frequently turned into a logistical nightmare. By the way, did you know that 14th June 2007 is National Liftshare Day and I’m doing as I’m told by sharing this message with you…

liftshare estimates that a typical carsharer will save themselves around £1,000 and 1 tonne of CO2 per year by sharing their daily journey.
Please forward this message on to friends, family and colleagues and encourage them to ‘Save a Tonne!’ and share their journeys.”

Anyway, back to our dilemma. A minibus felt like the only solution - albeit a weird and wacky one, disapproved of by friends and family alike. We were the butt of people’s jokes for months and being only 5ft2, I felt a right idiot behind the wheel of a 12-seater minibus. But everyone began to see the benefits and enjoyed outings in the ’tourbus’. So much so, that when we told everyone recently that we were thinking of getting rid of it, there was an outcry! “You can’t do that, it’s part of your identity!” Great - what kind of identity could that possibly be?

You see, now that we’ve given it a go, we’ve come to realise that most of our journeys are trips to Asda on our own or ferrying just one of the kids to tennis or football or a party or something. And so we feel guilty for environmental and financial reasons, as well as putting up with the obvious lack of comfort and weirdness status.

I’m leaving the decision to my wise and sensible husband, who will look into all the options and consider all the factors and reach a clear conclusion (all in the next three weeks before the MOT and insurance are up for renewal - go to it, my man!). Mainly because I can’t be bothered to get informed and anything must be better than being caught speeding in a minibus….or parking a minibus…or being dropped off for a night out at a nice restaurant in a minibus. Let’s hope the green gods rule in my favour!

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